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WHEN by my solitary hearth I sit,
And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom ;
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom ;
Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night,
Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright ray, Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away, Peep with the moonbeams through the leafy roof, And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.
Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart : Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright, And fright him, as the morning frightens night!
Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear
Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow,
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow :
From cruel parents, or relentless fair,
To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air ! Sweet Hope ! ethereal balm upon me shed, And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head. In the long vista of the years to roll,
Let me not see our country's honour fade ! O let me see our land retain her soul !
Her pride, her freedom ; and not freedom's shade. From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shedBeneath thy pinions canopy my head !
Let me not see the patriot's high bequest,
Great liberty ! how great in plain attire ! With the base purple of a court oppress’d,
Bowing her head, and ready to expire : But let me see thee stoop from Heaven on wings That fill the skies with silver glitterings !
And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud ; Brightening the half-veild face of heaven afar :
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud, Sweet Hope ! celestial influence round me shed, Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head.
Now morning from her orient chamber came
Which round its marge reflected woven bowers, And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
There the kingfisher saw his plumage bright,
Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony,
Ah ! could I tell the wonders of an isle
For sure so fair a place was never seen
Of the bright waters ; or as when on high,
And all around it dipp'd luxuriously
In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
Woman ! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies ;
Without that modest softening that enhances
E’en then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances,
E’en then my soul with exultation dances
Heavens ! how desperately do I adore
I hotly burn-to be a Calidore-
Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair ;
Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast ;
Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd
They be of what is worthy,—though not drest,
These lures I straight forget,-e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten : but when I mark
Such charms with mild intelligences shine, My ear is open like a greedy shark,
To catch the tunings of a voice divine. Ah ! who can e'er forget so fair a being ?
Who can forget her half-retiring sweets?
God ! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing, Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
Will never give him pinions, who intreats
Such innocence to ruin,—who vilely cheats A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing One's thoughts from such a beauty ; when I hear
A lay that once I saw her hand awake, Her form seems floating palpable, and near :
Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shake.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk :
In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth! O for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth ; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim :
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ;
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow,
Away ! away ! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
But here there is no light,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ; White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ; Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves ;
And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death, Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath ;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain,