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Now in the ample chimney-place,
O thou of home the guardian Lar,
wings; Therefore with thee I love to read Our brave old poets : at thy touch how
stirs Life in the withered words ! how swift
recede Time's shadows! and how glows again Through its dead mass the incandes
cent verse, As when upon the anvils of the brain It glittering lay, cyclopically wrought By the fast-throbbing hammers of the
poet's thoug!t! Thou murmurest, too, divinely stirred, The aspirations unattained, The rhythms so rathe and delicate, They bent and strained And broke, beneath the sombre weight Of any airiest mortal word.
While the gray snow-storm, held aloof,
thought. Meanwhile thou mellowest every word, A sweetly unobtrusive third ; For thou hast magic beyond wine, To unlock natures each to each ; The unspoken thought thou canst die
yine; Thou fillest the pauses of the speech With whispers that to dream-land reach And frozen fancy-springs unchain In Arctic outskirts of the brain; Sun of all in most confidences ! To thy rays doth the heart unclose Its formal calyx of pretences, That close against rude day's offences, And open its shy midnight rose.
VIII. Thou holdest not the master key With which thy Sire sets free the mys
tic gates Of Past and Future : not for common
fates Do they wide open fling, And, with a far-heard ring, Swing back their willing valves melo
diously; Only to ceremonial days, And great processions of imperial song That set the world at gaze, Doth such high privilege belong : But thou a postern-door canst ope To humbler chambers of the selfsama
Where Memory lodges, and her sister
of yesterday the unconscious
The terror comes to me subdued
And charmed by distance, To deepen the habitual mood
Of my existence.
Are those, I muse, the Easter chimes?
Pay gentle allegiance
These dreamy regions.
shore, I watch entranced as, o'er and o'er, The light revolves amid the roar
So still and saintly, Now large and near, now more and
Withdrawing faintly. This, too, despairing sailors see Flash out the breakers 'neath their les In sudden snow, then lingeringly
Wane tow'rd eclipse, While through the dark the shuddering
Thou sinkest, and my fancy sinks with
thee : For thee I took the idle shell, And struck the unused chords again, But they are gone who listened well ;. Some are in heaven, and all are far
from me: Even as I sing, it turns to pain, And with vain tears my eyelids throb
and swell : Enough; I come not of the race That hawk their sorrows in the market
place. Earth stops the ears I best had loved
to please ; Then break, ye untuned chords, or rust
in peace ! As if a white-haired actor should come
back Some midnight to the theatre void and
black, And there rehearse his youth's great 'Mid thin applauses of the ghosts, So seems it now : ye crowd upon my
heart, And I bow down in silence, shadowy
Gropes for the ships.
For musing stricture,
Only as picture?
In death's dark arches,
The muffled marches.
That drifts tow'rd Silence ?
But sirens' islands?
That win the laurel ";
How struggles with the tempest's
Throb fast and faster,
News of disaster.
But on my far-off solitude
But where is Truth? What does it
The world-old quarrel?
Nor ask for payment
Unfluttered he: calm as the sky
Looks on our tragi-comedies, This way and that he lets him fly, A sunbeam-shuttle, then to die
Lands him, with cool aplomb, at
TO MR. JOHN BARTLETT,
WHO HAD SENT ME A SEVEN-POUND
Fit for an Abbot of Theleme,
For the whole Cardinals' College,
The friend who gave our board such
gust, Life's care may he o'erstep it half, And, when Death hooks him, as he
must, He 'll do it handsomely, I trust,
And John H-write his epi
taph! O, born beneath the Fishes' sign,
Of constellations happiest, May he somewhere with Walton dine, May Horace send him Massic wine, And Burns Scotch drink, the nap
piest ! And when they come his deeds to
And how he used the talents his, One trout-scale in the scales he 'll lay (if trout had scales), and
will outsway The wrong side of the balances.
ODE TO HAPPINESS.
The Pope himself to see in dream
He lies there, the sogdologer !
