Translation From Millevoye
Fallen from thy parent bough,
Poor wither'd leaf, where goest thou?
From the mountain to the vale,
From the forest to the hill
I flutter, carried by the gale,
Hither, thither, at its will.
I go where each thing goes,
Without complaint or grief,
The leaf of the withered rose
And the faded laurel leaf.
I planted in my heart one seed of love,
Water'd with tears and watch'd with sleepless care.
It grew—and when I look'd that it should prove
A gracious tree—and blessed harvests bear,
Blossom nor fruit was there to crown my pain,
Tears, care, and labour, all had been in vain;
And yet I dare not pluck it from my heart,
Lest with the deep-struck root my life depart.
When the sun rises where will you be
Wandering, sweetheart of mine?
On the wild mountain or on the wild sea,
Treading the heather or breasting the brine:
Sweetheart, come back to me.
When the moon rises where will you be
Wandering, sweetheart of mine?
Cold on the sea-sand or stark on the lea,
Never again to see sun or moon shine,
Never to come back to me.
Flying leaves the wild Spring scatters,
From the silver blossomed trees,
Let them fall—it little matters;
Fresh-born buds will greet each breeze.
Flying leaves, grim Winter strewing,
Shudder thro' the forest glades,
All their beauty past renewing
Round his footsteps falls and fades.
Flying leaves come floating hither;
'Everlasting' these will prove,
Leaves that never fall or wither,
Crown the brow of constant love.
Lines Written By The Sea
If thou wert standing by yon tide,
And I were standing by thy side,
Methinks a death I could contrive,
Pleasanter than the life I live.
For I would lay me at thy feet,
And like a snowy winding-sheet,
The foaming fringes of the sea
Should roll themselves all over me,
And draw me but a little way
Into that cradle huge and gray,
And rock me all so tenderly,
And sing one sobbing lullaby,
And then unwind their foldings deep,
And lay me gently, fast asleep,
At thy dear feet, where I would lie
And sleep through all eternity.
A Wish (Iii)
Oh that I were a fairy sprite, to wander
In forest paths, o'erarched with oak and beech;
Where the sun's yellow light, in slanting rays,
Sleeps on the dewy moss: what time the breath
Of early morn stirs the white hawthorn boughs,
And fills the air with showers of snowy blossoms.
Or lie at sunset 'mid the purple heather,
Listening the silver music that rings out
From the pale mountain bells, swayed by the wind.
Or sit in rocky clefts above the sea,
While one by one the evening stars shine forth
Among the gathering clouds, that strew the heavens
Like floating purple wreaths of mournful nightshade!
Sonnet To Harriet St. Leger
Whene'er I recollect the happy time
When you and I held converse dear together,
There come a thousand thoughts of sunny weather,
Of early blossoms, and the fresh year's prime;
Your memory lives for ever in my mind
With all the fragrant beauties of the spring,
With od'rous lime and silver hawthorn twined,
And many a noonday woodland wandering.
There's not a thought of you, but brings along
Some sunny dream of river, field, and sky;
'Tis wafted on the blackbird's sunset song,
Or some wild snatch of ancient melody.
And as I date it still, our love arose
'Twixt the last violet and the earliest rose.
Sonnet On An Edelweiss
Where huge rock buttresses bear up the clouds,
With all their floating reservoirs of rain;
Where the wide winding sheet of snow enshrouds
The glacier's sapphire clefts and glittering plain,
This flow'r is found—the well-nam'd Edelweiss.
Of frozen beds of foam and fields of ice,
Soft downy blossom—type of purity,
Of courage high and low humility,
Fast-rooted Love clinging to dire mischance.
Faith fixed as Fate defying circumstance,
O'er the unstable seas thee do I send,
Star of the steadfast mountains, to the friend
In whom thy loftiest, lowliest graces meet.
Bloom, Edelweiss, at her beloved feet!
Saturday Night Song At Sea
Come fill the can again, boys,
One parting glass, one parting glass;
Ere we shall meet again, boys,
Long years may pass, long years may pass.
We'll drink the gallant bark, boys,
That's borne us through, that's borne us through,
Bright waves and billows dark, boys,
Our ship and crew, our ship and crew.
We'll drink those eyes that bright, boys,
With smiling ray, with smiling ray,
Have shone like stars to light, boys,
Our wat'ry way, our wat'ry way.
We'll drink our English home, boys,
Our fatherland, our fatherland,
And the shores to which we're come, boys,
A sister strand, a sister strand.
I Know A Maiden With A Laughing Face
I know a maiden with a laughing face,
And springing feet like wings;—the light that flies
Forth from the radiant dancing of her eyes
Is full of mischievous and mirthful grace.
I know a maiden you might scarce think fair
The first time that across your path she past,
And suddenly you would be fettered fast
In the thick meshes of her chestnut hair,
And in her floating motions gay and glad,
And in the sparkling triumph of her mirth:
Like summer rain-showers twinkling to the earth,
Through sudden sun-gleams, when the wind is mad,
When all the shrubberies rock in rustling glee,
And clouds of blossoms fall from every tree.
