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Where the fountains are mute, or in secrecy flow-
That sits—where the air is shrill and bleak,
On the splinter'd point of a shiver'd peak-
Where the weeds lie close—and the grass sings sharp,
To a comfortless tune--like a wintry harp--
Bald-headed and stripp'd !-like a vulture torn
In wind and strife !_with her feathers worn,
And ruffled and stain'd—while scattering—bright,
Round her serpent-neck—that is writhing, bare-
Is a crimson collar of gleaming hair !--
Like the crest of a warrior thinn'd in the fight,
And shorn—and bristling-see her! where
She sits in the glow of the sun-bright air!
With wing half-poised--and talons bleeding-
And kindling eye—as if her prey
Had-suddenly—been snatch'd away-
While she was tearing it, and feeding!
A Bird that first to worship the sun,
When he gallops in flame—'t ill the cloud tides run
In billows of fire-as his course is done:
Above where the fountain is gushing in light;
Above where the torrent is forth in its might-
Like an imprison'd blaze that is bursting from night!
Or a lion that springs—with a roar--froin his lair !
Bounding off-all in foam—from the echoing height-
Like a rank of young war-horses—terribly bright,
Their manes all erect !-and their hoofs in the air!
The earth shaking under them—trumpets on high-
And banners unfurling away in the sky-
With the neighing of steeds! and the streaming of hair Above where the silvery flashing is seenThe striping of waters, that skip o'er the green, And soft, spongy moss, where the fairies have been, Bending lovely and bright in the young Morning's eye Like ribands of flame-or the bow of the sky: Above that dark torrent-above the bright streamThe gay ruddy fount, with the changeable gleam, Where the lustre of heaven eternally playsThe voice may be heard—of the thunderer's bird, Calling out to her god in a clear, wild scream, As she mounts to his throne, and unfolds in his beam;
While her young are laid out in his rich red blaze;
And their winglets are fledged in his hottest rays: Proud bird of the cliff! where the barren-yew springsWhere the sunshine stays—and the wind-harp sings, Where the heralds of battle sit-pluming their wings.me
A scream! she's awake-over hill-top and flood;
A crimson light runs !-like the gushing of blood
Over valley and rock!-over mountain and wood
That bird is abroad-in the van of her brood!
* The Bird that laves
Her sounding pinions in the sun's first gush-
Drinks his meridian blaze and sunset flush:
Worships her idol in his fiercest hour:
Bathes her full bosom in his hottest shower:
Sits amid stirring stars, and bends her beak,
Like the slipp'd falcon—when her piercing shriek
Tells that she stoops upon her cleaving wing,
To drink anew some victim's clear-red
That monarch Bird ! that slumbers in the night
Upon the lofty air-peak’s utmost height:
Or sleeps upon the wing—amil the ray
Of steady-cloudless-everlasting day!
Rides with the Thunderer in his blazing march:
And bears his lightnings o'er yon boundless arch:
Soars wheeling through the storm, and screams away
Where the young pinions of the morning play.
THE SOLDIER'S VISIT TO HIS FAMILY.
And there the stranger stays: beneath that oak,
Whose shatter'd majesty hath felt the stroke
Of heaven's own thunder-yet it proudly heaves
A giant sceptre wreathed with blasted leaves-
As though it dared the elements, and stood
The guardian of that cot--the monarch of that wood.
Beneath its venerable vault he stands :
And one might think, who saw his outstretch'd hands,
That something more than soldiers e'er may feel,
Had touch'd him with its holy, calm appeal:
That yonder wave—the heaven—the earth the air
Had call’d upon his spirit for her prayer.
His eye goes dimly o'er the midnight scene :
The oak—the cotthe wood-the faded green-
The moon—the sky—the distant moving light-
All! all are gathering on his dampen'd sight.
His warrior-helm and plume, his fresh-dyed blade
Beneath a window, on the turf are laid;
The panes are ruddy through the clambering vines
And blushing leaves, that Summer intertwines
In warmer tint3 than e'er luxuriant Spring,
O’er flower-embosom'd roof led wandering.
His pulses quicken-for a rude old door
Is open'd by the wind: he sees the floor
Strew'd with white sand, on which he used to trace
His boyhood's battles--and assign a place
To charging hosts-and give the Indian yell—
And shout to hear his hoary grandsire tell,
How he had fought with savages, whose breath
He felt upon his cheek like mildew till his death.
Hark !--that sweet song !-how full of tenderness:
O, who would breathe in this voluptuous press
Of lulling thoughts !-so soothing and so low;
Like singing fountains in their faintest flow-
It is as if some holy-lovely thing,
Within our very hearts were murmuring.
