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The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere

Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray;
And pallid evening twines its beaming hair

In duskier braids around the languid eyes of day:
Silence and twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.


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,
Obeyest in silence their sweet solemn spells,

Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height

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 :
Here could I hope, like some enquiring child

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;
And all around, with a chilling sound,

From caves of ice and fields of snow,
The breath of night like death did flow

Beneath the sinking moon.



The wintry hedge was black,

The green grass was not seen,
The birds did rest on the bare thorn's breast,

Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o'er many a crack,

Which the frost had made between.




Thine eyes glowed in the glare

Of the moon's dying light;
As a fenfire's beam on a sluggish stream

Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there,
And it yellowed the strings of thy raven hair,

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
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky

Might visit thee at will.

November, 1815.



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.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine

On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar :
Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling multitude:
In honoured poverty thy voice did weave

Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,-
Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,

Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.





The awful shadow of some unseen Power

Floats though unseen amongst us, -- visiting

This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower,

Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower, 5

It visits with inconstant glance

Each human heart and countenance ;
Like hues and harmonies of evening, —

Like clouds in starlight widely spread, -
Like memory of music fled, —

Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.




Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate

With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, — where art thou gone?

Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate ?

Ask why the sunlight not for ever

Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,

Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth

Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope ?



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,
Through strings of some still instrument,


Or moonlight on a midnight stream, Gives

grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.


And come,


Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart

for some uncertain moments lent,
Man were immortal, and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.

Thou messenger of sympathies,

That wax and wane in lovers' eyes
Thou — that to human thought art nourishment,

Like darkness to a dying flame !
Depart not as thy shadow came,

Depart not - lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.



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
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I called on poisonous names with which our youth is fed,

I was not heard I saw them not
When musing deeply on the lot

55 Of life, at the sweet time when winds are wooing

All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,

Sudden, thy shadow fell on me ;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!



I vowed that I would dedicate my powers

To thee and thine - have I not kept the vow ?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now

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