Page images
PDF
EPUB

And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers;
Two burning months let summer overleap,
And, coming back with her who will be ours,
Into thy bosom we again shall creep.

STANZAS

Written In My Pocket-copy Of Thomson's "castle Of Indolence"

Within our happy castle there dwelt one

Whom without blame I may not overlook;

For never sun on living creature shone

Who more devout enjoyment with us took:

Here on his hours he hung as on a book,

On his own time here would he float away,

As doth a fly upon a summer brook;

But go to-morrow, or belike to-day,

Seek for him; he is fled; and whither none can say.

Thus often would he leave our peaceful home,

And find elsewhere his business or delight;

Out of our valley's limits did he roam:

Full many a time, upon a stormy night,

His voice came to us from the neighbouring height:

Oft did we see him driving full in view

At mid-day when the sun was shining bright;

What ill was on him, what he had to do,

A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew.

Ah! piteous sight it was to see this man

When he came back to us, a withered flower,

Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan.

Down would he sit; and without strength or power

Look at the common grass from hour to hour:

And oftentimes, how long I fear to say,

Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower,

Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay;

And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away.

Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was

Whenever from our valley he withdrew;

For happier soul no living creature has

Than he had, being here the long day through.

Some thought he was a lover, and did woo:

Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong;

But verse was what he had been wedded to;

And his own mind did like a tempest strong

Come to him thus, and drove the weary wight along.

With him there often walked in friendly guise,
Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree,
A noticeable man with large grey eyes,
And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly
As if a blooming face it ought to be;
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear,
Deprest by weight of musing phantasy;
Profound his forehead was, though not severe;
Yet some did think that he had little business here:

Sweet heaven forefend! his was a lawful right;

Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy;

His limbs would toss about him with delight,

Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy.

Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy

To banish listlessness and irksome care;

He would have taught you how you might employ

Yourself; and many did to him repair,

And certes not in vain; he had inventions rare.

Expedients, too, of simplest sort he tried:

Long blades of grass, plucked round him as he lay,

Made, to his ear attentively applied,

A pipe on which the wind would deftly play;

Glasses he had, that little things display,

The beetle panoplied in gems and gold,

A mailed angel on a battle-day;

The mysteries that cups of flowers enfold,

And all the gorgeous sights which fairies do behold.

He would entice that other man to hear

His music, and to view his imagery:

And, sooth, these two were each to the other dear:

No livelier love in such a place could be:

There did they dwell from earthly labour free,

As happy spirits as were ever seen;

If but a bird, to keep them company,

Or butterfly sate down, they were, I ween,

As pleased as if the same had been a maiden-queen.

LOUISA

AFTER ACCOMPANYING HER ON A MOUNTAIN
EXCURSION

I Met Louisa in the shade,

And, having seen that lovely maid,

With fearless pride I say

That, nymph-like, she is fleet and strong,

And down the rocks can leap along

Like rivulets in May?

And she hath smiles to earth unknown;
Smiles, that with motion of their own
Do spread, and sink, and rise;
That come and go with endless play,
And ever, as they pass away,
Are hidden in her eyes.

She loves her fire, her cottage-home;
Yet o'er the moorland will she roam
In weather rough and bleak;
And, when against the wind she strains,
Oh! might I kiss the mountain rains
That sparkle on her cheek.

Take all that's mine "beneath the moon,"
If I with her but half a noon

May sit beneath the walls
Of some old cave, or mossy nook,
When up she winds along the brook
To hunt the waterfalls.

"STRANGE FITS OF PASSION HAVE
I KNOWN"

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day
Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an evening-moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,

All over the wide lea;

With quickening pace my horse drew nigh

Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide

Into a lover's head!

"O mercy !" to myself I cried,

"If Lucy should be dead!"

SHE DWELT AMONG THE UNTRODDEN

WAYS"

She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise,

And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone

Half hidden from the eye!
Fair as a star, when only one

Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know

When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,

The difference to me!

I TRAVELLED AMONG UNKNOWN MEN

I Travelled among unknown men,

In lands beyond the sea;
Nor, England! did I know till then

What love I bore to thee.

'Tis past, that melancholy dream!

Nor will I quit thy shore
A second time; for still I seem

To love thee more and more.

Among thy mountains did I feel

The joy of my desire;
And she I cherished turned her wheel

Beside an English fire.

« PreviousContinue »