When the dawn
O'er hill and dale
Throws her bright veil,
Oh, think of me!
When the rain
With starry showers
Fills all the flowers,
Oh, think of me!
When the wind
Loud and strong,
Oh, think of me!
When the laugh
With silver sound
Goes echoing round,
Oh, think of me!
When the night
With solemn eyes
Looks from the skies,
Oh, think of me!
When the air
Still as death
Holds its breath,
Oh, think of me!
When the earth
Swings round and round,
Oh, think of me!
When thy soul
O'er life's dark sea
Oh, think of me!
A Spirit’s Voice
It is the dawn! the rosy day awakes;
From her bright hair pale showers of dew she shakes,
And through the heavens her early pathway takes;
Why art thou sleeping!
It is the noon! the sun looks laughing down
On hamlet still, on busy shore, and town,
On forest glade, and deep dark waters lone;
Why art thou sleeping!
It is the sunset! daylight's crimson veil
Floats o'er the mountain tops, while twilight pale
Calls up her vaporous shrouds from every vale;
Why art thou sleeping!
It is the night! o'er the moon's livid brow,
Like shadowy locks, the clouds their darkness throw,
All evil spirits wake to wander now;
Why art thou sleeping!
I saw him on his throne, far in the north,
Him ye call Winter, picturing him ever
An aged man, whose frame, with palsied shiver,
Bends o'er the fiery element, his foe.
But he I saw was a young god, whose brow
Was crowned with jagged icicles, and forth
From his keen spirit-like eyes there shone a light,
Broad, glaring, and intensely cold and bright.
His breath, like sharp-edged arrows, pierced the air;
The naked earth crouched shuddering at his feet;
His finger on all murmuring waters sweet
Lay icily,—motion nor sound was there;
Nature seemed frozen—dead; and still and slow
A winding-sheet fell o'er her features fair,
Flaky and white, from his wide wings of snow.
When the bright sun back on his yearly road
Comes towards us, his great glory seems to me,
As from the sky he pours it all abroad,
A golden herald, my beloved, of thee.
When from the south the gentle winds do blow,
Calling the flowers that sleep beneath the earth,
It sounds like sweetest music, that doth go
Before thy coming, full of love and mirth.
When one by one the violets appear,
Opening their purple vests so modestly,
To greet the virgin daughter of the year,
Each seems a fragrant prophecy of thee.
For with the spring thou shalt return again;
Therefore the wind, the flower, and clear sunshine,
A double worship from my heart obtain,
A love and welcome not their own, but thine.
'Tis all in vain, it may not last,
The sickly sunlight dies away,
And the thick clouds that veil the past,
Roll darkly o'er my present day.
Have I not flung them off, and striven
To seek some dawning hope in vain;
Have I not been for ever driven
Back to the bitter past again?
What though a brighter sky bends o'er
Scenes where no former image greets me,
Though lost in paths untrod before,
Here, even here, pale Memory meets me.
O life—O blighted bloomless tree!
Why cling thy fibres to the earth?
Summer can bring no flower to thee,
Autumn no bearing, spring no birth.
Bid me not strive, I'll strive no more,
To win from pain my joyless breast;
Sorrow has ploughed too deeply o'er
Life's Eden—let it take the rest!
On A Forget-Me-Not
BROUGHT FROM SWITZERLAND.
Flower of the mountain! by the wanderer's hand
Robbed of thy beauty's short-lived sunny day;
Didst thou but blow to gem the stranger's way,
And bloom, to wither in the stranger's land!
Hueless and scentless as thou art,
How much that stirs the memory,
How much, much more, that thrills the heart,
Thou faded thing, yet lives in thee!
Where is thy beauty? in the grassy blade,
There lives more fragrance and more freshness now;
Yet oh! not all the flowers that bloom and fade,
Are half so dear to memory's eye as thou.
The dew that on the mountain lies,
The breeze that o'er the mountain sighs,
Thy parent stem will nurse and nourish;
But thou—not e'en those sunny eyes
As bright, as blue, as thine own skies,
Thou faded thing! can make thee flourish.
Blame not my tears, love, to you has been given
The brightest, best gift, God to mortals allows;
The sunlight of hope on your heart shines from Heaven,
And shines from your heart on this life and its woes.
Blame not my tears, love, on you her best treasure
Kind nature has lavished, oh, long be it yours!
For how barren soe'er be the path you now measure,
The future still woos you with hands full of flowers.
Oh, ne'er be that gift, love, withdrawn from thy keeping!
The jewel of life, its strong spirit, its wings;
If thou ever must weep, may it shine through thy weeping,
As the sun his warm rays through a spring shower flings.
But blame not my tears, love, to me 'twas denied,
And when Fate to my lips gave this life's mingled cup,
She had filled to the brim, from the dark bitter tide,
And forgotten to pour in the only sweet drop.
