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The little cloud—it floats away,
Away it goes; away so soon :
Alas! it has no power to stay:
Its hues are dim, its hues are grey—
Away it passes from the moon!
How mournfully it seems to fly,
Ever fading more and more,
To joyless regions of the sky—
And now ’t is whiter than before!
As white as my poor check will be,
When, Lewti! on my couch I lie,
A dying man for love of thee. .
Nay, treacherous image' leave my mind–
And yet thou didst not look unkind.

I saw a vapour in the sky, Thin, and white, and very high; I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud : Perhaps the breezes that can fly Now below and now above, Have snatch'd aloft the lawny shroud Of Lady fair—that died for love. For maids, as well as youths, have perish'd From fruitless love too fondly cherish'd. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind– For Lewti never will be kind.

Hush' my headless feet from under
Slip the cro ibling banks for ever:
Like echoes to a distant thunder,
They plunge into the gentle river.
The river-swans have heard my tread,
And startle from their reedy bed.
O beauteous Birds! methinks ye measure
Your movements to some heavenly tune!
O beauteous Birds!’t is such a pleasure
To see you move beneath the moon,
I would it were your true delight
To sleep by day and wake all night.

I know the place where Lewti lies,
When silent night has closed her eyes :
It is a breezy jasmine-bower,
The nightingale sings o'er her head :
Voice of the Night! had I the power
That leafy labyrinth to thread,
And creep, like thee, with soundless tread,
I then might view her bosom white
Heaving lovely to my sight,
As these two swans together heave
On the gently swelling wave.

Oh! that she saw me in a dream,

And dreamt that I had died for care; All pale and wasted I would seem,

Yet fair withal, as spirits are! I'd die indeed, if I might see Her bosom heave, and heave for me! Soothe, gentle image soothe my mind! To-morrow Lewti may be kind.

1795.

THE PICTURE, on THE LovER's RESOLUTION.

Through weeds and thorns, and matted underwood I force my way; now climb, and now descend

O'er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot
Crushing the purple whorts; while oft unseen,
Hurrying along the drifted forest-leaves,
The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil,
I know not, ask not whither . A new joy,
Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell'd,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark
The fir-trees, and the unfrequent slender oak,
Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake
Soar up, and form a melancholy vault
High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea.

Here Wisdom might resort, and here Remorse;
Here too the love-lorn man who, sick in soul,
And of this busy human heart aweary,
Worships the spirit of unconscious life
In tree or wild-flower.—Gentle Lunatic
If so he might not wholly cease to be,
He would far rather not be that, he is ;
But would be something, that he knows not of,
in winds or waters, or among the rocks!

But hence, fond wretch! breathe not contagion herc! No myrtle-walks are these : these are no groves Where Love dare loiter | If in sullen mood He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore His dainty feet, the briar and the thorn Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird Easily caught, ensnare him, O ye Nymphs, Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades! And you, ye Earth-winds' you that make at morn The dew-drops quiver on the spiders' webs! You, O ye wingless Airs! that creep between The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze, Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon, The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed— Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp, Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb. Chase, chase him, all ye Fays, and elsin Gnomes! With prickles sharper than his darts bemock His little Godship, making him perforce Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's back.

This is my hour of triumph! I can now With my own fancies play the merry fool, And laugh away worse folly, being free. Here will 1 seat myself, beside this old, Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine Clothes as with net-work: here will I couch my limbs, Close by this river, in this silent shade, As safe and sacred from the step of man As an invisible world—unheard, unseen, And list'ning only to the pebbly brook That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound; Or to the bees, that in the neighbouring trunk Make honey-hoards. The breeze, that visits me, Was never Love's accomplice, never raised The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow, And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek; Ne'er play'd the wanton—never half disclosed The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth, Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen-grove

Shiver in sunshine, but his feelble heart Shall flow away like a dissolving thing.

