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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON

THE CONTINENT

MDCCCXX

DEDICATION

(SENT WITH THESE POEMS, IN MS., TO

DEAR Fellow-travellers! think not that the muse,
To you presenting these memorial lays,
Can hope the general eye thereon would gaze,
As on a mirror that gives back the hues
Of living Nature; no, though free to choose
The greenest bowers, the most inviting ways,
The fairest landscapes and the brightest days,
Her skill she tried with less ambitious views.
For you she wrought ye only can supply
The life, the truth, the beauty she confides
In that enjoyment which with you abides,
Trusts to your love and vivid memory;
Thus far contented, that for you her verse
Shall lack not power the " 'meeting soul to pierce!"

RYDAL MOUNT, Nov., 1821.

-).

W. WORDSWORTH.

MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON

THE CONTINENT, 1820

FISH-WOMEN. ON LANDING AT CALAIS

'Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold
The likeness of whate'er on land is seen;
But if the Nereid sisters and their queen,
Above whose head the tide so long hath rolled,
The dames resemble whom we here behold,
How fearful were it down through opening waves
To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves,
Withered, grotesque, immeasurably old,
And shrill and fierce in accent! Fear it not:
For they earth's fairest daughters do excel;
Pure undecaying beauty is their lot;

Their voices into liquid music swell,
Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot,

The undisturbed abodes where sea-nymphs dwell!

BRUGÈS

BRUGES I saw attired with golden light
(Streamed from the west) as with a robe of power:
The splendour fled; and now the sunless hour,
That, slowly making way for peaceful night,

Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight
Offers the beauty, the magnificence,
And all the graces left her for defence
Against the injuries of time, the spite
Of fortune, and the desolating storms
Of future war. Advance not, spare to hide,
O gentle power of darkness! these mild hues ;
Obscure not yet these silent avenues

Of stateliest architecture, where the forms
Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide!

BRUGÈS

THE spirit of Antiquity, enshrined

In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,
In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined,

Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind:
Hence forms that glide with swan-like ease along,
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined:
As if the streets were consecrated ground,
The city one vast temple, dedicate
To mutual respect in thought and deed;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;
To social cares from jarring passions freed;
A deeper peace than that in deserts found!

INCIDENT AT BRUGES

IN Brugès town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet
The grass-grown pavement tread.

There heard we, halting in the shade
Flung from a convent-tower,

A harp that tuneful prelude made
To a voice like bird in bower.

The measure, simple truth to tell,
Was fit for some gay throng;
Though from the same grim turret fell
The shadow and the song.

When silent were both voice and chords,
The strain seemed doubly dear,
Yet sad as sweet, for English words
Had dropped upon the ear.

It was a breezy hour of eve;
And pinnacle and spire

Quivered and seemed almost to heave,
Clothed with innocuous fire;

But, where we stood, the setting sun
Showed little of his state;

And, if the glory reached the nun,
'Twas through an iron grate.

Not always is the heart unwise,
Nor pity idly born,

When even a passing stranger sighs
For them who do not mourn.
Sad is thy doom, self-solaced dove,
Captive, whoe'er thou be!

Oh! what is beauty, what is love,
And opening life to thee?

Such feeling pressed upon my soul,
A feeling sanctified

By one soft trickling tear that stole
From the maiden at my side;
Less tribute could she pay than this,
Borne gaily o'er the sea,

Fresh from the beauty and the bliss
Of English liberty?

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