Lines Written At Sea (Ii)
Why art thou weeping
Over the happy, happy dead,
Who are gone away,
From this life of clay,
From this fount of tears,
From this burthen of years,
From sin, from sorrow,
From sad 'to-morrow,'
From struggling and creeping:
Why art thou weeping,
O fool, for the dead?
Why art thou weeping,
Over the steadfast faithful dead,
Who can never change,
Nor grow cold and strange,
Nor turn away,
In a single day,
From the love they bore,
And the faith they swore,
Who are true for ever,
Will slight thee never,
But love thee still,
Through good and ill,
With the constancy
Why art thou weeping,
O fool, for the dead?
They are your only friends;
For where this foul life ends,
Alone beginneth truth, and love, and faith;
All which sweet blossoms are preserved by death.
The Red Indian
Rest, warrior, rest! thine hour is past,—
Thy longest war-whoop, and thy last,
Still rings upon the rushing blast,
That o'er thy grave sweeps drearily.
Rest, warrior, rest! thy haughty brow,
Beneath the hand of death bends low,
Thy fiery glance is quenchèd now,
In the cold grave's obscurity.
Rest, warrior, rest! thy rising sun
Is set in blood, thy day is done;
Like lightning flash thy race is run,
And thou art sleeping peacefully.
Rest, warrior, rest! thy foot no more
The boundless forest shall explore,
Or trackless cross the sandy shore,
Or chase the red deer rapidly.
Rest, warrior, rest! thy light canoe,
Like thy choice arrow, swift and true,
Shall part no more the waters blue,
That sparkle round it brilliantly.
Rest, warrior, rest! thine hour is past,
Yon sinking sunbeam is thy last,
And all is silent, save the blast,
That o'er thy grave sweeps drearily.
The golden hinges of the year have turned—
Spring, and the summer, and the harvest time
Have come, and gone; and on the threshold stands
The withered Winter, stretching forth his hands
To take my rose from me;—which he will wear
On his bleak bosom, all the bitter months
While the earth and I remain disconsolate.
My rose!—with the soft vesture of her leaves,
Gathered all round the secrets of her heart
In crimson fragrant folds,—within her bower
Of fair fresh green, guarded with maiden thorns.
O withered Winter! keep my blossom safe!
Thou shalt not kiss her with thy blue cold lips,
Nor pinch her in thy bony grip,—nor drop
More than one tiny sparkling diamond,
From thy cold carcanet, upon her cheek:
But lay soft snow fur round her—and above
Her precious head, make thy skies blue and clear,
And set her in the sun;—O withered Winter!
Be tender of my rose, and harm her not.
Alas, my flower, farewell!
A Room In The Villa Taverna
Three windows cheerfully poured in the light:
One from the east, where o'er the Sabine hills
The sun first rose on the great Roman plain,
And shining o'er the garden, with its fountains,
Vine-trellises, and heaps of rosy bloom,
Struck on the glittering laurel-trees, that shone
With burnished golden leaves against my lattice.
One towards the north, close-screened with a dark wall
Of bay and ilex, with tall cypress-shafts,
Piercing with graceful spires the limpid air,
Like delicate shadows in transparent water.
One towards the west—above a sunny green,
Where merry black-eyed Tusculan maidens laid
The tawny woof to bleach between the rays
Of morning light and the bright morning dew.
There spread the graceful balustrade, and down
Swept the twin flights of steps, with their stone vases,
And thick-leaved aloes, like a growth of bronze,
To the broad court, where, from a twilight cell,
A Naiad, crowned with tufts of trembling green,
Sang towards the sunny palace all day long.
Lines Written At Night
Oh, thou surpassing beauty! that dost live
Shrined in yon silent stream of glorious light!
Spirit of harmony! that through the vast
And cloud-embroidered canopy, art spreading
Thy wings, that o’er our shadowy earth hang brooding;
Like a pale silver cloud between the moon
And the world’s darker orb —beautiful, hail!
Hail to thee! from her midnight throne of ether,
Night looks upon the slumbering universe.
No ruffling breeze stirs the wood’s silver crest,
No rocking breath shakes the dew-spangled flower,
No rippling wind roughens the sleepy wave,
No slightest sound floats on the solemn air;
All, all are silent, all are dreaming, all,
Save yon eternal eyes, that now shine forth
Twinkling the slumberer’s destinies. The moon
Sails on the horizon’s verge, a moving glory.
Pure and unrivalled; for no paler orb
Approaches, to invade the sea of light
That spreads around her; save yon piercing star,
That glitters on her robe of fleecy clouds,
Like a bright gem, fall’n from her radiant brow.
Written At Trenton Falls
Come down! from where the everlasting hills
Open their rocky gates to let thee pass,
Child of a thousand rapid running rills,
And still lakes, where the skies their beauty glass.
With thy dark eyes, white feet, and amber hair,
Of heaven and earth thou fair and fearful daughter,
Through thy wide halls, and down thy echoing stair,
Rejoicing come—thou lovely 'Leaping Water!'