Sweet breeze' thou only, if I guess aright, Liftest the feathers of the robin's breast, That swells its little breast, so full of song, Singing above me, on the mountain-ash. And thou too, desert Stream no pool of thine, Though clear as lake in latest summer-eve, Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe, The face, the form divine, the downcast look Contemplative! Behold! her open palm Presses her cheek and brow! her elbow rests On the bare branch of half-uprooted tree, That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile Had from her countenance turn'd, or look'd by stealth (For fear is true love's cruel nurse), he now With steadfast gaze and unoffending eye, Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes Delicious to the soul, but fleeting, vain, Een as that phantom-world on which he gazed, But not unheeded gazed : for see, ah! see, The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks The heads of tall flowers that behind her grow, Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glove bells: And suddenly, as one that toys with time, Scatters them on the pool! Then all the charm Is broken—all that phantom-world so fair Wanishes, and a thousand circlets spread, And each mis-shapes the other. Stay awhile, Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes! The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon The visions will return! And lo! he stays: And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms Come trembling back, unite, and now once more The pool becomes a mirror; and behold Each wild-flower on the marge inverted there, And there the half-uprooted tree—but where, O where the virgin's snowy arm, that lean'd On its bare branch? He turns, and she is gone! Homeward she steals through many a woodland maze Which he shall seek in vain. Ill-fated youth! Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime In mad love-yearning by the vacant brook, Till sickly thoughts bewitch thine eyes, and thou Behold'st her shadow still abiding there, The Naiad of the Mirror!

Not to thee, O wild and desert Stream! belongs this tale: Gloomy and dark art thou—the crowded firs Spire from thy shores, and stretch across thy bed, Making thee doleful as a cavern-well: Save when the shy king-fishers build their nest On thy steep banks, no loves hast thou, wild stream!

This be my chosen haunt—emancipate From passion's dreams, a freeman, and alone, I rise and trace its devious course. O lead, Lead me to deeper shades and lonelier glooms. Lo! stealing through the canopy of firs, How fair the sunshine spots that mossy rock, Isle of the river, whose disparted waves Dart off asunder with an angry sound, How soon to re-unite! And see! they meet, Each in the other lost and found: and see

Placeless, as spirits, one soft water-sun
Throbbing within them, Heart at once and Eye,
With its soft neighbourhood of filmy clouds,
The stains and shadings of forgotten tears,
Dimness o'erswum with lustre! Such the hour
Of deep enjoyment, following love's brief feuds;
And hark, the noise of a near waterfall !
I pass forth into light—I find myself
Beneath a weeping birch (most beautiful
Of forest-trees, the Lady of the woods),
Hard by the brink of a tall weedy rock
That overbrows the cataract. How bursts
The landscape on my sight! Two crescent hills
Fold in behind each other, and so make
A circular vale, and land-lock'd, as might seem,
With brook and bridge, and grey stone cottages,
Half hid by rocks and fruit-trees. At my feet,
The whortle-herries are bedew'd with spray,
Dash’d upwards by the furious waterfall.
How solemnly the pendent ivy mass
Swings in its winnow : All the air is calm.
The smoke from cottage-chimneys, tinged with light,
Rises in columns; from this house alone,
Close by the waterfall, the column slants,
And feels its ceaseless breeze. But what is this?
That cottage, with its slanting chimney-smoke,
And close beside its porch a sleeping child,
His dear head pilow'd on a sleeping dog—
One arm between its fore-legs, and the hand
Holds loosely its small handful of wild-flowers,
Unfilleted, and of unequal lengths.
A curious picture, with a master's haste
Sketch'd on a strip of pinky-silver skin,
Peel'd from the birchen bark | Divinest maid!
Yon bark her canvas, and those purple berries
Her pencil! See, the juice is scarcely dried
On the fine skin' She has been newly here;
And lo! yon patch of heath has been her couch—
The pressure still remains! O blessed couch
For this mayst thou flower early, and the Sun,
Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
Upon thy purple bells! O Isabel!
Daughter of genius' stateliest of our maids!
More beautiful than whom Alcaeus wooed,
The Lesbian woman of immortal song!
O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
And full of love to all, save only me,
And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
Why beats it thus? Through yonder coppice-wood
Needs must the pathway turn, that leads straightway
On to her father's house. She is alone !
The night draws on—such ways are hard to hit—
And fit it is I should restore this sketch,
Dropt unawares, no doubt. Why should I yearn
To keep the relique? 't will but idly feed
The passion that consumes me. Let me haste!
The picture in my hand which she has left,
She cannot blame me that I follow'd her;
And I may be her guide the long wood through.

THE NIGHT-SCENE. A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.

SAN dow.A.L. You loved the daughter of Don Manrique?

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