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Yet why should thoughts like these intrude to scare
The vagrant Happiness, when she will deign
To smile upon us here,
A transient visitor ?
Mortals ! be gladsome while ye have the power,
And laugh and seize the glittering lapse of joy;
In time the bell will toll
That warns ye to your graves.
I to the woodland solitude will bend [shout
My lonesome way-where Mirth's obstreporous
Shall not intrude to break
The meditative hour.
There will I ponder on the state of man,
Joyless and sad of heart, and consecrate
This day of jubilee
To sad reflection's shrine :
And I will cast my fond eye far beyond
This world of care, to where the steeple loud
Shall rock above the sod,
Where I shall sleep in peace.
MAIDEN! wrap thy mantle round thee,
Cold the rain beats on thy breast :
Why should Horror's voice astound thee?
Death can bid the wretched rest !
All under the tree
Thy bed may be,
And thou may'st slumber peacefully.
Maiden ! once gay Pleasure knew thee;
Now thy cheeks are pale and deep :
Love has been a felon to thee,
Yet, poor maiden, do not weep:
There's rest for thee
All under the tree,
Where thou wilt sleep most peacefully.
SOME to Aonian lyres of silver sound
With winning elegance attune their song,
Form'd to sink lightly on the soothed sense,
And charm the soul with softest harmony:
'Tis then that Hope with sanguine eye is seen
Roving through Fancy's gay futurity;
Her heart light dancing to the sounds of pleasure,
Pleasure of days to come.—Memory, too, then
Comes with her sister, Melancholy sad,
Pensively musing on the scenes of youth,
Scenes never to return.*
Alluding to the two pleasing poems, the Pleasures of Hope and of Memory.
Such subjects merit poets used to raise
The attic verse harmonious; but for me
A dreadlier theme demands my backward hand,
And bids me strike the strings of dissonance
With frantic energy.
'Tis wan Despair I sing; if sing I can
Of him before whose blast the voice of Song,
And Mirth, and Hope, and Happiness all fly,
Nor ever dare return. His notes are heard
At noon of night, where on the coast of blood,
The lacerated son of Angola
Howls forth his sufferings to the moaning wind ;
And, when the awful silence of the night
Strikes the chill death-dew to the murderer's heart,
He speaks in every conscience-prompted word
Half utter'd, half suppress'd-
'Tis him I sing-Despair—terrific name,
Striking unsteadily the tremulous chord
Of timorous terror-discord in the sound :
For to a theme revolting as is this,
Dare not I woo the maids of harmony,
Who love to sit and catch the soothing sound
Of lyre Æolian, or the martial bugle,
Calling the hero to the field of glory,
And firing him with deeds of high emprise,
And warlike triumph: but from scenes like mine
Shrink they affrighted, and detest the bard
Who dares to sound the hollow tones of horror.
Hence, then, soft maids,
And woo the silken zephyr in the bowers
By Heliconia's sleep-inviting stream:
For aid like yours I seek not; 'tis for powers
Of darker hue to inspire a verse like mine !
'Tis work for wizards, sorcerers, and fiends! !
Hither, ye furious imps of Acheron, Nurslings of hell, and beings shunning light, And all the myriads of the burning concave; Souls of the damned ;-Hither, oh! come and join The infernal chorus. 'Tis Despair I sing ! He, whose sole tooth inflicts a deadlier pang Than all your tortures join'd. Sing, sing Despair! Repeat the sound, and celebrate his power: Unite shouts, screams, and agonizing shrieks, Till the loud pæan ring through hell's high vault, And the remotest spirits of the deep Leap from the lake, and join the dreadful song.
Not unfamiliar to mine ear,
Blasts of the night! ye howl as now
My shuddering casement loud
With fitful force ye beat.
Mine ear has dwelt in silent awe,
The howling sweep, the sudden rush;
And when the passing gale
Pour'd deep the hollow dirge.
Once more I listen; sadly communing
Within me, once more mark, storm-clothed,
The moon as the dark cloud
Glides rapidly away.
I, deeming that the voice of spirits dwells
In these mysterious moans, in solemn thought
Muse in the choral dance,
The dead man's Jubilee.
Hark! how the spirit knocks,-how loud-
Even at my window knocks,—again :-
I cannot—dare not sleep,-
It is a boisterous night.
I would not, at this moment, be
In the drear forest-groves, to hear
and rude song
Ring o'er the arched aisles.
The ear doth shudder at such sounds
As the embodied winds, in their disport,
Wake in the hollow woods,
When man is gone to sleep.
There have been heard unchristian shrieks,
And rude distemper'd merriment,
As though the autumnal woods
Were all in morrice-dance.
There's mystery in these sounds, and I
Love not to have the grave disturb'd;