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Heaving lovely to my sight,*
As these two swans together heave
On the gently-swelling wave.
Oh! that she saw me in a dream,
And dreamt that I had died for care ;
All pale and wasted I would seem
Yet fair withal, as spirits are !
I'd die indeed, if I might see
Her bosom heave, and heave for me !
Soothe, gentle image ! soothe my mind !
morrow Lewti may be kind.
OR THE LOVER'S RESOLUTION. Ť
THROUGH weeds and thorns, and matted
underwood, I force my way; now climb, and now descend O'er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild | foot
* Had I the enviable power
To creep unseen with noiseless tread
Then should I view her bosom white
Heaving lovely to the sight-1798. This passage was altered at the suggestion of Charles Lamb, who wrote to Coleridge :-"The epithet enviable would damn the finest poem."
† Morning Post, September 6, 1802. # With blind foot-1802.
Crushing the purple whorts ;* while oft unseen,
Hurrying along the drifted forest-leaves,
The scared snake rustles. Onward still I toil,
I know not, ask not whither! A new joy,
Lovely as light, sudden as summer gust,
And gladsome as the first-born of the spring,
Beckons me on, or follows from behind,
Playmate, or guide! The master-passion quell'd,
I feel that I am free. With dun-red bark
The fir-trees, and the unfrequent slender oak,
Forth from this tangle wild of bush and brake
Soar up, and form a melancholy vault
High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea.
Here Wisdom might resort, and here Remorse;
Here too the love-lorn man, who, sick in soul,
And of this busy human heart aweary,
Worships the spirit of unconscious life
In tree or wild-flower.—Gentle lunatic !
If so he might not wholly cease to be,
He would far rather not be that he is;
But would be something that he knows not of,
In winds or waters, or among the rocks !
But hence, fond wretch ! breathe not contagion
here! No myrtle-walks are these : these are no groves
* Vaccinium Myrtillus, known by the different names of Whorts, Whortle-berries, Bilberries; and in the North of England, Blea-berries and Bloom-berries.
[Note by S. T. C. 1802.]
Where Love dare loiter! If in sullen mood
He should stray hither, the low stumps shall gore
His dainty feet, the brier and the thorn
Make his plumes haggard. Like a wounded bird
Easily caught, ensnare him, O ye Nymphs,
Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades !
And you, ye Earth-winds ! you that make at morn
The dew-drops quiver on the spiders' webs !
You, O ye wingless Airs ! that creep between
The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,
Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon,
The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed-
Ye, that now cool her fleece with dropless damp,
Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb.
Chase, chase him, all ye Fays, and elfin Gnomes !
With prickles sharper than his darts bemock
His little Godship, making him perforce
Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's back.
This is my hour of triumph! I can now
With my own fancies play the merry fool,
And laugh away worse folly, being free.
Here will I seat myself, beside this old,
Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine
Clothes as with net-work : here will couch my
Close by this river, in this silent shade,
As safe and sacred from the step of man
As an invisible world—unheard, unseen,
And listening only to the pebbly brook
That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound;
Or to the bees, * that in the neighbouring trunk
Make honey-hoards. The breeze that visits me
Was never Love's accomplice, never raised
The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow,
And the blue delicate veins above her cheek ;
Ne’er play'd the wanton-never half disclosed
The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence
Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth,
Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen-grove
Shiver in sunshine, but his feeble heart
Shall flow away like a dissolving thing.
Sweet breeze ! thou only, if I guess aright,
Liftest the feathers of the robin's breast,
That swells its little breast,ť so full of song,
Singing above me, on the mountain-ash.
And thou too, desert stream ! no pool of thine,
Though clear as lake in latest summer-eve,
Did e'er reflect the stately virgin's robe,
The face, the form divine, the downcast look
Contemplative ! Behold! her open palm
Presses her cheek and brow ! her elbow rests !
On the bare branch of half-uprooted tree,
That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile
* And listening only to the pebbly stream
That murmurs with a dead yet bell-like sound
Tinkling, or bees, &c.—1802.
+ Who swells his little breast-10.
Her downcast look
Contemplative, her cheek upon her palm
Supported; the white arm and elbow rest, &c.-ib.
Had from her countenance turn'd, or look'd by
stealth, (For fear is true-love's cruel nurse), he now With steadfast gaze and unoffending eye, Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes Delicious to the soul, but fleeting, vain, E'en as that phantom-world on which he gazed, But not unheeded gazed : for see, ah ! see, The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks The heads of tall flowers that behind her grow, Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glove bells : And suddenly, as one that toys with time, Scatters them on the pool ! Then all the charm Is broken-all that phantom world so fair Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread, And each mis-shape the other. Stay awhile, Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyesThe stream will soon renew its smoothness, soon The visions will return ! And lo! he stays : And soon the fragments dim of lovely forms Come trembling back, unite, and now once more The pool becomes a mirror; and behold Each wild-flower on the marge inverted there, And there the half-uprooted tree-but where, O where the virgin's snowy arm, that lean'd On its bare branch ? He turns, and she is gone ! Homeward she steals through many a woodland
Which he shall seek in vain. Ill-fated youth !
Go, day by day, and waste thy manly prime
In mad love-yearning by the vacant brook,