« PreviousContinue »
THE prayers I make will then be sweet indeed
If Thou the spirit give by which I pray :
My unassisted heart is barren clay,
Which of its native self can nothing feed:
Of good and pious works thou art the seed,
Which quickens only where thou say'st it may:
Unless thou shew to us thine own true way
No man can find it: Father! thou must lead.
Do Thou, then, breathe those thoughts into my mind
By which such virtue may in me be bred
That in thy holy footsteps I may tread;
The fetters of my tongue do Thou unbind,
That I may have the power to sing of thee,
And sound thy praises everlastingly.
No mortal object did these eyes behold
When first they met the placid light of thine,
And my Soul felt her destiny divine,
And hope of endless peace in me grew bold:
Heaven-born, the Soul a heaven-ward course must
Beyond the visible world She soars to seek,
(For what delights the sense is false and weak)
Ideal Form, the universal mould.
The wise man, I affirm, can find no rest
In that which perishes: nor will he lend
His heart to aught which doth on time depend.
'Tis sense, unbridled will, and not true love,
Which kills the soul: Love betters what is best,
Even here below, but more in heaven above.
I HEARD (alas! 'twas only in a dream)
Strains which, as sage Antiquity believed,
By waking ears have sometimes been received,
Wafted adown the wind from lake or stream;
A most melodious requiem, a supreme
And perfect harmony of notes, achieved
By a fair Swan, on drowsy billows heaved,
O'er which her pinions shed a silver gleam:-
For is she not the votary of Apollo?
And knows she not, singing as he inspires,
That bliss awaits her which the ungenial hollow *
Of the dull earth partakes not, nor desires?
Mount, tuneful Bird, and join the immortal quires!
She soared-and I awoke, struggling in vain to
See the Phedo of Plato, by which this Sonnet was suggested.
THE Stars are mansions built by Nature's hand;
And, haply, there the spirits of the blest
Live, clothed in radiance, their immortal vest;
Huge Ocean frames, within his yellow strand,
A Habitation marvellously planned,
For life to occupy in love and rest;
All that we see is dome, or vault, or nest,
Or fort, erected at her sage command.
Is this a vernal thought? Even so, the Spring
Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart,
Mid song of birds, and insects murmuring;
And while the youthful year's prolific art-
Of bud, leaf, blade, and flower-was fashioning
Abodes, where self-disturbance hath no part.
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED THE PUBLICATION OF A CERTAIN POEM.
See Milton's Sonnet, beginning
"A Book was writ of late called Tetrachordon.' '
A Book came forth of late, called "Peter Bell;"
Not negligent the style; - the matter? — good
As aught that song records of Robin Hood;
Or Roy, renowned through many a Scottish dell;
But some (who brook these hacknied themes full well,
Nor chafe, at Tam o' Shanter's name, their blood)
Waxed wroth, and with foul claws, a harpy brood,
On Bard and Hero clamorously fell.
Heed not, wild Rover once through heath and glen,
Who mad'st at length the better life thy choice,
Heed not such onset! nay, if praise of men
To thee appear not an unmeaning voice,
Lift up that grey-haired forehead, and rejoice
In the just tribute of thy Poet's pen!