« PreviousContinue »
Sink the sweet scenes of Childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny blaze,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy margin's willowy maze,
And bedded sand that, vein'd with various dies,
Gleam'd thro' thy bright transparence to the gaze!
Visions of Childhood ! oft have ye beguild
Lone Manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs,
Ah! that once more I were a careless Child !
COMPOSED WHILE CLIMBING THE LEFT ASCENT OF BROCK.
LEY COOMB, IN THE COUNTY OP SOMERSET,
With many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb's ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody :
Far off th' unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the Flock
That on green plots o'er precipices browze:
From the forc'd fissures of the naked rock
The Yew tree bursts! beneath its dark green boughs
(Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest.-And now have gaind the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud Towers, and Cots more dear to me;
Elm-shadow'd Fields, and prospect-bounding Sea!
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here!
Sweet Mercy! how my very heart has bled
To see thee, poor Old Man and thy grey hairs
Hoar with the snowy blast; while no one cares
To cloathe thy shrivell’d limbs and palsied head.
My father! throw away this tatter'd vest
That mocks thy shiv’ring! take my garment-use
A young man's arm! I'll melt these frozen dews
That hang from thy white beard and numb thy breast.
My Sara too shall tend thee, like a Child :
And thou shalt talk, in our fire side's recess,
Of purple Pride, that scowls on Wretchedness.-
He did not scowl, the Galilæan mild,
Who met the Lazar turn'd from rich man's doors,
And call'd him Friend, and wept upon his sores!
Pale Roamer, thro' the Night! thou poor Forlorn !
Remorse that man on his death-bed possess,
Who in the credulous hour of tenderness
Betray'd, then cast thee forth to Want and Scorn .
The world is pityless; the Chaste one's pride,
Mimic of Virtue, scowls on thy distress:
Thy Loves and they, that envied thee, deride :
And vice alone will shelter Wretchedness!
0! I am sad to think, that there should be
Cold-bosom’d lewd ones, who endure to place
Foul offerings on the shrine of Misery,
And force from Famine the caress of Love!
May He shed healing on thy sore disgrace,
He, the great Comforter that rules above !
Schiller!* that hour I would have wish'd to die,
If thro' the shudd'ring midnight I had sent
From the dark Dungeon of the Tower time-rent
That fearful voice, a famish'd Father's cry-
That in no after moment aught less vast
Might stamp me mortal ! A triumphant shout
Black Horror scream'd and all her goblin rout,
From the more with’ring scene diminish'd past.
Ah! Bard tremendous in sublimity!
Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood,
Wand'ring at eve with finely frenzied eye
Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood!
Awhile with mute awe gazing I would brood,
Then weep aloud in a wild extacy!
COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR HAV
ING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH OF A SON, SEPTEMBER, 20, 1796.
Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mix'd with such feelings as perplex the soul
Self-question’d in her sleep: and some have said *
We liv'd, ere yet this fleshy robe we wore.
O my sweet Baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me, thou wert dead
(As sometimes, thro' excess of hope, I fear)
I think that I should struggle to believe
Thou wert a Spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenc'd for some more venial crime to grieve ;
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve,
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier !
TO A FRIEND, WHO ASKED HOW I FELT, WHEN THE NURSE
FIRST PRESENTED MY INFANT TO ME.
CHARLES ! my slow heart was only sad, when first
I scann'd that face of feeble infancy:
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst
* Ην που ημωνη ψυχη πριν εν τωδε το ανθρωπινω ειδει γενέσθαι. Plat. in Phædon.
All I had been, and all my babe might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,
And hanging at her bosom (she the while
Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile)
Then I was thrillid and melted, and most warm
Impress'd a Father's kiss : and all beguild
Of dark remembrance, and presageful fear
I seem'd to see an Angel's form appear.-
'Twas even thine, beloved Woman mild!
So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear,
And dearer was the Mother for the Child,
ON HAVING LEFT A PLACE OF RETIREMENT.
Low was our pretty Cot: our tallest Rose
Peep'd at the chamber-window. We could hear
At silent noon, and eve, and early morn,
The Sea's faint murmur. In the open air
Our Myrtles blossom’d; and across the porch
Thick Jasmins twin'd: the little landscape round
Was green and woody and refresh'd the eye.
It was a spot, which you might aptly call
The Valley of Seclusion ! Once I saw
(Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quietness)
A wealthy son of Commerce saunter by,
Bristowa's citizen: Methought, it calm’d
His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse
With wiser feelings: for he paus'd, and look'd
With a pleas'd sadness, and gaz'd all around,