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DEJECTION: AN ODE
I saw the new Moon,
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence
WELL! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Upon the strings of this Æolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
But rimmed and circled by a silver thread)
The coming-on of rain and squally blast,
And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast!
And sent my soul abroad,
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,
In word, or sigh, or tear-
All this long eve, so balmy and serene,
Have I been gazing on the western sky,
And its peculiar tint of yellow green;
My genial spirits fail;
And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever On that green light that lingers in the west; I may not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth
Enveloping the Earth-
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
A new Earth and new Heaven,
We in ourselves rejoice!
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress, And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness: For hope grew round me, like the twining vine, And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine. But now afflictions bow me down to earth: Nor care I that they rob me of my
My shaping spirit of Imagination,
But to be still and patient, all I can;
From my own nature all the natural man
This was my sole resource, my only plan;
Reality's dark dream!
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream
Bare crag, or mountain-tairn, or blasted tree,
Methinks were fitter instruments for thee,
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds!
What tell'st thou now about?
'Tis of the rushing of an host in rout, With groans of trampled men, with smarting woundsAt once they groan with pain and shudder with the cold ! But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence !
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,
It tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud!
And tempered with delight,
'Tis of a little child,
Upon a lonesome wild, Not far from home, but she hath lost her way; And now moans low in bitter grief and fear, And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear.
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep: Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep! Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,
And may this storm be but a mountain-birth,
With light heart may she rise,
Gay fancy, cheerful eyes.
O simple spirit, guided from above,
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
Was sitting in the sun;
She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round
In playing there had found;
Old Kaspar took it from the boy
Who stood expectant by;
And with a natural sigh