Notes could we hear as of a fairy shell,
Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught;
Free fancy prized each specious miracle,
And all its finer inspiration caught;
Till, in the bosom of our rustic cell,
We by a lamentable change were taught
That "bliss with mortal man may not abide"—.
How nearly joy and sorrow are allied!
For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,
For us the voice of melody was mute.
But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow,
And give the timid herbage leave to shoot,
Heaven's breathing influence failed not to bestow
A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit,
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content
From blossoms wild of fancies innocent.
It soothed us—it beguiled us—then, to hear
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell;
And griefs whose airy motion comes not near
The pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel;
Then, with mild Una in her sober cheer,
High over hill and low adown the dell
Again we wandered, willing to partake
All that she suffered for her dear lord's sake.
Then, too, this song of mine once more could please,
Where anguish, strange as dreams of restless sleep,
Is tempered and allayed by sympathies
Aloft ascending, and descending deep,
Even to the inferior kinds; whom forest trees
Protect from beating sunbeams, and the sweep
Of the sharp winds ; fair creatures! to whom heaven
A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.