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THE Shepherd-lad, that in the sunshine carves,
On the green turf, a dial-to divide
The silent hours; and who to that report
Can portion out his pleasures, and adapt,
Throughout a long and lonely summer's day,
His round of pastoral duties, is not left
With less intelligence for moral things
Of gravest import. Early he perceives,
Within himself, a measure and a rule,
Which to the sun of truth he can apply,
That shines for him, and shines for all mankind.
Experience daily fixing his regards
On Nature's wants, he knows how few they are,
And where they lie, how answer'd and appeas'd:
This knowledge ample recompense affords
For manifold privations; he refers
His notions to this standard; on this rock
Rests his desires; and hence, in after life,
Soul-strengthening patience and sublime content.
Imagination-not permitted here
To waste her powers, as in the worldling's mind,
On fickle pleasures, and superfluous cares,
And trivial ostentation-is left free
And puissant to range the solemn walks
Of time and nature, girded by a zone
That, while it binds, invigorates and supports.
Acknowledge, then, that whether by the side.
Of his poor hut, or on the mountain-top,
Or in the cultur'd field, a Man so bred
(Take from him what you will upon the score
Of ignorance or illusion) lives and breathes
For noble purposes of mind: his heart
Beats to th' heroic song of ancient days;
His eye distinguishes, his soul creates.
So was he lifted gently from the ground,
And with their freight homeward the shepherds mov'd
Through the dull mist, I following-when a step,
A single step, that freed me from the skirts
Of the blind vapour, open'd to my view
Glory beyond all glory ever seen.
By waking sense, or by the dreaming soul!
Th' appearance, instantaneously disclos'd,
Was of a mighty city-boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth,
Far sinking into splendour-without end!
Fabric it seem'd of diamond and of gold,
With alabaster domes and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars-illumination of all gems!
By earthly nature had th' effect been wrought
Upon the dark materials of the storm
Now pacified; on them, and on the coves
And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapours had receded, taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky.
Oh, 'twas an unimaginable sight!
Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks, and emerald turf.
Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky,
Confus'd, commingled, mutually inflam'd,
Molten together, and composing thus,
Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
In fleecy folds voluminous enwrapp'd.
Right in the midst, where interspace appear'd
Of open court, an object like a throne
Under a shining canopy of state
Stood fix'd; and fix'd resemblances were seen
To implements of ordinary use,
But vast in size, in substance glorified;
Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
In vision-forms uncouth of mightiest power
For admiration and mysterious awe.
This little Vale, a dwelling-place of Man,
Lay low beneath my feet; 'twas visible-
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the reveal'd abode
Of Spirits in beatitude: my heart
Swell'd in my breast.-"I have been dead," I cried,
"And now I live! Oh! wherefore do I live?"
And with that pang I pray'd to be no more!
SERENE, and fitted to embrace,
Where'er he turn'd, a swan-like grace
Of haughtiness without pretence,
And to unfold a still magnificence,
Was princely Dion, in the power
And beauty of his happier hour.
And what pure homage then did wait
On Dion's virtues, while the lunar beam
Of Plato's genius, from its lofty sphere,
Fell round him in the grove of Academe,
Softening their inbred dignity austere-
That he, not too elate
With self-sufficing solitude,
But with majestic lowliness endued,
Might in the universal bosom reign,
And from affectionate observance gain
Help, under every change of adverse fate.
Five thousand warriors-O the rapturous day!
Each crown'd with flowers, and arm'd with spear and shield.
Or ruder weapon which their course might yield,
To Syracuse advance in bright array.
Who leads them on? The anxious people see
Long-exiled Dion marching at their head;
He also crown'd with flowers of Sicily,
And in a white, far-beaming corslet clad!
Pure transport, undisturb'd by doubt or fear,
The gazers feel; and, rushing to the plain,
Salute those strangers as a holy train,
Or blest procession (to the Immortals dear),
That brought their precious liberty again.
Lo! when the gates are enter'd, on each hand,
Down the long street, rich goblets fill'd with wine
In seemly order stand,
On tables set, as if for rites divine;
And, as the great Deliverer marches by,
He looks on festal ground with fruits bestrown ;
And flowers are on his person thrown
In boundless prodigality;
Nor doth the general voice abstain from prayer,
Invoking Dion's tutelary care,
As if a very Deity he were!
Mourn, hills and groves of Attica!—and mourn
Ilissus, bending o'er thy classic urn!
Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads
Your once sweet memory, studious walks, and shades!
For him who to divinity aspired,
Not on the breath of popular applause,
But through dependence on the sacred laws
Framed in the schools where Wisdom dwelt retired,
Intent to trace th' ideal path of right
(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with stars)
Which Dion learn'd to measure with sublime delight;
But he hath overleap'd th' eternal bars;
And, following guides whose craft holds no consent
With aught that breathes th' ethereal element,
Hath stain'd the robes of civil power with blood
Unjustly shed, though for the public good.