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Pampering the coward heart
With feelings all too delicate for use.
He was not old when I beheld him last,
Although the sunrise of his life was past;
And beauty shed her gleams around him still, —
Beauty that grows from mind, and thoughts that fill
The mind with images of grace and might,
As streams reflecting stars look heavenly bright.
Genius was on him as a softening power,
And love and sadness wove for him a bower,
Where, like a delicate bird, his spirit fond
Warbled and slept — fearing the world beyond !
But Genius panoplied in lofty will,
And made by Reason more majestic still,
That builds a tower of strength within the soul,
And thence controlling all things, spurns control, -
Genius, that struggles with the stormiest tide,
And never yet self-immolating died, -
Not these the Dreamer had; and, far away,
Far from his kind, when sorrow on him lay,
Stole to the woods, and hid in their green gloom,
Forgot alike Man's duty and his doom!
There sent his spirit forth upon the breeze,
That is itself the spirit of the trees,
A wanderer, roaming upon viewless wings,
Speaking with many voices, many things.
Yet more the Dreamer, couched on wilding flowers,
The music loved of waterfalls and showers,
Lulling the senses that the birds would waken,
With the shrill notes from their glad bosoms shaken ;
They, feathered minstrels, sang of love and strife,
And seemed to chide him back to human life.
And wherefore loved he not,—when Love was made To fashion life into an Indian braid; Upon each pricking briar and grieving thorn Placing bright buds, to hide and to adorn ? And wherefore loved he not? Alas! too well, Too early on his heart, Love's influence fell: One had he loved,—with worship loved that one, As old Chaldeans gazed upon the sun ;Gazed, until Fancy with its passionate sense, Gave to their spiritual dreams, omnipotence : Till fable grew to truth, and sternest ill Loosened not love and worship from their will.
So loved the Dreamer! and when blight came on
Of death, or change, or distance (all are one)
He did not pluck the arrow from his heart;
He did not bribe his madness to depart;
He did not look upon the world remaining;
He did not seek what yet was worth the gaining;
But made in blooming solitude his lair,
(Bland Nature but the Hebe to despair)
And nursed sick thoughts and fancies, till he found
In every lovely sight and pleasant sound,
Even the lark's song, and the dancing leaf,
The fitting food of lovelorn, passionate grief.
And so he died—a Dreamer in his prime!
A Dreamer in the glorious summer-time,
When Nature, full of majesty and health,
Is ripening in her bosom future wealth!
0, Nature! wise as lovely, glad as wise,
When shall we learn of thee from storms to rise !
The earthquake and the whirlwind sink to rest,
And thou dost shake their influence from thy breast;
Repairest tint by tint, and flower by flower,
Beauty rent from thee in the trial-hour,
And o'er the ravage that may not be hidden,
Sheddest new grace, unlooked for and unbidden :-
0, Nature! wise as lovely, glad as wise,
When shall we learn of thee from storms to rise,
And feel that suffering only vivifies !
DEPENDENT from an oaken beam, which spans
The little unceiled church of Wilydale,
There waves a Maiden's Garland. One might think
That this sad symbol's filmy garniture
Was on the cushion wrought with slenderest thread,
By busy bobbins intricately plied,
So lace-like is the texture of its web.
It is not so ;- 't is but a hoop enwrapt
In pure unsullied paper, deftly cut
Into a mimic pattern by the hand
Of the poor girl, for whom the fragile thing
Will serve as a memento some few years,
Then drop to the dust, as she did.
She was one
Whose birthplace was beneath a peasant's roof,
But whose bland countenance and faultless form
Would fitlier have adorned a lady's bower;
For Esther Ashton looked too delicate,
E’en in the laughing days of childish health,
To stand the gusts of wintry poverty.
Her colour, brilliant as the young musk-rose
Just when the sun wooes it to cleave its hood,
Mounted and sank too rapidly; her eyes,
Like stars on windy nights, with lustre shone,
Fitful, but ominous of shortest stay;
And that slight frame, by nicest symmetry
Moulded, was over-exquisite to brook
The rough encounters of a life of toil.
She lived not o'er her prime;—a searing blast
Withered the blossom ere its leaves had lost
Their tint and perfume.
'T is an oft-told tale Of a poor heart, which pined itself to death Beneath a smiling aspect. Esther loved, Secretly loved, a kinsman of her own, Who wist not of her passion. They had been l'laymates together on the village green, In that blithe time of life, when daisies pied And burnished buttercups are hunted for As treasures priceless. Esther always liked, In the wild ramble or the merry game, To find her cousin Stephen at her side; Nor sought he less her sweet companionship. The affectionate girl, of all the little band, Was the most sensitive to hope and joy ; The most alert in fostering mirth,- and yet With spirits quickliest overwrought, and limbs