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And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers;
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,
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.
AFTER ACCOMPANYING HER ON A MOUNTAIN
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;
She loves her fire, her cottage-home;
Take all that's mine "beneath the moon,"
May sit beneath the walls
"STRANGE FITS OF PASSION HAVE
Strange fits of passion have I known:
When she I loved looked every day
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;
In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
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
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
And very few to love:
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
The difference to me!
I TRAVELLED AMONG UNKNOWN MEN
I Travelled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea;
What love I bore to thee.
'Tis past, that melancholy dream!
Nor will I quit thy shore
To love thee more and more.
Among thy mountains did I feel
The joy of my desire;
Beside an English fire.