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(BY THE SEASIDE)

THE Sun is Couched, the sea-fowl gone to rest,
And the wild storm hath somewhere found a nest;
Air slumbers, wave with wave no longer strives,
Only a heaving of the deep survives,

A tell-tale motion! soon will it be laid,
And by the tide alone the water swayed.
Stealthy withdrawings, interminglings mild
Of light with shade in beauty reconciled.
Such is the prospect far as sight can range,
The soothing recompense, the welcome change,
Where now the ships that drove before the blast,
Threatened by angry breakers as they passed;
And by a train of flying clouds bemocked;
Or, in the hollow surge, at anchor rocked
As on a bed of death? Some lodge in peace,
Saved by his care who bade the tempest cease;
And some, too heedless of past danger, court
Fresh gales to waft them to the far-off port;
But near, or hanging sea and sky between,
Not one of all those wingèd powers is seen,
Seen in her course, nor 'mid this quiet heard;
Yet oh! how gladly would the air be stirred
By some acknowledgment of thanks and praise,
Soft in its temper as those vesper lays
Sung to the Virgin while accordant oars
Urge the slow bark along Calabrian shores;
A sea-born service through the mountains felt
Till into one loved vision all things melt:

Or like those hymns that soothe with graver sound
The gulfy coast of Norway iron-bound;
And, from the wide and open Baltic, rise
With punctual care, Lutherian harmonies.
Hush, not a voice is here! but why repine,
Now when the star of eve comes forth to shine
On British waters with that look benign?

Ye mariners, that plough your onward way,
Or in the haven rest, or sheltering bay,

May silent thanks at least to God be given

With a full heart; "our thoughts are heard in heaven!"

(BY THE SIDE OF RYDAL MERE)

THE linnet's warble, sinking towards a close,
Hints to the thrush 'tis time for their repose;
The shrill-voiced thrush is heedless, and again
The monitor revives his own sweet strain;
But both will soon be mastered, and the copse
Be left as silent as the mountain-tops,

Ere some commanding star dismiss to rest
The throng of rooks, that now, from twig or nest,
(After a steady flight on home-bound wings,
And a last game of mazy hoverings

Around their ancient grove) with cawing noise
Disturb the liquid music's equipoise.

O Nightingale! Who ever heard thy song
Might here be moved, till fancy grows so strong
That listening sense is pardonably cheated
Where wood or stream by thee was never greeted.
Surely, from fairest spots of favoured lands,
Were not some gifts withheld by jealous hands,
This hour of deepening darkness here would be
As a fresh morning for new harmony;

And lays as prompt would hail the dawn of night:
A dawn she has both beautiful and bright,
When the east kindles with the full moon's light;
Not like the rising sun's impatient glow
Dazzling the mountains, but an overflow
Of solemn splendour, in mutation slow.

Wanderer by spring with gradual progress led, For sway profoundly felt as widely spread;

To king, to peasant, to rough sailor, dear,
And to the soldier's trumpet-wearied ear;
How welcome wouldst thou be to this green vale
Fairer than Tempe! Yet, sweet nightingale !
From the warm breeze that bears thee on, alight
At will, and stay thy migratory flight;

Build, at thy choice, or sing, by pool or fount,
Who shall complain, or call thee to account?
The wisest, happiest, of our kind are they
That ever walk content with Nature's way,
God's goodness, measuring bounty as it may;
For whom the gravest thought of what they miss,
Chastening the fulness of a present bliss,
Is with that wholesome office satisfied,
While unrepining sadness is allied

In thankful bosoms to a modest pride.

"SOFT AS A CLOUD IS YON BLUE
RIDGE"

SOFT as a cloud is yon blue ridge, the mere
Seems firm as solid crystal, breathless, clear,
And motionless; and, to the gazer's eye,
Deeper than ocean, in the immensity
Of its vague mountains and unreal sky!
But, from the process in that still retreat,
Turn to minuter changes at our feet;
Observe how dewy twilight has withdrawn
The crowd of daisies from the shaven lawn,
And has restored to view its tender green,
That, while the sun rode high, was lost beneath their
dazzling sheen.

An emblem this of what the sober hour

Can do for minds disposed to feel its power!
Thus oft, when we in vain have wished away
The petty pleasures of the garish day,
Meek eve shuts up the whole usurping host
(Unbashful dwarfs each glittering at his post)

And leaves the disencumbered spirit free
To reassume a staid simplicity.

"Tis well, but what are helps of time and place,
When wisdom stands in need of nature's grace;
Why do good thoughts, invoked or not, descend,
Like angels from their bowers, our virtues to befriend;
If yet to-morrow, unbelied, may say,

"I come to open out, for fresh display, The elastic vanities of yesterday?"

"THE LEAVES THAT RUSTLED ON THIS OAK-CROWNED HILL”

THE leaves that rustled on this oak-crowned hill,
And sky that danced among those leaves, are still ;
Rest smooths the way for sleep; in field and bower
Soft shades and dews have shed their blended power
On drooping eyelid and the closing flower;
Sound is there none at which the faintest heart
Might leap, the weakest nerve of superstition start;
Save when the owlet's unexpected scream
Pierces the ethereal vault; and ('mid the gleam
Of unsubstantial imagery, the dream,

From the hushed vale's realities, transferred
To the still lake) the imaginative bird

Seems, 'mid inverted mountains, not unheard.

Grave creature!--whether, while the moon shines

bright

On thy wings opened wide for smoothest flight,
Thou art discovered in a roofless tower,

Rising from what may once have been a lady's bower;
Or spied where thou sitt'st moping in thy mew
At the dim centre of a churchyard yew;

Or from a rifted crag or ivy tod

Deep in a forest, thy secure abode,

Thou giv'st, for pastime's sake, by shriek or shout,
A puzzling notice of thy whereabout,

May the night never come, nor day be seen,
When I shall scorn thy voice or mock thy mien !
In classic ages men perceived a soul
Of sapience in thy aspect, headless owl!
Thee Athens reverenced in the studious grove;
And near the golden sceptre grasped by Jove,
His eagle's favourite perch, while round him sate
The Gods revolving the decrees of fate,

Thou, too, wert present at Minerva's side:
Hark to that second larum! far and wide
The elements have heard, and rock and cave replied

IMPROMPTU

This impromptu appeared, many years ago, among the author's poems, from which, in subsequent editions, it was excluded. It is reprinted at the request of the friend in whose presence the lines were thrown off.

THE Sun has long been set,

The stars are out by twos and threes,
The little birds are piping yet

Among the bushes and trees;

There's a cuckoo, and one or two thrushes

And a far-off wind that rushes,

With a sound of water that gushes

And the cuckoo's sovereign cry

Fills all the hollow of the sky.
Who would go "parading

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In London, "and masquerading,"
On such a night of June

With that beautiful soft half-moon,
And all these innocent blisses?

On such a night as this is!

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