Page images
PDF

Higrom the lof fire; widgest,

And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and upbuild it again.

To a Skylark.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit !

Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or nes

Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still, and higher,

From the earth thou springest,
Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thon dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven,

In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowod.
Sir What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there fic

Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
tour Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden.

Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not;

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glowworm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view;

,' Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves:

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was
Joyous and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;
I have never heard.

Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine,

Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphal ebant,
Matched with thine would be all

Ligne
But an empty vaunt-
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain ?
What fields, or wives, or mountains ?

What shapeg('sky or plain? 1 . What love of thine own kinu! what ignorance of pain?

2

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

With thy clear keen joyance

Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee:
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep

- Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a 'crystal stream ?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

100 SA With some pain is fraught: Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come pear.

Better than all measures

Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures

. That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

From The Sensitive Plant." A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew, And the young winds fed it with silver dew And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light, And closed them beneath the kisses of night And the spring arose on the garden fair, And the spirit of love fell everywhere; And each flower and herb on earth's dark breast Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest. But none ever trembled and panted with bliss In the garden, the field, or the wilderness, Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want, As the companionless Sensitive Plant. The snowdrop, and then the violet, Arose from the ground with warm rain wet, And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, sent From the turf, like the voice and the instrument. Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall, And narcissi, the fairest among them all, Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess, Till they die of their own dear loveliness; And the Naiad-like lily of the vale, Whom youth makes so fair, and passion so That the light of its tremulous bells is seen Through their pavilions of tender green; And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue, Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew Of music so delicate, soft, and intense, It was felt like an odour within the sense; And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest, Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast, Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air The soul of her beauty and love lay bare; And the wand-like lily, which lifted up, As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured cup, Till the fiery star, which is its eye, Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky; And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose, The sweetest flower for scent that blows; And all rare blossoms from every clime, Grew in that garden in perfect prime. And on the stream whose inconstant bosom, Was prankt under boughs of embowering blossom,. With gollen and green light, slanting through Their heaven of many a tangled hue, Broad water-lilies lav tremulongly. And starry river-buds glimmered And around them the soft stream did glide and dance With a motion of sweet sound and radiance. And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss, Which led through the garden along and across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,

[ocr errors]

Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells
As fair as the fabulous asphodels;
And flowrets which, drooping as day drooped too,
Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue,
To roof the glowworm from the evening dew.
And from this undefiled Paradise
The flowers as an infant's awaker
Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet
Can first lull, and at last must awaken it-
When heaven's blitbe winds had unfolded them,
As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem,
Shone smiling to heaven, and every one
Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;
For each one was interpenetrated
With the light and the odour its neighbour shed,
Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear,
Wrapt and filled by their mutual atmosphere.
But the Sensitive Plant, which could give small fruit
Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root,
Received more than all, it loved more than ever,
Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver;
For the Sensitive Plant has no bright flower:
Radiance and odour are not its dower :
It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full,
It desires what it has not-the beautiful !
The light winds which, from unsustaining wings,
Shed the music of many murmurings;
The beams which dart from many a star
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;
The plumed insects swift and free,
Like golden boats on a sunny sea,
Laden with light and odour which pass
Over the gleam of the living grass ;
The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie
Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high,
Then wander like spirits among the spheres,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears,
The quivering vapours of dim noontide.
Which like a sea o'er the warm earth glide,
In which every sound, and odour, and beam,
Move as reeds in a single stream;
Each and all like ministering angels were
For the Sensitive Plant sweet joy to bear,
Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by,
Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky.
And when evening descended from heaven above,
And the earth was all rest, and the air was all love,
And delight, though less bright, was far more deep,
And the day's veil fell from the world of sleep,
And the beasts, and the birds, and the insects were drowned
In an ocean of dreams without a sound;
Whose waves never mark, though they ever impress
The light sand which paves it-consciousness.

(Only overhead the sweet nightingale
Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail,
And snatches of its Elysian chant
Were mixed with the dreams of the Sensitive Plant);
The Sensitive Plant was the earliest
Up-gathered into the bosom of rest;
A sweet child weary of its delight,
The feeblest, and yet the favourite,
Cradled within the embrace of night.

Forest Scenery.From Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude.'

The noonday sun
Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass
Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence
A narrow vale embosoms. There huge caves,
Scooped in the dark base of those airy rocks,
Mocking its moans, respond and roar for ever.
The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
Wove twilight o'er the poet's path, as led
By love, or dream, or god, or mightier death,
He sought in nature's dearest haunt, some bank,
Her cradle and his sepulchre. More dark
And dark the shades accumulate the oak,
Expanding its immense and knotty arms,
Embraces the light beech. The pyramids
Of the tall cedar overarching frame
Most solemn domes within, and far below,
Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky,
The ash and the acacia floating hang,
Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents clothed
In rainbow and in fire, the parasites,
Starred with ten thousand blossoms, flow around
The gray trunks; and, as gamesome infants' eyes,
With gentle meanings and most innocent wiles,
Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love,
These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs,
Uniting their close union; the woven leaves
Make network of the dark-blue light of day
And the pigbt's noontide clearnese, mutable
As shapes in the weird clouds. Soft mossy lawns
Beneath these canopies extend their swells,
Fragrant with perfumed herbs, and eyes with blooms
Minute yet beautiful. One darkest glen
Sends from its woods of musk-rose, twined with jasming,
A soul-dissolving odour, to invite
To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell
Silence and twilight here, twin sisters, keep
Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades,
Like vapourous shapes half seen; beyond, a well,
Dark, gleaming, and of most translucent wave,
Images all the woven boughs above;
And each depending leaf, and every speck
Of azure sky, darting between their chasms;
Nor aught else in the liquid mirror laves
Its portraiture, but some inconstant star
Between one foliaged lattice twinkling fair.
Or painted bird, sleeping beneath the moon,
Or gorgeous insect, floating motionless
Unconscious of the day, ere yet his wings
Have spread their glories to the gaze of noon.

« PreviousContinue »