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A surging scene, and only limited
By the blue distance. Heavily my way
Downward I dragg'd through fir-groves evermore,
Where bright green moss heaves in sepulchral forms
Speckled with sunshine ; and, but seldom heard,
The sweet bird's song became a hollow sound;
And the breeze, murmuring indivisibly,
Preserved its solemn murmur most distinct
From many a note of many a waterfall,
And the brook's chatter ; 'mid whose islet-stones
The dingy kidling with its tinkling bell
Leap'd frolicsome, or old romantic goat
Sat, his white beard slow waving. I moved on
In low and nguid mood : for I had found
That outward forms, the loftiest, still receive
Their finer influence from the Life within ;-
Fair cyphers else : fair, but of import vague
Or unconcerning, where the heart not finds *
History or prophecy of friend, or child,
Or gentle maid, our first and early love,
Or father, or the venerable name
Of our adored country! O thou Queen,
Thou delegated Deity of Earth,
* Fair cyphers of vague import, where the eye Traces no spot, in which the heart may read, &c.
For I had found
That grandest scenes have but imperfect charms,
Where the sight vainly wanders, nor beholds
One spot with which the heart associates
Holy remembrances of friend or child, &c.—1799.
O dear, dear England ! how my longing eye
Turn'd westward, shaping in the steady clouds
Thy sands and high white cliffs !
My native Land ! Filld with the thought of thee this heart was proud, Yea, mine eye swam with tears : that all the view From sovran Brocken, woods and woody hills, Floated away, like a departing dream, Feeble and dim! Stranger, these impulses Blame thou not lightly ; nor will I profane, With hasty judgment or injurious doubt, That man's sublimer spirit, who can feel That God is everywhere ! the God who framed Mankind to be one mighty family, Himself our Father, and the World our Home.
INSCRIPTION FOR A FOUNTAIN
ON A HEATH.* THIS Sycamore, oft musical with bees,
Such tents the Patriarchs loved !o long
unharm'd May all its aged boughs o'er-canopy The small round basin, which this jutting stone Keeps pure from falling leaves! Long may the
Spring, * Printed in The Morning Post, September 24, 1802, with the title “ Inscription on a Jutting Stone over a Spring."
† Darksome boughs—1802.
Quietly as a sleeping infant's breath,
Send up cold waters to the traveller
With soft and even pulse! Nor ever cease
Yon tiny cone of sand its soundless dance,
Which at the bottom, like a Fairy's page,
As merry and no taller, dances still,
Nor wrinkles the smooth surface of the Fount.
Here twilight is and coolness : here is moss,
A soft seat, and a deep and ample shade.
Thou may'st toil far and find no second tree.
Drink, Pilgrim, here ! † here rest! and if thy heart
Be innocent, here too shalt thou refresh
Thy Spirit, listening to some gentle sound,
Or passing gale or hum of murmuring bees !
A TOMBLESS EPITAPH. § TIS true, Idoloclastes Satyrane !
(So call him, for so mingling blame with
praise And smiles with anxious looks, his earliest friends, Masking his birth-name, wont to character
* Noiseless dance-1802. + Here, stranger, drink!—ib. # The passing gale or ever murmuring bees.-Ib.
§ First printed (without a title) in The Friend of November 23, 1809, with the following note :~" Imitated, though in the movements rather than the thoughts, from the seventh of Gli Epitafi of Chiabrera,
His wild-wood fancy and impetuous zeal)
'Tis true that, passionate for ancient truths,
And honouring with religious love the great
Of elder times, he hated to excess,
With an unquiet and intolerant scorn,
The hollow puppets of a hollow age,
Ever idolatrous, and changing ever
Its worthless idols ! learning, power, and time,
(Too much of all) thus wasting in vain war
Of fervid colloquy. Sickness, 'tis true,
Whole years of weary days, besieged him close,
Even to the gates and inlets of his life !
But it is true, no less, that strenuous, firm,
And with a natural gladness, he maintain'd
The citadel unconquer'd, and in
Was strong to follow the delightful Muse.
For not a hidden path, that to the shades
Of the beloved Parnassian forest leads,
Lurk'd undiscover'd by him ; not a rill
There issues from the fount of Hippocrene,
But he had traced it upward to its source,
Through open glade, dark glen, and secret dell,
Knew the gay wild flowers on its banks, and culld
Its medicinable herbs. Yea, oft alone,
Piercing the long-neglected holy cave,
The haunt obscure of old Philosophy,
He bade with lifted torch its starry walls
Sparkle, as erst they sparkled to the flame
Of odorous lamps tended by Saint and Sage.
O framed for calmer times and nobler hearts !
o studious Poet, eloquent for truth !
Philosopher! contemning wealth and death,
Yet docile, childlike, full of Life * and Love !
Here, rather than on monumental stone,
This record of thy worth thy Friend inscribes,
Thoughtful, with quiet tears upon his cheek.
THIS LIME-TREE BOWER
MY PRISON. †
ADDRESSED TO CHARLES LAMB, OF THE INDIA
In the June of 1797 some long-expected friends paid a visit to the author's cottage; and on the morning of their arrival, he met with an accident, which disabled him from walking during the whole time of their stay.
One evening, when they had left him for a few hours, he composed the following lines in the garden-bower. WELL, they are gone, and here must I remain,
This lime-tree bower my prison ! I have lost Beauties and feelings, such as would have been I Most sweet to my remembrance even when age Had dimm'd mine eyes to blindness ! They,
meanwhile, Friends, whom I never more may meet again, §
* Light-1809. † Printed in The Annual Anthology, Bristol, vol. ii., 1800.
Such beauties and such feelings as had been—1817. § My friends, whom I shall never meet again—ib.