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It must be so,-my infant love must find
In my own breast a cradle and a grave;
Like a rich jewel hid beneath the wave,
Or rebel spirit bound within the rind
Of some old wreathed oak, or fast enshrined
In the cold durance of an echoing cave :-
Yea, better thus than cold disdain to brave ;-
Or worse,-to taint the quiet of that mind,
That decks its temple with unearthly grace.
Together must we dwell, my dream and I, -
Unknown must live, and unlamented die,
Rather than soil the lustre of that face,
Or drive that laughing dimple from its place,
Or heave that white breast with a painful sigh.
FROM COUNTRY TO TOWN. Written in Leeds, July, 1832.
I LEFT the land where men with Nature dwelling,
Know not how much they love her lovely forms,-
Nor heed the history of forgotten storms,
On the blank folds inscribed of drear Helvellyn ;
I sought the town, where toiling, buying, selling-
Getting and spending, poising hope and fear,
Make but one season of the live-long year.
Now for the brook from moss-girt fountain welling,
I see the foul stream hot with sleepless trade;
For the slow creeping vapours of the morn,
Black hurrying smoke, in opake mass up-borne,
O'er dinning engines hangs, a stifling shade :-
Yet Nature lives e’en here, and will not part
From her best home, the lowly-loving heart.
'Tis strange to me, who long have seen no face,
That was not like a book, whose every page
I knew by heart, a kindly common-place,
And faithful record of progressive age, -
To wander forth, and view an unknown race ;
Of all that I have been, to find no trace,
No footstep of my by-gone pilgrimage.
Thousands I pass, and no one stays his pace
To tell me that the day is fair, or rainy ;
Each one his object seeks with anxious chase,
And I have not a common hope with any :
Thus like one drop of oil upon a flood,
In uncommunicating solitude,
Single am I amid the countless many.
IF I have sinn'd in act, I may repent;
If I have err'd in thought, I may disclaim
My silent error, and yet feel no shame :
But if my soul, big with an ill intent,
Guilty in will, by fate be innocent,
Or being bad, yet murmurs at the curse
And incapacity of being worse,
That makes my hungry passion still keep Lent
In keen expectance of a Carnival ;
Where, in all worlds, that round the sun revolve
And shed their influence on this passive ball,
Abides a power that can my soul absolve?
Could any sin survive, and be forgiven,
One sinful wish would make a hell of heaven.
The soul of man is larger than the sky,
Deeper than ocean, or the abysmal dark
Of the unfathom'd centre. Like that Ark,
Which in its sacred hold uplifted high,
O'er the drown'd hills, the human family,
And stock reserved of every living kind,
So, in the compass of the single mind,
The seeds and pregnant forms in essence lie,
That make all worlds. Great Poet, 'twas thy art
To know thyself, and in thyself to be
Whate'er love, hate, ambition, destiny,
Or the firm, fatal purpose of the heart,
Can make of Man. Yet thou wert still the same,
Serene of thought, unhurt by thy own flame.