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Or nymphs responsive; equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh! the important budget! usher'd in
With such heart-shaking music; who can say
What are its tidings? Have our troops awak'd ?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugg'd,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave ?
Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all ;
I burn to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
Not such is evening, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage :
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage;
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not e'en critics criticise ; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break :-
What is it but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts ambition. On the summit seo
The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims, at least, this praise.
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretells us, always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age;
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald ;
Heaven, earth, and ocean plunder'd of their sweets;
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs :
Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto with his hair on end
At his own wonders—wond'ring for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loopholes of retreat
To peep at such a world ; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns, submitted to my view; turns round,
With all its generations : I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And avarice, that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates ; as the bee
From flower to flower, so he from land to land;
The manners, customs, policy of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleans ;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return-a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Discover countries, with a kindred heart
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes ;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
THE Spring—she is a blessed thing!
She is the mother of the flowers;
She is the mate of birds and bees,
The partner of their revelries,
Our star of hope through wintry hours.
The many children, when they see
Her coming, by the budding thorn,
They leap upon the cottage floor,
They shout beside the cottage door,
And run to meet her night and morn.
They are soonest with her in the woods,
Peeping, the wither'd leaves among,
To find the earliest fragrant thing
That dares from the cold earth to spring,
Or catch the earliest wild-bird's song.
The little brooks run on in light,
As if they had a chase of mirth;
The skies are blue, the air is balm ;
Our very hearts have caught the charm
That sheds a beauty over earth.
The aged man is in the field,
The maiden 'mong her garden flowers;
The sons of sorrow and distress
Are wand'ring in forgetfulness
Of wants that fret and care that lowers.
She comes with more than present good
With joys to store for future years,
From which, in striving crowds apart,
The bow'd in spirit, bruised in heart,
May glean up hope with grateful tears.
Up-let us to the fields away,
And breathe the fresh and balmy air :
The bird is building in the tree,
The flower has open'd to the bee,
And health and love and peace are there.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
* Distinguishes the west; no long thin slip
Of sullen light, no obscure trembling hues.
Come, we will rest on this old, mossy bridge!
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring: it flows silently
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
Most musical, most melancholy Bird !
A melancholy Bird? Oh! idle thought!
In nature there is nothing melancholy.
But some night-wandering man, whose heart was
With the resemblance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper, or neglected love,
(And so, poor wretch ! fill'd all things with himself,
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrow) he, and such as he,
First named these notes a melancholy strain :
And many a poet echoes the conceit;
Poet who hath been building up the rhyme
When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell,
By sun or moon-light, to the influxes
of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful! So his fame
Should share in Nature's immortality,
A venerable thing! and so his song
Should make all Nature lovelier, and itself
Be loved like Nature! But 'twill not be so;
And youths and maidens most poetical,
Who lose the deepening twilights of the spring
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
My Friend, and thou, our Sister! we have learnt
A different lore: we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices, always full of love
And joyance! "Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful that an April night