« PreviousContinue »
TO B. R. HAYDON.
“FAIR PRIME OF LIFE.” Fair prime of life! were it enough to gild With ready sunbeams every straggling shower;
And, if an unexpected cloud should lower,
THE SONG OF THE DYING SWAN, I HEARD (alas! 'twas only in a dream) Strains--which, as sage antiquity believed, By waking ears have sometimes been received Wafted adown the wind from lake or stream; A most melodious requiem,-a supreme And perfect harmony of notes, achieved By a fair swan on drowsy billows heaved, O'er which her pinions shed a silver gleam. For is she not the votary of Apollo? And knows she not, singing as he inspires, That bliss awaits her which the ungenial hollow Of the dull earth partakes not, nor desires? Mount, tuneful bird, and join the immortal quires ! She soared-and I awoke,-struggling in vain to follow.
But to promote and fortify the weal
TO THE MEMORY OF RAISLEY CALVERT.
CALVERT! it must not be unheard by them
THE SONNET. Scorn not the sonnet; critic, you have frowned, Mindless of its just honours ;--with this key Shakspeare unlocked his heart; the melody Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound; A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound; Camöens soothed with it an exile's grief;
The sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
THE PEACEFUL MUSE. Not love, nor war, nor the tumultuous swell Of civil conflict, nor the wrecks of change, Nor duty struggling with afflictions strange, Not these alone inspire the tuneful shell; But where untroubled peace and concord dwell, There also is the muse not loth to range, Watching the blue smoke of the elmy grange, Skyward ascending from the twilight dell. Meek aspirations please her, lone endeavour, And sage content, and placid melancholy; She loves to gaze upon a crystal river, Diaphanous, because it travels slowly; Soft is the music that would charm for ever; The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly.
SEPTEMBER, 1815. While not a leaf seems faded, -while the fields, With ripening harvest prodigally fair, In brightest sunshine bask,-this nipping air, Sent from some distant clime where winter wields His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields Of bitter change and bids the flowers beware; And whispers to the silent birds, “Prepare Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields."
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
NOVEMBER. How clear, how keen, how marvellously bright The effluence from yon distant mountain's head, Which, strewn with snow as smooth as heaven can shed, Shines like another sun-on mortal sight Uprisen, as if to check approaching night, And all her twinkling stars. Who now would tread, If so he might, yon mountain's glittering headTerrestrial--but a surface, by the flight Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing, Unswept, unstained ! Nor shall the aërial powers Dissolve that beauty-destined to endure, White, radiant, spotless, exquisitely pure, Through all vicissitudes—till genial spring Have filled the laughing vales with welcome flowers.
COMPOSED DURING A STORM. ONE who was suffering tumult in his soul Yet failed to seek the sure relief of prayer, Went forth-his course surrendering to the care Of the fierce wind, while midday lightnings prowl Insidiously, untimely thunders growl; . While trees, dim seen, in frenzied numbers tear The lingering remnant of their yellow hair, And shivering wolves, surprised with darkness, howl As if the sun were not. He raised his eye Soul-smitten-for, that instant, did appear