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COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR
HAVING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH
LINES TO W. L., ESQ.,
And I have many friends who hold me dear;
L! methinks, I would not often hear
For which my miserable brethren weep!
But should uncomforted misfortunes steep
With no beloved face at my bed-side,
Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died !
OFT o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
We lived ere yet this robe of flesh we wore.
O my sweet baby! when I reach my door,
(As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear,) I think that I should struggle to believe
Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG MAN OF FOR
WHO ABANDONED HIMSELF TO AN INDOLENT AND
TO A FRIEND WHO ASKED, HOW I FELT WHEN THE HENCE that fantastic wantonness of wo,
NURSE FIRST PRESENTED MY INFANT TO ME. O youth to partial fortune vainly dear!
CHARLES ! my slow heart was only sad, when first To plunder'd want's half-shelter'd hovel go,
I scann'd that face of feeble infancy: Go, and some hunger-bitten infant hear
For dimly on my thoughtful spirit burst Moan haply in a dying mother's ear:
All I had been, and all my child might be! Or when the cold and dismal fog-damps brood
But when I saw it on its mother's arm, O'er the rank churchyard with sere elm leaves
And hanging at her bosom (she the while strew'd,
Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile,) Pace round some widow's grave, whose dearer part Then I was thrilld and melted, and most warm
Was slaughter’d, where o'er his uncoffin'd limbs Iinpress’d a father's kiss: and all beguiled The flocking flesh-birds scream'd! Then, while
Of dark remembrance and presageful fear, thy heart
I seem'd to see an angel form appearGroans, and thine eye a fiercer sorrow dims,
'Twas even thine, beloved woman mild ! Know (and the truth shall kindle thy young mind)
So for the mother's sake the child was dear, What nature makes thee mourn, she bids thee heal! And dearer was the mother for the child.
O abject! is, to sickly dreams resign'd, All effortless thou leave life's commonweal A prey to tyrants, murderers of mankind.
THE VIRGIN'S CRADLE HYMN.
COPIED FROM A PRINT OF THE VIRGIN IN A
CATHOLIC VILLAGE IN GERMANY.
SONNET TO THE RIVER OTTER.
DORMI, Jesu! Mater ridet,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule!
Blande, veni, somnule.
DEAR native brook! wild streamlet of the west !
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy, and what mournful hours, since last
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
way, Visions of childhood! oft have ye beguiled Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs :
Ah! that once more I were a careless child !
Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling,
Sleep, my darling, tenderly!
Come, soft slumber, balmily!
* Ην που ημων η ψυχη πριν εν τωδε τω ανθρωπινω ειδει γενεσθαι. .
Plat. in Phudon.
So when, her tale of days all flown,
Thy mother shall be miss'd here; When Heaven at length shall claim its own,
And angels snatch their sister ;
Some hoary-headed friend, perchance,
May gaze with stifled breath, And oft, in momentary trance,
Forget the waste of death.
E’en thus a lovely rose I view'd
In summer-swelling pride ; Nor mark'd the bud, that green and rude
Peep'd at the rose's side.
It chanced, I pass'd again that way
In autumn's latest hour, And wondering saw the selfsame spray
Rich with the selfsame flower.
They told her how a glorious light,
Streaming from a heavenly throng,
While, sweeter than a mother's song,
She listend to the tale divine,
And closer still the babe she pressid ;
The milk rush'd faster to her breast:
Thou mother of the Prince of peace,
Poor, simple, and of low estate !
O why should this thy soul elate ?
And is not war a youthful king,
A stately hero clad in mail ?
Him earth's majestic monarchs hail
Ah fond deceit! the rude green bud
Alike in shape, place, name, Had bloom'd, where bloom'd its parent stud,
Another and the same !
EPITAPH ON AN INFANT.
Its balmy lips the infant blest Relaxing from its mother's breast, How sweet it heaves the happy sigh Of innocent satiety!
“ Tell this in some more courtly scene,
To maids and youths in robes of state ! I am a woman poor and mean,
And therefore is my soul elate. War is a ruffian, all with guilt defiled, That from the aged father tears his child !
And such my infant's latest sigh! O tell, rude stone! the passer by, That here the pretty babe doth lie, Death sang to sleep with lullaby.
* A botanical mistake. The plant which the poet here describes is called the hart's tongue.
“ A murderous fiend, by fiends adored, Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finish'd vase,
He kills the sire and starves the son; Retreating slow, with meditative pause, The husband kills, and from her board
She form’d with restless hands unconsciously! Steals all his widow's toil had won ;
Blank accident! nothing's anomaly ! Plunders God's world of beauty ; rends away If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state, All safety from the night, all comfort from the day. Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy hopes, thy fears,
The counter-weights !—Thy laughter and thy tears “ Then wisely is my soul elate,
Mean but themselves, each fittest to create, That strife should vanish, battle cease :
And to repay the other! Why rejoices I'm poor and of a low estate,
Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good ? The mother of the Prince of peace.
Why cowl thy face beneath the mourner's hood, Joy rises in me, like a summer's morn:
Why waste thy sighs, and thy lamenting voices, Peace, peace on earth! the Prince of peace is born !"
Image of image, ghost of ghostly elf,
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self?
Be sad! be glad! be neither! seek, or shun!
Thou hast no reason why! Thou canst have none:
Thy being's being is a contradiction,
IMITATED FROM ONE OF AKENSIDE'S BLANK VERSE Him his loving mother prest; And kiss'd the babe, and bless'd the day, And pray'd as mothers used to pray:
Near the lone pile with ivy overspread,
Fast by the rivulet's sleep-persuading sound, « Vouchsafe him health, O God, and give
Where “sleeps the moonlight” on yon verdant The child, thy servant, still to live !"
bedBut God has destined to do more
O humbly press that consecrated ground!
