Out the dark mysteries of human souls
To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls
A vast idea before me, and I glean
Therefrom my liberty : thence too I've seen
The end and aim of Poesy. 'Tis clear
As anything most true; as that the year
Is made of the four seasons-manifest
As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest,
Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I
Be but the essence of deformity,
A coward, did my very eyelids wink
At speaking out what I have dared to think.
Ah! rather let me like a madman run
Over some precipice; let the hot sun
Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down
Convulsed and headlong ? Stay ! an inward frown
Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,
Spreads awfully before me. How much toil !
How many days! what desperate turmoil !
Ere I can have explored its widenesses.
Ah, what a task ! upon my bended knees,
I could unsay those--no, impossible!

For sweet relief I'll dwell On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay Begun in gentleness die so away. E’en now all tumult from my bosom fades : I turn full-hearted to the friendly aids

it ;

That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood, And friendliness, the nurse of mutual good. The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet Into the brain ere one can think

upon The silence when some rhymes are coming out ; And when they're come, the very pleasant rout: The message certain to be done to-morrow. 'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow Some precious book from out its snug retreat, To cluster round it when we next shall meet. Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs Are fluttering round the room like doves in

pairs ; Many delights of that glad day recalling, When first my senses caught their tender falling. And with these airs come forms of elegance Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance, Careless, and grand-fingers soft and round Parting luxuriant curls; and the swift bound Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye Made Ariadne’s cheek look blushingly. Thus I remember all the pleasant flow Of words at opening a portfolio.

Things such as these are ever harbingers To trains of peaceful images: the stirs Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes : A linnet starting all about the bushes : A butterfly, with golden wings broad-parted, Nestling a rose, convulsed as though it smarted

With over-pleasure-many, many more,
Might I indulge at large in all my store
Of luxuries : yet I must not forget
Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet :
For what there may be worthy in these

I partly owe to him : and thus, the chimes
Of friendly voices had just given place
To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace
The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.
It was a poet's house who keeps the keys
Of pleasure's temple-round about were hung
The glorious features of the bards who sung
In other ages-cold and sacred busts
Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts
To clear Futurity his darling fame!
Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim
At swelling apples with a frisky leap
And reaching fingers, ʼmid a luscious heap
Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a

fane Of liney marble, and thereto a train Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward : One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet Bending their graceful figures till they meet Over the trippings of a little child : And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping. See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping

Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs;
A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims
At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion
With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean
Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er
Its rocky marge, and balances once more
The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam
Feel all about their undulating home.
Sappho's meek head was there half smiling

At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
Of over-thinking had that moment gone
From off her brow, and left her all alone.

Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes, As if he always listen’d to the sighs Of the goaded world ; and Kosciusko's, worn By horrid suffrance-mightily forlorn.

Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green, Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy


For over them was seen a free display
Of outspread wings, and from between them shone
The face of Poesy: from off her throne
She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell,
The very sense of where I was might well
Keep sleep aloof: but more than that there came
Thought after thought to nourish up the flame

Within my breast; so that the morning light
Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
Resolving to begin that very day
These lines; and howsoever they be done,
I leave them as a father does his son.

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