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That oaten Pipe of hers is mute,
Or thrown away ; but with a flute ..
Her loneliness she cheers :
This flute, made of a hemlock stalk,
At evening in his homeward walk
The Quantock Woodman hears.
I, too, have pass'd her on the hills
Setting her little water-mills
By spouts and fountains wild
Such small machinery as she turn'd
Ere she had wept, ere she had mourn’d,
A young and happy Child !
Farewell! and when thy days are told,
Ill-fated Ruth ! in hallow'd mould
Thy corpse shall buried be ;
For thee a funeral bell shall ring,
And all the congregation sing
A Christian psalm for thee.
LINES PREFIXED TO THE WHITE DOE OF
In trellised shed with clustering roses gay,
And, MARY! oft beside our blazing fire,
When years of wedded life were as a day
Whose current answers to the heart's desire,
Did we together read in Spenser's Lay
How-Una, sad of soul-in sad attire,
The gentle Una, born of heavenly birth,
To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the earth.
Ah, then, Beloved ! pleasing was the smart,
And the tear precious in compassion shed
For Her, who, pierced by sorrow's thrilling dart,
Did meekly bear the pang unmerited;
Meek as that emblem of her lowly heart
The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,
And faithful, loyal in her innocence,
Like the brave Lion slain in her defence.
Notes could we hear as of a faery shell
Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught;
Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,
And all its finer inspiration caught ;
'Till, in the bosom of our rustic Cell,
We by a lamentable change were taught
That “ bliss with mortal Man may not abide :”-
How nearly joy and sorrow are allied !
For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,
For us the voice of melody was mute. .
-But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow,
And give the timid herbage leave to shoot,
Heaven's breathing influence failed not to bestow
A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit,
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content
From blossoms wild of fancies innocent,
It soothed us—it beguiled us then, to hear
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell;
And griefs whose aery motion comes not near
The pangs that tempt the Spirit to rebel ;
Then, with mild Una in her sober cheer,
High over hill and low adown the dell
Again we wandered, willing to partake
All that she suffer'd for her dear Lord's sake.
Then, too, this Song of mine once more could
please, Where anguish, strange as dreams of restless
Is temper'd and allay'd by sympathies
Aloft ascending, and descending deep,
Even to the inferior Kinds ; whom forest-trees
Protect from beating sunbeams, and the sweep
Of the sharp winds ;-fair Creatures !-to whom
A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.
This tragic Story cheer'd us ; for it speaks
Of female patience winning firm repose ;
And of the recompense which conscience seeks,
A bright, encouraging example shows;
Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest breaks,
Needful amid life's ordinary woes ;-
Hence, not for them unfitted who would bless
A happy hour with holier happiness.
He serves the Muses erringly and ill,
Whose aim is pleasure light and fugitive :
O, that my mind were equal to fulfil
The comprehensive mandate which they give
Vain aspiration of an earnest will!
Yet in this moral Strain a power may live,
Beloved Wife! such solace to impart
As it hath yielded to thy tender heart.
COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3, 1803.
EARTH has not any thing to show more fair :
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty :
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep,
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still !
SONNET. The world is too much with us ; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers : Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon ! This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon; The Winds that will be howling at all hours, And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ; For this, for every thing, we are out of tune; It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ;
Have sight of Proteus coming from the sea ;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
COMPOSED IN THE VALLEY NEAR DOVER, ON RETURNING
DEAR Fellow-traveller ! here we are onte more. The Cock that crows, the Smoke that curls, that
sound Of Bells,—those Boys who in yon meadow-ground In white-sleeved shirts are playing, and the roar Of the waves breaking on the chalky shore, All, all are English. Oft have I looked round With joy in Kent's green vales ; but never found Myself so satisfied in heart before. Europe is yet in Bonds; but let that pass, Thought for another moment. Thou art free, My Country! and 'tis joy enough and pride For one hour's perfect bliss, to tread the grass Of England once again, and hear and see, With such a dear Companion at my side.
MILTON! thou should'st be living at this hour :
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters : altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men ;