Shout! till the woods beneath their vaults of green
Resound, and shake their pillars on thy way;
Fling wide thy glittering fringe of silver sheen,
And toss towards heaven thy clouds of dazzling spray.
The sun looks down upon thee with delight,
And weaves his prism around thee for a belt;
And as the wind waves thy thin robes of light,
The jewels of thy girdle glow and melt.
Ah! where be they, who first with human eyes
Beheld thy glory, thou triumphant flood!
And through the forest heard with glad surprise,
Thy waters calling, like the voice of God?
Far towards the setting sun, wandering they go,
Poor remnant! left, from exile and from slaughter,
But still their memory, mingling with thy flow,
Lives in thy name—thou lovely 'Leaping Water.'
Here be the free gifts of the morning for thee;
Dog-roses, with their thorns all strung with pearls,
And a large round diamond in each rosy cup:
Their leaves are the colour of Aurora's cheeks.
Here is a pale white flower, without a name,
At least to me, who am a stranger here:
It has a delicate almond smell, and grew
Among thick boughs, and leaves that guarded it.
Poor thing! I took it from its shelter for thee.
Here be some lilac heads of clover, sweet
As the breath of love: they lay amongst the hay
In a new-mown meadow, glittering in the sun.
Here are the leaves of the wild vine, that shine
Like glass without, and underneath are white
And soft as a swan's breast. There is an oak branch;
I gather'd it, because it grows at home,
And in this strange land look'd as sad and loving
As a friend's face: when it is wither'd, keep it.
They are all heavy with the tears of the night,
Who weeps, because she may not meet the sun;
And when he comes down from the mountain tops,
Parting the forests with his hands of fire,
He drinks her weeping, kissing all the flowers
With passionate love, which makes them look so blushing.
Morning By The Seaside
With these two kisses on thine eyes
I melt thy sleep away—arise!
For look, my love, Phœbus his golden hand
Hath laid upon the white mane of the sea,
And springing from the fresh brine gloriously,
He glances keen o'er the long level strand.
Now come his horses up, all snorting fire,
The lovely morning hours, hymning their choir
Of triumph, circle round the royal sun,
And the bright pageant of the day's begun.
Come, let me lock in mine thy hand,
And pace we with swift feet this smooth and sparkling sand.
See, how the swollen ridges of the waves
Curl into crystal caves,
Rising and rounding,
And running into curves of creamy spray,
Mark, with white wavy lines, the far-indented bay.
The little bark, that, by the sheltering shore,
Folded her wings, and rocked herself to sleep,
Shakes out her pinions to the breeze once more,
And, like a swallow, dips, and skims the deep.
Hail, welcome day! hail, miracle of light!
Hail, wondrous resurrection from the night!
Hail, glorious earth! hail ocean, fearful fair!
Hail ye sweet kisses of fresh morning air!
Hail thou! my love, my life, my air, my light,
Soul of my day! my morning, noon, and night!
Lines Written At Sea (I)
Dear, yet forbidden thoughts, that from my soul,
While shines the weary sun, with stern control
I drive away; why, when my spirits lie
Shrouded in the cold sleep of misery,
Do ye return, to mock me with false dreaming,
Where love, and all life's happiness is beaming?
O visions fair! that one by one have gone
Down, 'neath the dark horizon of my days;
Let not your pale reflection linger on
In the bleak sky, where live no more your rays.
Night! silent nurse, that with thy solemn eyes
Hang'st o'er the rocking cradle of the world,
Oh! be thou darker to my dreaming eyes;
Nor, in my slumbers, be the past unfurl'd.
Haunt me no more with whisperings from the dead,
The dead in heart, the changed, the withered:
Bring me no more sweet blossoms from my spring,
Which round my soul their early fragrance fling,
And, when the morning, with chill icy start,
Wakes me, hang blighted round my aching heart:
O night and slumber, be ye visionless,
Dark as the grave, deep as forgetfulness!
Night, thou shalt nurse me, but be sure, good nurse,
While sitting by my bed, that thou art silent,
I will not let thee sing me to my slumbers
With the sweet lullabies of former times,
Nor tell me tales, as other gossips wont,
Of the strange fairy days, that are all gone.
The Black Wallflower
I found a flower in a desolate plot,
Where no man wrought,—by a deserted cot,
Where no man dwelt; a strange, dark-colour'd gem,
Black heavy buds on a pale leafless stem;
I pluck'd it, wondering, and with it hied
To my brave May; and, showing it, I cried:
'Look, what a dismal flower! did ever bloom,
Born of our earth and air, wear such a gloom?
It looks as it should grow out of a tomb:
Is it not mournful?' 'No,' replied the child;
And, gazing on it thoughtfully, she smiled.
She knows each word of that great book of God,
Spread out between the blue sky and the sod:
'There are no mournful flowers—they are all glad;
This is a solemn one, but not a sad.'
