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TO MY BROTHERS.
SMALL, busy flames play through the fresh-laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep
Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep,
Upon the lore so voluble and deep,
That thus it passes smoothly, quietly :
May we together pass, and calmly try What are this world's true joys,—ere the great Voice From its fair face shall bid our spirits fly.
November 18, 1816.
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER.
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ;
That deep-browd Homer ruled as his demesne :
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
When a new planet swims into his ken ;
He stared at the Pacific-and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmise
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
ON LEAVING SOME FRIENDS AT AN EARLY HOUR,
Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap'd-up flowers, in regions clear, and far ;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween :
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar, And half-discover’d wings, and glances keen. The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone, And full of many wonders of the spheres :
For what a height my spirit is contending ! 'T is not content so soon to be alone.
Keen fitful gusts are whispering here and there
Among the bushes, half leafless and dry ;
The stars look very cold about the sky, And I have many miles on foot to fare Yet feel I little of the cool bleak air,
Or of the dead leaves rustling drearily,
Or of those silver lamps that burn on high, Or of the distance from home's plea sant lair : For I am brimfull of the friendliness
That in a little cottage I have found ; Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress,
And all his love for gentle Lycid' drown'd; Of lovely Laura in her light green dress,
And faithful Petrarch gloriously crown'd.
To one who has been long in city pent,
'T is very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer Full in the smile of the blue firmament. Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair And gentle tale of love and languishment ? Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel,-an eye Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by : E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.
ADDRESSED TO HAYDON.
HIGH-MINDEDNESS, a jealousy for good,
A loving-kindness for the great man's fame,
Dwells here and there with people of no name, In noisome alley, and in pathless wood : And where we think the truth least understood.
Oft may be found a “singleness of aim,'
That ought to frighten into hooded shame
Of steadfast genius, toiling gallantly!
Envy, and malice to their native sty?
Proud to behold him in his country's eye.
ADDRESSED TO THE SAME.
GREAT spirits now on earth are sojourning :
He of the cloud, the cataract, the lake,
Who on Helvellyn's summit, wide awake, Catches his freshness from Archangel's wing : He of the rose, the violet, the spring,
The social smile, the chain for Freedom's sake :
And lo ! whose steadfastness would never take A meaner sound than Raphael's whispering. And other spirits there are standing apart
Upon the forehead of the age to come ; These, these will give the world another heart,
And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum Of mighty workings ?
Listen awhile, ye nations, and be dumb.
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET. THE poetry of earth is never dead :
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead : That is the grasshopper's—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,-he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun, He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never :
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one drowsiness half lost,
December 30, 1816.
Is a full harvest whence to reap high feeling ;
The names of heroes, burst from clouds concealing,
And changed to harmonies, for ever stealing Through cloudless blue, and round each silver throne. It tells me too, that on a happy day,
When some good spirit walks upon the earth,
Thy name with Alfred's, and the great of yore,
To where the great God lives for evermore.
HAPPY is England ! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own ;
To feel no other breezes than are blown Through its tall woods with high romances blent ; Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing, And float with them about the summer waters.
THE HUMAN SEASONS.
Four Seasons fill the measure of the year ;
ON A PICTURE OF LEANDER.
Come hither, all sweet maidens soberly,
could not see,
TO AILSA ROCK.
HEARKEN, thou craggy ocean pyramid !