Page images
PDF
EPUB

Again, and once again, did I repeat the song;

66

"Nay," said I, more than half to the damsel must

belong,

For she looked with such a look, and she spake with

such a tone,

That I almost received her heart into my own."

1800.

TO H. C.

SIX YEARS OLD

[graphic]

THOU! whose fancies from afar are

brought;

Who of thy words dost make a

mock apparel,

And fittest to unutterable thought

The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol;

Thou faery voyager! that dost float

In such clear water, that thy boat

May rather seem

To brood on air than on an earthly stream ;

Suspended in a stream as clear as sky,

Where earth and heaven do make one imagery;

O blessed vision! happy child!
Thou art so exquisitely wild,

I think of thee with many fears

For what may be thy lot in future years.

I thought of times when Pain might be thy

guest,

Lord of thy house and hospitality;

And Grief, uneasy lover! never rest

But when she sate within the touch of thee.

O too industrious folly!

O vain and causeless melancholy!

Nature will either end thee quite;

Or, lengthening out thy season of delight,
Preserve for thee, by individual right,

A young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks.

What hast thou to do with sorrow,

Or the injuries of to-morrow?

Thou art a dewdrop, which the morn brings forth,

Ill fitted to sustain unkindly shocks,

Or to be trailed along the soiling earth;

A gem that glitters while it lives,

And no forewarning gives;

But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife
Slips in a moment out of life.

1802.

INFLUENCE OF NATURAL OBJECTS

IN CALLING FORTH AND STRENGTHENING THE IMAGINATION IN BOYHOOD AND EARLY YOUTH

FROM AN UNPUBLISHED POEM.

[ocr errors]

[This extract is reprinted from The Friend."]

W

[graphic]

ISDOM and Spirit of the universe!

Thou soul, that art the eternity of thought!

And giv'st to forms and images a

breath

And everlasting motion! not in vain,

By day or star light, thus from my first dawn
Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
The passions that build up our human soul;
Not with the mean and vulgar works of man ;
But with high objects, with enduring things,

With life and nature; purifying thus
The elements of feeling and of thought,
And sanctifying by such discipline

Both pain and fear,- until we recognise
A grandeur in the beatings of the heart.

Nor was this fellowship vouchsafed to me With stinted kindness. In November days, When vapours rolling down the valleys made A lonely scene more lonesome; among woods At noon and 'mid the calm of summer nights, When, by the margin of the trembling lake, Beneath the gloomy hills, homeward I went In solitude, such intercourse was mine: Mine was it in the fields both day and night, And by the waters, all the summer long; And in the frosty season, when the sun

Was set, and, visible for many a mile,

The cottage windows through the twilight blazed,

I heeded not the summons: happy time

It was indeed for all of us; for me

It was a time of rapture! Clear and loud
The village-clock tolled six-I wheeled about,
Proud and exulting like an untired horse

That cares not for his home. -All shod with steel
We hissed along the polished ice, in games
Confederate, imitative of the chase

And woodland pleasures,-the resounding horn,
The pack loud-chiming, and the hunted hare.
So through the darkness and the cold we flew,
And not a voice was idle: with the din
Smitten, the precipices rang aloud ;
The leafless trees and every icy crag
Tinkled like iron; while far-distant hills
Into the tumult sent an alien sound

Of melancholy, not unnoticed, while the stars,
Eastward, were sparkling clear, and in the west
The orange sky of evening died away.

Not seldom from the uproar I retired

Into a silent bay, or sportively

Glanced sideway, leaving the tumultuous throng,

To cut across the reflex of a star;

Image, that, flying still before me, gleamed

Upon the glassy plain : and oftentimes,
When we had given our bodies to the wind,

And all the shadowy banks on either side

Came sweeping through the darkness, spinning still

« PreviousContinue »