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HYMN BEFORE SUN-RISE, IN THE VALE OF CHAMOUNI
Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines, Thyself Earth's rosy star, and of the How silently. Around thee and above
dawn Deep is the air and dark, substantial, Co-herald : wake, Owake, and utter black,
praise ! An ebon mass : methinks thou piercest Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in it;
Earth? As with a wedge! But when I look Who fill’d thy countenance with rosy again,
light? It is thine own calm home, thy crystal Who made thee parent of perpetual shrine,
streams? Thy habitation from eternity ! o dread and silent Mount ! I gazed upon And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely thee,
glad ! Till thou, still present to the bodily Who called you forth from night and sense,
40 Didst vanish from my thought : entranced From dark and icy caverns called you
forth, I worshipped the Invisible alone. Down those precipitous, black, jagged
rocks, Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody, For ever shattered and the same for So sweet, we know not we are listening
ever? to it,
Who gave you your invulnerable life, Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with Your strength, your speed, your fury, and my Thought,
your joy, Yea, with my Life and Life's own secret Unceasing thunder and eternal foam ? joy :
And who commanded (and the silence Till the dilating Soul, enrapt, transfused,
came), Into the mighty vision passing—there Here let the billows stiffen, and have As in her natural form, swelled vast to
rest? Heaven !
Ye Ice-falls ! ye that from the mountAwake, my soul ! not only passive
ain's brow praise
Adown enormous ravines slope amainThou owest ! not alone these swelling Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty tears,
51 Mute thanks and secret ecstasy ! Awake, And stopped at once amid their maddest Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart,
Motionless torrents! silent cataracts ! Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my who made you glorious as the Gates of Hymn.
Beneath the keen full moon ? Who bade Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of
the sun the Vale !
Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with O struggling with the darkness all the
living flowers night,
Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your And visited all night by troops of
God ! let the torrents, like a shout of Or when they climb the sky or when
nations, they sink :
Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, Companion of the morning-star at dawn,
GOD! sing ye meadow - streams with
TO MATILDA BETHAM FROM A gladsome voice!
60 Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul
STRANGER like sounds! And they too have a voice, yon piles of
[' One of our most celebrated poets, who had,
I was tol picked out and praised the little snow,
piece “On a Cloud,” another had quoted (saying And in their perilous fall shall thunder,
it would have been faultless if I had not used the GOD!
word Phæbus in it, which he thought inadmis
sible in modern poetry), sent me some verses inYe living flowers that skirt the eternal scribed “ To Matilda Betham, from a Stranger”; frost !
and dated “Keswick, Sept. 9, 1802, S. T. C.” Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's I should have guessed whence they came, but nest !
dared not flatter myself so highly as satisfactorily
to believe it, before I obtained the avowal of the Ye eagles, play-mates of the mountain
lady who had transmitted them.'] storm ! Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the MATILDA ! I have heard a sweet tune clouds !
play'd Ye signs and wonders of the element ! On a sweet instrument—thy PoesieUtter forth God, and fill the hills with Sent to my soul by Boughton's pleading praise !
Where friendship’s zealous wish inThou too, hoar Mount ! with thy sky
spirited, pointing peaks,
70 Deepened and fill'd the subtle tones of Oft from whose feet the avalanche, un
taste : heard,
(So have I heard a Nightingale's fine notes Shoots downward, glittering through the Blend with the murmurs of a hidden pure serene
stream !) Into the depth of clouds, that veil thy And now the fair, wild offspring of thy breast
genius, Thou too again, stupendous Mountain ! Those wanderers whom thy fancy had thou
sent forth That as I raise my head, awhile bowed To seek their fortune in this motley low
world, In adoration, upward from thy base Have found a little home within my Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused
heart, with tears,
And brought me, as the quit-rent of their Solemnly seemest, like a vapoury cloud,
lodging, To rise before me-Rise, O ever rise, Rose-buds, and fruit-blossoms, and pretty Rise like a cloud of incense from the
And timorous laurel leaflets half-disclos'd, Thou kingly Spirit throned among the Engarlanded with gadding woodbine hills,
tendrils ! Thou dread ambassador from Earth to
A coronel, which, with undoubting hand, Heaven,
I twine around the brows of patriot Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent
HOPE! sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising The Almighty, having first composed a sun
Man, Earth, with her thousand voices, praises Set him to music, framing Woman for GOD.
And fitted each to each, and made them
AN ODE TO THE RAIN one ! And 'tis my faith, that there's a natural
COMPOSED BEFORE DAYLIGHT, ON THE bond
MORNING APPOINTED FOR THE Between the female mind and measur'd
DEPARTURE OF A VERY WORTHY, sounds,
BUT NOT VERY PLEASANT VISITOR, Nor do I know a sweeter Hope than this,
WHOM IT WAS FEARED THE RAIN That this sweet Hope, by judgment un
I KNOW it is dark; and though I have
I have not once open’d the lids of my And O! of holier mind, and happier fate.
