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When we were idlers with the loitering rills,
The need of human love we little noted :
Our love was nature; and the peace that floated
On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,
To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills :
One soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted,
That, wisely doating, ask'd not why it doated,
And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills.
But now I find, how dear thou wert to me;
That man is more than half of nature's treasure,
Of that fair Beauty which no eye can see,
Of that sweet music which no ear can measure;
And now the streams may sing for others' pleasure,
The hills sleep on in their eternity.
In the great city we are met again,
Where many souls there are, that breathe and die,
Scarce knowing more of nature's potency,
Than what they learn from heat, or cold, or rain,
The sad vicissitude of weary pain :-
For busy man is lord of ear and eye,
And what hath nature, but the vast, void sky,
And the throng'd river toiling to the main ?
Oh! say not so, for she shall have her part
In every smile, in every tear that falls,
And she shall hide her in the secret heart,
Where love persuades, and sterner duty calls :
But worse it were than death, or sorrow's smart,
To live without a friend within these walls.
We parted on the mountains, as two streams
From one clear spring pursue their several ways;
And thy fleet course hath been through many a maze
In foreign lands, where silvery Padus gleams
To that delicious sky, whose glowing beams
Brighten’d the tresses that old Poets praise ;
Where Petrarch's patient love, and artful lays,
And Ariosto’s song of many themes,
Moved the soft air. But I, a lazy brook,
As close pent up within my native dell,
Have crept along from nook to shady nook,
Where flowrets blow, and whispering Naiads dwell.
Yet now we meet, that parted were so wide,
O’er rough and smooth to travel side by side.
The Man, whose lady-love is virgin Truth,
Must woo a lady that is hard to win :
She smiles not on the wild and wordy din
Of all-confiding, all-protesting Youth ;
The Sceptic's apathy; the garb uncouth,
And Cynic sneer of o’er-experienced Sin,
The Serpent, writhing in its worn-out skin,
Craving again to flesh its sated tooth,
She quite abhors. She is not fond, nor coy-
Self-seeking love, and self-appraising scorn,
She knows not. She hath utterly forsworn,
Her worldly dower of wealth, and pride, and joy-
Her very beauty none but they discover,
Who for herself, not for her beauty, love her.
What was’t awaken’d first the untried ear
Of that sole man who was all human kind?
Was it the gladsome welcome of the wind,
Stirring the leaves that never yet were sere?
The four mellifluous streams which flow'd so near,
Their lulling murmers all in one combined ?
The note of bird unnamed? The startled hind
Bursting the brake-in wonder, not in fear,
Of her new lord? Or did the holy ground
Send forth mysterious melody to greet
The gracious pressure of immaculate feet ?
Did viewless seraphs rustle all around,
Making sweet music out of air as sweet?
Or his own voice awake him with its sound ?