« PreviousContinue »
THE SIMPLON PASS.
Of beamy radiance, that imbues,
- Brook and road Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy pass, And with them did we journey several hours At a slow step. The immeasurable height Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent, at every turn, Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, Black drizzling crags that spa ke by the wayside As if a voice were in them, the sick sight And giddy prospect of the raving stream, The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens, Tumult and peace, the darkness and the lightWhere all like workings of one mind, the features of the same face, blossoms upon one tree, Characters of the great Apocalypse, The types and symbols of Eternity, Of first, and last, and midst, and without end.
AN EVENING ODE,
And if there be whom broken ties
- Wings at my shoulders seem to play; t
Such hues from their celestial Urn
Had this effulgence disappeared
No sound is uttered, – but a deep
* The multiplication of mountain-ridges described at the commencement of the third Stanza of this Ode, as a kind of Jacob's Ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapours, or sunny haze ;-in the present instance by the latter cause. Allusions to the Ode, entitled “Intimations of Immortality,' pervade the last stanza of the foregoing Poem.
† In these lines I am under obligation to the exquisite picture of “ Jacob's Dream," by Mr. Allston, now in America. It is pleasant to make this public acknowledgment to a man of genius, whom I have the honour to rank among my friends.
Dread Power ! whom peace and calmness serve
– 'Tis past, the visionary splendour fades;
The lingering world, when time hath ceased to be.
A humble walk
Here is my body doomed to tread, this path,
A little hoary line and faintly traced, ARMy of Clouds! ye winged Host in troops
Work, shall we call it, of the shepherd's foot Ascending from behind the motionless brow
Or of his flock ? - joint vestige of them both. Of that tall rock, as from a hidden world,
I pace it unrepining, for my thoughts O whither with such eagerness of speed ?
Admit no bondage and my words have wings. What seek ye, or what shun ye? of the gale Where is the Orphean lyre, or Druid harp, Companions, fear ye to be left behind,
To accompany the verse ? The mountain blast Or racing o'er your blue ethereal field
Shall be our hand of music; he shall sweep Contend ye with each other ? of the sea
The rocks, and quivering trees, and billowy lake, Children, thus post ye over vale and height
And search the fibres of the caves, and they
Shall answer, for our song is of the clouds
Which by their aid re-clothe the naked lawn
With annual verdure, and revive the woods, Or overtake some unknown enemy?
And moisten the parched lips of thirsty flowersBut your smooth motions suit a peaceful aim;
Love them; and every idle breeze of air And Fancy, not less aptly pleased, compares
Bends to the favourite burthen. Moon and stars Your squadrons to an endless flight of birds
Keep their most solemn vigils when the clouds Aerial, upon due migration bound
Watch also, shifting peaceably their place To mildor climes; or rather do ye urge
Like bands of ministering spirits, or when they lie, In caravan your hasty pilgrimage
As if some Protean art the change had wrought, To puse at last on more aspiring heights
In listless quiet o'er the ethereal deep
Scattered, a Cyclades of various shapes
Source inexhaustible of life and joy,
And type of man's far-darting reason, therefore l'oring your splendours high above the heads
In old time worshipped
the god of verse,
Visions with all but beatific light
In silent rapture, credulous desire
Nourish the hope that memory lacks not power Town to that hidden gulf from which they rose To keep the treasure unimpaired. Vain thought! Tu vanish lleet ns duys and months and years,
Yet why repine, created as we are Fleet as the generations of mankind,
For joy and rest, albeit to find them only Power, glory, ompire, as the world itself,
Lodged in the bosom of eternal things?
Ye Voices, and ye Shadows,
And Images of voice - to hound and horn
From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows
On with your pastime! till the church-tower bells
A greeting give of measured glee;
Blest be the song that brightens
Unscorned the Peasant's whistling breath, that lighteng 1.
His duteous toil of furrowing the green earth. Tuy functions are etherial,
For the tired Slave, Song lifts the languid oar, As if within thee dwelt a glancing Mind,
And bids it aptly fall, with chime Organ of Vision! And a Spirit aerial
That beautifies the fairest shore, Informs the cell of hearing, dark and blind;
And mitigates the harshest clime. lotricate labyrinth, more dread for thought
Yon Pilgrims see - in lagging file To enter than oracular cave;
They move; but soon the appointed way Strict passage, through which sighs are brought,
A choral Ave Marie shall beguile, And whispers, for the heart, their slave;
And to their hope the distant shrine And shrieks, that revel in abuse
Glisten with a livelier ray: Of shivering flesh; and warbled air,
Nor friendless He, the Prisoner of the Mine, Whose piercing sweetness can unloose
Who from the well-spring of his own clear breast
Can draw, and sing his griefs to resto
5. And requiems answered by the pulse that beats
When civic renovation Devoutly, in life's last retreats!
Dawns on a kingdom, and for needful haste
Best eloquence avails not, Inspiration 2.