Worthy to swim in Castaly ! The friend by whom such gifts are sent, For him shall bumpers full be spent,
His health ! be Luck his fast ally! I see him trace the wayward brook
Amid the forest mysteries, Where at their shades shy aspens look, Or where, with many a gurgling crook,
It croons its woodland histories. I see leaf-shade and sun-fleck lend
Their tremulous, sweet vicissitude To smooth, dark pool, to crinkling
bend, 1O, stew him, Ann, as 't were your
With amorous solicitude !)
Soft as if shod with moccasins, Grave as in church, for who plies you, Sweet craft, is safe as in a pew
From all our common stock o'sins. The unerring fly I see him cast,
That as a rose-leaf falls as soft, A flash ! a whirl! he has him fast i We tyros, how that struggle last
Confuses and appalls us oft.
As full of sunshine as a breeze,
strife, And passed from eager hand to hand
The onward-dancing torch of life!
Wing-footed ! thou abid'st with him
Who asks it not; but he who hath
path, Shall nevermore behold returning Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward
yearning! Thou first reveal'st to us thy face Turned o'er the shoulder's parting
grace, A moment glimpsed, then seen no
more, Thou whose swift footsteps we can
Not unto them dost thou consent
Who, passionless, can lead at ease A life of unalloyed content
A life like that of land-locked seas, That feel no elemental gush Of tidal forces, no fierce rush Of storm deep-grasping scarcely
spent 'Twixt continent and continent. Such quiet souls have never known
Thy truer inspiration, thou
Who lov'st to feel upon thy brow Spray from the plunging vessel thrown
Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its
breath, Where the frail hair-breadth of an if Is all that sunders life and death : These, too, are cared-for, and round
these Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace ;
These in unvexed dependence lie,
sky; O'er these clouds wander, and the blue Hangs motionless the whole day
through ; Stars rise for them, and moons grow
large And lessen in such tranquil wise As joys and sorrows do that rise Within their nature's sheltered
marge; Their hours into each other flit
Like the leaf-shadows of the vine And fig-tree under which they sit,
And their still lives to heaven incline With an unconscious habitude,
Unhistoried as smokes that rise From happy hearths and sight elude
In kindred blue of morning skies. Wayward ! when once we feel thy lack, 'Tis worse than vain to woo thee back!
Yet there is one who seems to be
Sometimes, and bring a dream of
Nymph of the unreturning feet,
find And wide-viewed uplands of the
mind; Or such as scorns to coil and sing Round any but the eagle's wing
Of souls that with long upward beat
Have won an undisturbed retreat Where, poised like wingëd victories, They mirror in relentless eyes The life broad-basking 'neath their
feet, Man ever with his Now at strife, Pained with first gasps of earthly
air, Then praying Death the last to
spare, Still fearful of the ampler life.
She is not that for which youth hoped,
But she hath blessings all her own. Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,
And faith to sorrow given alone ; Almost I deem that it is thou
This second-hand Napoleon.
Spin, spin, Clotho, spin!
Come back with graver matron brow,
With deepened eyes and bated breath,
That other whom you seek forlorn
Half earthly was ; but I am born
He wins me late, but keeps me long, Who, dowered with every gift of pas
sion, In that fierce flame can forge and fash
Of sin and self the anchor strong; Can thence compel the driving force Of daily life's mechanic course, Nor less the nobler energies Of needfui toil and culture wise ; Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure Who can renounce, and yet endure, To him I come, not lightly wooed, But won by silent fortitude."
We saw the elder Corsican,
Sister, stint not length of thread !
Spin, spin, Clotho, spin !
The silent headsman waits forever. The Bonapartes, we know their bees That wade in honey red to the knees ; Their patent reaper, its sheaves sleep
sound In dreamless garners underground : We know false glory's spendthrift race Pawning nations for feathers and lace ; It may be short, it may be long, “'T is reckoning-day !” sneers unpaid
Wait a little : do we not wait?
Spin, spin, Clotho, spin !
The Cock that wears the Eagle's skin
Spin, spin, Clotho, spin !
The silent headsman waits forever. 'Neath Gregory's
throne a spider swings, And snares the people for the kings;
Wait, we say: our years are long;