« PreviousContinue »
MBMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE
(SENT WITH THESE POEMS, IN MS., TO .)
Dear Fellow-travellers! think not that the Muse,
To You presenting these memorial Lays,
Can hope the general eye thereon would gaze,
As on a mirror that gives back the hues
Of living Nature; no—though free to choose
The greenest bowers, the most inviting ways,
The fairest landscapes and the brightest days—
Her skill she tried with less ambitious views.
For You she wrought: Ye only can supply
The life, the truth, the beauty: she confides
In that enjoyment which with You abides,
Trusts to your love and vivid memory;
Thus far contented, that for You her verse
Shall lack not power the "meeting soul to pierce!"
Rydal Mount, Nov., 1821.
FISH-WOMEN.—ON LANDING AT CALAIS.
'Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold
But if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen,
Bruges I saw attired with golden light (Streamed from the west) as with a robe of
power: The splendour fled; and now the sunless hour, That, slowly making way for peaceful night, Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight 5 Offers the beauty, the magnificence, And sober graces, left her for defence Against the injuries of time, the spite Of fortune, and the desolating storms Of future war. Advance not—spare to hide, 10 O gentle Power of darkness! these mild hues; Obscure not yet these silent avenues Of stateliest architecture, where the Forms Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide!
The Spirit of Antiquity—enshrined
In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,
In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
To mutual respect in thought and deed;
INCIDENT AT BRUGES.
In Bruges town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled;
The grass-grown pavement tread.
Elung from a Convent-tower,
To a voice of thrilling power.
The measure, simple truth to tell,
Was fit for some gay throng; 10
Though from the same grim turret fell
The shadow and the song.
The strain seemed doubly dear,
Had fallen upon the ear.
It was a breezy hour of eve;
Quivered and seemed almost to heave,
But, where we stood, the setting sun
And, if the glory reached the Nun,
Not always is the heart unwise, 25
Nor pity idly born,
For them who do not mourn.
Captive, whoe'er thou be! 30
Oh! what is beauty, what is love,
And opening life to thee?
Such feeling pressed upon my soul,
A feeling sanctified
From the Maiden at my side;
Borne gaily o'er the sea;
Of English liberty? 4°
AFTER VISITING THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.
A Winged Goddess—clothed in vesture wrought Of rainbow colours; One whose port was bold, Whose overburthened hand could scarcely hold The glittering crowns and garlands which it
brought— Hovered in air above the far-famed Spot. 5 She vanished; leaving prospect blank and cold
Of wind-swept corn that wide around us rolled
BETWEEN NAMUR AND LIEGE.
What lovelier home could gentle Fancy
choose? Is this the stream, whose cities, heights, and
plains, War's favourite playground, are with crimson
stains Familiar, as the Morn with pearly dews? The Morn, that now, along the silver Meusb, 5 Spreading her peaceful ensigns, calls the swains To tend their silent boats and ringing wains, Or strip the bough whose mellow fruit bestrews The ripening corn beneath it. As mine eyes Turn from the fortified and threatening hill, 10 How sweet the prospect of yon watery glade, With its grey rocks clustering in pensive
shade—. That, shaped like old monastic turrets, rise From the smooth meadow-ground, serene and
Was it to disenchant, and to undo,
That we approached the Seat of Charlemaine?