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More would I wish, and yet no more I would ;
I could no more, and yet did all I could :
And new tears born of old desires declare
That still I am as I was wont to be,
And that a thousand changes change not me.
TO THE FOUNTAIN OF VAUCLUSE-CONTEMPLATIONS OF DEATH.
Clear, fresh, and dulcet streams,
Which the fair shape, who seems
To me sole woman, haunted at noon-tide;
Fair bough, so gently fit,
(I sigh to think of it,)
Which lent a pillow to her lovely side;
And turf, and flowers bright-eyed,
O'er which her folded gown
Flowed like an angel's down;
And you, O holy air and hushed,
Where first my heart at her sweet glances gushed;
Give ear, give ear, with one consenting,
To my last words, my last and my lamenting.
If 'tis my fate below,
And Heaven will have it so,
That Love must close these dying eyes in tears,
May my poor dust be laid
In middle of your shade,
While my soul, naked, mounts to its own spheres.
The thought would calm my fears,
When taking, out of breath,
The doubtful step of death;
For never could my spirit find
A stiller port after the stormy wind;
Nor in more calm, abstracted bourne,
Slip from my travailed flesh, and from my bones outworn.
Perhaps, some future hour,
To her accustomed bower
Might come the untamed, and yet the gentle she;
And where she saw me first,
Might turn with eyes athirst,
And kinder joy to look again on me;
Then, ( the charity!
Seeing amidst the stones
The earth that held my bones,
A sigh for very love at last
Might ask of Heaven to pardon me the past:
And Heaven itself could not say nay,
As with her gentle veil she wiped the tears away.
How well I call to mind,
When from those boughs the wind
Shook down upon her bosom flower on flower;
And there she sat, meek-eyed,
In midst of all that pride,
Sprinkled and blushing through an amorous shower.
Some to her hair paid dower,
And seemed to dress the curls,
Queenlike, with gold and pearls ;
Some, snowing, on her drapery stopped,
Some on the earth, some on the water dropped ;
While others, fluttering from above,
Seemed wheeling round in pomp, and saying, “ Here reigns
How often then I said,
Inward, and filled with dread,
66 Doubtless this creature came from Paradise ! ”
For at her look the while,
Her voice, and her sweet smile,
And heavenly air, truth parted from mine eyes ;
So that, with long-drawn sighs,
I said, as far from men,
“How came I here, and when ?"
I had forgotten; and alas !
Fancied myself in heaven, not where I was ;
And from that time till this, I bear
Such love for the green bower, I cannot rest elsewhere.
HE ENVIES EVERY SPOT THAT SHE FREQUENTS.
O bright and happy flowers and herbage blessed,
On which my lady treads! O favoured plain,
That hears her accents sweet, and can retain
The traces by her fairy steps impressed !
Pure shrubs, with tender verdure newly dressed,
Pale amorous violets, leafy woods, whose reign
Thy sun's bright rays transpierce, and thus sustain
Your lofty stature, and umbrageous crest;
O thou, fair country, and thou, crystal stream,
Which bathes her countenance and sparkling eyes,
Stealing fresh lustre from their living beam;
How do I envy thee those precious ties !
Thy rocky shores will soon be taught to gleam
With the same flame that burns in all my sighs.
TO THE SUN, WHOSE SETTING HID LAURA's DWELLING FROM IIIS VIEW.
O blesséd Sun! that sole sweet leaf I love,
First loved by thee, in its fair seat, alone,
Bloometh without a peer, since from above
To Adam first our shining ill was shown.
Pause we to look on her! Although to stay
Thy course I pray thee, yet thy beams retire;
Their shades the mountains fling, and parting day
Parts me from all I most on earth desire.
The shadows from yon gentle heights that fall,
Where sparkles my sweet fire, where brightly grew
That stately laurel from a sucker small,
Increasing, as I speak, hide from my view
The beauteous landscape and the blesséd scene,
Where dwells my true heart with its only queen.
TO LOVE, ON LAURA WALKING ABROAD.
Here stand we, Love, our glory to behold,
How, passing Nature, lovely, high, and rare!
Behold! what showers of sweetness falling there!
What floods of light by heaven to earth unrolled!
How shine her robes, in purple, pearls, and gold,
So richly wrought, with skill beyond compare!
How glance her feet! her beaming eyes how fair
Through the dark cloister which these hills enfold !
The verdant turf, and flowers of thousand hues
Beneath yon oak's old canopy of state,
Spring round her feet to pay their amorous duty.
The heavens, in joyful reverence, cannot choose
But light up all their fires, to celebrate
Her praise, whose presence charms their awful beauty.
HE LEAVES VAUCLUSE, BUT HIS SPIRIT REMAINS THERE WITH LAURA.
The loved hills where I left myself behind,
Whence ever 'twas so hard my steps to tear,
Before me rise; at each remove I bear
The dear load to my lot by Love consigned.
Often I wonder inly in my mind,
That still the fair yoke holds me, which despair
Would vainly break, that yet I breathe this air ;
Though long the chain, its links but closer bind.
And as a stag, sore struck by hunter's dart,
Whose poisoned iron rankles in his breast,
Flies, and more grieves the more the chase is pressed,
So I, with Love's keen arrow in my heart,
Endure at once my death and my delight,
Racked with long grief, and weary with vain flight.
HEARING NO TIDINGS OF HER, HE BEGINS TO DESPAIR.
Still do I wait to hear, in vain still wait,
Of that sweet enemy I love so well :
What now to think or say I cannot tell,
'Twixt hope and fear my feelings fluctuate.
The beautiful are still the marks of fate;
And sure her worth and beauty most excel :
What if her God have called her hence, to dwell
Where virtue finds a more congenial state ?
If so, she will illuminate that sphere
Even as a sun : but I'tis done with me!
I then am nothing, have no business here!
O cruel absence! why not let me see
The worst? My little tale is told, I fear;
My scene is closed ere it accomplished be.
HE DESIRES TO DIE, THAT HIS SOUL MAY BE WITH HER, AS HIS THOUGHTS
E’en in youth's fairest flower, when Love's dear sway
Is wont with strongest power our hearts to bind,
Leaving on earth her fleshly veil behind,
My life, my Laura, passed from me away;
Living, and fair, and free from our vile clay,