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I list the splash so clear and chill of yon old fisher's solitary oar:
I watch the waves that rippling still chase one another o'er the marble shore.
Yet from the splash of yonder oar
no dreamy sound of sadness comes to me:
and yon fresh waves that beat the shore,
how merrily they splash, how merrily!
I mourn for the delicious days,
when those calm sounds fell on my childish ear,
a stranger yet to the wild ways
of triumph and remorse, of hope and fear.
Mournest thou, poor soul! and thou wouldst yet call back the things which shall not, cannot be?
Heaven must be won, not dreamed: thy task is set, peace was not made for earth, nor rest for thee.
ON THE DEATH OF COLONEL CHARLES ROSS IN
THE ACTION AT FONTENOY
LEST youth, regardful of thy doom
aërial hands shall build thy tomb,
with shadowy trophies crowned :
whilst Honour bathed in tears shall rove
to sigh thy name through every grove,
and call his heroes round.
By rapid Schelde's descending wave
his country's vows shall bless the grave,
where'er the youth is laid:
that sacred spot the village hind
with every sweetest turf shall bind,
and Peace protect the shade.
The warlike dead of every age,
who fill the fair recording page,
shall leave their sainted rest;
and, half reclining on his spear,
each wondering chief by turns appear,
to hail the blooming guest.
But lo, where sunk in deep despair,
her garments torn, her bosom bare,
impatient Freedom lies!
her matted tresses madly spread,
to every sod, which wraps the dead,
she turns her joyless eyes.
THE PROGRESS OF POESY
WAKE, Aeolian lyre, awake,
and give to rapture all thy trembling strings. From Helicon's harmonious springs
a thousand rills their mazy progress take:
the laughing flowers that round them blow
drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of Music winds along
deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,
through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign;
now rolling down the steep amain
headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
the rocks and nodding groves re-bellow to the roas
O Sovereign of the willing soul,
parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
enchanting shell! the sullen Cares
and frantic Passions hear thy soft control.
On Thracia's hills the Lord of War
has curb'd the fury of his car
and dropt his thirsty lance at thy command.
Perching on the sceptred hand
of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
with ruffled plumes, and flagging wing:
quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
the terror of his beak, and lightnings of his eye. 334 Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
temper'd to thy warbled lay.
O'er Idalia's velvet-green
the rosy-crowned Loves are seen
on Cytherea's day,
with antic Sport, and blue-eyed Pleasures,
frisking light in frolic measures;
now pursuing, now retreating,
now in circling troops they meet :
to brisk notes in cadence beating
glance their many-twinkling feet. Slow melting strains their Queen's approach declare:
where'er she turns the Graces homage pay: with arms sublime that float upon the air
in gliding state she wins her easy way: o'er her warm cheek and rising bosom move the bloom of young Desire and purple light of Love.
UPON THE SHORTNESS OF MAN'S LIFE
MAhow this outruns thy following eye,
ARK that swift arrow how it cuts the air,
use all persuasions now, and try
if thou canst call it back or stay it there;
that way it went, but thou shalt find
no track is left behind.
Fool, 'tis thy life, and the fond Archer thou,
of all the time thou'st shot away
I'll bid thee fetch but yesterday,
and it shall be too hard a task to do.
Besides repentance, what canst find
that it hath left behind ?
Our life is carried with too strong a tide,
a doubtful cloud our substance bears,
and is the horse of all our years;
each day doth on a winged whirlwind ride.
We and our glass run out, and must
both render up our dust.
But his past life who without grief can see,
who never thinks his end too near,
but says to fame, thou art mine heir,
that man extends life's natural brevity:
this is, this is the only way
to outlive Nestor in a day.
LADY, twine no wreath for me,
or twine it of the cypress-tree.
Too lively glow the lilies light,
the varnished holly's all too bright,
the may-flower and the eglantine
may shade a brow less sad than mine;
but, lady, weave no wreath for me,
or weave it of the cypress-tree.
Let dimpled Mirth his temples twine
with tendrils of the laughing vine;
the manly oak, the pensive yew,
to patriot and to sage be due;
the myrtle-bough bids lovers live,
but that Matilda will not give;
then, lady, twine no wreath for me,
or twine it of the cypress-tree.
Yes, twine for me the cypress-bough,
but O, Matilda, twine not now:
stay 'till a few brief months are past,
and I have looked and loved my last.
When villagers my shroud bestrew
with pansies, rosemary, and rue,
then, lady, weave a wreath for me,
and weave it of the cypress-tree.
SIR W. SCOTT
INSTABILITY OF AFFECTION
LAS, how light a cause may move
hearts that the world in vain had tried,
and sorrow but more closely tied;
that stood the storm, when waves were rough,
yet in a sunny hour fall off,
a something light as air—a look,
a word unkind or wrongly taken-
O love, that tempests never shook,
a breath, a touch like this hath shaken.
And ruder words will soon rush in
to spread the breach that words begin;
and eyes forget the gentle ray
they wore in courtship's smiling day;
and voices lose the tone that shed
a tenderness round all they said;
till fast declining, one by one,
the sweetnesses of love are gone,
and hearts so lately mingled seem
like broken clouds, or like the stream,
that smiling left the mountain's brow,
as though its waters ne'er could sever,
yet, ere it reach the plain below,
breaks into floods that part for ever.
THE OMNIPRESENCE OF THE GREAT SPIRIT
"HERE is a tongue in every leaf,
a voice in
a voice that speaketh everywhere,
in flood and fire, through earth and air-
a tongue that's never still.
'Tis the Great Spirit, wide diffused
through every thing we see,
that with our spirits communeth
of things mysterious—life and death,
time and eternity!
I see him in the blazing sun
and in the thunder-cloud;
I hear him in the mighty roar
that rusheth through the forests hoar
when winds are raging loud.
I feel him in the silent dews
by grateful earth betrayed;
I feel him in the gentle showers,
the soft south-wind, the breath of flowers,
the sunshine and the shade.
I see him, hear him, everywhere,
in all things-darkness, light,
silence, and sound; but most of all,
when slumber's dusky curtains fall,
['the silent hour of night.