Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

To her may all things live, from pole to pole,
Their life the eddying of her living soul !

O simple spirit, guided from above,
Dear Lady! friend devoutest of my choice,
Thus may'st thou ever, evermore rejoice.

TO A FRIEND

WHO HAD DECLARED HIS INTENTION OF WRITING

NO MORE POETRY.*

DEAR Charles ! whilst yet thou wert a babe, I

ween That Genius plunged thee in that wizard fount Hight Castalie : and (sureties of thy faith) That Pity and Simplicity stood by, And promised for thee, that thou shouldst renounce The world's low cares and lying vanities, Steadfast and rooted in the heavenly Muse, And wash'd and sanctified to Poesy. Yes—thou wert plunged, but with forgetful hand Held, as by Thetis erst her warrior son : And with those recreant unbaptized heels Thou’rt flying from thy bounden ministeriesSo sore it seems and burthensome a task To weave unwithering flowers ! But take thou heed : For thou art vulnerable, wild-eyed boy, And I have arrowst mystically dipt,

* Printed in The Annual Anthology, Bristol, vol. ii. (1800). + Pind. Olymp, ii. 1. 156.

Such as may stop thy speed. Is thy Burns dead ?
And shall he die unwept, and sink to earth
“ Without the meed of one melodious tear ?"
Thy Burns, and Nature's own beloved bard,
Who to the “Illustrious* of his native Land
So properly did look for patronage."
Ghost of Mæcenas ! hide thy blushing face !
They snatch'd him from the sickle and the plough-
To gauge ale-firkins.

Oh ! for shame return ! On a bleak rock, midway the Aonian mount, There stands a lone and melancholy tree, Whose aged branches to the midnight blast Make solemn music : pluck its darkest bough, Ere yet the unwholesome night-dew be exhaled, And weeping wreath it round thy Poet's tomb. Then in the outskirts, where pollutions grow, Pick the rank henbane and the dusky flowers Of night-shade, or its red and tempting fruit, These with stopp'd nostril and glove-guarded hand Knit in nice intertexture, so to twine, The illustrious brow of Scotch Nobility !

1796.

* Verbatim from Burns' Dedication of his Poems to the Nobility and Gentry of the Caledonian Hunt.

TO WILLIAM WORDSWORTH.

COMPOSED ON THE NIGHT AFTER HIS RECITATION OF A POEM ON THE GROWTH OF AN

INDIVIDUAL MIND.*

FRIEND of the wise! and teacher of the good !

Into my heart have I received that lay
More than historic, that prophetic lay
Wherein (high theme by thee first sung aright)
Of the foundations and the building up
Of a Human Spirit thou hast dared to tell
What may be told, to the understanding mind
Revealable; and what within the mind
By vital breathings secret as the soul †
Of vernal growth, oft quickers in the heart
Thoughts all too deep for words!.

Theme hard as high Of smiles spontaneous, and mysterious fears (The first-born they of Reason and twin-birth), Of tides obedient to external force, And currents self-determined, as might seem, Or by some inner Power; of moments awful, Now in thy inner life, and now abroad, When power stream'd from thee, and thy soul

received

* The Prelude, commenced in the beginning of 1799 and completed in May, 1805, was read by Wordsworth to Coleridge after the return of the latter from Malta. This poem was not published until after the author's death in 1850.-Ev.

+ Like the secret soul-1817.

The light reflected, as a light bestow'd-
Of fancies fair, and milder hours of youth,
Hyblean murmurs of poetic thought
Industrious in its joy, in vales and glens
Native or outland, lakes and famous hills !
Or on the lonely high-road, when the stars
Were rising; or by secret mountain-streams,
The guides and the companions of thy way!

Of more than Fancy, of the Social Sense Distending wide, and man beloved as man, Where France in all her towns lay vibrating Like some becalmed bark* beneath the burst Of Heaven's immediate thunder, when no cloud Is visible, or shadow on the main. For thou wert there, thine own brows garlanded, Amid the tremor of a realm aglow, Amid a mighty nation jubilant, When from the general heart of human kind Hope sprang forth like a full-born Deity!

Of that dear Hope afflicted and struck down, So summon'd homeward, thenceforth calm and sure From the dread watch-tower of man's absolute self, With light unwaning on her eyes, to look Far on-herself a glory to behold, The Angel of the vision ! Then (last strain) Of Duty, chosen laws controlling choice, Action and joy !- An Orphic song indeed,

* Even as a bark becalm'd-1817.

VOL. II.

A song divine of high and passionate thoughts
To their own music chanted !

O great Bard!
Ere yet that last strain dying awed the air,
With steadfast eye I view'd thee in the choir
Of ever-enduring men. The truly great
Have all one age, and from one visible space
Shed influence ! They, both in power and act,
Are permanent, and Time is not with them,
Save as it worketh for them, they in it.
Nor less a sacred roll, than those of old,
And to be placed, as they, with gradual fame
Among the archives of mankind, thy work
Makes audible a linked lay of Truth,
Of Truth profound a sweet continuous lay,
Not learnt, but native, her own natural notes !
Ah ! as I listen'd with a heart forlorn,
The pulses of my being beat anew :
And even as life returns upon the drown'd,
Life's joy rekindling roused a throng of pains-
Keen pangs of Love, awakening as a babe
Turbulent, with an outcry in the heart;
And fears self-will'd, that shunn'd the eye of hope;
And hope that scarce would know itself from fear;
Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain,
And genius given, and knowledge won in vain;
And all which I had cull’d in wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had rear'd, and all,
Commune with thee had open'd out—but flowers
Strew'd on my corse, and borne upon my bier,
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave !

« ForrigeFortsæt »