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Mild Splendour of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions ! hail !
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gathered blackness lost on high ;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er the awakened sky.
Ah such is Hope! as changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-winged Despair :
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.
Thou bleedest, my poor Heart! and thy distress
Reasoning I ponder with a scornful smile,
And probe thy sore wound sternly, though the while
Swoln be mine eye and dim with heaviness.
Why didst thou listen to Hope's whisper bland ?
Or, listening, why forget the healing tale,
When Jealousy with feverous fancies pale
Jarred thy fine fibres with a maniac's hand ?
Faint was that Hope, and rayless !—Yet 'twas fair, And soothed with many a dream the hour of rest : Thou shouldst have loved it most, when most opprest, And nursed it with an agony
care, Even as a Mother her sweet infant heir That wan and sickly droops upon her breast !
SCHILLER! that hour I would have wished to die,
If through the shuddering midnight I had sent
From the dark dungeon of the tower time-rent
That fearful voice, a famished Father's cry-
Lest in some after moment aught more mean
Might stamp me mortal! A triumphant shout
Black Horror screamed, and all her goblin rout
Diminished shrunk from the more withering scene !
Ah! Bard tremendous in sublimity!
Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood
Wandering at eve with finely frenzied eye
Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood !
Awhile with mute awe gazing I would brood :
Then weep aloud in a wild ecstasy !
COMPOSED WHILE CLIMBING THE LEFT ASCENT OF BROCKLEY
COOMB, SOMERSETSHIRE, MAY, 1795.
WITH many a pause and oft reverted eye
I climb the Coomb's ascent: sweet songsters near
Warble in shade their wild-wood melody:
Far off the unvarying Cuckoo soothes my ear.
Up scour the startling stragglers of the Flock
That on green plots o'er precipices browse:
From the deep fissures of the naked rock
The Yewtree bursts! Beneath its dark green boughs
('Mid which the May-thorn blends its blossoms white)
Where broad smooth stones jut out in mossy seats,
I rest:-and now have gained the topmost site.
Ah! what a luxury of landscape meets
My gaze! Proud towers, and cots more dear to me,
Elm-shadow'd fields, and prospect-bounding sea.
Deep sighs my lonely heart: I drop the tear:
Enchanting spot! O were my Sara here!
IN THE MANNER OF SPENSER.
O PEACE, that on a lilied bank dost love
To rest thine head beneath an olive tree,
I would that from the pinions of thy dove
One quill withouten pain yplucked might be!
For O! I wish my Sara's frowns to flee,
And fain to her some soothing song would write,
Lest she resent my rude discourtesy,
Who vowed to meet her ere the morning light,
But broke my plighted word—ah ! false and recreant
Last night as I my weary head did pillow
With thoughts of my dissevered Fair engrost,
Chill Fancy drooped wreathing herself with willow,
As though my breast entombed a pining ghost.
“From some blest couch, young Rapture's bridal boast,
Rejected Slumber! hither wing thy way;
But leave me with the matin hour, at most!
As night-closed floweret to the orient ray,
My sad heart will expand, when I the Maid survey."
But Love, who heard the silence of my thought,
Contrived a too successful wile, I ween:
And whispered to himself, with malice fraught-
“ Too long our Slave the Damsel's smiles hath seen :
To-morrow shall he ken her altered mien !”
He spake, and ambushed lay, till bed
The morning shot her dewy glances keen,
When as I'gan to lift my drowsy head
Now, Bard ! I'll work thee woe!” the laughing Elfin
Sleep, softly-breathing God! his downy wing
Was fluttering now, as quickly to depart;
When twanged an arrow from Love's mystic string,
With pathless wound it pierced him to the heart.
Was there some magic in the Elfin's dart ?
Or did he strike my couch with wizard lance ?
For straight so fair a Form did upwards start
(No fairer decked the bowers of old Romance)
That Sleep enamoured grew, nor moved from his sweet
My Sara came, with gentlest look divine;
Bright shone her eye, yet tender was its beam :
I felt the pressure of her lip to mine!
Whispering we went, and Love was all our theme-
Love pure and spotless, as at first, I deem,
from Heaven! Such joys with Sleep did
'bide, That I the living image of my dream Fondly forgot. Too late I woke, and sigh'd“O! how shall I behold nay Love at even-tide !"
PUBLISHED ANONYMOUSLY AT BRISTOL, IN SEPTEMBER, 1795,
UNBOASTFUL Bard! whose verse concise yet clear
Tunes to smooth melody unconquered sense,
May your fame fadeless live, as never-sere
The Ivy wreathes yon Oak, whose broad defence
Embowers me from Noon's sultry influence !
For like that nameless Rivulet stealing by,
Your modest verse to musing quiet dear,
Is rich with tints heaven-borrowed; the charmed eye
Shall gaze undazzled there, and love the softened sky.