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Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
Thee, are fresh and strong.
Serene will be our days and bright,
ELEGIAC STANZAS SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE IN A STORM, PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE
(1805) I was thy neighbor once, thou rugged Pile! Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of
thee: I saw thee every day; and all the while Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
I, loving freedom, and untried; No sport of every random gust,
— yet wise
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air; So once it would have been, — 'tis so no So like, so very like, was day to day!
more; Whene'er I looked, thy image still was I have submitted to a new control: there;
A power is gone, which nothing can reIt trembled, but it never passed away.
A deep distress hath humanized my soul. How perfect was the calm! it seemed no sleep;
Not for a moment could I now behold No mood which season takes away or
A smiling sea, and be what have been: brings:
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old; I could have fancied that the mighty This, which I know, I speak with mind
Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have
been the friend, Ah! then, if mine had been the painter's
If he had lived, of him whom I deplore, hand,
This work of thine I blame not, but comTo express what then I saw; and add the
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore. The light that never was, land,
Oh, 'tis a passionate work! The consecration and the poet's dream;
Well chosen is the spirit that is here; I would have planted thee, thou hoary That hulk which labors in the deadly Pile!
swell, Amid a world how different from this! This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear! Beside a sea that could not smile;
And this huge castle, standing here subOn tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss. 20 lime,
I love to
see the look with which it Thou shouldst have seemed a
Cased in the unfeeling armor of old time, Of peaceful years;
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampheaven;
ling waves. Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine The very sweetest had to thee been given.
Farewell, farewell, the heart that lives
Housed in a dream, at distance from the A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Kind! Elysian quiet, without toil or strife; Such happiness, wherever it be known, 55 No motion but the moving tide, a breeze, Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind. Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer, Such, in the fond illusion of my heart, And frequent sights of what is to be Such picture would I at that time have borne! made:
Such sights, or worse, as are before me And seen the soul of truth in every part;
here. A steadfast peace that might not be be- Not without hope we suffer and
There was a time when meadow, grove,
and stream, The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. 5 It is not now as it hath been of yore;
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day, The things which I have seen I now can
see no more.
Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the
call Ye to each other make; I see The heavens laugh with you
your jubilee; My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
This sweet May-morning,
On every side,
warm, And the babe leaps up on his mother's
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
But there's a tree, of many, one, A single field which I have looked
upon, Both of them speak of something that is
Doth the same tale repeat:
Some fragrant from his dream of human
life, Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: Shaped by himself with newly-learned art; The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart, 95 Not in entire forgetfulness,
And unto this he frames his song: And not in utter nakedness,
Then will he fit his tongue But trailing clouds of glory do we come
To dialogues of business, love, or strife; From God, who is our home:
But it will not be long Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Ere this be thrown aside, Shades of the prison-house begin to close
And with new joy and pride Upon the growing Boy,
The little actor cons another part; But he beholds the light, and whence it
Filling from time to time his “humorous flows,
stage" He sees it in his joy ;
With all the persons, down to palsied The Youth, who daily farther from the
That Life brings with her in her equiMust travel, still is Nature's Priest,
page; And by the vision splendid
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth be
lie Thy soul's immensity; Thou best philosopher, who yet dost
keep Thy heritage, thou eye among the blind, That, deaf and silent, read'st the Eternal
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her
own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural
kind, And, even with something of a mother's
mind, And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can To make her foster-child, her inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known, And that imperial palace whence he came.
Haunted for ever by the Eternal Mind,
Mighty prophet! seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest Which we are toiling all our lives to find, In darkness lost, the darkness of the
grave; Thou, over whom thy immortality Broods like the Day, a master o'er a
slave, A presence which is not to be put by; Thou little Child, yet glorious in the
might Of heaven-born freedom on thy being's
height, Why with such earnest pains dost thou
provoke The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Behold the Child among his new-born
blisses, A six years' darling of a pigmy size! See, where 'mid work of his own hand he
lies, Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses, With light upon him from his father's
eyes! See, at his feet, some little plan or
O joy! that in our embers
What was so fugitive!
doth breed Perpetual benediction: not indeed For that which is most worthy to be
blest Delight and liberty, the simple creed Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest, With new-fledged hope still fluttering in
The song of thanks and praise; 140
Blank misgivings of a creature
Nature Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections, Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain-light of all our day, Are yet a master-light of all our seeing; Uphold us, cherish, and have power to
make Our noisy years seem moments in the being Of the Eternal Silence: truths that
wake, To perish never; Which neither listlessness, nor mad en
Hence in a season of calm weather
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous
As to the tabor's sound!
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Feel the gladness of the May! What though the radiance which was once so bright
175 Be now for ever taken from my sight, Though nothing can bring back the
hour Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the
death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.