Page images
PDF
EPUB

Along his path? His unprotected bed

What dreams encompassed? Was the intruder nursed
In hideous usages, and rights accursed,

That thinned the living and disturbed the dead?
No voice replies; the earth, the air is mute;

And thou, blue streamlet, murmuring yieldst no more
Than a soft record, that, whatever fruit

Of ignorance thou might'st witness heretofore,
Thy function was to heal and to restore,

To soothe and cleanse, not madden and pollute !

THE STEPPING-STONES

THE struggling rill insensibly is grown
Into a brook of loud and stately march,
Crossed ever and anon by plank or arch;
And, for like use, lo! what might seem a zone
Chosen for ornament, stone matched with stone
In studied symmetry, with interspace

For the clear waters to pursue their race
Without restraint. How swiftly have they flown,
Succeeding, still succeeding! Here the child
Puts, when the high-swoln flood runs fierce and wild,
His budding courage to the proof; and here
Declining manhood learns to note the sly

And sure encroachments of infirmity,
Thinking how fast time runs, life's end how near!

THE SAME SUBJECT

NOT so that pair whose youthful spirits dance
With prompt emotion, urging them to pass;
A sweet confusion checks the shepherd-lass;
Blushing she eyes the dizzy flood askance;

N

To stop ashamed, too timid to advance;
She ventures once again, another pause!
His outstretched hand he tauntingly withdraws-—
She sues for help with piteous utterance!
Chidden she chides again; the thrilling touch
Both feel, when he renews the wished-for aid :
Ah! if their fluttering hearts should stir too much,
Should beat too strongly, both may be betrayed.
The frolic loves, who, from yon high rock, see
The struggle, clap their wings for victory!

THE FAERY CHASM

No fiction was it of the antique age:
A sky-blue stone, within this sunless cleft,
Is of the very footmarks unbereft

Which tiny elves impressed, on that smooth stage
Dancing with all their brilliant equipage

In secret revels, haply after theft

Of some sweet babe-flower stolen, and coarse weed left

For the distracted mother to assuage

Her grief with, as she might! But, where, oh! where

Is traceable a vestige of the notes

That ruled those dances wild in character?

Deep underground? Or in the upper air,
On the shrill wind of midnight? or where floats
O'er twilight fields the autumnal gossamer?

HINTS FOR THE FANCY

ON, loitering muse, the swift stream chides us, on!
Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure
Objects immense portrayed in miniature,
Wild shapes for many a strange comparison !

Niagaras, Alpine passes, and anon
Abodes of Naiads, calm abysses pure,
Bright liquid mansions, fashioned to endure
When the broad oak drops, a leafless skeleton,
And the solidities of mortal pride,

Palace and tower, are crumbled into dust !
The bard who walks with Duddon for his guide,
Shall find such toys of fancy thickly set:

Turn from the sight, enamoured muse, we must ;
Leave them, and, if thou canst, without regret !

OPEN PROSPECT

HAIL to the fields, with dwellings sprinkled o'er,
And one small hamlet, under a green hill
Clustering, with barn and byre, and spouting mill!
A glance suffices; should we wish for more,
Gay June would scorn us.

roar

But when bleak winds

Through the stiff lance-like shoots of pollard ash,
Dread swell of sound! loud as the gusts that lash
The matted forests of Ontario's shore

By wasteful steel unsmitten, then would I
Turn into port; and, reckless of the gale,
Reckless of angry Duddon sweeping by,
While the warm hearth exalts the mantling ale,
Laugh with the generous household heartily
At all the merry pranks of Donnerdale!

"O MOUNTAIN STREAM! THE SHEPHERD AND HIS COT"

O MOUNTAIN Stream! the shepherd and his cot
Are privileged inmates of deep solitude;
Nor would the nicest anchorite exclude
A field or two of brighter green, or plot

Of tillage-ground, that seemeth like a spot
Of stationary sunshine :-thou hast viewed
These only, Duddon! with their paths renewed
By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not.
Thee hath some awful spirit impelled to leave,
Utterly to desert, the haunts of men,

Though simple thy companions were and few;
And through this wilderness a passage cleave
Attended but by thy own voice, save when
The clouds and fowls of the air thy way pursue !

"FROM THIS DEEP CHASM, WHERE
QUIVERING SUNBEAMS PLAY"

FROM this deep chasm, where quivering sunbeams play

Upon its loftiest crags, mine eyes behold

A gloomy NICHE, capacious, blank, and cold;
A concave free from shrubs and mosses grey;
In semblance fresh, as if, with dire affray,
Some statue, placed amid these regions old
For tutelary service, thence had rolled,
Startling the flight of timid yesterday!
Was it by mortals sculptured? weary slaves
Of slow endeavour! or abruptly cast
Into rude shape by fire, with roaring blast
Tempestuously let loose from central caves?
Or fashioned by the turbulence of waves,
Then, when o'er highest hills the deluge passed?

AMERICAN TRADITION

SUCH fruitless questions may not long beguile
Or plague the fancy 'mid the sculptured shows
Conspicuous yet where Oroonoko flows;
There would the Indian answer with a smile

Aimed at the white man's ignorance the while,
Of the GREAT WATERS telling how they rose,
Covered the plains, and, wandering where they chose,
Mounted through every intricate defile,

Triumphant. Inundation wide and deep,
O'er which his fathers urged, to ridge and steep
Else unapproachable, their buoyant way;

And carved, on mural cliff's undreaded side,
Sun, moon, and stars, and beast of chase or prey;
Whate'er they sought, shunned, loved, or deified!1

RETURN

A DARK plume fetch me from yon blasted yew,
Perched on whose top the Danish raven croaks;
Wheeling aloft, the bird of Rome invokes
Departed ages, and still sheds anew

Loose fragments of wild wailing, that bestrew
The clouds and thrill the chambers of the rocks;
And into silence hush the timorous flocks,
That slept so calmly while the nightly dew
Moistened each fleece, beneath the twinkling stars
There couched 'mid that lone camp on Hardknot's
height,

Whose guardians bent the knee to Jove and Mars:
There near that mystic round of Druid frame
Tardily sinking by its proper weight

Deep into patient earth, from whose smooth breast it came !

SEAWAITHE CHAPEL

SACRED Religion! "mother of form and fear,"
Dread arbitress of mutable respect,

New rites ordaining when the old are wrecked,
Or cease to please the fickle worshipper;

1 See Humboldt's Personal Narrative.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »