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SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE, IN A
STORM, PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT
I WAS thy neighbour once, thou rugged pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air!
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene'er I looked, thy image still was there;
It trembled, but it never passed away.
How perfect was the calm! it seemed no sleep;
No mood, which season takes away, or brings:
I could have fancied that the mighty deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.
Ah! THEN, if mine had been the painter's hand,
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land,
The consecration, and the poet's dream;
I would have planted thee, thou hoary pile
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
Thou shouldst have seemed a treasure-house divine
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven;
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.
A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made:
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A steadfast peace that could not be betrayed.
So once it would have been, 'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control:
power is gone, which nothing can restore; A deep distress hath humanised my soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been:
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Then, Beaumont, friend! who would have been the friend,
If he had lived, of him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
O'tis a passionate work! yet wise and well,
Well chosen is the spirit that is here;
That hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear!
And this huge castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves,
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time,
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.
Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here.—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
TO THE DAISY
SWEET flower! belike one day to have
A place upon thy poet's grave,
I welcome thee once more:
But he, who was on land, at sea,
My brother, too, in loving thee,
Although he loved more silently,
Sleeps by his native shore.
Ah! hopeful, hopeful was the day
When to that ship he bent his way,
To govern and to guide:
His wish was gained: a little time
Would bring him back in manhood's prime
And free for life, these hills to climb,
With all his wants supplied.
And full of hope day followed day
While that stout ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight;
The May had then made all things green; And, floating there, in pomp serene,
That ship was goodly to be seen,
His pride and his delight!
Yet then, when called ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought:
In more than happy mood
To your abodes, bright daisy flowers!
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers,
A starry multitude.
But hark the word! the ship is gone;
From her long course returns: anon
Sets sail in season due,
Once more on English earth they stand:
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For him and for his crew.
Ill-fated vessel! ghastly shock!
At length delivered from the rock,
The deep she hath regained;
And through the stormy night they steer;
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
To reach a safer shore, how near,
Yet not to be attained!
"Silence!" the brave commander cried;
To that calm word a shriek replied,
It was the last death-shriek.
A few (my soul oft sees that sight)
Survive upon the tall mast's height;
But one dear remnant of the night-
For him in vain I seek.
Six weeks beneath the moving sea
He lay in slumber quietly;
Unforced by wind or wave
To quit the ship for which he died,
(All claims of duty satisfied ;)
And there they found him at her side;
And bore him to the grave.
Vain service! yet not vainly done
For this, if other end were none,
That he, who had been cast
Upon a way of life unmeet
For such a gentle soul and sweet,
Should find an undisturbed retreat
Near what he loved, at last.
That neighbourhood of grove and field
To him a resting-place should yield,
A meek man and a brave!
The birds shall sing and ocean make
A mournful murmur for his sake;
And thou, sweet flower, shalt sleep and wake Upon his senseless grave.
IN MEMORY OF MY BROTHER, JOHN WORDSWORTH,
Commander of the E. I. Company's ship, the Earl of Abergavenny, in which he perished by calamitous shipwreck, Feb. 6th, 1805. Composed near the mountain track, that leads from Grasmere through Grisdale Hawes, where it descends towards Patterdale.
THE sheep-boy whistled loud, and lo!
That instant, startled by the shock,
The buzzard mounted from the rock
Deliberate and slow:
Lord of the air, he took his flight;
Oh! could he on that woeful night
Have lent his wing, my brother dear,
For one poor moment's space to thee,
And all who struggled with the sea,
When safety was so near.
Thus in the weakness of my heart
I spoke (but let that pang be still)
When rising from the rock at will,
I saw the bird depart.
And let me calmly bless the power
That meets me in this unknown flower,
Affecting type of him I mourn!
With calmness suffer and believe,
And grieve, and know that I must grieve,
Not cheerless, though forlorn.
Here did we stop; and here looked round
While each into himself descends,
For that last thought of parting friends
That is not to be found.
Hidden was Grasmere vale from sight,
Our home and his, his heart's delight,
His quiet heart's selected home.
But time before him melts away,
And he hath feeling of a day
Of blessedness to come.