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and as the branches of the frankincense tree in summer:
as fire and incense in the censer,
and as a vessel of gold set with precious stones,
as a fair olive-tree, budding forth fruit,
and as a cypress which groweth up to the clouds.
When he put on the robe of honour,
and was clothed with the perfection of glory,
when he went up to the holy altar,
he made the garment of holiness honourable.
He himself stood by the hearth of the altar,
compassed with his brethren round about,
as a young cedar in Libanus;
and as palm trees compassed they him round about.
'HE flower that smiles to-day
all that we wish to stay
tempts and then flies:
what is this world's delight?
lightning that mocks the night,
brief even as bright.
Virtue, how frail it is !
friendship too rare !
Love, how it sells poor bliss
for proud despair !
but we, though soon they fall,
survive their joy and all
which ours we call.
Whilst skies are blue and bright,
whilst flowers are gay,
whilst eyes that change ere night
make glad the day;
whilst yet the calm hours creep,
dream thou—and from thy sleep
then wake to weep.
P. B. SHELLEY
357 SUMMER'S DEPARTURE AND RETURN
‘AREWELL! on wings of sombre stain,
that blacken in the last blue skies, thou Aiest ; but thou wilt come again
on the gay wings of butterflies: F. S. II,
spring at thy approach will sprout
her new Corinthian beauties out,
leaf-woven homes, where twitter-words
will grow to songs—and eggs to birds;
ambitious buds shall swell to flowers,
and April smiles to sunny hours.
Bright days shall be, and gentle nights
full of soft breath and echo lights,
as if the god of sun-time kept
his eyes half-open while he slept,
roses shall be where roses were,
not shadows but reality,
as if they never perished there,
but slept in immortality :
Nature shall thrill with new delight,
and Time's relumined river run
warm as young blood, and dazzling bright
as if its source were in the sun.
TIS not wealth that makes a king,
nor the purple's colouring,
nor a brow that's bound with gold,
nor gates on mighty hinges rolled.
The king is he who, void of fear,
looks abroad with bosom clear,
who can tread ambition down,
nor be swayed by smile or frown,
nor for all the treasure cares
that mine conceals or harvest bears,
or that golden sands deliver
bosomed in a glassy river.
What shall move his placid might?
nor the headlong thunder-light,
nor the storm that rushes out
to snatch the shivering waves about,
nor all the shapes of slaughter's trade,
with forward lance or fiery blade.
Safe with wisdom for his crown,
he looks on all things calmly down;
he welcomes fate, when fate is near,
nor taints his dying breath with fear.
COMPLAINT ON ENGLAND'S MISERIES
AH, happy Isle, how art thou chang’d and curst,
since I was born and knew thee first !
when Peace, which had forsook the world around,
(frighted with noise and the shrill trumpet's sound),
thee for a private place of rest
and a secure retirement chose
wherein to build her halcyon nest;
no wind durst stir abroad the air to discompose.
When all the riches of the globe beside
flowed in to thee with every tide ;
when all that nature did thy soil deny
the growth was of thy fruitful industry;
when all the proud and dreadful sea,
and all his tributary-streams,
a constant tribute paid to thee;
when all the liquid world was one extended Thames.
Unhappy Isle ! no ship of thine at sea
was ever tossed and torn like thee :
thy naked hulk loose on the waves does beat,
the rocks and banks around her ruin threat :
what did thy foolish pilots ail,
to lay the compass quite aside ?
without a law or rule to sail,
and rather take the winds than heavens to be their guide?
360 ADVERSITY THE SCHOOL OF HEROISM
0, when the wisest poets seek
in all their liveliest colours to set forth
a picture of heroic worth,
(the pious Trojan or the prudent Greek)
they choose some comely Prince of heavenly birth,
(no proud gigantic Son of earth
who strives t'usurp the gods' forbidden seat);
they feed him not with nectar, and the meat
that cannot without joy be eat;
but in the cold of want and storms of adverse chance
they harden his young virtue by degrees ;
the beauteous drop first into ice does freeze,
and into solid crystal next advance.
His murdered friends and kindred he does see,
and from his flaming country flee:
much is he tossed at sea and much at land,
does long the force of angry gods withstand:
he does long troubles and long wars sustain,
ere he his fatal birthright gain.
With no less time or labour can
destiny build up such a man,
who's with sufficient virtue filld
his ruin'd country to rebuild.
DEATH THE LEVELLER
HE glories of our blood and state
are shadows, not substantial things:
there is no armour against fate;
Death lays his icy hands on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
must tumble down
and in the dust be equal made
with the poor crooked scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
and plant fresh laurels where they kill ;
but their strong nerves at last must yield ;
they tame but one another still:
early or late
they stoop to fate,
and must give up their murmuring breath
when they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow;
then boast no more your mighty deeds;
upon Death's purple altar now
see where the victor-victim bleeds :
your heads must come
to the cold tomb;
only the actions of the just
smell sweet, and blossom in the dust.
burn in him with so proud a breath, when all his haughty views can find
in this world yields to death?
'The fair, the brave, the vain, the wise,
the rich, the poor, the great and small are each but worms' anatomies,
to strew his quiet hall.
Power may make many earthly gods,
where gold and bribery's guilt prevails;
but death's unwelcome honest odds
kicks o'er the unequal scales.
The flatter'd great may clamours raise
of power,--and their own weakness hide;
but death shall find unlooked for ways
to end the farce of pride.
Death levels all things, in his march
nought can resist his mighty strength; the palace proud, -triumphal arch,
shall mete their shadow's length: the rich, the poor, one common bed
shall find in the unhonoured grave, where weeds shall crown alike the head
of tyrant and of slave.
ONE are the glorious Greeks of old,
glorious in mien and mind;
their bones are mingled with the mould,
their dust is on the wind;
the forms they hewed from living stone
survive the waste of years alone,
and scattered with their ashes, shew
what greatness perished long ago.
Yet fresh the myrtles there—the springs
gush brightly as of yore ;
flowers blossom from the dust of kings,
as many an age before;
there nature moulds as nobly now,
as e'er of old, the human brow;
and copies still the martial form
that braved Platæa's battle storm.