Page images

IMAGINATION. “Wear is the will of man, his judgment blind; Remembrance persecutes, and hope betrays; Heavy is woe ;-and joy, for humankind, A mournful thing, so transient is the blaze!” Thus might he paint our lot of mortal days Who wants the glorious faculty assigned To elevate the more than reasoning mind,

Jour life's dark cloud with orient rays, Imagination is that sacred power, Imagination lofty and refined ; . "Tis hers to pluck the amaranshine flower Of Faith, and round the sufferer's temples bind Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower, And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind.

AN EVENING THOUGHT. It is a beauteous evening, calm and free; The holy time is quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquillity ; The gentleness of heaven is on the sea : Listen! the mighty Being is awake, And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder-everlastingly. Dear child! dear girl! that walkest with me here, If thou appear'st untouched by solemn thought, Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year ; And worshipp'st at the temple's inner shrine, God being with thee when we know it not.

Where lies the land to which yon ship must go?
Festively she puts forth in trim array;
As vigorous as a lark at break of day:
Is she for tropic suns, or polar snow?
What boots the inquiry? Neither friend nor foe
She cares for; let her travel where she may,
She finds familiar names, a beaten way
Ever before her, and a wind to blow.
Yet still I ask, what haven is her mark?
And, almost as it was when ships were rare,
(From time to time, like pilgrims, here and there
Crossing the waters) doubt, and something dark,
Of the old sea some reverential fear,
Is with me at thy farewell, joyous bark!

With ships the sea was sprinkled far and nigh,
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why.
A goodly vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the bay she strode,
“Her tackling rich, and of apparel high.”
This ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a lover's look ;
This ship to all the rest did I prefer :
When will she turn, and whither? She will brook
No tarrying; where she comes the winds must stir:
On went she,--and due north her journey took.


The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers :

Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers ;
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune :
It moves us not. Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forloru;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea ;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

NATURE. A VOLANT tribe of bards on earth are found, Who, while the flattering zephyrs round them play, On coignes of vantage' hang their nests of clay; How quickly from that aery hold unbound, Dust for oblivion! To the solid ground Of Nature trusts the mind that builds for aye; Convinced that there, there only, she can lay Secure foundations. As the year runs round, Apart she toils within the chosen ring; While the stars shine, or while day's purple eye Is gently closing with the flowers of spring;

n the motion of an angel's wing Would interrupt the intense tranquillity Of silent hills, and more than silent sky.

WOODLAND RAMBLES. How sweet it is, when mother fancy rocks The wayward brain, to saunter through a wood! An old place, full of many a lovely brood, Tall trees, green arbours, and ground flowers in flocks;

And wild rose tiptoe upon hawthorn stocks,
Like a bold girl, who plays her agile pranks
At wakes and fairs with wandering mountebanks,-
When she stands cresting the clown's head, and mocks
The crowd beneath her. Verily I think,
Such place to me is sometimes like a dream
Or map of the whole world: thoughts, link by link,
Enter through ears and eyesight, with such gleam
Of all things, that at last in fear I shrink,
And leap at once from the delicious stream.

I am not one who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,
Of friends, who live within an easy walk;
Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors for one feast night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.

“Yet life," you say, “is life ; we have seen and sec,
And with a living pleasure we describe ;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.
Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and glee
Are fostered by the comment and the gibe."
Even be it so: yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true worldlings, rank not me!

Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet,
And part far from them: sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet;
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a slave; the meanest we can meet !

Wings have we, and as far as we can go
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low,
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good :
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There find I personal themes, a plenteous store;
Matter wherein right voluble I am:
To which I listen with a ready ear;
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear-
The gentle lady married to the Moor;
And heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb.

Nor can I not believe but that hereby Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote From evil-speaking ; rancour, never sought, Comes to me not: malignant truth, or lie. Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought: And thus from day to day my little boat Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably. Blessings be with them-and eternal praise, Who gave us nobler loves and nobler cares The poets, who on earth have made us heirs Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays ! Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,

in gladly would I end my mortal days.

« PreviousContinue »