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Reminding him of what had passed between them;
And adding, with a hope to be forgiven.
That it was from the weakness of his heart
He had not dared to tell him who he was.
This done, he went on shipboard, and is now
A seaman, a gray-headed mariner.
WRITTEN IN MY POCKET-COPY OF THOMSON'S
CASTLE OF INDOLENCE." Within our happy castle there dwelt one Whom without blame I may not overlook; For never sun on living creature shone Who more devout enjoyment with us took : Here on his hours he hung as on a book; On his own time here would he float away, As doth a fly upon a summer brook ; But go to-morrow-or belike to-day-Seek for him,-he is fled; and whither none can say. Thus often would he leave our peaceful home, And find elsewhere his business or delight; Out of our valley's limits did he roam : Full many a time, upon a stormy night, His voice came to us from the neighbouring height; Oft did we see him driving full in view At midday when the sun was shining bright; What ill was on him, what he had to do, A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew. Ah! piteous sight it was to see this man When he came back to us, a withered flower,Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan, Down would he sit ; and without strength or power
Look at the common grass from hour to hour :
And oftentimes, how long I fear to say,
Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower,
Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay:
And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away.
Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was
Whenever from our valley he withdrew;
For happier soul no living creature has
Than he had, being here the long day through.
Some thought he was a lover, and did woo :
Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong:
But verse was what he had been wedded to;
And his own mind did like a tempest strong
Come to him thus, and drove the weary wight along,
With him there often walked in friendly guise,
Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree,
A noticeable man with large gray eyes,
And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly
As if a blooming face it ought to be ;
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear
Depressed by weight of musing phantasy;
Profound his forehead was, though not severe;
Yet some did think that he had little business here.
Sweet heaven forefend ! his was a lawful right;
Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy ;
His limbs would toss about him with delight
Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy.
Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy
To banish listlessness and irksome care :
He would have taught you how you might employ
Yourself; and many did to him repair,-
And, certes, not in vain; he had inventions rare.
Expedients, too, of simplest sort he tried :
Long blades of grass, plucked round him as he lay,
Made-to his ear attentively applied-
A pipe on which the wind would deftly play :
Glasses he had that little things display,
The beetle panoplied in gems and gold,
A mailèd angel on a battle day;
The mysteries that cups of flowers infold,
And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold.
He would entice that other man to hear
His music, and to view his imagery :
And, sooth, these two did love each other dear,
As far as love in such a place could be ;
There did they dwell—from earthly labour free,
As happy spirits as were ever seen ;
If but a bird, to keep them company,
Or butterfly sate down, they were, I ween,
As pleased as if the same had been a maiden queen.
TO A BUTTERFLY.
I've watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless !--not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my sister's flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us, on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song:
And summer days when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
A FAREWELL. FAREWELL, thou little nook of mountain ground, Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair Of that magnificent temple which doth bound One side of our whole vale with grandeur rare; Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair, The loveliest spot that man hath ever found, Farewell !—we leave thee to Heaven's peaceful care, Thee, and the cottage which thou dost surround. Our boat is safely anchored by the shore, And safely she will ride when we are gone; The flowering shrubs that decorate our door Will prosper, though untended and alone : Fields, goods, and far-off chattels we have none: These narrow bounds contain our private store Of things earth makes and sun doth shine upon; Here they are in our sight-we have no more. Sunshine and shower be with you, bud and bell! For two months now in vain we shall be sought; We leave you here in solitude to dwell With these our latest gifts of tender thought; Thou, like the morning, in thy saffron coat, Bright gowan, and marsh-marigold, farewell! Whom from the borders of the lake we brought, And placed together near our rocky well.
We go for one to whom ye will be dear;
And she will prize this bower, this Indian shed,
Our own contrivance, building without peer!
A gentle maid, whose heart is lowly bred,
Whose pleasures are in wild fields gathered.
With joyousness, and with a thoughtful cheer,
Will come to you ; to you herself will wed-
And love the blessed life that we lead here.
Dear spot ! which we have watched with tender heed,
Bringing thee chosen plants and blossoms biown
Among the distant mountains, flower and weed,
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own,
Making all kindness registered and known;
Thou for our sakes, though nature's child indeed,
Fair in thyself and beautiful alone,
Hast taken gifts which thou dost little need.
And oh, most constant, yet most fickle place,
That hast thy wayward moods, as thou dost show
To them who look not daily on thy face;
Who, being loved, in love no bounds dost know,
And say'st when we forsake thee, 'Let them go!'
Thou easy-hearted thing, with thy wild race
Of weeds and flowers, till we return be slow,
And travel with the year at a soft pace.
Help us to tell her tales of years gone by,
And this sweet spring the best beloved and best.
Joy will be flown in its mortality ;
Something must stay to tell us of the rest.
Here thronged with primroses, the steep rock's breast
Glittered at evening like a starry sky;
And in this bush our sparrow built her nest,
Of which I sung one song that will not die.