Lo! with the dawn the black buds open'd slowly;
Within each cup a colour deep and holy,
As sacrificial blood, glow'd rich and red,
And through the velvet tissue mantling spread;
While in the midst of this dark crimson heat
A precious golden heart did throb and beat;
Through ruby leaves the morning light did shine,
Each mournful bud had grown a flow'r divine;
And bitter sweet to senses and to soul,
A breathing came from them, that fill'd the whole
Of the surrounding tranced and sunny air
With its strange fragrance, like a silent prayer.
Then cried I, 'From the earth's whole wreath I'll borrow
No flower but thee! thou exquisite type of sorrow!'
The water has flowed forth a year,
Since, sitting by the fountain's side,
We looked into the basin clear,
Where sparkles still the gushing tide,
And watched the crystal current pour,
During one bright enchanting hour.
The sun sloped low upon the plain—
The mellow southern winter sun—
And purple rose the mountain chain,
Which then I first did look upon;
While o'er its shadowy crests were seen
Bright, dazzling peaks of snowy sheen.
The limpid heavens o'er our head
Were clear as truth, and soft as love;
The dark-blue tufted pine-trees spread
Their solemn shade our rest above.
And, framed between their pillars gray,
The landscape's magic pictures lay.
A year that water hath flowed forth;
A year my golden hours have flowed:
And towards the regions of the north
I turn, to leave this blest abode,
Where I have dwelt in constant joy,
In peace and rest without alloy.
Pain has been far from me, and pleasure
Has kept the record of my days;
Glory and beauty, without measure,
Have haunted my familiar ways,
And made a year's existence seem
Bright, brief, and wondrous as a dream.
Now I depart, and bear with me
The gathered riches of these days;
No shade the sternest futurity
Upon their perfect brightness lays;
Life shall possess them to the last:
The blackest fate must spare the past.
By the pure spring, whose haunted waters flow
Through thy sequestered dell unto the sea,
At sunny noon, I will appear to thee:
Not troubling the still fount with drops of woe,
As when I last took leave of it, and thee,
But gazing up at thee with tranquil brow,
And eyes full of life's early happiness,
Of strength, of hope, of joy, and tenderness.
Beneath the shadowy tree, where thou and I
Were wont to sit, studying the harmony
Of gentle Shakspeare, and of Milton high,
At sunny noon I will be heard by thee;
Not sobbing forth each oft-repeated sound,
As when I last faltered them o'er to thee,
But uttering them in the air around,
With youth's clear, laughing voice of melody.
On the wild shore of the eternal deep,
Where we have strayed so oft, and stood so long
Watching the mighty waters' conquering sweep,
And listening to their loud triumphant song,
At sunny noon, dearest! I'll be with thee:
Not as when last I lingered on the strand,
Tracing our names on the inconstant sand;
But in each bright thing that around shall be:
My voice shall call thee from the ocean's breast,
Thou'lt see my hair in its bright, showery crest,
In its dark, rocky depths, thou'lt see my eyes,
My form shall be the light cloud in the skies,
My spirit shall be with thee, warm and bright,
And flood thee o'er with love, and life, and light.
To My Sister
IN MARCH 1865
A double worship hath the spring, my dear,
Triumph, and joy, and sweetness more than wont,
For, standing on the threshold of the year,
Your life's star shines, full in her flowery front.
For you, the blessed sun again doth pour
His golden bounty over hill and dale,
And shouting loud for joy, from Heaven's blue floor,
The glad wind sweeps the watery vapours pale.
For you, thro' the thorn lattice of the hedge,
The primrose, sitting on thick tufted leaves,
Peers smiling, and each smooth and lustrous wedge
Of sheathed green, the earth's brown bosom cleaves.
Each saffron-tinted cup, and snowy bell,
Starts up to cry you hail, with pleasant cheer,
And thro' the woods the buds make haste to swell,
To spread your leafy tap'stry far and near.
There's not a blade of grass that quivers light
In the pure air, but seems to me to say,
'O loving heart! O spirit brave and bright!
For you the fields again shall be made gay.'
To gild your head the evening stars do shine,
To kiss your feet the morning daisies blow,
To fill your soul with bliss the breath divine
Of God's great goodness doth the world o'erflow.
Beloved! the sweet pageant of the year
Its lovely homage all to you doth bring,
And the whole air rings with rejoicings clear,
And the whole earth bursts forth in blossoming,
That you are living yet to see the Spring!
Farewell To Italy
Farewell awhile, beautiful Italy!
My lonely bark is launched upon the sea
That clasps thy shore, and the soft evening gale
Breathes from thy coast, and fills my parting sail.
Ere morning dawn, a colder breeze will come,
And bear me onward to my northern home;
That home, where the pale sun is not so bright,
So glorious, at his noonday's fiercest height,
As when he throws his last glance o'er the sea,
And fires the heavens, that glow farewell on thee.
Fair Italy! perchance some future day
Upon thy coast again will see me stray;
Meantime, farewell! I sorrow, as I leave
Thy lovely shore behind me, as men grieve
When bending o'er a form, around whose charms,
Unconquered yet, death winds his icy arms:
While leaving the last kiss on some dear cheek,
Where beauty sheds her last autumnal streak,
Life's rosy flower just mantling into bloom,
Before it fades for ever in the tomb.
