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COMPOSED UPON AN EVENING OF EXTRAORDINARY SPLENDOUR AND BEAUTY

HAD this effulgence disappeared

With flying haste, I might have sent,
Among the speechless clouds, a look
Of blank astonishment;

But 'tis endued with power to stay,
And sanctify one closing day,
That frail mortality may see-
What is? ah no, but what can be!
Time was when field and watery cove
With modulated echoes rang,

While choirs of fervent angels sang

Their vespers in the grove;

Or, ranged like stars along some sovereign height, Warbled, for heaven above and earth below,

Strains suitable to both. Such holy rite,

Methinks, if audibly repeated now

From hill or valley, could not move

Sublimer transport, purer love,

Than doth this silent spectacle, the gleam,
The shadow, and the peace supreme!

No sound is uttered, but a deep

And solemn harmony pervades

The hollow vale from steep to steep,
And penetrates the glades.
Far-distant images draw nigh,

Called forth by wondrous potency
Of beamy radiance, that imbues

Whate'er it strikes with gem-like hues!

In vision exquisitely clear,

Herds range along the mountain side;
And glistening antlers are descried;
And gilded flocks appear.

Thine is the tranquil hour, purpureal eve!
But long as god-like wish, or hope divine,

Informs my spirit, ne'er can I believe
That this magnificence is wholly thine!
From worlds not quickened by the sun
A portion of the gift is won;

An intermingling of Heaven's pomp is spread
On ground which British shepherds tread !

And if there be whom broken ties

Afflict, or injuries assail,

Yon hazy ridges to their eyes

Present a glorious scale,

Climbing suffused with sunny air,
To stop, no record hath told where!
And tempting fancy to ascend,
And with immortal Spirits blend!
Wings at my shoulders seem to play;
But, rooted here, I stand and gaze

On those bright steps that heavenward raise
Their practicable way.

Come forth, ye drooping old men, look abroad,
And see to what fair countries ye are bound!
And if some traveller, weary of his road,
Hath slept since noon-tide on the grassy ground,
Ye Genii! to his covert speed;

And wake him with such gentle heed

As may attune his soul to meet the dower
Bestowed on this transcendent hour!

Such hues from their celestial urn
Were wont to stream before mine eye,
Where'er it wandered in the morn
Of blissful infancy.

This glimpse of glory, why renewed?
Nay, rather speak with gratitude;

For, if a vestige of those gleams

Survived, 'tis only in my dreams.

Dread Power! whom peace and calmness serve No less than Nature's threatening voice,

If aught unworthy be my choice,

From THEE if I would swerve;

Oh, let thy grace remind me of the light
Full early lost, and fruitlessly deplored;
Which, at this moment, on my waking sight
Appears to shine, by miracle restored;
My soul, though yet confined to earth,
Rejoices in a second birth!

'Tis past, the visionary splendour fades ;
And night approaches with her shades.

Note--The multiplication of mountain-ridges, described at the commencement of the third stanza of this ode as a kind of Jacob's ladder, leading to Heaven, is produced either by watery vapours, or sunny haze;-in the present instance by the latter cause. Allusions to the Ode entitled "Intimations of Immortality' pervade the last stanza of the foregoing poem.

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POEMS

COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR

IN THE SUMMER OF MDCCCXXXIII

Having been prevented by the lateness of the season, in 1831, from visiting Staffa and Iona, the author made these the principal objects of a short tour in the summer of 1833, of which the following series of poems is a Memorial. The course pursued was down the Cumberland river Derwent, and to Whitehaven; thence (by the Isle of Man, where a few days were passed) up the Firth of Clyde to Greenock, then to Oban, Staffa, Iona; and back towards England, by Loch Awe, Inverary, Loch Goil-head, Greenock, and through parts of Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, and Dumfries-shire, to Carlisle, and thence up the river Eden, and homewards by Ullswater.

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