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WELL, you shall have that song which Leonard wrote:
It was last summer on a tour in Wales :
Old James was with me : we that day had been
Up Snowdon; and I wish'd for Leonard there,
And found him in Llanberis : then we crost
Between the lakes, and clamber'd half way up
The counter side; and that same song of his
He told me ; for I banter'd him, and swore
They said he lived shut up within himself,
A tongue-tied Poet in the feverous days,
That, setting the how much before the how,
Cry, like the daughters of the horseleech,“ Give,
Cram us with all," but count not me the herd!
To which “ They call me what they will,” he said :
" But I was born too late : the fair new forms,
That float about the threshold of an age,
Like truths of Science waiting to be caught-
Catch me who can, and make the catcher crown'd-
Are taken by the forelock. Let it be.
But if you care indeed to listen, hear
These measured words, my work of yestermorn.
“We sleep and wake and sleep, but all things move: The Sun flies forward to his brother Sun; The dark Earth follows wheel'd in her ellipse; And human things returning on themselves Move onward, leading up the golden year.
“Ah, tho' the times, when some new thought can bud, Are but as poets' seasons when they flower, Yet seas, that daily gain upon the shore, Have ebb and flow conditioning their march, And slow and sure comes up the golden year.
“When wealth no more shall rest in mounded heaps, But smit with frëer light shall slowly melt In
many streams to fatten lower lands,
And light shall spread, and man be liker mani
Thro' all the season of the golden year.
“Shall eagles not be eagles ? wrens be wrens?
If all the world were falcons, what of that ?
The wonder of the eagle were the less,
But he not less the eagle. Happy days
Roll onward, leading up the golden year.
"Fly, happy happy sails and bear the Press;
Fly happy with the mission of the Cross ;
Knit land to land, and blowing havenward
With silks, and fruits, and spices, clear of toli,
Enrich the markets of the golden year.
“But we grow old. Ah! when shall all men's good Be each man's rule, and universal Peace Lie like a shaft of light across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro' all the circle of the golden year?”
Thus far he flow'd, and ended; whereupon
“ Ah, folly !” in mimic cadence answer'd James-
“ Ah, folly ! for it lies so far away,
Not in our time, nor in our children's time,
'Tis like the second world to us that live;
'Twere all as one to fix our hopes on Heaven
As on this vision of the golden year.”
With that he struck his staff against the rocks And broke it, -James,-you know him,-old, but full Of force and choler, and firm upon his feet, And like an oaken stock in winter woods, O’erflourish'd with the hoary clematis : Then added, all in heat:
“ What stuff is this ! Old writers push'd the happy season back, The more fools they,—we forward: dreamers both : You most, that in an age, when every hour Must sweat her sixty minutes to the death, Live on, God love us, as if the seedsman, rapt Upon the teeming harvest, should not plunge His hand into the bag : but well I know That unto him who works, and feels he works, This same grand year is ever at the doors.”
He spoke; and, high above, I heard them blast The steep slate-quarry, and the great echo flap And buffet round the hills from bluff to bluff.
It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crays,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not ma
I cannot rest from travel : I will drink
Life to the lees : all times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone ; on shore, and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea : I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known ; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all ;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravellid world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use !
As tho' to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains : but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the islem
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone.
He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port: the vessel puffs her sail :
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd, and wrought, and thought with