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As if a weary age had passed away
In time-forgetting sleep since yesterday.
There the dark cypress waved its lofty spire
By walls of ice, and battlements of fire,
And where the mighty banian's “echoing shade"
Spreads far and wide its verdurous colonnade,
The silver portals sent their lucid streams
Adown the umbrageous aisles in lengthen’d beams :
The fading hues, so fair, so fleet, alas!
That o'er the cheek of eve like blushes pass
In unabating beauty, here were blended,
Unchanged to last till earth itself were ended.
Now, strange to say, this work of mystic art,
The old world's wonder, stored in every part
With every idol of a wanton heart,
From artist's negligence, or art's defect,
Or some close purpose of the architect,
One window had, unfinish’d, unadorn',
An uncouth gap, forgot, or shunn’d, or scorn'd;
A yawning void deform'd the gayest bower
That e’er receiv'd a royal paramour ;
And stranger still, not all the flowery groves
That wav'd around, nor all the fair alcoves,
Elaborate pride of oriental loves,
Nor radiant splendours that outshone the skies,
From that unsightly blank could screen the critic eyes:
It grew the talk of all who loved to wonder,
It help'd the crowd to stare, the wise to blunder,–
The magic beauties ne'er perplex'd their soul,
But all were gravell’d with that frightful hole.
Wild is the tale, but such in fact we find
The course and current of the general mind.
So fairest things, unnumbered and unnoted,
Pass with the hour while rare defects are quoted-
The timeless frost that in their cradle nips,
The babes of April, or one short eclipse,
One blighting meteor’s momentary blaze,
Outlast in fame an age of sunny days.
So gentle lady-may I freely call thee
My gentle friend—it happy may befal thee.
When this fair volume, like an honoured face,
Or holy tomb of Saint or Martyr slain, ,
In Truth's defence, or virgin void of stain,
With gems of verse from many a region brought,
Shall gleam effulgent with untainted thought,
And each soft hand that loves to rest in thine,
With dear memorial decks the beauteous shrine,
Then the wild words, that like bewildered chimes
Limp into tune, and stumble upon rhymes,
And these rude characters, the meet apparel,
Of the strange fancies of my old-world carol,
Shall oft detain the eye that heedless strays,
O’er the smooth page, which calls for nought but praise.
Where all's so good, the critic senses starve all,
But lines like mine will suit them to a marvel.
Nay sometimes many a softer gaze beguile,
And change a winning to a wondering smile,
May light the orbs of darkly-rolling eyes,
With the wide brilliance of a gay surprize,
May prompt some voice in tones acute to ask,
To whom was given, or who usurp'd the task,
To set, ’mid famous Bards' melodious strains,
The product of his own fantastic brains ?
What strange acquaintance of a maiden fair,
Could plant a thistle in her prim parterre ?
Then may’st thou say—but say whate’er you choose,
Or if you will, confess yourself my muse.
I HAVE lived, and I have loved,
Have lived and loved in vain ;
Some joys, and many woes have proved,
That may not be again ;
My heart is cold, my eye is sere,
Joy wins no smile, and grief no tear.
Fain would I hope, if hope I could,
If sure to be deceived,
There's comfort in a thought of good,
Tho' 'tis not quite believed
For sweet is hope's wild warbled air,
But-Oh-its echo is despair.
INFANT DAUGHTER OF THE REV. SIR RICHARD
PURE, precious drop of dear mortality,
Untainted fount of life's meandering stream,
Whose innocence is like the dewy beam
Of morn, a visible reality,
Holy and quiet as a hermit's dream :
Unconscious witness to the promised birth
Of perfect good, that may not grow on earth,
Nor be computed by the worldly worth
And stated limits of morality,
Fair type and pledge of full redemption given,
Through him that saith “Of such is the kingdom of
Sweet infant, whom thy brooding parents love
For what thou art, and what they hope to see thee,
Unhallow'd sprites and earth-born phantoms flee thee ;
Thy soft simplicity, a hovering dove,
That still keeps watch, from blight and bane to free thee;
With its weak wings, in peaceful care outspread,
Fanning invisibly thy pillow'd head,
Strikes evil powers with reverential dread,
Beyond the sulphurous bolts of fabled Jove,
Or whatsoe'er of Amulet or charm
Fond Ignorance devised to save poor souls from harm.
To see thee sleeping on thy mother's breast,
It were indeed a lovely sight to see-
Who would believe that restless sin can be
In the same world that holds such sinless rest?
Happy art thou, sweet babe, and happy she
Whose voice alone can still thy baby cries,
Now still itself; Yet pensive smiles, and sighs,
And the mute meanings of a mother's eyes
Declare her thinking, deep felicity:
A bliss, my babe, how much unlike to thine,
Mingled with earthly fears, yet cheer'd with hope divine.
Thou breathing image of the life of Nature !
Say rather, image of a happy death
For the vicissitudes of vital breath,
Of all infirmity the slave and creature,
That by the act of being perisheth,
Are far unlike that slumber's perfect peace
Which seems too absolute and pure to cease,
Or suffer diminution, or increase,
Or change of hue, proportion, shape, or feature;
A calm, it seems, that is not, shall not be,
Save in the silent depths of calm eternity.