Page images
PDF
EPUB

Since thy return, through days and weeks

Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks

Hare kindled into health!
The Old, by thee revived, have said,

“ Another year is ours;"
And wayworn Wanderers, poorly fed,

Have smiled upon thy flowers.

Who tripping lisps a merry song

Amid his playful peers ?
The tender Infant who was long

A prisoner of fond fears;
But now, when every sharp-edged blast

Is quiet in its sheath,
His Mother leaves him free to taste

Earth's sweetness in thy breath.

Thy help is with the weed that creeps

Along the humblest ground; No cliff so bare but on its steeps

Thy favours may be found; But most on some peculiar nook

That our own hands have drest, Thou and thy train are proud to look,

And seem to love it best.

And yet how pleased we wander forth

When May is whispering, “Come! “ Choose from the bowers of virgin earth

“ The happiest for your home;

“Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread

“ From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves, “Drops on the mouldering turret's head, “And on your turf-clad graves !

s!

Such greeting heard, away with sighs

For lilies that must fade,
Or 'the rathe primrose as it dies

Forsaken' in the shade!
Vernal fruitions and desires

Are linked in endless chase; While, as one kindly growth retires,

Another takes its place.

And what if thou, sweet May, hast known

Mishap by worm and blight;
If expectations newly blown

Have perished in thy sight;
If loves and joys, while up they sprung,

Were caught as in a snare;
Such is the lot of all the young,

However bright and fair.

Lo! Streams that April could not check

Are patient of thy rule;
Gurgling in foamy water-break,

Loitering in glassy pool:
By thee, thee only, could be sent

Such gentle mists as glide,
Curling with unconfirmed intent,

On that green mountain's side.

How delicate the leafy veil

Through which yon house of God
Gleams 'mid the peace of this deep dale

By few but shepherds trod!
And lowly huts, near beaten ways,

No sooner stand attired
In thy fresh wreaths, than they for praise

Peep forth, and are admired.

Season of fancy and of hope,

Permit not for one hour,
A blossom from thy crown to drop,

Nor add to it a flower!
Keep, lovely May, as if by touch

Of self-restraining art,
This modest charm of not too much,
Part seen, imagined part !

1826–1834.

XL.

LINES

SUGGESTED BY A PORTRAIT FROM THE PENCIL OF F. STONE.

[This Portrait has hung for many years in our principal sitting

room, and represents J. Q. as she was when a girl. The picture, though it is somewhat thinly painted, has much merit in tone and general effect : it is chiefly valuable, however, from the sentiment that pervades it. The Anecdote of the saying of the Monk in sight of Titian's picture was told in this house by Mr. Wilkie, and was, I believe, first communicated to the public in this poem, the former portion of which I was composing at the time. Southey heard the story from Miss Hutchinson, and transferred it to the “Doctor;" but it is not easy to explain how my friend Mr. Rogers, in a note

subsequently added to his “Italy,” was led to speak of the
same remarkable words having many years before been spoken
in his hearing by a monk or priest in front of a picture of the
Last Supper, placed over a Refectory-table in a convent at

Padua.]
BEGUILED into forgetfulness of care
Due to the day's unfinished task; of pen
Or book regardless, and of that fair scene
In Nature's prodigality displayed
Before my window, oftentimes and long
I

gaze upon a Portrait whose mild gleam
Of beauty never ceases to enrich
The common light; whose stillness charms the air,
Or seems to charm it, into like repose;
Whose silence, for the pleasure of the ear,
Surpasses sweetest music. There she sits
With emblematic purity attired
In a white vest, white as her marble neck
Is, and the pillar of the throat would be
But for the shadow by the drooping chin
Cast into that recess—the tender shade,
The shade and light, both there and every where,
And through the very atmosphere she breathes,
Broad, clear, and toned harmoniously, with skill
That might from nature have been learnt in the hour
When the lone shepherd sees the morning spread
Upon the mountains. Look at her, whoe'er
Thou be that, kindling with a poet's soul,
Hast loved the painter's true Promethean craft
Intensely—from Imagination take
The treasure,—what mine eyes behold, see thou,
Even though the Atlantic ocean roll between.

A silver line, that runs from brow to crown And in the middle parts the braided hair,

a

Just serves to show how delicate a soil
The golden harvest grows in; and those eyes,
Soft and capacious as a cloudless sky
Whose azure depth their colour emulates,
Must needs be conversant with upward looks,
Prayer's voiceless service; but now, seeking nought
And shunning nought, their own peculiar life
Of motion they renounce, and with the head
Partake its inclination towards earth
In humble grace, and quiet pensiveness
Caught at the point where it stops short of sadness.

Offspring of soul-bewitching Art, make me
Thy confidant ! say, whence derived that air
Of calm abstraction ? Can the ruling thought
Be with some lover far away, or one
Crossed by misfortune, or of doubted faith?
Inapt conjecture! Childhood here, a moon
Crescent in simple loveliness serene,
Has but approached the gates of womanhood,
Not entered them; her heart is yet unpierced
By the blind Archer-god; her fancy free:
The fount of feeling if unsought elsewhere,
Will not be found.

Her right hand, as it lies
Across the slender wrist of the left arm
Upon her lap reposing, holds—but mark
How slackly, for the absent mind permits
No firmer grasp—a little wild-flower, joined
As in a posy, with a few pale ears
Of yellowing corn, the same that overtopped
And in their common birthplace sheltered it
'Till they were plucked together; a blue flower
Called by the thrifty husbandman a weed;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »