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SONGS

OF

THE AFFECTIONS.

They tell but dreams-a lonely spirit's dreams
Yet ever through their fleeting imagery
Wanders a vein of melancholy love,
An aimless thought of home:-as in the song
Of the caged skylark ye may deem there dwells
A passionate memory of blue skies and flowers,
And living streams— far off!

(11)

SONGS OF THE AFFECTIONS.

A SPIRIT'S RETURN.

This is to be a mortal,
And seek the things beyond mortality!

Manfred.

Thy voice prevails; dear Friend, my gentle Friend!
This long-shut heart for thee shall be unseald,
And though thy soft eye mournfully will bend
Over the troubled stream, yet once reveald
Shall its freed waters flow; then rocks must close
For evermore, above their dark repose.
Come while the gorgeous mysteries of the sky
Fused in the crimson sea of sunset lie;
Come to the woods, where all strange wandering sound
Is mingled into harmony profound;
Where the leaves thrill with spirit, while the wind
Fills with a viewless being, unconfined,
The trembling reeds and fountains ;-Our own dell,
With its green dimness and Æolian breath,
Shall suit th' unveiling of dark records well-
Hear me in tenderness and silent faith!

Thou knew'st me not in life's fresh vernal noon
I would thou hadst !—for then my heart on thine
Vol. VI. -2

(13)

Had pour'd a worthier love; now, all o’erworn
By its deep thirst for something too divine,
It hath but fitful music to bestow,
Echoes of harp-strings, broken long ago.
Yet even in youth companionless I stood,
As a lone forest-bird 'midst ocean's foam;
For me the silver cords of brotherhood
Were early loosed; the voices from my home
Pass'd one by one, and Melody and Mirth
Left me a dreamer by a silent hearth.
But with the fulness of a heart that burn'd
For the deep sympathies of mind, I turn'd
From that unanswering spot, and fondly sought
In all wild scenes with thrilling murmurs fraught,
In every still small voice and sound of power,
And flute-note of the wind through cave and bower,
A perilous delight !—for then first woke
My life's lone passion, the mysterious quest
Of secret knowledge; and each tone that broke
From the wood-arches or the fountain's breast,
Making my quick soul vibrate as a lyre,
But minister'd to that strange inborn fire.

'Midst the bright silence of the mountain-dells,
In noontide hours or golden summer-eves,
My thoughts have burst forth as a gale that swells
Into a rushing blast, and from the leaves
Shakes out response ;-0 thou rich world unseen!
Thou curtain'd realm of spirits !— Thus my cry
Hath troubled air and silence- dost thou lie
Spread all around, yet by some filmy screen

A SPIRIT'S RETURN.

15

Shut from us ever!—The resounding woods,
Do their depths teem with marvels ?—and the floods,
And the pure fountains, leading secret veins
Of quenchless melody through rock and hill,
Have they bright dwellers ? -are their lone domains
Peopled with beauty, which may never still
Our weary thirst of soul? -Cold, weak and cold.
Is Earth's vain language, piercing not one fold
Of our deep being !—Oh, for gifts more high!
For a seer's glance to rend mortality!
For a charm'd rod, to call from each dark shrine,
The oracles divine !

I woke from those high fantasies, to know
My kindred with the Earth-I woke to love;
O, gentle Friend! to love in doubt and woe,
Shutting the heart the worshipp'd name above,
Is to love deeply-and my spirit's dower
Was a sad gift, a melancholy power
Of so adoring ; -- with a buried care,
And with the o'erflowing of a voiceless prayer,
And with a deepening dream, that day by day,
In the still shadow of its lonely sway,
Folded me closer ;— till the world held naught
Save the one Being to my central thought.
There was no music but his voice to hear,
No joy but such as with his step drew near;
Light was but where he look'd—life where he moved
Silently, fervently, thus, thus I loved.
Oh! but such love is fearful !- and I knew
Its gathering doom :-the soul's prophetic sight
Even then unfolded in my breast, and threw

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