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A most gentle Maid, By its own moods interprets, everywhere Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
Echo or mirror seeking of itself, Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
And makes a toy of Thought. (Even like a lady vow'd and dedicate To something more than Nature in the grove)
But O! how oft, Glides through the pathways ; she knows all their How oft, at school, with most believing mind notes,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud, With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Hath heard a pause of silence; till the Moon Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-to ver Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang With one sensation, and these wakeful Birds From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
So sweetly, that they stirr'd and haunted me As if some sudden gale had swept at once With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear A hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd Most like articulate sounds of things to come! Many a Nightingale perch'd giddily
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze, Lull'd me to sleep, and sleep prolong'd my dreams And to that motion tune his wanton song
And so I brooded all the following morn, Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head. Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fix'd with mock study on my swimming book: Farewell, o Warbler! till to-morrow eve, Save if the door half-open'd, and I snatch'd And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell! A hasty glance, and still my heart leap'd up, We have been loitering long and pleasantly, For still I hoped to see the stranger's face, And now for our dear homes.---That strain again? Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe, My play-mate when we both were clothed alike! Who, capable of no articulate sound, Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, How he would place his hand beside his ear, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, His little hand, the small forefinger up,
Fill up the interspersed vacancies And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
And momentary pauses of the thought!
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thed,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth Che Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelp'd by any wind. The owlet's cry
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drups Have left me to that solitude, which suits
fall Abstruser musings : save that at my side My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost 'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs And vexes meditation with its strange
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
TO A FRIEND.
TOGETHER WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
Embow’rs me from noon's sultry influence!
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Circling the base of the Poetic mount
Fall with dead swoop, and to the bottom go.
Nor there the pine-grove to the midnight blast
THE HOUR WHEN WE SHALL MEET AGAIN.
COMPOSED DURING ILLNESS AND IN ABSENCE.
There for the monarch-murder'd Soldier's tomb
IV. ODES AND MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.
THE THREE GRAVES.
A FRAGMENT OF A SEXTON'S TALE.
[The Author has published the following humble fragment LINES TO JOSEPH COTTLE.
encouraged by the decisive recommendation of more than one
of our most celebrated living Poets. The language was inMy honor'd friend! whose verse concise, yet clear, tended to be dramatic ; that is, suited to the narrator: and the Tunes to smooth melody unconquer'd sense,
metre corresponds to the homeliness of the diction. It is thereMay your fame fadeless live, as “never-sere"
fore presented as the fragment, not of a Poem, but of a com
mon Ballad-tale. Whether this is sufficient to justify the adop The ivy wreathes yon oak, whose broad defence
tion of such a style, in any metrical composition not profesg
edly ludicrous, the Author is himself in some doubt. At all * I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the lines
events, it is not presented as Poetry, and it is in no way con
nected with the Author's judgment concerning Poetic diction. Or whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Its merits, if any, are exclusively Psychological. The story Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scripture, "Ask, and it shall be given you." and my human reason being moreover convinced of the pro
* War, a Fragment. † John the Baptist, a Poem. ciety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to the Denty. Monody on John Henderson.
On the hedge elms in the narrow lane
Still swung the spikes of corn : Dear Lord ! it seems but yesterday—
Young Edward's marriage-morn.
Up through that wood behind the church,
There leads from Edward's door A mossy track, all over-bough'd
For half a mile or more.
And from their house-door by that track
The Bride and Bridegroom went; Sweet Mary, though she was not gay,
Seem'd cheerful and content.
But when they to the church-yard came,
I've heard poor Mary say,
Her heart it died away.
And when the vicar 'd their hands,
Her limbs did creep and freeze; But when they pray’d, she thought she saw
Her mother on her knees.
which must be supposed to have been narrated in the first and second parts, is as follows.
Edward, a young fariner, meets, at the house of Ellen, her bosom friend, Mary, and commonces an acquaintance, which ends in a mutual attachment. With her consent, and by the advice of their common friend Ellen, he announces his hopes and intentions to Mary's Mother, a widow-woman bordering on her fortieth year, and from constant health, the possession of a competent property, and from having had no other children but Mary and another daughter (the Father died in their infancy), retaining, for the greater part, her personal attractions and comeliness of appearance; but a woman of low education and violent temper. The answer which she at once returned to Edward's application was remarkable-"Well, Edward ! you are a handsone young fellow, and you shall have my Daughter." From this time all their wooing passed under the Mother's eye; and, in fine, she became herself enamoured of her future Son-in-law, and practised every art, both of endearment and of calumny, to transfer his affections from her daughter to herself. (The outlines of the Tale are positive facts, and of no very distant date, though the author has purposely altered the names and the scene of action, as well as invented the characters of the parties and the detail of the incidents.) Edward, however, though perplexed by her strange detraction from her daughter's good qualities, yet in the innocence of his own heart still mistaking her increasing fondness for motherly affection i she, at length overcome by her miserable passion, after much abuse of Mary's temper and moral tendencies, exclaimed with violent emotion—"O Edward ! indeed, indeed, she is not fit for you-she has not a heart to love you as you deserve. It is I that love you ! Marry me, Edward! and I will this very day settle all my property on you."-The Lover's eyes were now opened ; and thus taken by surprise, whether from the effect of the horror which he felt, acting as it were hysterically on his nervous system, or that at the first moment he lost the sense of the proposal in the feeling of its strangeness and absurdity, he flung her from him and burst into a fit of laughter. Irritated by this almost to frenzy, the woman fell on her knees, and in a loud voice that approached to a scream, she prayed for a Curse both on him and on her own Child. Mary happened to be in the room directly above them, heard Edward's laugh and her Mother's blasphemous prayer, and fainted away. He, hearing the fall, ran up stairs, and taking her in his arms, carried her off to Ellen's home; and after some fruitless attempts on her part toward a reconciliation with her Mother, she was married to him.-And here the third part of the Tale begins.
I was not led to choose this story from any partiality to tragic, much less to monstrous events (though at the time that I composed the verses, somewhat more than twelve years ago, I was less averse to such subjects than at present), but from finding in it a striking proof of the possible effect on the imagination, from an idea violently and suddenly impressed on it. I had been reading Bryan Edwards's account of the effect of the Oby Witchcraft on the Negroes in the West Indies, and Hearne's deeply interesting Anecdotes of similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my readers who hare it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to), and I conceived the design of showing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the progress and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginning.
[The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these were the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, Do name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is Infinite.
THE grapes upon the vicar's wall
Were ripe as ripe could be; And yellow leaves in sun and wind Were falling from the tree.
'Twas a drizzly time-no ice, no snow!
And on the few fine days She stirr'd not out, lest she might meet
Her Mother in her ways. But Ellen, spite of miry ways
And weather dark and dreary, Trudged every day to Edward's house, And made them all more cheery.
But ere she from the church-door stepp'd,
She smiled and told us why; • It was a wicked woman's curse,"
Quoth she, “and what care I?”
Dear Ellen did not weep at all,
But closelier did she cling, And turn'd her face, and look'd as if She saw some frightful thing.