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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 listened with a heart forlorn

The pulses of my Being beat anew:

And even as Life returns upon the Drowned,
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-willed, that shunned 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 culled in Wood-walks wild,
And all which patient toil had reared, and all,
Commune with thee had opened out-but Flowers
Strewed on my corse, and borne upon my Bier,
In the same Coffin, for the self-same Grave!

That way no more! and ill beseems it me,
Who came a welcomer in Herald's Guise,
Singing of Glory, and Futurity,

To wander back on such unhealthful road,
Plucking the poisons of self-harm! And ill
Such intertwine beseems triumphal wreaths
Strewed before thy advancing!

Nor do thou,

Sage Bard! impair the memory of that hour
Of thy communion with my nobler mind
By Pity or Grief, already felt too long!

Nor let my words import more blame than needs.
The tumult rose and ceased: for Peace is nigh
Where wisdom's voice has found a listening heart.
Amid the howl of more than wintry storms,
The Halcyon hears the voice of vernal Hours
Already on the wing.

Eve following eve,
Dear tranquil time, when the sweet sense of Home
Is sweetest! moments for their own sake hailed
And more desired, more precious for thy song,
In silence listening, like a devout child,
My soul lay passive, by thy various strain
Driven as in surges now beneath the stars,

With momentary Stars of my own birth,
Fair constellated Foam,* still darting off
Into the darkness; now a tranquil sea,
Outspread and bright, yet swelling to the Moon.

And when-O Friend! my comforter and guide!
Strong in thyself, and powerful to give strength!-
Thy long-sustained Song finally closed,

And thy deep voice had ceased-yet thou thyself
Wert still before my eyes, and round us both
That happy vision of beloved Faces-
Scarce conscious, and yet conscious of its close
I sate, my being blended in one thought
(Thought was it? or Aspiration? or Resolve?)
Absorbed, yet hanging still upon the sound—
And when I rose, I found myself in prayer.

THE NIGHTINGALE:

A CONVERSATION POEM.

WRITTEN IN APRIL, 1798.

No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old mossy bridge !
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently,
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
"Most musical, most melancholy" Bird! +
A melancholy Bird? Oh! idle thought!

In nature there is nothing melancholy.

But some night-wandering man, whose heart was pierced
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,

"A beautiful white cloud of Foam at momentary intervals coursed by the side of the Vessel with a Roar, and little stars of flame danced and sparkled and went out in it: and every now and then light detachments of this white cloudlike foam darted off from the vessel's side, each with its own small constellation, over the Sea, and scoured out of sight like a Tartar Troop over a Wilderness.”— THE FRIEND, p. 220.

"MOST MUSICAL, MOST MELANCHOLY." This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description. It is spoken in the character of the melancholy man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity, to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible.

Or slow distemper, or neglected love,

(And so poor Wretch ! filled all things with himself And made ali gentle sounds tell back the tale

Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,

First named these notes a melancholy strain :
And many a poet echoes the conceit;

Poet who hath been building up the rhyme

When he had better far have stretched his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,

By Sun or Moon-light, to the influxes
Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
Should share in Nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature! But 'twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.

My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love
And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music!

And I know a grove Of large extent, hard by a castle huge, Which the great lord inhabits not; and so This grove is wild with tangling underwood, And the trim walks are broken up, and grass, Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths. But never elsewhere in one place I knew So many Nightingales; and far and near, In wood and thicket, over the wide grove, They answer and provoke each other's song, With skirmish and capricious passagings, And murmurs musical and swift jug jug, And one low piping Sound more sweet than allStirring the air with such an harmony,

That should you close your eyes, you might almost Forget it was not day! On Moonlight bushes, Whose dewy leaflets are but half disclosed,

You may perchance behold them on the twigs,

L

Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
Glistening, while many a glow-worm in the shade
Lights up her love-torch.

A most gentle Maid,

Who dwelleth in her hospitable home

Hard by the castle, and at latest eve
(Even like a Lady vowed and dedicate

To something more than Nature in the grove)

Glides through the pathways; she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid! and oft a moment's space,
What time the Moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence; till the Moon
Emerging, hath awakened earth and sky
With one sensation, and these wakeful Birds
Have all burst forth in Choral minstrelsy,
As if some sudden Gale had swept at once
An hundred airy harps! And she hath watched
Many a Nightingale perched giddily

On blossomy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song
Like tipsy joy that reels with tossing head.

Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.-That strain again?
Full fain it would delay me! My dear babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,

How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,

And bid us listen! And I deem it wise

To make him Nature's Play-mate. He knows well
The evening-star; and once, when he awoke

In most distressful mood (some inward pain

Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard-plot,

And he beheld the Moon, and, hushed at once,
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes, that swam with undropped tears
Did glitter in the yellow moonbeam! Well!-
It is a father's tale: But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate joy! Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale! Once more my friends! farewell.

FROST AT MIDNIGHT.

THE Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud-and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing.
Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature
Gives it dim sympathies with me who live,
Making it a companionable form,

To which the living spirit in our frame,
That loves not to behold a lifeless thing,
Transfuses its own pleasures, its own will.

How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt

Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike!

Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies

And momentary pauses of the thought!
My Babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart

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