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Such is Joy; as quickly hidden,
Or mis-shapen to the sight,
And by sullen weeds forbidden
To resume its native light.
What is youth? A dancing billow,
(Winds behind, and rocks before!)
Age? A drooping, tottering willow
On a flat and lazy shore.
What is peace? When pain is over,
And love ceases to rebel,
Let the last faint sigh discover
That precedes the passing-knell !
PAUSE, traveller! whosoe'er thou be
Whom chance may lead to this retreat,
Where silence yields reluctantly
Even to the fleecy straggler's bleat;
Give voice to what my hand shall trace,
And fear not lest an idle sound
Of words unsuited to the place
Disturb its solitude profound.
I saw this rock, while vernal air
Blew softly o'er the russet heath,
Uphold a monument as fair
As church or abbey furnisheth.
Unsullied did it meet the day,
Like marble, white, like ether, pure;
As if, beneath, some hero lay,
Honoured with costliest sepulture.
My fancy kindled as I gazed;
And, ever as the sun shone forth,
The flattered structure glistened, blazed,
And seemed the proudest thing on earth.
But frost had reared the gorgeous pile
Unsound as those which fortune builds--
To undermine with secret guile,
Snapped by the very beam that gilds.
And, while I gazed, with sudden shock
Fell the whole fabric to the ground;
And naked left this dripping rock,
With shapeless ruin spread around!
"HAST THOU SEEN, WITH FLASH
HAST thou seen, with flash incessant,
Bubbles gliding under ice,
Bodied forth and evanescent,
No one knows by what device?
Such are thoughts! A wind-swept meadow
Mimicking a troubled sea,
Such is life; and death a shadow
From the rock eternity!
NEAR THE SPRING OF THE HERMITAGE
TROUBLED long with warring notions
Long impatient of thy rod,
I resign my soul's emotions
Unto thee, mysterious God!
What avails the kindly shelter
Yielded by this craggy rent,
If my spirit toss and welter
On the waves of discontent?
Parching summer hath no warrant
To consume this crystal well;
Rains, that make each rill a torrent,
Neither sully it nor swell.
Thus, dishonouring not her station,
Would my life present to thee,
Gracious God, the pure oblation
Of divine tranquillity!
FOR THE SPOT WHERE THE HERMITAGE STOOD ON ST. HERBERT'S ISLAND,
IF thou in the dear love of some one friend
Hast been so happy that thou know'st what thoughts
Will sometimes in the happiness of love
Make the heart sink, then wilt thou reverence
This quiet spot; and, stranger! not unmoved
Wilt thou behold this shapeless heap of stones,
The desolate ruins of St. Herbert's cell.
Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof That sheltered him, a self-secluded man,
After long exercise in social cares
And offices humane, intent to adore
The Deity, with undistracted mind,
And meditate on everlasting things,
A Fellow-labourer, whom the good man loved
As his own soul. And, when with eye upraised
To heaven he knelt before the crucifix,
While o'er the lake the cataract of Lodore
Pealed to his orisons, and when he paced
Along the beach of this small isle and thought
Of his companion, he would pray that both
(Now that their earthly duties were fulfilled)
Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain
So prayed he: as our chronicles report,
Though here the hermit numbered his last day
Far from St. Cuthbert his belovèd friend,
Those holy men both died in the same hour.