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"FOR this true nobleness I seek in vain, In woman and in man I find it not; I almost weary of my earthly lot, My life-springs are dried up with burning pain."
Thou find'st it not? I pray thee look again,
Look inward through the depths of thine own soul.
How is it with thee? Art thou sound and whole ?
Doth narrow search show thee no earthly stain ?
BE NOBLE! and the nobleness that lies
And thou wilt nevermore be sad and lone.
And a heart-tremble quivers through the deep;
Give me that growth which some perchance deem sleep,
Wherewith the steadfast coral-stems uprise,
Until, by Heaven's sweetest influences,
And wearied men shall sit at sunset's hour, Hearing the leaves and loving God's dear power.
TO M. W., ON HER BIRTHDAY MAIDEN, when such a soul as thine is born, The morning-stars their ancient music make,
And, joyful, once again their song awake, Long silent now with melancholy scorn; And thou, not mindless of so blest a morn, By no least deed its harmony shalt break, But shalt to that high chime thy footsteps take,
Through life's most darksome passes unforlorn;
Therefore from thy pure faith thou shalt not fall,
Therefore shalt thou be ever fair and free,
My Love, I have no fear that thou shouldst die;
Albeit I ask no fairer life than this,
While Time and Peace with hands enlocked fly;
Yet care I not where in Eternity
We live and love, well knowing that there is No backward step for those who feel the bliss
Of Faith as their most lofty yearnings high:
Love hath so purified my being's core, Meseems I scarcely should be startled,
To find, some morn, that thou hadst gone before;
Since, with thy love, this knowledge too was given,
Which each calm day doth strengthen more and more,
That they who love are but one step from Heaven.
I CANNOT think that thou shouldst pass
Whose life to mine is an eternal law,
But rather raised to be a nobler man,
My life are lighted by a purer being, And ask high, calm-browed deeds, with it agreeing.
THERE never yet was flower fair in vain, Let classic poets rhyme it as they will; The seasons toil that it may blow again,
And summer's heart doth feel its every ill; Nor is a true soul ever born for naught; Wherever any such hath lived and died, There hath been something for true freedom wrought,
Some bulwark levelled on the evil side: Toil on, then, Greatness! thou art in the right,
However narrow souls may call thee wrong;
Be as thou wouldst be in thine own clear sight,
And so thou shalt be in the world's erelong; For worldlings cannot, struggle as they may,
From man's great soul one great thought hide away.
Rounded itself into a full-orbed sun!
And melted, like two rays of light in one!
ON READING WORDSWORTH'S SONNETS IN DEFENCE OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
These sonnets, XIV-XIX, when printed in The Democratic Review for May, 1842, bore merely the title Sonnets.
As the broad ocean endlessly upheaveth,
So, through his soul who earnestly believeth,
By instinct of God's nature, he achieveth: A fuller pulse of this all-powerful beauty Into the poet's gulf-like heart doth tide, And he more keenly feels the glorious duty Of serving Truth, despised and crucified, Happy, unknowing sect or creed, to rest, And feel God flow forever through his breast.
THESE rugged, wintry days I scarce could bear,
Did I not know that, in the early spring, When wild March winds upon their errands sing,
Thou wouldst return, bursting on this still air,
Like those same winds, when, startled from their lair,
They hunt up violets, and free swift brooks
When drops with welcome rain the April day,
My flowers shall find their April in thine
Save there the rain in dreamy clouds doth
As loath to fall out of those happy skies; Yet sure, my love, thou art most like to May,
That comes with steady sun when April dies.
He stood upon the world's broad threshold; wide
The din of battle and of slaughter rose; He saw God stand upon the weaker side, That sank in seeming loss before its foes: Many there were who made great haste and sold
Unto the cunning enemy their swords, He scorned their gifts of fame, and power, and gold,
And, underneath their soft and flowery words,
Heard the cold serpent hiss; therefore he went
And humbly joined him to the weaker part,
Fanatic named, and fool, yet well content So he could be the nearer to God's heart, And feel its solemn pulses sending blood Through all the widespread veins of endless good.
THEY pass me by like shadows, crowds on crowds,
Dim ghosts of men, that hover to and fro, Hugging their bodies round them like thin shrouds
Wherein their souls were buried long ago: They trampled on their youth, and faith, and love,
They cast their hope of human-kind away,
and their spirits turned
to clay: Lo! how they wander round the world, their grave,
Whose ever-gaping maw by such is fed,
A dead soul's epitaph in every face!