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Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frown'd,
Mindless of its just honours ; with this Key
Shakespeare unlock'd his heart; the melody
Of this small Lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound;
A thousand times this Pipe did Tasso sound;
Camöens sooth'd with it an Exile's grief;
The Sonnet glitter'd a gay myrtle Leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crown'd
His visionary brow: a glow-worm Lamp,
It cheer'd mild Spenser, call’d from Faery-land
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!
LADY! the songs of Spring were in the grove
While I was shaping beds for winter flowers;
While I was planting green unfading bowers,
And shrubs to hang upon the warm alcove,
And sheltering wall; and still, as Fancy wove
The dream, to time and nature's blended powers
I gave this paradise for winter hours,
A labyrinth, Lady! which your feet shall rove.
Yes! when the sun of life more feebly shines,
Becoming thoughts, I trust, of solemn gloom
Or of high gladness you shall hither bring;
And these perennial bowers and murmuring pines
Be gracious as the music and the bloom
And all the mighty ravishment of spring.
COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE, SEPT. 3, 1803.
Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty :
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep !
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep ;
And all that mighty heart is lying still !
I GRIEV'D for Buonaparte, with a vain
And an unthinking grief! for, who aspires
To genuine greatness but from just desires,
And knowledge such as he could never gain?
'Tis not in battles that from youth we train
The Governor who must be wise and good,
And temper with the sternness of the brain
Thoughts motherly, and meek as womanhood. :
Wisdom doth live with children round her knees:
Books, leisure, perfect freedom, and the talk
Man holds with week-day man in the hourly walk
Of the mind's business: these are the degrees
By which true Sway doth mount; this is the stalk
True Power doth grow on and her rights are these.
ON THE EXTINCTION OF THE VENETIAN REPUBLIC.
Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee ;
And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a Maiden City, bright and free;
No guile seduc'd, no force could violate ;
And, when She took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay ;
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
When her long life hath reach'd its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shad
Of that which once was great, is pass'd away.