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Full soon in sorrow did I weep,
Taught that the mutual hope was dust,
In sorrow, but for higher trust,
How miserably deep!
All vanished in a single word,
A breath, a sound, and scarcely heard.
Sea, ship, drowned, shipwreck, so it came,
The meek, the brave, the good, was gone;
He who had been our living John
Was nothing but a name.
That was indeed a parting! oh,
Glad am I, glad that it is past;
For there were some on whom it cast
But they as well as I have gains;
From many a humble source, to pains
Like these, there comes a mild release;
Even here I feel it, even this plant
Is in its beauty ministrant
To comfort and to peace.
He would have loved thy modest grace, Meek flower! To him I would have said,
"It grows upon its native bed
Beside our parting-place;
There, cleaving to the ground, it lies
With multitude of purple eyes,
Spangling a cushion green like moss;
But we will see it, joyful tide!
Some day, to see it in its pride,
The mountain will we cross."
Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a monumental stone
Stand, sacred as a shrine;
And to the few who pass this way,
Traveller or shepherd, let it say,
Long as these mighty rocks endure,-
Oh do not thou too fondly brood,
Although deserving of all good,
On any earthly hope, however pure ! 1
WHY should we weep or mourn, angelic boy,
For such thou wert ere from our sight removed,
Holy, and ever dutiful, beloved
From day to day with never-ceasing joy,
And hopes as dear as could the heart employ
In aught to earth pertaining? Death has proved
His might, nor less his mercy, as behoved
Death conscious that he only could destroy
The bodily frame. That beauty is laid low
To moulder in a far-off field of Rome;
But Heaven is now, blest child, thy spirit's home:
When such divine communion, which we know,
Is felt, thy Roman burial-place will be
Surely a sweet remembrancer of thee.
Composed at Grasmere, during a walk one evening, after a stormy day, the author having just read in a newspaper that the dissolution of Mr. Fox was hourly expected.
LOUD is the vale! the voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty unison of streams!
Of all her voices, one!
Loud is the vale; this inland depth
In peace is roaring like the sea;
Yon star upon the mountain-top
Is listening quietly.
1 The plant alluded to is the Moss Campion (Silene acaulis, of Linnæus). See among the Poems on the "Naming of Places,"
Sad was I, even to pain deprest,
Importunate and heavy load!1
The comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
And many thousands now are sad,
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who is their stay,
Their glory disappear.
A power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss ;
But when the great and good depart
What is it more than this,
That man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?
Such ebb and flow must ever be,
Then wherefore should we mourn?
(ADDRESSED TO SIR G. H. B. UPON THE DEATH OF HIS SISTER-IN-LAW)
We pay a high and holy debt;
No tears of passionate regret
Shall stain this votive lay;
Ill-worthy, Beaumont! were the grief
That flings itself on wild relief
When saints have passed away.
Was ever spirit that could bend
So graciously? that could descend,
Another's need to suit,
So promptly from her lofty throne?—
In works of love, in these alone,
How restless, how minute!
1 Importuna e grave salma. -MICHAEL ANGELO.
But hushed be every thought that springs
From out the bitterness of things;
Her quiet is secure ;
No thorns can pierce her tender feet,
Whose life was, like the violet, sweet,
As climbing jasmine, pure,
Thou takest not away, O Death
Thou strikest, absence perisheth,
Indifference is no more;
The future brightens on our sight;
For on the past hath fallen a light
That tempts us to adore.
WRITTEN AFTER THE DEATH OF
To a good man of most dear memory
This stone is sacred. Here he lies apart
From the great city where he first drew breath,
Was reared and taught; and humbly earned his bread,
To the strict labours of the merchant's desk
Not seldom did those tasks
Tease, and the thought of time so spent depress,
His spirit, but the recompense was high;
Firm independence, bounty's rightful sire;
Affections, warm as sunshine, free as air;
And when the precious hours of leisure came,
Knowledge and wisdom, gained from converse sweet
With books, or while he ranged the crowded streets
With a keen eye, and overflowing heart:
So genius triumphed over seeming wrong,
And poured out truth in works by thoughtful love
Inspired, works potent over smiles and tears.
And as round mountain-tops the lightning plays,
Thus innocently sported, breaking forth
As from a cloud of some grave sympathy,
Humour and wild instinctive wit, and all
The vivid flashes of his spoken words.
From the most gentle creature nursed in fields
Had been derived the name he bore, a name,
Wherever Christian altars have been raised,
Hallowed to meekness and to innocence;
And if in him meekness at times gave way,
Provoked out of herself by troubles strange,
Many and strange, that hung about his life;
Still, at the centre of his being, lodged
A soul by resignation sanctified:
And if too often, self-reproached, he felt
That innocence belongs not to our kind,
A power that never ceased to abide in him,
Charity, 'mid the multitude of sins
That she can cover, left not his exposed
To an unforgiving judgment from just Heaven.
O, he was good, if e'er a good man lived!
From a reflecting mind and sorrowing heart
Those simple lines flowed with an earnest wish,
Though but a doubting hope, that they might serve
Fitly to guard the precious dust of him
Whose virtues called them forth. That aim is missed;
For much that truth most urgently required
Had from a faltering pen been asked in vain :
Yet, haply, on the printed page received,
The imperfect record, there, may stand unblamed
As long as verse of mine shall breathe the air
Of memory, or see the light of love.
Thou wert a scorner of the fields, my friend, But more in show than truth; and from the fields, And from the mountains, to thy rural grave Transported, my soothed spirit hovers o'er Its green untrodden turf, and blowing flowers; And taking up a voice shall speak (tho' still Awed by the theme's peculiar sanctity