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MBMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE

CONTINENT.

1820.

DEDICATION.

(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!"

W. WORDSWORTH.

Rydal Mount, Nov., 1821.

i.

FISH-WOMEN.—ON LANDING AT CALAIS.

'Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold
The likeness of whate'er on land is seen;

r

But if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen,
Above whose heads the tide so long hath rolled,
The Dames resemble whom we here behold, 5
How fearful were it down through opening waves
To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves,
Withered, grotesque, immeasurably old,
And shrill and fierce in accent!—Fear it not:
For they Earth's fairest daughters do excel; 10
Pure undecaying beauty is their lot;
Their voices into liquid music swell,
Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot,
The undisturbed abodes where Sea-nymphs
dwell!

BRUGES.

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!

in.

BRUGES.

The Spirit of Antiquity—enshrined

In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,

In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined—
Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind: 5
Hence Forms that glide with swan-like ease

along,
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined:
As if the streets were consecrated ground,
The city one vast temple, dedicate 10

To mutual respect in thought and deed;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;
To social cares from jarring passions freed;
A deeper peace than that in deserts found!

INCIDENT AT BRUGES.

In Bruges town is many a street

Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet,

The grass-grown pavement tread.
There heard we, halting in the shade 5

Elung from a Convent-tower,
A harp that tuneful prelude made

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.
When silent were both voice and chords,

The strain seemed doubly dear,
Yet sad as sweet,—for English words 15

Had fallen upon the ear.

It was a breezy hour of eve;
And pinnacle and spire

Quivered and seemed almost to heave,
Clothed with innocuous fire; *o

But, where we stood, the setting sun
Showed little of his state;

And, if the glory reached the Nun,
'Twas through an iron grate.

Not always is the heart unwise, 25

Nor pity idly born,
If even a passing Stranger sighs

For them who do not mourn.
Sad is thy doom, self-solaced dove,

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
By one soft trickling tear that stole 35

From the Maiden at my side;
Less tribute could she pay than this,

Borne gaily o'er the sea;
Fresh from the beauty and the bliss

Of English liberty? 4°

1828. (?)

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
In dreary billows, wood, and meagre cot,
And monuments that soon must disappear:
Yet a dread local recompense we found; 10
While glory seemed hetrayed, while patriot-zeal
Sank in our hearts, we felt as men should feel
With such vast hoards of hidden carnage near,
And horror breathing from the silent ground!

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

still!

VII.

AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.

Was it to disenchant, and to undo,

That we approached the Seat of Charlemaine?

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