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They answer and provoke each other's songs-
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical, and swift jug jug,
And one low piping sound more sweet than all-
Stirring the air with such an harmony,
That, should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day.
A most gentle maid Who dwelleth in her hospitable home Hard by the castle, and at latest eve (Even like a lady vowed and dedicate To something more than nature in the grove) Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes, That gentle maid ! and oft, a moment's space, What time the moon was lost behind a cloud, Hath heard a pause of silence: till the moon Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky With one sensation, and those wakeful birds Have all burst forth with choral minstrelsy, As if one quick and sudden gale had swept An hundred airy harps! And she hath watched Many a Nightingale perch giddily On blos'my twig still swinging from the breeze, And to that motion tune his wanton song, Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O warbler! till to-morrow eve,
And you, my friends ! farewell, a short farewell !
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.—That strain again!
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his hear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen! and I deem it wise
To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
The evening star: and once when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
And he beholds the moon, and hushed at once
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well
It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy! Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale ! once more, my friends! farewell.
All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay
Beside the ruined tower.
The monshine stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!
She lean'd against the armed man,
The statue of the armed knight:
She stood and listened to my harp
Amid the ling'ring light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope, my joy, my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The songs, that make her grieve.
I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song that fitted well
The ruin wild and hoary.
She listened with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace ;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight, that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand ;
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.
I told her, how he pin'd: and, ah !
The low, the deep, the pleading tone,
With which I sang another's love:
Interpreted my own.
She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
And she forgave me that I gazed
Too fondly on her face !
But when I told the cruel scorn
Which crazed this bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain woods,
Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once,
In green and sunny glade,
There came, and looked him in the face,
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew, it was a fiend,
This miserable Knight!
And how, unknowing what he did,
He leap'd amid a murd'rous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land ;
And how she wept and clasped his knees,
And how she tended him in vain-
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn, that crazed his brain :
And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away
When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying man he lay;
His dying words—But when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My falt'ring voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guiieless Genevieve,
The music, and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng!
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long !
She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love and maiden shame ;
And, like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
Her bosom heaved—she stepped aside;
As conscious of my look, she stepped-
Then suddenly with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace ;
And bending back her head looked up,
And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear, And partly 'twas a bashful art That I might rather feel than see
The swelling of her heart.