But I lie in the dark, as a blind man lies. Matilda ! I dare twine thy vernal wreath O Rain ! that I lie listening to, Around the brows of patriot Hope! But You're but a doleful sound at best : thou
30 I owe you little thanks, 'tis true, Be wise ! be bold ! fulfil my auspices ! For breaking thus my needful rest ! Tho' sweet thy measures, stern must be Yet if, as soon as it is light, thy thought,
O Rain ! you will but take your flight, 10 Patient thy study, watchful thy mild eye! I'll neither rail, nor malice keep, Poetic feelings, like the stretching boughs Though sick and sore for want of sleep. Of mighty oaks, pay homage to the But only now, for this one day, gales,
Do go, dear Rain ! do go away! Toss in the strong winds, drive before
the gust, Themselves one giddy storm of fluttering leaves ;
O Rain! with your dull two-fold sound, Yet, all the while self-limited, remain
The clash hard by, and the murmur all
round ! Equally near the fix'd and solid trunk Of Truth and Nature in the howling You know,
You know, if you know aught, that we, storm,
Both night and day, but ill agree :
40 As in the calm that stills the aspen grove.
For days and months, and almost years, Be bold, meek Woman ! but be wisely
Have limp'd on through this vale of bold !
tears, Fly, ostrich-like, firm land beneath thy Since body of mine, and rainy weather, feet,
Have lived on easy terms together.
O Rain ! you will but take your flight, quills.
Though you should come again toLook round thee! look within thee !
morrow, think and feel !
And bring with you both pain and What nobler meed, Matilda ! canst thou
Though stomach should sicken and knees
should swellThan tears of gladness in a BOUGHTON'S
I'll nothing speak of you but well. eyes, And exultation even in strangers' hearts ? But only now for this one day,
1802. Do go, dear Rain ! do go away!
INSCRIPTION FOR A FOUNTAIN Dear Rain ! I ne'er refused to say
ON A HEATH
This Sycamore, oft musical with bees, Would fit a parson's lower shelf,
Such tents the Patriarchs loved ! O long Showing how very good you are.--
unharmed What then? sometimes it must be fair !
May all its aged boughs o'er-canopy And if sometimes, why not to-day? The small round basin, which this jutting Do go, dear Rain ! do go away!
Keeps pure from falling leaves! Long IV
may the Spring, Dear Rain ! if I've been cold and Quietly as a sleeping infant's breath, shy,
Send up cold waters to the traveller Take no offence! I'll tell you why. 40
With soft and even pulse! Nor ever cease A dear old Friend e'en now is here,
Yon tiny cone of sand its soundless
dance, And with him came my sister dear ; After long absence now first met,
Which at the bottom, like a Fairy's Page,
As merry and no taller, dances still, Long months by pain and grief beset
Nor wrinkles the smooth surface of the We three dear friends! in truth, we
Fount. groan Impatiently to be alone.
Here twilight is and coolness : here is
moss, We three, you mark! and not more!
A soft seat, and a deep and ample shade.
Thou may'st toil far and find no second The strong wish makes my spirit sore.
tree. We have so much to talk about,
Drink, Pilgrim, here ! Here rest! and So many sad things to let out ; So many tears in our eye-corners,
if thy heart
Be innocent, here too shalt thou refresh Sitting like little Jacky Horners-In short, as soon as it is day,
Thy spirit, listening to some gentle sound, Do go, dear Rain ! do go away.
Or passing gale or hum of murmuring bees !
THE GOOD, GREAT MAN
And this I'll swear to you, dear Rain !
"How seldom, friend ! a good great man
inherits Honour or wealth with all his worth
and pains ! It sounds like stories from the land of
spirits If any man obtain that which he merits
Or any merit that which he obtains.'
REPLY TO THE ABOVE
FOR shame, dear friend, renounce this
canting strain ! What would'st thou have a good great
man obtain ?
Place ? titles ? salary? a gilded chain ?
THE PAINS OF SLEEP Or throne of corses which his sword had slain ?
ERE on my bed my limbs I lay, Greatness and goodness are not means, It hath not been my use to pray but ends !
With moving lips or bended knees; Hath he not always treasures, always But silently, by slow degrees, friends,
My spirit I to Love compose,
With reverential resignation, And Calm THOUGHTS, regular as No wish conceived, no thought exprest, infant's breath :
Only a sense of supplication; And three firm friends, more sure than A sense o'er all my soul imprest day and night,
That I am weak, yet not unblest, HIMSELF, his MAKER, and the ANGEL Since in me, round me, every where DEATH!
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
But yester-night I pray'd aloud
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong, Do you ask what the birds say? The And whom I scorned, those only strong ! Sparrow, the Dove,
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will The Linnet and Thrush say, 'I love Still baffled, and yet burning still ! and I love !'
Desire with loathing strangely mixed In the winter they're silent—the wind is On wild or hateful objects fixed. so strong ;
Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl ! What it says, I don't know, but it sings And shame and terror over all! a loud song
Deeds to be hid which were not hid, But green leaves, and blossoms, and Which all confused I could not know sunny warm weather,
Whether I suffered, or I did : And singing, and loving—all come back For all seem'd guilt, remorse or woe, 30 together.
My own or others still the same [“ I love, and I love,” almost all the birds Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame !
say From sunrise to star-rise, so gladsome So two nights passed : the night's dismay are they !]
Saddened and stunned the coming day. But the Lark is so brimful of gladness Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me and love,
Distemper's worst calamity. The green fields below him, the blue sky The third night, when my own loud above,
scream That he sings, and he sings; and for ever Had waked me from the fiendish dream, sings he—
O'ercome with sufferings strange and 'I love my Love, and my Love loves
wild, me !'
I wept as I had been a child ; ['Tis no wonder that he's full of joy to And having thus by tears subdued the brim,
My anguish to a milder mood, When he loves his Love, and his Love Such punishments, I said, were due loves him !]
1802. To natures deepliest stained with sin :