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Steange visitation? at Jemimas lip

Thus hadst thou pecked, wild redbreast! Love might say,

A half-blown rose had tempted thee to sip

Its glistening dews; but hallowed is the clay

Which the muse warms; and I, whose head is gray,

Am not unworthy of thy fellowship;

Nor could I let one thought—one motion-—slip

That might thy sylvan confidence betray.

For are we not all his, without whose care

Vouchsafed, no sparrow falleth to the ground?

Who gives his angels wings to speed through air,

And rolls the planets through the blue profound;

Then peck or perch, fond flutterer! nor forbear

To trust a poet in still vision bound.

When Philoctetes in the Lemnian isle
Lay couched;—upon that breathless monument,
On him, or on his fearful bow unbent,
Some wild bird oft might settle, and beguile
The rigid features of a transient smile,
Disperse the tear, or to the sigh give vent,
Slackening the pains of ruthless banishment
From home affections, and heroic toil.
Nor doubt that spiritual creatures round us move,
Griefs to allay that reason cannot heal;
And very reptiles have sufficed to prove
To fettered wretchedness, that no Bastile
Is deep enough to exclude the light of love,
Though man for brother man has ceased to feel.


Whilk they, her playmates once, light-hearted trend The mountain turf and river's flowery marge;

Or float with music in the festal barge;

Rein the proud steed, or through the dance are led:

Is Anna doomed to press a weary bed—'

Till oft her guardian angel, to some charge

More urgent called, will stretch his wings at large.

And friends too rarely prop the languid head.

Yet genius is no feeble comforter:

The presence even of a stuffed owl for her

Can cheat the time; sending her fancy out

To ivied castles and to moonlight skies,

Though he can neither stir a plume, nor shout,

Nor veil, with restless film, his staring eyes.

TO THE CUCKOO. ?$ot the whole warbling grove in concert heard When sunshine follpws shower, the breast can thrill Like the first summons, cuckoo, of thy bill, With its twin notes inseparably paired. The captive, mid damp vaults unsunned, unaired, Measuring the periods of his lonely doom, That cry can reach; and to the sick man's room Sends gladness, by no languid smile declared. The lordly eagle-race through hostile search May perish; time may come when never more The wilderness shall hear the lion roar; But long as cock shall crow from household perch To rouse the dawn, soft gales shall speed thy wins, And thy erratic voice be faithful to the spring!


Unquiet childhood here by special grace
Forgets her nature, opening like a flower
That neither feeds nor wastes its vital power
In painful struggles. Months each other chase.

And nought untunes that infant's voice; a trace

Of fretful temper sullies not her cheek;

Prompt, lively, self-sufficing, yet so meek

That one enrapt with gazing on her face,

Which even the placid innocence of death

Could scarcely make more placid, heaven more bright,

Might learn to picture, for the eye of faith,

The Virgin, as she shone with kindred light \

A nursling couched upon her mother's knee,

Beneath some shady palm of Galilee,

TO ROTHA Q--—. Rotha, my spiritual child! this head was gray When at the sacred font for thee I stood; Pledged till thou reach the verge of womanhood, And shalt become thy own sufficient stay: Too late, I feel, sweet orphan! was the day For steadfast hope the contract to fulfil: Yet shall my blessing hover o'er thee still, Embodied in the music of this lay, Breathed forth beside the peaceful mountain stream Whose murmur soothed thy languid mother's ear After her throes, this stream of name more dear Since thou dost bear it—a memorial theme For others; for thy future self a spell To summon fancies out of time's dark cell.

TO .

Such age how beautiful! O lady bright,

Whose mortal lineaments seem all refined

By favouring nature and a saintly mind

To something purer and more exquisite

Than flesh and blood; whene'er thou meet'st my sight,

When 1 behold thy blanched unwithered cheek,

Thy temples fringed with locks of gleaming white,
And head that droops because the soul is meek,
Thee with the welcome snowdrop I compare,
That child of winter, prompting thoughts that climb
From desolation towards the genial prime;
Or with the moon conquering earth's misty air,
And filling more and more with crystal light
As pensive evening deepens into night.

In my mind's eye a temple, like a cloud
Slowly surmounting some invidious hill,
Rose out of darkness: the bright work stood still,
And might of its own beauty have been pnoud,
Hut it was fashioned and to God was vowed
By virtues that diffused, in every part,
Spirit divine through forms of human art:
Faith had her arch—her arch when winds blow louti.
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled;
And Love her towers of dread foundation laid
Under the grave of things; Hope had her spire
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher;
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice—it said,
"Hell gates are powerless phantoms when we build.

TO .

If these brief records, by the Muses' art
Produced as lonely Nature or the strife
That animates the scenes of public life
Inspired, may in thy leisure claim a part;
And if these transcripts of the private heart
Have gained a sanction from thy falling tears,
Then I repent not: but my soul hath fears
Breathed from eternity; for as a dart

Cleaves the blank air, life flies: now every day

Is but a glimmering spoke in the swift wheel

Of the revolving week. Away, away,

All fitful cares, all transitory -zeal;

So timely grace the immortal wing may heal,

And honour rest upon the senseless clay.


From low to high doth dissolution climb,

And sinks from high to low, along a scale

Of awful notes, whose concord shall not fail

A musical but melancholy chime,

Which they can hear who meddle not with crime,

Nor avarice, nor over-anxious care.

Truth fails not; but her outward forms that bear

The longest date do melt like frosty rime,

That in the morning whitened hill and plain

And is no more; drop like the tower sublime

Of yesterday, which royally did wear

Its crown of weeds, but could not even sustain

Some casual shout that broke the silent air,

Or the unimaginable touch of time.


"Man's life is like a sparrow,* mighty king!
That, stealing in while by the fire you sit
Housed with rejoicing friends, is seen to flit
Safe from the storm, in comfort tarrying.
Here did it enter—there, on hasty wing
Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
But whence it came we know not, nor behold
Whither it goes. Even such that transient thing,

• See the original of this speech in Bede.

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