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Nor doth the example fail to cheer leaf is sere,

Me, conscious that


And yellow on the bough :

Fall, rosy garlands, from my head!

Ye myrtle wreaths, your fragrance shed Around a younger brow!

Yet will I temperately rejoice;

Wide is the range, and free the choice
Of undiscordant themes;

Which, haply, kindred souls may prize
Not less than vernal ecstasies,
And passion's feverish dreams.

For deathless powers to verse belong,
And they like Demi-gods are strong
On whom the Muses smile;

But some their function have disclaimed,
Best pleased with what is aptliest framed
To enervate and defile.

Not such the initiatory strains
Committed to the silent plains
In Britain's earliest dawn:

Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale,
While all-too-daringly the veil

Of nature was withdrawn!

Nor such the spirit-stirring note
When the live chords Alcæus smote,
Inflamed by sense of wrong;

Woe! woe to Tyrants! from the lyre
Broke threateningly, in sparkles dire
Of fierce vindictive song.

And not unhallowed was the page
By winged Love inscribed, to assuage
The pangs of vain pursuit;

Love listening while the Lesbian Maid
With finest touch of passion swayed
Her own Eolian lute.

O ye, who patiently explore
The wreck of Herculanean lore,
What rapture! could ye seize
Some Theban fragment, or unroll
One precious, tender-hearted, scroll
Of pure Simonides.

That were, indeed, a genuine birth
Of poesy; a bursting forth
Of genius from the dust:

What Horace gloried to behold,

What Maro loved, shall we enfold ?

Can haughty Time be just!



A PEN to register; a key-
That winds through secret wards;
Are well assigned to Memory
By allegoric Bards.


As aptly, also, might be given
A Pencil to her hand;

That, softening objects, sometimes even
Outstrips the heart's demand;

That smoothes foregone distress, the lines
Of lingering care subdues,

Long-vanished happiness refines,
And clothes in brighter hues;

Yet, like a tool of Fancy, works

Those Spectres to dilate

That startle Conscience, as she lurks

Within her lonely seat.

O! that our lives, which flee so fast,

In purity were such,

That not an image of the past

Should fear that pencil's touch!

Retirement then might hourly look
Upon a soothing scene,

Age steal to his allotted nook
Contented and serene;

With heart as calm as lakes that sleep,
In frosty moonlight glistening;
Or mountain rivers, where they creep
Along a channel smooth and deep,
To their own far-off murmurs listening.


[THIS Lawn is the sloping one approaching the kitchen-garden, and was made out of it. Hundreds of times have I watched the dancing of shadows amid a press of sunshine, and other beautiful appearances of light and shade, flowers and shrubs. What a contrast between this and the cabbages and onions and carrots that used to grow there on a piece of ugly-shaped unsightly ground! No reflection however either upon cabbages or onions; the latter we know were worshipped, by the Egyptians, and he must have a poor eye for beauty who has not observed how much of it there is in the form and colour which cabbages and plants of that genus exhibit through the various stages of their growth and decay. A richer display of colour in vegetable nature can scarcely be conceived than Coleridge, my Sister, and I saw in a bed of potatoe-plants in blossom near a hut upon the moor between Inversneyd and Loch Katrine. These blossoms were of such extraordinary beauty and richness that no one could have passed them without notice. But the sense must be cultivated through the mind before we can perceive these inexhaustible treasures of Nature, for such they really are, without the least necessary reference to the utility of her productions, or even to the laws whereupon, as we learn by research, they are dependent. Some are of opinion that the habit of analysing, decomposing, and anatomising is inevitably unfavourable to the perception of beauty. People are led into this mistake by overlooking the fact that such processes being to a certain extent within the reach of a limited intellect, we are apt to ascribe to them that insensibility of which they are in truth the effect and not the cause. Admiration and love, to which all knowledge truly vital must tend, are felt by men of real genius in proportion as their discoveries in natural Philosophy are enlarged; and the beauty in form of a plant or an animal is not made less but more apparent as a whole by more accurate insight into its constituent properties and powers. A Savant who is not also a poet in soul and a religionist in heart is a feeble and unhappy creature.]

THIS Lawn, a carpet all alive

With shadows flung from leaves-to strive

In dance, amid a press

Of sunshine, an apt emblem yields
Of Worldlings revelling in the fields -
Of strenuous idleness;

Less quick the stir when tide and breeze
Encounter, and to narrow seas

Forbid a moment's rest;

The medley less when boreal Lights
Glance to and fro, like aery Sprites
To feats of arms addrest!

Yet, spite of all this eager strife,
This ceaseless play, the genuine life
That serves the stedfast hours,
Is in the grass beneath, that grows
Unheeded, and the mute repose
Of sweetly-breathing flowers.




[THESE verses and those entitled "Liberty" were composed as one piece which Mrs. Wordsworth complained of as unwieldy and ill-proportioned; and accordingly it was divided into two on her judicious recommendation.]

The Rocking-stones, alluded to in the beginning of the following verses, are supposed to have been used, by our British ancestors, both for judicial and religious purposes. Such stones are not uncommonly found, at this day, both in Great Britain and in Ireland.

WHAT though the Accused, upon his own appeal
To righteous Gods when man has ceased to feel,

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