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LINES TO W. L., ESQ.,
SONNET. WHILE HE SANG A SONG TO PURCELL'S MUSIC. COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD; THE AUTHOR
HAVING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE OF THE BIRTH WHILE my young cheek retains its healthful hues,
OF A SON, SEPTEMBER 20, 1796. And I have many friends who hold me dear;
- ! methinks, I would not often hear | OFT o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll Such melodies as thine, lest I should lose
Which makes the present (while the flash doth All memory of the wrongs and sore distress,
last) For which my miserable brethren weep!
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past, But should uncomforted misfortunes steep Mix'd with such feelings, as perplex the soul My daily bread in tears and bitterness;
Self-question’d in her sleep; and some have said* And if at death's dread moment I should lie
We lived ere yet this robe of flesh we wore. With no beloved face at my bed-side,
O my sweet baby! when I reach my door, To fix the last glance of my closing eye,
If heavy looks shall tell me thou art dead, Methinks, such strains, breathed by my angel (As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear,) guide,
I think that I should struggle to believe Would make me pass the cup of anguish by,
Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died ! Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve;
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!
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 scannid 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 | linpress'd a father's kiss: and all beguiled The flocking flesh-birds scream'd! Then, while
Of dark remembrance and presageful sear, thy heart
I seem'd to see an angel form appear Groans, 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!
11: And dearer was the mother for the child.
THE VIRGIN'S CRADLE HYMN.
CATHOLIC VILLAGE IN GERMANY.
DORMI, Jesu! Mater ridet,
Quæ tam dulcem somnum videt, How many various-fated years have past,
Dormi, Jesu! blandule ! What happy, and what mournful hours, since last
Si non dormis, Mater plorat, I skimm'd the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Inter fila cantans orat
Blande, veni, somnule.
Sleep, sweet babe! my cares beguiling, Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows
Mother sits beside thee smiling: gray,
Sleep, my darling, tenderly! And bedded sand that vein'd with various dyes
If thou sleep not, mother mourneth, Gleam'd through thy bright transparence! On my
Singing as her wheel she turneth:
Come, soft slumber, balmily!
* Hy hou nuwy n yuxn #pev ev twós To avpuriW Ah! that once more I were a careless child! I cidet yeveolat.
Plat. in Phadon.
It chanced, I pass'd again that way
In autumn's latest hour, And wondering saw the selfsame spray
Rich with the selfsame Rower.
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!
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
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!
* A botanical mistake. The plant which the poet here describes is called the hart's tongue,
“A murderous fiend, by fiends adored,
He kills the sire and starves the son;
Steals all his widow's toil had won ;
“ Then wisely is my soul elate,
That strife should vanish, battle cease:
The mother of the Prince of peace.
Which, as she gazed on some nigh-finish'd vase, Retreating slow, with meditative pause,
She form’d with restless hands unconsciously! Blank accident! nothing's anomaly !
If rootless thus, thus substanceless thy state, Go, weigh thy dreams, and be thy hopes, thy fears, The counter-weights !—Thy laughter and thy tears
Mean but themselves, each fittest to create, And to repay the other! Why rejoices
Thy heart with hollow joy for hollow good ?
Why cowl thy face beneath the mourner's hood, Why waste thy sighs, and thy lamenting voices,
Image of image, ghost of ghostly elf,
These costless shadows of thy shadowy self?
IMITATED FROM STOLBERG,
IMITATED FROM ONE OF AKENSIDE'S BLANK VERSE
Near the lone pile with ivy overspread,
Fast by the rivulet's sleep-persuading sound, Where “sleeps the moonlight” on yon verdant
bed O humbly press that consecrated ground!
MARK this holy chapel well!
For there does Edmund rest, the learned swain!
And there his spirit most delights to rove: Young Edmund! famed for each harmonious strain,
And the sore wounds of ill-requited love.
Like some tall tree that spreads its branches wide,
And loads the west wind with its soft perfume, His manhood blossom'd: till the faithless pride
Of fair Matilda sank him to the tomb.
But soon did righteous Heaven her guilt pursue! | Where'er with wilder'd steps she wander'd pale, Still Edmund's image rose to blast her view,
Still Edmund's voice accused her in each gale.
With keen regret, and conscious guilt's alarms,
Amid the pomp of affluence she pined: Nor all that lured her faith from Edmund's arms
Could lull the wakeful horror of her mind.
Go, traveller! tell the tale with sorrow fraught:
Some tearful maid, perchance, or blooming youth May hold it in remembrance; and be taught
That riches cannot pay for love or truth.
ON THE DENIAL OF IMMORTALITY.
THE VISIT OF THE GODS.
Ir dead, we cease to be ; if total gloom
Swallow up life's brief flash for aye, we fare As summer gusts, of sudden birth and doom,
Whose sound and motion not alone declare, But are their whole of being! If the breath
Be life itself, and not its task and tent,
O man! thou vessel, purposeless, unmeant, Yet drone-hive strange of phantom purposes !
Surplus of pature's dread activity,
IMITATED FROM SCHILLER.
Never alone: Scarce had I welcomed the sorrow-beguiler, | Iacchus ! but in came boy Cupid the smiler ;
Lo! 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
Then 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, ance,
And each misshapes the other. Stay a while,
Poor youth! who scarcely darest lift up thine eyegThat the roofs of Olympus may echo my lyre!
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 bas 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.)
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea.
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 O 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 qwaking 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, It hath not been my use to pray With moving lips or bended knees; But silently, by slow degrees, My spirit I to love compose, In humble trust mine eyelids close, With reverential resignation, No wish conceived, no thought expressid ! Only a sense of supplication, A sense o'er all my soul imprest That I am weak, yet not unblest, Since in me, round me, everywhere, Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
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. Juvat, interea, non diffiteor, quandoque in animo, tanquam in tabulâ, majoris et melioris mundi imaginem contemplari: ne mens as. suefacta hodiernæ vitæ minutiis se contrahat nimis, et tota subsidat in pusillas cogitationes. Sed veritati interea invigilandum est, modusque servandus, ut certa ab incer. tis, diem a nocle, distinguamus.-T. BURNET: Archaol. Phil. p. 68.
But yesternight I pray'd aloud In anguish and in agony, Up-starting from the fiendish crowd Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me: A lurid light, a trampling throng, Sense of intolerable wrong, And whom I scorn'd, those only strong! Thirst of revenge, the powerless will Still baffled, and yet burning still ! Desire with loathing strangely mix'd, On wild or hateful objects fix'd. Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl! And shame and terror over all! Deeds to be hid which were not hid, Which all confused I could not know, Whether I suffer'd, or I did : For all seemd guilt, remorse, or wo, My own or others’, still the same Life-stilling fear, soul-stifling shame.
So two nights pass'd: the night's dismay
| The ship was cheer'd, the harbour