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FANCY IN NUBIBUS.
OR THE POET IN THE CLOUDS.
0! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease,
Just after sunset, or by moonlight skies, To make the shifting clouds be what you please,
Or let the easily persuaded eyes Own each quaint likeness issuing from the mould
Of a friend's fancy; or with head bent low And cheek aslant, see rivers flow of gold
'Twixt crimson banks; and then, a traveller, go From mount to mount through Cloudland, gorgeous
land! Or listening to the tide, with closed sight, Be that blind bard, who on the Chian strand By those deep sounds possessed with inward light
, Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee
Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.
THE TWO FOUNTS.
STANZAS ADDRESSED TO A LADY ON HER RECOVERY
WITH UNBLEMISHED LOOKS, FROM A
SEVERE ATTACK OF PAIN.
'Twas my last waking thought, how it could be, That thou, sweet friend, such anguish shouldst endure; When straight from dreamland came a dwarf, and he Could tell the cause, forsooth, and knew the cure.
| Methought he fronted me with peering look
Fix'd on my heart ; and read aloud in game
In every heart (quoth he) since Adam's sin
Of pleasure only will to all dispense;
As on the driving cloud the shiny bow,
As though the spirits of all lovely flowers,
Even so, Eliza! on that face of thine,
A beauty hovers still, and ne'er takes wing,
Who then needs wonder, if (no outlet found
Sleep, and the dwarf with that unsteady gleam
Till audibly åt length I cried, as though
In every look a barbed arrow send;
THE WANDERINGS OF CAIN.
A PROSE composition, one not in metre at least, seems prima facie to require explanation or apology. It was written in the year 1798, near Nether Stowey, in Somersetshire, at which place (sanctum et amabile nomen! rich by so many associations and recollections) the author had taken up his residence in order to enjoy the of the task at full finger-speed, I hastened to him with my manuscript—that look of humorous despondeney fixed on his almost blank sheet of paper, and then its silent mock-piteous admission of failure struggling with the sense of the exceeding ridiculousness of the whole scheme—which broke up in a laugh : and the Ancient Mariner was written instead.
society and close neighbourhood of a dear and honoured B friend, T. Poole, Esq. The work was to have been
written in concert with another, whose name is too venerable within the precincts of genius to be unnecessarily brought into connexion with such a trifle, and who was then residing at a small distance from Nether Stowey. The title and subject were suggested by myself, who likewise drew out the scheme and the contents for each of the three books or cantos, of which the work was to consist, and which, the reader is to be informed, was to have been finished in one night! My partner undertook the first canto : I the second : and whichever had done first, was to set about the third. Almost thirty years have passed by; yet at this moment I cannot without something more than a smile, moot the question which of the two things was the more impracticable, for a mind so eminently original to compose another man's thoughts and fancies, or for a taste so austerely pure and simple to imitate the Death of Abel ? Methinks I see his grand and noble countenance as at the moment when having despatched my own portion
Years afterward, however, the draft of the plan and proposed incidents, and the portion executed, obtained favour in the eyes of more than one person, whose judgment on a poetic work could not but have weighed with me, even though no parental partiality had been thrown into the same scale, as a make-weight: and I determined on commencing anew, and composing the whole in stanzas, and made some progress in realizing this intention, when adverse gales drove my bark off the “ Fortunate Isles" of the Muses: and then other and more momentous interests prompted a different voyage, to firmer anchorage and a securer port. I have in vain tried to recover the lines from the palimpsest tablet of my memory : and I can only offer the introductory stanza, which had been committed to writing for the purpose of procuring a friend's judgment on the metre, as a specimen.
Encinctured with a twine of leaves,