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A SUMMER-EVENING CHURCHI-YARD,
The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray;
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of day:
They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea; Light, sound, and motion own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery. The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.
Thou too, aërial Pile! whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
among the stars the clouds of night.
The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound Half sense, half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around, And mingling with the still night and mute sky Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.
Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night :
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.
30 September, 1815
The cold earth slept below,
Above the cold sky shone;
From caves of ice and fields of snow,
Beneath the sinking moon.
The wintry hedge was black,
The green grass was not seen,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Which the frost had made between.
Thine eyes glowed in the glare
Of the moon's dying light;
Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there,
That shook in the wind of night.
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved —
The wind made thy bosom chill —
The night did shed on thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Might visit thee at will.
Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return : Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow,
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn. These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
Which thou too feel'st, yet I alone deplore.
On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar :
Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,-
Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.
HYMN TO INTELLECTUAL BEAUTY.
The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats though unseen amongst us, -- visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower, 5
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance ;
Like clouds in starlight widely spread, -
Like aught that for its grace may be
Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river,
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
25 To sage or poet these responses given
Therefore the names of Dæmon, Ghost, and Heaven, Remain the records of their vain endeavour, Frail spells — whose uttered charm might not avail to sever, From all we hear and all we see,
30 Doubt, chance, and mutability. Thy light alone — like mist o'er mountains driven,
Or music by the night wind sent,
Or moonlight on a midnight stream, Gives
grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.
Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart
for some uncertain moments lent,
Thou messenger of sympathies,
That wax and wane in lovers' eyes
Like darkness to a dying flame !
Depart not - lest the grave should be,
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin, 50
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
I was not heard I saw them not
55 Of life, at the sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
Sudden, thy shadow fell on me ;
I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine - have I not kept the vow ?