So I leave thee, oh! thou art lovely still!
Despite the clouds of infamy and ill
That gather thickly round thy fading form:
Still glow thy glorious skies, as bright and warm,
Still memory lingers fondly on thy strand,
And genius hails thee still her native land.
Land of my soul's adoption! o'er the sea,
Thy sunny shore is fading rapidly:
Fainter and fainter, from my gaze it dies,
Till like a line of distant light it lies,
A melting boundary 'twixt earth and sky,
And now 'tis gone;—farewell, fair Italy!
Lines On The Anio At Tivoli
One river from the mountain springs was born,
Into three several streams its course was torn.
For one a royal path was made; it ran,
Sheltered and screened, through channels paved by man;
A noble flood, a bounteous, beauteous river,
In light and glory rolling forth for ever.
One, to the children of the earth became
A slave unwilling, bound, but never tame.
Round lashing wheels its silver foam was spread,
Through murky chambers its bright waves were led,
Dread clangour of huge engines drowned its voice,
At its dark work forbidden to rejoice;
Close by its fiery foe its white waves boil,
Fierce ruddy flames beside it glow and toil,
Striving and labouring, panting, rushing past,
All stained and sullied it leaps free at last,
And down the huge cliffs with one shouting bound
Joins its fair sister on the level ground
Of a green valley. One sad stream was led
By God, not man, through chasms dark, drear, and dread:
Horrible depths ne'er visited by light,
Caves of despair, dismay, and thickest night;
There in an agony the lonely river
Leapt down, and turned, and writhed, and plunged for ever;
Seeking escape from out the hideous deep,
Where its wild waters were condemned to weep;
But this tormented stream too found its way,
At length to the sweet air of upper day;
And altogether they flow down to rest
One with the other in the Ocean's breast.
So ends all life that is but mortal breath,—
All fates are equal in the lap of Death.
Lament Of A Mocking-Bird
Silence instead of thy sweet song, my bird,
Which through the darkness of my winter days
Warbling of summer sunshine still was heard;
Mute is thy song, and vacant is thy place.
The spring comes back again, the fields rejoice,
Carols of gladness ring from every tree;
But I shall hear thy wild triumphant voice
No more: my summer song has died with thee.
What didst thou sing of, O my summer bird?
The broad, bright, brimming river, whose swift sweep
And whirling eddies by the home are heard,
Rushing, resistless, to the calling deep.
What didst thou sing of, thou melodious sprite?
Pine forests, with smooth russet carpets spread,
Where e'en at noonday dimly falls the light,
Through gloomy blue-green branches overhead.
What didst thou sing of, O thou jubilant soul?
Ever-fresh flowers and never-leafless trees,
Bending great ivory cups to the control
Of the soft swaying, orange scented breeze.
What didst thou sing of, thou embodied glee?
The wide wild marshes with their clashing reeds
And topaz-tinted channels, where the sea
Daily its tides of briny freshness leads.
What didst thou sing of, O thou winged voice?
Dark, bronze-leaved oaks, with silver mosses crowned,
Where thy free kindred live, love, and rejoice,
With wreaths of golden jasmine curtained round.
These didst thou sing of, spirit of delight!
From thy own radiant sky, thou quivering spark!
These thy sweet southern dreams of warmth and light,
Through the grim northern winter drear and dark.
To The Wissahiccon
My feet shall tread no more thy mossy side,
When once they turn away, thou Pleasant Water,
Nor ever more, reflected in thy tide,
Will shine the eyes of the White Island's daughter.
But often in my dreams, when I am gone
Beyond the sea that parts thy home and mine,
Upon thy banks the evening sun will shine,
And I shall hear thy low, still flowing on.
And when the burthen of existence lies
Upon my soul, darkly and heavily,
I'll clasp my hands over my weary eyes,
Thou Pleasant Water, and thy clear waves see.
Bright be thy course for ever and for ever,
Child of pure mountain springs, and mountain snow;
And as thou wanderest on to meet the river,
Oh, still in light and music mayst thou flow!
I never shall come back to thee again,
When once my sail is shadowed on the main,
Nor ever shall I hear thy laughing voice
As on their rippling way thy waves rejoice,
Nor ever see the dark green cedar throw
Its gloomy shade o'er the clear depths below,
Never, from stony rifts of granite gray,
Sparkling like diamond rocks in the sun's ray,
Shall I look down on thee, thou pleasant stream,
Beneath whose crystal folds the gold sands gleam;
Wherefore, farewell! but whensoe'er again
The wintry spell melts from the earth and air;
And the young spring comes dancing through thy glen,
With fragrant, flowery breath, and sunny hair;
When through the snow the scarlet berries gleam,
Like jewels strewn upon thy banks, fair stream,
My spirit shall through many a summer's day
Return, among thy peaceful woods to stray.
