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But who may rouse their sleeping harmony,
And not torment the strings to grinding discord,
Or vex the hearers with the weary drone
Of half-forgotten lays, like buzzing night-flies,
Thwarting the drowsiness themselves produce.
All, all is stale : the busy ways of men,
The gorgeous terrors of the steel-clad warrior,
The lover's sighs, the fair one's cruelty,
Or that worst state, when love, a rayless fire,
Is sever'd quite from hope and tenderness,
Or dogg’d by base suspicion, hurries onward,
Scared by its own black shadow.—These are themes
Unmeet for thee, or old, or harsh and strange.
The gentler joys, the calm sequester'd hours
Of wedded life: the babble sweet of babes,
That unknown tongue, which mothers best expound,
Which works such witchery on a parent's heart,
Turning grave manhood into childishness,
Till stoic eyes with foolish rheum o'erflow,
And fluent statesmen lisp again,—for love
Will catch the likeness of the thing beloved. -
These have been sung a thousand times before ;
And should I sing of thee and thy soft brilliance,
Thy tender thoughts, in reckless laughter melting,
Thy beautiful soul, that shapes thine outward form
To its own image,—thy essential goodness,
Not thine, but thee,—thy very being's being,
Thy liquid movements, measured by the notes
Of thy sweet spirit's music,—the unearthly sound
Of that beloved voice, less heard than felt,
That wins the wayward heart to peace, and lulls
The inmost nature to that blissful sleep
Which is awake to heaven, and brings no dream,
But foretaste of the best reality :
Then must I modulate empyreal ether
To strains more sweet than mortal sense could bear.
The earliest wish I ever knew
Was woman's kind regard to win;
I felt it long e’er passion grew,
E’er such a wish could be a sin.
And still it lasts ;—the yearning ache
No cure has found, no comfort known:
If she did love, 'twas for my sake,
She could not love me for her own.
She was a queen of noble Nature's crowning,
A smile of her's was like an act of
She had no winsome looks, no pretty frowning,
Like daily beauties of the vulgar race :
But if she smiled, a light was on her face,
A clear, cool kindliness, a lunar beam
Of peaceful radiance, silvering o'er the stream
Of human thought with unabiding glory;
Not quite a waking truth, not quite a dream,
A visitation, bright and transitory.
But she is changed,-hath felt the touch of sorrow,
No love hath she, no understanding friend;
Oh grief! when heaven is forced of earth to borrow,
What the poor niggard earth has not to lend ;
But when the stalk is snapt, the rose must bend.
The tallest flower that skyward rears its head,
Grows from the common ground, and there must shed
Its delicate petals. Cruel fate, too surely,
That they should find so base a bridal bed,
Who lived in virgin pride, so sweet and purely.
She had a brother, and a tender father,
And she was lov’d, but not as others are
From whom we ask return of love, but rather
As one might love a dream ; a phantom-fair
Of something exquisitely strange and rare,
Which all were glad to look on, men and maids,
Yet no one claim'd—as oft, in dewy glades
The peering primrose, like a sudden gladness,
Gleams on the soul—yet unregarded fades—
The joy is ours, but all its own the sadness.
'Tis vain to say—her worst of grief is only
The common lot, which all the world have known,
To her 'tis more, because her heart is lonely,
And yet she hath no strength to stand alone,-
Once she had playmates, fancies of her own,
And she did love them. They are past away
As Fairies vanish at the break of day-
And like a spectre of an age departed,
Or unsphered Angel woefully astray-
She glides along—the solitary hearted.
“ And the rathe primrose that forsaken dies.”
A BROTHER'S LOVE TO HIS SISTER.
Full ill, I ween, can measured speech reveal
Or thought embody, what true bosoms feel,
For hollow falsehood long has set her sign
On each soft phrase that speaks a love like mine :
The choicest terms are now enfeoff’d to folly,
To vain delight, or wilful melancholy.
Oh! for a virgin speech, a strain untainted
By worldly use, with holy meaning sainted,
Thoughts to conceive, and words devote to tell
The strength divine of love, its secret spell,
Of brother's love, that is within the heart
A spiritual essence, and exists apart
From passion, vain opinion, hopes and fears,
And every pregnant cause of smiles and tears.
A life that owes no fealty to the will,
Nor takes infection of connateral ill-
That feels no hunger and admits no doubt,
Nor asks for succour of the world without,
But is, itself, its own perfected end,
The one sole point to which its workings tend.
A love like this so pure of earthly leaven,
That hath no likeness in the earth or heaven,