For there does Edmund rest, the learned swain ! Yet stirring blood in freedom's cause
And there his spirit most delights to rove: A spirit to his rocks akin,
Young Edmund! famed for each harmonious strain, The eye of the hawk, and the fire therein! And the sore wounds of ill-requited love. To nature and to holy writ
Like some tall tree that spreads its branches wide, Alone did God the boy commit:
And loads the west wind with its soft perfume, Where flash'd and roar'd the torrent, oft His manhood blossom’d: till the faithless pride His soul found wings, and soar'd aloft!
Of fair Matilda sank him to the tomb. The straining oar and chamois chase
But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue ! Had form'd his limbs to strength and grace: Where'er with wilder'd steps she wander'd pale, On wave and wind the boy would toss,
Still Edmund's image rose to blast her view, Was great, nor knew how great he was !
Still Edmund's voice accused her in each gale. He knew not that his chosen hand, Made strong by God, his native land
With keen regret, and conscious guilt's alarms, Would rescue from the shameful yoke
Amid the pomp of affluence she pined : Of slavery—the which he broke!
Nor all that lured her faith from Edmund's arms
Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.
Ło! Phæbus the glorious descends from his throne! return to his room, found, to his no small surprise They advance, they float in, the Olympians all! and mortification, that though he still retained some With divinities fills my
vague and dim recollection of the general purport Terrestrial hall!
of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight
or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had How shall I yield you
passed away like the images on the surface of a Due entertainment,
stream into which a stone had been cast, but, alas! Celestial choir ?
without the after restoration of the latter. Me rather, bright guests! with your wings of up
all the charm buoyance
Is broken-all that phantom-world so fair Bear aloft to your homes, to your banquets of joy Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
And each misshapes the other. Stay a while, ance, That the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre !
Poor youth! who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes
The stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon Ha! we mount! on their pinions they waft up my The visions will return! And lo, he stays, soul !
And soon the fragments dimof lovely forms
Come trembling back, unite, and now once more
The pool becomes a mirror.
Yet, from the still surviving recollections in his
mind, the author has frequently purposed to finish Pour out for the poet,
for himself what had been originally, as it were, Hebe! pour free!
given to him. Eapepov adcov aow: but the to-morQuicken his eyes with celestial dew,
row is yet to come. That Styx the detested no more he may view,
As a contrast to this vision, I have annexed a And like one of us gods may conceit him to be!
fragment of a very different character, describing Thanks, Hebe! I quaff it! Io pæan, I cry !
with equal fidelity the dream of pain and disease. The wine of th’immortals
— Note to the first edition, 1816.) Forbids me to die!
VISION IN A DREAM
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round: [The following fragment is here published at
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills, the request of a poet of great and deserved celebrity, where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree; and, as far as the author's own opinions are con- And here were forests ancient as the hills, cerned, rather as a psychological curiosity, than on Infolding sunny spots of greenery. the ground of any supposed poetic merits.
In the summer of the year 1797, the author, then But 0 that deep romantic chasm which slanted in ill health, had retired to a lonely farm-house Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover! between Porlock and Linton, on the Exmoor con- A savage place ! as holy and enchanted fines of Somerset and Devonshire. In consequence As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted of a slight indisposition, an anodyne had been pre- By woman wailing for her demon lover! scribed, from the effects of which he fell asleep in And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seethhis chair at the moment that he was reading the ing, following sentence, or words of the same substance, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, in Purchas's “Pilgrimage:”—“Here the Khan A mighty fountain momently was forced : Kubla commanded a palace to be built, and a stately | Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst garden thereunto ; and thus ten miles of fertile Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, ground were enclosed with a wall.” The author | Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail: continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, And ’mid these dancing rocks at once and ever at least of the external senses, during which time It flung up momently the sacred river. he has the most vivid confidence that he could not Five miles, meandering with a mazy motion, have composed less than from two to three hun- Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, dred lines; if that indeed can be called composition Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man, in which all the images rose up before him as things And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: with a parallel production of the correspondent And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far expressions, without any sensation, or conscious-Ancestral voices prophesying war! ness of effort. On zwaking he appeared to himself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, The shadow of the dome of pleasure and taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and Floated midway on the waves; eagerly wrote down the lines that are bere pre
Where was heard the mingled measure served. At this moment he was unfortunately
From the fountain and the caves. called out by a person on business from Porlock, It was a miracle of rare device, and detained by him above an hour, and on his A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !
A damsel with a dulcimer
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
Such punishments, I said, were due
THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT
IN SEVEN PARTS.
THE PAINS OF SLEEP.
ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
Facile credo, plures esse Naturas invisibiles quam visibiles in rerum universitate. Sed horum omnium familiam quis nobis enarrabit ? et gradus et cognationes et discrimina et singulorum munera ? Quid agunt ? quæ loca habitant ? Harum rerum notitiam semper ambivit ingenium humanum, nunquam attigit. Juval, interea, non diffiteor, quandoque in animo, tanquam in tabulâ, majoris et melioris mundi imaginem contemplari : ne mens assuefacta hodiernæ vitæ minutiis se contrahat nimis, et lota subsidat in pusillas cogitationes. Sed veritati interea invigilandum est, modusque servandus, ut certa ab incer. tis, diem a nocle, distinguamus.-T. BURNET: Archaol. Phil.
But yesternight I pray'd aloud