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2. But any man that walks the mead,
In bud or blade, or bloom, may find, According as his humours lead,
A meaning suited to his mind. And liberal applications lie
In Art like Nature, dearest friend; So 'twere to cramp its use, if I
Should hook it to some useful end.
You shake your head. A random string
Your finer female sense offends. Well—were it not a pleasant thing
To fall asleep with all one's friends; To pass with all our social ties
To silence from the paths of men ; And every hundred years to rise
And learn the world, and sleep again ; To sleep thro' terms of mighty wars,
And wake on science grown to more
On secrets of the brain, the stars,
As wild as aught of fairy lore ;
The Poet-forms of stronger hours,
The Federations and the Powers ; Titanic forces taking birth
In divers seasons, divers climes ; For we are Ancients of the earth,
And in the morning of the times.
So sleeping, so aroused from sleep
Thro' sunny decads new and strange, Or gay quinquenniads would we reap
The flower and quintessence of change.
Ah, yet would I—and would I might !
So much your eyes my fancy take Be still the first to leap to light
That I might kiss those eyes awake ! For, am I right, or am I wrong,
To choose your own you did not care ; You'd have my moral from the song, And I will take my pleasure there :
And, am I right or am I wrong,
My fancy, ranging thro' and thro', To search a meaning for the song,
Perforce will still revert to you; Nor finds a closer truth than this
All-graceful head, so richly curld, And evermore a costly kiss
The prelude to some brighter world.
For since the time when Adam first
Embraced his Eve in happy hour, And every bird of Eden burst
In carol, every hud to flower, What eyes, like thine, have waken'd hopes ?
What lips, like thine, so sweetly join'd ? Where on the double rosebud droops
The fullness of the pensive mind; Which all too dearly self-involved,
Yet sleeps a dreamless sleep to me; A sleep by kisses undissolved,
That lets thee neither hear nor see :) But break it. In the name of wife,
And in the rights that name may give, Are clasp'd the moral of thy life,
And that for which I care to live.
So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
And, if you find a meaning there, O whisper to your glass, and say,
“What wonder, if he thinks me fair ?” What wonder I was all unwise,
To shape the song for your delight Like long-tail'd birds of Paradise,
That float thro' Heaven, and cannot light Or old-world trains, upheld at court
By Cupid-boys of blooming hueBut take it-earnest wed with sport,
And either sacred into you.
My father left a park to me,
But it is wild and barren,
And waster than a warren :
It is not bad but good land, And in it is the germ of all
That grows within the woodland.
O had I lived when song was great
In days of old Amphion,
Nor cared for seed or scion !
And legs of trees were limber, And ta'en my fiddle to the gate,
And fiddled in the timber!