Am reading, too, my book of memory:
With eyelids closed, over the crested foam,
And the blue, marbled sea, I seek my home.
All present things forgotten, on the shore
Of the romantic Forth I stand once more;
Once more I hear the waves' harmonious strife;
Once more, upon the mountain coast of Fife,
I see the checker'd lights and shadows fall.
Upon the sand crumbles the ruin'd wall
That guards no more the desolate demesne,
And the deserted mansion. High between
The summer clouds the Ochil hills arise;
And far, far, like a shadow in the skies,
Ben Lomond tow'rs aloft in sovereign height.
O Cramond beach! are thy sands still as bright—
Thy waters still as sunny,—thy wild shore
As lonely and as lovely as of yore?—
Haunts of my happy time! as wandering back
Along my life, on memory's faithful track,
How fair ye seem,—how fair, how dear ye are!
Ye need not to be gazed at from afar;
Deceptive distance lends no brighter hue;
Your beauty and your peacefulness were true.
Not yours the charms from which we wearied stray,
And own them only when they're far away.
Oh, be ye blest for all the happiness
Which I have known in your wild loneliness.
Old sea, whose voice yet chimes upon my ear,—
Old paths, whose every winding step was dear,—
Dark, rocky promontories,—echoing caves,
Worn hollow by the white feet of the waves,—
Blue, lake-like waters,—legend-haunted isle,
Over ye all bright be the summer's smile;
And gently fall the winter on your breast,
Haunts of my youth, my memory's place of rest.
The Fellowship Of Genius
O hearts of flesh! O beating hearts of love!
O twining hands of human dear desire!—
How, when your glorious mate begins to move,
How shall ye follow those wide wings of fire
That bear him up? Ah! to the chariot wheels,
That wrap the child of genius to the sky,
Breathless ye cling till round the great world reels,
And ye fall fainting down despairingly!
Bleeding and blind ye fall, and still his flight,
Serene and strong, is upward to the light,
Nearer the sun and farther yet from ye,
Kindred alone of his mortality.
Awhile he stood beside ye, and awhile
His tender eyes, and lovely loving smile,
Made you believe he was indeed your brother:
But deep within that being lay another
Fearful as fair, no simple son of earth,
Of all created things the wondrous birth;
Immortal, Infinite, born to inherit
Matter, and mind, and sense, and subtlest spirit.
Lo! ye have called this King of all creation
Your fellow, and forgot the heaven-high station
Whence he must gather his great revenue:
Past, Present, Future, all things old and new,
All things in earth and heaven to him belong;
And in the pæans of his conquering song
Love is but one sweet chord, one single verse,
In the great chorus of the universe;
Which, with a voice resounding and sublime,
He utters forth unto all space and time.
O piteous, precious, hapless, human love!
Thou shalt be reaped by this bright son of Jove.
One flower 'mid the whole harvest of the world—
And when his mighty wings are gently furled,
Upon his heart thou shalt lie tenderly;
But when the summons of his destiny
Calls to him through the ages to awake,
One heavenward spring the drooping bud shall shake
Back to the earth, where it shall withering lie
In the broad light of Immortality.
Through the half-open'd casement stream'd the light
Of the departing sun. The golden haze
Of the red western sky fell warm and bright
Into that chamber large and lone: the blaze
Touch'd slantingly curtain and couch, and threw
A glory over many an antique gem,
Won from the entombed cities that once grew
At the volcano's foot. Mingled with them
Stood crystal bowls, through which the broken ray
Fell like a shower of precious stones, and lay
Reflected upon marble; these were crown'd
With blushing flowers, fresh and glittering yet
With diamond rain drops. On the crimson ground
A shining volume, clasp'd with gold and jet,
And broken petals of a passion flow'r
Lay by the lady of this silent bow'r.
Her rippling hair fell from the pearly round
That strove to clasp its billowy curls: the light
Hung like a glory on their waves of gold.
Her velvet robe, in many a violet fold,
Like the dark pansy's downy leaf, was bound
With a gold zone, and clasp'd with jewels bright,
That glow'd and danced as with a magic flame
Whene'er her measured breathing stirr'd her frame.
Upon her breast and shoulders lay a veil
Of curious needle-work, as pure and pale
As a fine web of ivory, wrought with care,
Through which her snowy skin show'd smooth and fair.
Upon the hand that propp'd her drooping head,
A precious emerald, like a fairy well,
Gleam'd with dark solemn lustre; a rich thread
Of rare round pearls—such as old legends tell
Th' Egyptian queen pledged to her Roman lord,
When in her cup a kingdom's price she pour'd,—
Circled each soft white arm. A painter well
Might have been glad to look upon her face,
For it was full of beauty, truth, and grace;
And from her lustrous eyes her spirit shone
Serene, and strong, and still, as from a throne.
Written After Spending A Day At West Point
Were they but dreams? Upon the darkening world
Evening comes down, the wings of fire are furled,
On which the day soared to the sunny west:
The moon sits calmly like a soul at rest,
Looking upon the never-resting earth;
All things in heaven wait on the solemn birth
Of night, but where has fled the happy dream
That at this hour, last night, our life did seem?
Where are the mountains with their tangled hair,
The leafy hollow, and the rocky stair?
Where are the shadows of the solemn hills,
And the fresh music of the summer rills?
Where are the wood-paths, winding, long, and steep,
And the great, glorious river, broad and deep,
And the thick copses, where soft breezes meet,
And the wild torrent's snowy, leaping feet,
The rustling, rocking boughs, the running streams,—
Where are they all? gone, gone! were they but dreams?
And where, oh where are the light footsteps gone,
That from the mountain-side came dancing down?
The voices full of mirth, the loving eyes,
The happy hearts, the human paradise,
The youth, the love, the life that revelled here,—
Are they too gone?—Upon Time's shadowy bier,
The pale, cold hours of joys now past are laid,
Perhaps not soon from memory's gaze to fade,
But never to be reckoned o'er again,
In all life's future store of bliss and pain.
From the bright eyes the sunshine may depart,
Youth flies—love dies—and from the joyous heart
Hope's gushing fountain ebbs too soon away,
Nor spares one drop for that disastrous day,
When from the barren waste of after life,
The weariness, the worldliness, the strife,
The soul looks o'er the desert of its way
To the green gardens of its early day:
The paradise, for which we vainly mourn,
The heaven, to which our lingering eyes still turn,
To which our footsteps never shall return.
Walking by moonlight on the golden margin
That binds the silver sea, I fell to thinking
Of all the wild imaginings that man
Hath peopled heaven, and earth, and ocean with;
Making fair nature's solitary haunts
Alive with beings, beautiful and fearful.
And as the chain of thought grew link by link,
It seemed, as though the midnight heavens waxed brighter,
The stars gazed fix'dly with their golden eyes,
And a strange light played o'er each sleeping billow,
That laid its head upon the sandy beach.
Anon there came along the rocky shore
A far-off sound of sweetest minstrelsy.
From no one point of heaven, or earth, it came;
But under, over, and about it breathed;
Filling my soul with thrilling, fearful pleasure.
It swelled, as though borne on the floating wings
Of the midsummer breeze; it died away
Towards heaven, as though it sank into the clouds,
That one by one melted like flakes of snow
In the moonbeams. Then came a rushing sound,
Like countless wings of bees, or butterflies;
And suddenly, as far as eye might view,
The coast was peopled with a world of elves,
Who in fantastic ringlets danced around,
With antic gestures, and wild beckoning motion,
Aimed at the moon. White was their snowy vesture,
And shining as the Alps, when that the sun
Gems their pale robes with diamonds. On their heads
Were wreaths of crimson and of yellow foxglove.
They were all fair, and light as dreams; anon
The dance broke off; and sailing through the air,
Some one way, and some other, they did each
Alight upon some waving branch, or flower,
That garlanded the rocks upon the shore.
One, chiefly, did I mark; one tiny sprite,
Who crept into an orange flower-bell,
And there lay nestling, whilst his eager lips
Drank from its virgin chalice the night dew,
That glistened, like a pearl, in its white bosom.
The Year’s Progress
I look along the dusty dreary way,
So lately strew'd with blossoms fresh and gay,—
The sweet procession of the year is past,
And wither'd whirling leaves run rattling fast,
Like throngs of tatter'd beggars following
Where late went by the pageant of a king.
First came the forward darlings of the Spring,
Snowdrops, and violets, and daisies white,
And hanging cowslips, and each fragrant thing
Whose waking wakes the season of delight,—
The year's faint smiles before its burst of mirth,
The soft sweet breathing babies of the earth,
Close to her warm brown bosom nestling in,
That the wild winds take laughing by the chin;
Then flush'd the silver glory of the May,
And like a bride the Spring was led away.
Summer's lithe daughters followed flaunting gay,
Mingling their odours with the new-mown hay,
The rosy eglantine, smooth, silken-cheek'd,
And amber honeysuckle, crimson-streak'd;
Then the prim privet with her ivory bloom,
Like a pale maiden sister, filled their room
With blue-green leaves, and almond bitter breath,
Thrusting her dainty spices up underneath.
Brown thorny arches sprinkled with the rose,
Whiter than chalk that on the wild brier grows,
And the cream-colour'd crumbling elder flower,
Garlanded o'er with starry virgin's bow'r,
Piled the green hedgerows with their heaps of bloom,
And buried the deep lanes in fragrant gloom.
Autumn, with shining berries black and red,
And glossy curl'd clematis bound his head;
Over his russet cloak the wild hops pale
With golden corn and scarlet poppies trail,
And waving down his mane of tawny hair,
Hangs purple poison-flow'r, the Lady Fair.
Of all the lovely train he was the last,
And with him all the pageant bright hath past,
And in its path, scour'd by the whimpering wind,
Gray shapeless Winter shuffles close behind.