« PreviousContinue »
TWILIGHT. Hail, Twilight, sovereign of one peaceful hour I Not dull art thou as undiscerning night: Hut studious only to remove from sight Day's mutable distinctions. Ancient power! Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower, To the rude Briton, when, in wolfskin vest, Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen The self-same vision which we now behold, At thy meek bidding^ shadowy power! brought forth; These mighty barriers, and the gulf between; The floods—the stars—a spectacle as old As the beginning of the heavens and earth!
THE DISTANT TAPER.
Even as the dragon's eye that feels the stress
Of a bedimming sleep, or as a lamp
Suddenly glaring through sepulchral damp,
So burns yon taper mid a black recess
Of mountains, silent, dreary, motionless:
The lake below reflects it not; the sky
Muffled in clouds affords no company
To mitigate and cheer its loneliness.
Yet around the body of that joyous thing,
Which sends so far its melancholy light,
Perhaps are seated in domestic ring
A gay society with faces bright,
Conversing, reading, laughing ;—or they sing,
While hearts and voices in the song unite.
"MARK THE CONCENTRED HAZELS."
Of noontide suns: and even the beams that play
As the cold aspect of a sunless way
Strikes through the traveller's frame with deadlier chil
Oft as appears a grove, or obvious hill,
Glistening with unparticipated ray,
Or shining slope where he must never stray:
So joys remembered without wish or will,
Sharpen the keenest edge of present ill,—
On the crushed heart a heavier burthen lay.
Jtist Heaven, contract the compass of my mind
To fit proportion with my altered state!
Quench those felicities whose light I find
Reflected in my bosom all too late!
Oh, be my spirit like my thraldom, strait;
And, like mine eyes that stream with sorrow, blind
TO A BROOK.
COMPOSED ON THE BANKS OF A ROCKY
"PURE ELEMENT OF WATERS."
Puee element of waters! wheresoe'er
Thou dost forsake thy subterranean haunts.
Green herbs, bright flowers, and berry-bearing plants,
Rise into life and in thy train appear:
And, through the sunny portion of the year,
Swift insects shine, thy hovering pursuivants;
And, if thy bounty fail, the forest pants;
And hart and hind and hunter with his spear,
Languish and droop together. Nor unfelt
In man's perturbed soul thy sway benign;
And, haply, far within the marble belt
Of central earth, where tortured spirits pine
For grace and goodness lost, thy murmurs melt
Their anguish,—and they blend sweet songs with thine.
Was the aim frustrated by force or guile,
When giants scooped from out the rocky ground
Tier under tier—this semicirque profound?
(Giants—the same who built in Erin's isle
That causeway with incomparable toil'.)
Oh, had this vast theatric structure wound
With finished sweep into a perfect round,
No mightier work had gained the plausive smile
Of all-beholding Phcebus! But, alas.
Vain earth !—false world !—Foundations must be 1aid
In heaven; for, mid the wreck of is and Was,
Things incomplete, and purposes betrayed,
Make sadder transits o'er Truth's mystic glass
Than noblest objects utterly decayed.
And mineral crown, beside his jagged urn
Recumbent. Him thou mayst behold, who hides
His lineaments by day, yet there presides,
Teaching the docile waters how to turn;
Or, if need be, impediment to spurn,
And force their passage to the salt-sea tides!
LONG MEG AND HER DAUGHTERS.
A Weight of awe not easy to be borne *
Fell suddenly upon my spirit—cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that sisterhood forlorn;
And her, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years—pre-eminent, and placed
Apart—to overlook the circle vast.
Speak, giant-mother! tell it to the morn
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of night;
Let the moon hear, emerging from a cloud,
At whose behest uprose on British ground
Thy progeny; in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite.
The inviolable God, that tames the proud!
COMPOSED AFTER A JOURNEY ACROSS
THE HAMILTON HILLS. Dark and more dark the shades of evenmg fell; The wished-for point was reached, but late the hour: And little could be gained from all that dower Of prospect, whereof many thousands tell.
• Xliis megalithic monument is near the river Eden. The daughters of Long Meg, placed in a perfect circle, eighty yards in diameter, are seventy-two in number, and from more than three yards above ground, to less than so many feet : a little way out of the circle stands Long Meg herself, a single stone, eighteen feet high.