Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Of childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still futtering in his breast;

Not for thee I raise

The song of thanks and praise ;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings ;

Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised :

But for those first affections,

Those shadowy recollections,

Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing ;

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal silence ; truths that wake

To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,

Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy.

Hence, in a season of calm weather,

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea

Which brought us hither,

Can in a moment travel thither, And see the children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

XI.

And O, ye fountains, meadows, hills, and

groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves ;
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might.
I only have relinquished one delight,
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I loved the brooks which down their channels fret
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they ;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day

Is lovely yet.

The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober coloring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality.
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that too often lie too deep for tears.

THE LOVE OF NATURE.

(From Lines composed near Tintern Abbey.]

I CANNOT paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion ; the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colors and their forms, were then to me
An appetite ; a feeling and a love
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, or any interest
Unborrowed from the eye. That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures.

Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn, nor murmur ; other gifts
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompense. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts ; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man ;
A motion and a spirit that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods
And mountains, and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of

eye and ear, both what they half create
And what perceive ; well pleased to recognize
In nature, and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

STANZAS SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE IN A

STORM.

[ocr errors]

I was thy neighbor once, thou rugged pile;

Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee;
I saw thee every day; and all the while

Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air,

So like, so very like, was day to day,
Whene'er I looked, thy image still was there.

It trembled; but it never passed away.
Ah, then, if mine had been the painter's hand

To express what then I saw, and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land,

The consecration and the poet's dream,
I would have planted thee, thou hoary pile,

Amid a world how different from this !
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile,

On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
A picture had it been of lasting ease,

Elysian quiet, without toil or strife ;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,

Or merely silent nature's breathing life.
O, 'tis a passionate work; yet wise and well,

Well chosen is the spirit which is here ;
That hulk which labors in the deadly swell,

This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear.

And this huge castle, standing here sublime,

I love to see the look with which it braves,
Cased in the unfeeling armor of old time,

The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.

SONNET COMPOSED ON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, 1803.

(London in early Morning. ]

EARTH has not anything to show more fair.
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty ;
This city now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning. Silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep.
The river glideth at his own sweet will.
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep,
And all that mighty heart is lying still.

A PORTRAIT.

Sur was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight ;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her

eyes as stars of twilight fair ;
Like twilight's, 100, her dusky hair ;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn -
A dancing shape, an image gay,
Te baant, to startle, and waylay.

Sweet records, promises as sweet ;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food,
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

I saw her, upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too ;
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty :
A countenance in which did meet

And now I see, with eye serene,
The very pulse of the machine :
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller betwixt life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill ;
A perfect woman, nobly planned
To warn, to comfort, and command,
And yet a spirit still, and bright,
With something of an angel light.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »