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Stern Lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The Godhead's most benignant grace;
Nor know we anything so fair
As is the smile upon thy face:
Flowers laugh before thee on their beds 45
And fragrance in thy footing treads;
Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong;
And the most ancient heavens, through

Thee, are fresh and strong.
To humbler functions, awful Power!
I call thee: I myself commend 50
Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give;
And in the light of truth thy bondman let

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me live!

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Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support, according to

their need.

ELEGIAC STANZAS SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE CASTLE IN A STORM, PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE

BEAUMONT

(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.

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I, loving freedom, and untried; No sport of every random gust,

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10

serene.

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on

sea

or

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— yet wise

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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.

store;

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

Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.

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

mend; gleam,

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;

and well,

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

braves,

treasurehouse divine

Cased in the unfeeling armor of old time, Of peaceful years;

chronicle of

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

alone,

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

trayed.

a

cease

to

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a

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we

mourn.

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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

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see no more.

II

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Ye blessed creatures, I have heard the

call Ye to each other make; I see The heavens laugh with you

in

your jubilee; My heart is at your festival,

My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel — I feel it

all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,

This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling

On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines

warm, And the babe leaps up on his mother's

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15

arm:

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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

gone:
The pansy at my feet

Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it the glory and the

dream?

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now

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65

100

V

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,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,

A mourning or a funeral;
And cometh from afar:

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 ;

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With all the persons, down to palsied The Youth, who daily farther from the

Age, east

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
Is on his way attended;

Were endless imitation.
At length the Man perceives it die away, 75
And fade into the light of common day.

105

VIII

VI

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.

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Deep,

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115

VII

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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

chart,

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O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers

What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me

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

his breast:-
Not for these I raise

The song of thanks and praise; 140
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;

Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realised, 145
High instincts before which our Mortal

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

deavor,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy! 160

Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,

Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous

song!
And let the young lambs bound

As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,

Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts today

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

Aower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind; 180
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through

death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.

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150

XI

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