Mounts with a tune, that travels like a blast The headlong Streams and Fountains
Piping through cave and battlemented tower; Serve Thee, Invisible Spirit, with untired powers;
Then starts the Sluggard, pleased to meet Cheering the wakeful Tent on Syrian mountains,
That voice of Freedom, in its power They lull perchance ten thousand thousand Flowers.
Of promises, shrill, wild, and sweet!
Who, from a martial pageant, spreads
How fearful to the desert wide!
O Thou, through whom the Temple rings with praises, And listening Dolphins gather round.
'Mid that strange audience, he bestrides Thy Votaries, wooingly resigned
A proud One docile as a managed horse; To a voluptuous influence
And singing, while the accordant hand That taints the purer, better mind;
Sweeps his harp, the Master rides; But lead sick Fancy to a harp
So shall he touch at length a friendly strand, That hath in noble tasks been tried;
And he, with his Preserver, shine star-bright And, if the Virtuous feel a pang too sharp,
In memory, through silent night. Soothe it into patience, - stay
10. The uplifted arm of Suicide; And let some mood of thine in firm array
The pipe of Pan, to Shepherds Knit every thought the impending issue needs,
Couched in the shadow of Menalian Pines, Ere Martyr burns, or Patriot bleeds!
Was passing sweet; the eyeballs of the Leopards, 7.
That in high triumph drew the Lord of vines, As Conscience, to the centre
How did they sparkle to the cymbal's clang! Of Being, smites with irresistible pain,
While Fauns and Satyrs beat the ground So shall a solemn cadence, if it enter
In cadence, — and Silenus swang The mouldy vaults of the dull Idiot's brain,
This way and that, with wild-flowers crowned. Transmute him to a wretch from quiet hurled
To life, to lise give back thine Ear: Convulsed as by a jarring din;
Ye who are longing to be rid And then aghast, as at the world
Of Fable, though to truth subservient, hear Of reason partially let in
The little sprinkling of cold earth that fell By concords winding with a sway
Echoed from the coffin lid; Terrible for sense and soul !
The Convict's summons in the steeple knell. Or, awed he weeps, struggling to quell dismay.
“The vain distress-gun," from a leeward shore, Point not these mysteries to an Art
Repeated — heard, and heard no more !
Vast is the compass, and the swell of notes :
From the Babe's first cry to voice of regal City, 8.
Rolling a solemn sea-like bass, that floats Oblivion may not cover
Far as the woodlands — with the trill to blend All treasures hoarded by the Miser, Time.
Of that shy Songstress, whose love-tale Orphean Insight! Truth's undaunted Lover,
Might tempt an Angel to descend, To the first leagues of tutored passion climb,
While hovering o'er the moonlight vale. When Music deigned within this grosser sphere
O for some soul-affecting scheme Her subtle essence to enfold,
Of moral music, to unite And Voice and Shell drew forth a tear
Wanderers whose portion is the faintest dream Softer than Nature's self could mould.
Of memory!- that they might stoop to bear Yet strenuous was the infant Age:
Chains, such precious chains of sight Art, daring because souls could feel,
As laboured minstrelsies through ages wear! Stirred nowhere but an urgent equipage
O for a balance fit the truth to tell
Of the Unsubstantial, pondered well !
By one pervading Spirit
Of tones and numbers all things are controlled, 9.
As Sages taught, where faith was found to merit The Gift to King Amphion
Initiation in that mystery old That walled a city with its melody
The Heavens, whose aspect makes our minds as still Was for belief no dream; thy skill, Arion !
As they themselves appear to be, Could humanise the creatures of the sea,
Innumerable voices fill Where men were monsters. A last grace he craves,
With everlasting harmony; Leave for one chant; — the dulcet sound
The towering Headlands, crowned with mist. Steals from the deck o'er willing waves,
Their feet amo billows, know
be iz! Ever waving to and fro,
That Ocean is a mighty harmonist;
All worlds, all natures, mood and measure keep Thy pinions, universal Air,
For praise and ceaseless gratulation, poured
Into the ear of God, their Lord! its Are delegates of harmony, and bear
14. Strains that support the Seasons in their round: Stern Winter loves a dirge-like sound.
A Voice to Light gave Being ;
To Time, and Man his earth-born Chronicler; 13.
A Voice shall finish doubt and dim foreseeing, Break forth into thanksgiving,
And sweep away life's visionary stir; Ye banded Instruments of wind and chords;
The Trumpet (we, intoxicate with pride,
Arm at its blast for deadly wars)
The grave shall open, quench the stars.
O Silence! are Man's noisy years Thou too be heard, lone Eagle! freed
No more than moments of thy life? From snowy peak and cloud, attune
Is Harmony, blest Queen of smiles and tears, T'hy hungry barkings to the hymn
With her smooth tones and discords just, Of joy, that from her utmost walls
Tempered into rapturous strife, The six-days' Work, by flaming Seraphim,
Thy destined Bond-slave ? No! though Earth be dust Transmits to Heaven! As Deep to Deep
And vanish, though the Heavens dissolve, her stay Shouting through one valley calls,
Is in the WORD, that shall not pass away.
High as the highest Peak of Furness Fells,
Happy the feeling from the bosom thrown