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The sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned
His visionary brow: a glowworm lamp,
It cheered mild Spenser, called from fairyland
To struggle through dark ways; and when a damp
Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The thing became a trumpet, whence he blew
Soul-animating strains—alas, too few I

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 el my 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.


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 icv 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

To nature's tuneful quire, this rustling dry

Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky,

Announce a season potent to renew,

Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song,

And nobler cares than listless summer knew.


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 head—

Terrestrial—but a surface, by the flight

Of sad mortality's earth-sullying wing,

Unswept, unstained! Nor shall the aerial 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.


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

Large space, mid dreadful clouds, of purest sky,
An azure orb—shield of tranquillity,
Invisible, unlooked-for minister
Of providential goodness ever nigh!


Lone flower, hemmed in with snows, and white as they,

But hardier far, once more I see thee bend

Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,

Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,

Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay

The rising sun, and on the plains descend;

Vet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend

Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May

Shall soon behold this border thickly set

With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing

On the soft west wind, and his frolic peers;

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,

Chaste snowdrop, venturous harbinger of spring,

And pensive monitor of fleeting years!


When haughty expectations prostrate lie,

And grandeur crouches like a guilty thing.

Oft shall the lowly weak, till nature bring

Mature release, in fair society

Survive, and fortune's utmost anger try;

Like these frail snowdrops that together cling,

And nod their helmets smitten by the wing

Of many a furious whirl-blast sweeping by.

Observe the faithful flowers! if small to great

May lead the thoughts, thus struggling used to staud

The Emathian phalanx, nobly obstinate;
And so the bright immortal The ban band,
Whom onset, fiercely urged at Jove's command,
Alight overwhelm, but could not separate!


The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand;

The sun is peopled ; and with spirits blest,

Say, can the gentle moon be unpossessed?

Huge ocean shows, within his yellow strand,

A habitation marvellously planned,

For life to occupy in love and rest;

All that we see—is dome, or vault, or nest,

Or fort, erected at her sage command.

Is this a vernal thought? Even so, the spring

Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart,

Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring;

And while the youthful year's prolific art—

Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower—was fashioning

Abodes, where self-disturbance hath no part.

THE PLEASURE OF POETIC PAINS. There is a pleasure in poetic pains Which onlv poets know;—'twas rightly said, Whom could the muses else allure to tread Their smoothest paths, to wear their lightest chains When happiest fancy has inspired the strains, How oft the malice of one luckless word Pursues the enthusiast to the social board, Haunts him belated on the silent plains! Yet he repines not, if his thought'stand clear At last of hindrance and obscurity, Fresh as the star that crowns the brow of morn; Hright, specldess as a softly-moulded tear

The moment it has left the virgin's eye,
Or raindrop lingering on the pointed thorn.


The shepherd, looking eastward, softly said,

"Bright is thy veil, O moon, as thou art bright!"

Forthwith, that little cloud, in ether spread,

And penetrated all with tender light,

She cast away, and showed her fulgent head

Uncovered; dazzling the beholder's sight

As if to vindicate her beauty's right,

Her beauty thoughtlessly disparaged.

Meanwhile that veil, removed or thrown aside,

Went floating from her, darkening as it went;

And a huge mass, to bury or to hide,

Approached the glory of this firmament;

Who meekly yields, and is obscured :—content

With one calm triumph of a modest pride.

TO THE MOON. With how sad steps, O moon, thou climb'st the sky: How silently, and with how wan a face 1 Where art thou? Thou whom I have seen on high Running among the clouds a wood-nymph's race! Unhappy nuns, whose common breath's a sigh Which they would stifle, move at such a pace 1 The northern wind, to call thee to the chase. Must blow to-night his bugle-horn. Had I The power of Merlin, goddess! this should be: And the keen stars, fast as the clouds were riven, Should sally forth, an emulous company, Sparkling and hurrying through the clear blue heaven; But, Cynthia! should to thee the palm be given, Queen both for beauty and for majesty.

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