The soldier listens, and his arms are prest
In thankfulness, and trembling on his breast:
Now on the very window where he stands
Are seen a clambering infant's rosy hands:
And now-ah heaven !-blessings on that smile!-
Stay, soldier stay-0, linger yet awhile !
An airy vision now appears, with eyes-
As tender as the blue of weeping skies:
in their radiance, as that blue
When sunset glitters on its falling dew:
With form--all joy and dance-as bright and free
As youthful nymph of mountain Liberty:
Or naked angels dreamt by poesy :
A blooming infant to her heart is prest;
And ah-a mother's song is lulling it to rest!
A youthful mother! God of heaven!
A thing beneath the skies, so holy or so fair!
A single bound! our chief is standing by
Trembling from head to foot with ecstacy-
“ Bless thee!” at length he murmur'd—bless thee, love!
“ My wife !my boy:"_Their eyes are raised above.
His soldier's tread of sounding strength is gone :
A choking transport drowns his manly tone.
He sees the closing of that mild, blue eye,
His bosom echoes to a faint low cry:
His glorious boy springs freshly from his sleep;
Shakes his thin sun-curls, while his eye-beams leap
As half in fear, along the stranger's dress,
Then, half advancing, yields to his caress :-
Then, peers beneath his locks, and seeks his eye
With the clear look of radiant infancy,
The cherub smile of love, the azure of the sky.
The stranger now is kneeling by the side
Of that young mother,—watching for the tide
Of her returning life:-it comes
Goes—faintly—slowly-o'er her cheek and brow :
A rising of the gauze that lightly shrouds
A snowy breast-like twilight's melting clouds
In nature's pure, still eloquence, betrays
The feelings of the heart that reels beneath his gaze.
She lives! she lives-see how her feelings speak, Through what transparency of eye and cheek! Her color comes and goes, like that faint ray, That flits o'er lilies at the close of day. O, nature, how omnipotent!—that sighThat youthful mother in her ecstacy, Feels but the wandering of a husband's eye. Her lip now ripens, and her heaving breast Throbs wildly in its light, and now subsides to rest.
'Tis dark abroad. The majesty of night Bows down superbly from her utmost height: Stretches her starless plumes across the world; And all the banners the wind are furld. How heavily we breathe amid such gloom! As if we slumber'd in creation's tomb. It is the noon of that tremendous hour, When life is helpless, and the dead have power: When solitudes are peopled: when the sky Is swept by shady wings that, sailing by, Proclaim their watch is set; when hidden rills Are chirping on their course; and all the hills Are bright with armor :--when the starry vests And glittering plumes, and fiery twinkling crests Of moon-light sentinels, are sparkling round, And all the air is one rich floating sound: When countless voices, in the day unheard, Are piping from their haunts: and every bird That loves the leafy wood, and blooming bower, And echoing cave, is singing to her flower: When every lovely-every lonely place,
Is ringing to the light and sandal'd pace
Of twinkling feet; and all about, the flow
Of new-born fountains murmuring as they go :
When watery tunes are richest—and the call
Of wandering streamlets, as they part and fall
In foaming melody, is all around:
Like fairy harps beneath enchanted ground,
Sweet drowsy distant music! like the breath
Of airy flutes that blow before an infant's death.
It is that hour when listening ones will weep And know not why: when we would gladly sleep Our last-last sleep; and feel no touch of fear,
Unconscious where we are-or what is near, Till we are startled by a falling tear, That unexpected gather'd in our eye, While we were panting for yon blessed sky: That hour of gratitude—of whispering prayer, When we can hear a worship in the air: When we are listed from the earth, and feel Light fanning wings around us faintly wheel, And o'er our lids and brow a blessing steal: And then—as if our sins were all forgivenAnd all our tears were wiped—and we in heaven It is that hour of quiet ecstacy, When every ruffling wind, that passes by The sleeping leaf, makes busiest minstrelsy; When all at once: amid the quivering shade, Millions of diamond sparklers are betray'd ! When dry leaves rustle, and the whistling song Of keen-tuned grass, comes piercingly along: When windy pipes are heard--and many a lute Is touch'd amid the skies, and then is mute : When even the foliage on the glittering steep, Of feathery bloom--is whispering in its sleep: When all the garlands of the precipice, Shedding their blossoms, in their moonlight bliss, Are floating loosely on the eddying air, And breathing out their fragrant spirits there : And all their braided tresses fluttering-bright, Are sighing faintly to the shadowy light: When every cave and grot—and bower and lake, And drooping floweret-bell, are all awake: When starry eyes are burning on the cliff Of many a crouching tyrant too, as if Such melodies were grateful even to him: When life is loveliest and the blue skies swim