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The rivers run chill,
The red sun is sinking,
And I am grown old,
And life is fast shrinking;
Here's enow for sad thinking !
COME, let us set our careful breasts,
Like Philomel, against the thorn,
To aggravate the inward grief,
That makes her accents so forlorn ;
The world has many cruel points,
Whereby our bosoms have been torn,
And there are dainty themes of grief,
In sadness to outlast the morn, –
True honor's dearth, affection's death,
Neglectful pride and cankering scorn,
With all the piteous tales that tears
Have watered since the world was born.
The world ! — it is a wilderness,
Where tears are hung on every tree;
For thus my gloomy fantasy
Makes all things weep with me !
Come let us sit and watch the sky,
And fancy clouds where no clouds be;
Grief is enough to blot the eye,
And make heaven black with misery.
Why should birds sing such merry notes,
Unless they were more blest than we ?
No sorrow ever chokes their throats,
Except sweet nightingale; for she
Was born to pain our hearts the more
With her sad melody.
Why shines the sun, except that he
Makes gloomy nooks for Grief to hide,
And pensive shades for Melancholy,
When all the earth is bright beside P
Let clay wear smiles, and green grass wave,
Mirth shall not win us back again,
Whilst man is made of his own grave,
And fairest clouds but gilded rain
I saw my mother in her shroud,
Her cheek was cold and very pale;
And ever since I’ve looked on all
As creatures doomed to fail!
Why do buds ope, except to die P
Ay, let us watch the roses wither,
And think of our loves’ cheeks:
And, O, how quickly time doth fly
To bring death's winter hither
Minutes, hours, days, and weeks,
Months, years, and ages shrink to nought,
An age past is but a thought !
Ay, let us think of him a while,
That, with a coffin for a boat,
Tows daily o'er the Stygian moat,
And for our table choose a tomb :
There's dark enough in any skull
To charge with black a raven plume;
And for the saddest funeral thoughts
A winding-sheet hath ample room,
Where Death, with his keen-pointed style,
Hath writ the common doom.
How wide the yew-tree spreads its gloom,
And o'er the dead lets fall its dew,
As if in tears it wept for them,
The many human families
That sleep around its stem
How cold the dead have made these stones,
With natural drops kept ever wet !
Lo! here the best, the worst, the world
Doth now remember or forget,
Are in one common ruin hurled,
And love and hate are calmly met;
The loveliest eyes that ever shone,
The fairest hands, and locks of jet.
Is’t not enough to vex our souls,
And fill our eyes, that we have set
Our love upon a rose's leaf,
Our hearts upon a violet P
Blue eyes, red cheeks, are frailer yet;
And, sometimes, at their swift decay
Beforehand we must fret :
The roses bud and bloom again;
But love may haunt the grave of love,
And watch the mould in vain.
O clasp me, sweet, whilst thou art mine,
And do not take my tears amiss;
For tears must flow to wash away
A thought that shows so stern as this:
Forgive, if somewhile I forget,
In woe to come, the present bliss.
As frighted Proserpine let fall
Her flowers at the sight of Dis,
Even so the dark and bright will kiss.
The Sunniest things throw sternest shade,
And there is even a happiness
That makes the heart afraid
Now let us with a spell invoke
The full-orbed moon to grieve our eyes;
Not bright, not bright, but, with a cloud
Lapped all about her, let her rise
All pale and dim, as if from rest
The ghost of the late buried sun
Had crept into the skies.
The moon! she is the source of sighs,
The very face to make us sad;
If but to think in other times
The same calm, quiet look she had,
As if the world held nothing base,
Of vile and mean, of fierce and bad;
The same fair light that shone in streams,
The fairy lamp that charmed the lad;
For so it is, with spent delights -
She taunts men's brains, and makes them mad.
All things are touched with melancholy,
Born of the secret soul's mistrust,
To feel her fair ethereal wings
Weighed down with vile degraded dust;
Even the bright extremes of joy
Bring on conclusions of disgust,
Like the sweet blossoms of the May,
Whose fragrance ends in must.
O, give her, then, her tribute just,
Her sighs and tears, and musings holy!
There is no music in the life -
That sounds with idiot laughter solely;
There's not a string attuned to mirth,
But has its chord in Melancholy.
WRITTEN IN A VOLUME OF SEIAIKSPEARE,
How bravely Autumn paints upon the sky
The gorgeous fame of Summer which is fled!
Hues of all flowers that in their ashes lie,
Trophied in that fair light whereon they fed,
Tulip, and hyacinth, and sweet rose red, -
Tike exhalations from the leafy mould,
Look here how honor glorifies the dead,
And warms their scutcheons with a glance of gold!—
Such is the memory of poets old,
Who on Parnassus' hill have bloomed elate ;
Now they are laid under their marbles cold,
And turned to clay, whereof they were create;
But god Apollo hath them all enrolled,
And blazoned on the very clouds of fate
MOST delicate Ariel! submissive thing,
Won by the mind's high magic to its hest, —
Invisible embassy, or secret guest, —
Weighing the light air on a lighter wing; –
Whether into the midnight moon, to bring
Illuminate visions to the eye of rest, —
Or rich romances from the florid West, —
Or to the sea, for mystic whispering, —
Still by thy charmed allegiance to the will
The fruitful wishes prosper in the brain,