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TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY.
On the wide level of a mountain's head,
(I knew not where, but 'twas some faery place)
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother!
That far outstripped the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind:
For he, alas! is blind!
O'er rough and smooth with even step he passed,
And knows not whether he be first or last.
All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.
The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene,
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve!
She leaned against the armed man,
The statue of the armed knight;
She stood and listened to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.
I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story—
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.
She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pined; and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another's love,
Interpreted my own.
She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face!
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade,-
There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight!
And that unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land ;-
And how she wept, and clasped his knees;
And how she tended him in vain-
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain ;
And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying man he lay ;
His dying words—but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pity!
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;
The music, and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes, long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long!
She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love, and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
Her bosom heaved-she stept aside,
As conscious of my look she stept-
Then suddenly, with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace;
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.
'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
That I might rather feel, than see,
The swelling of her heart.
I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin-pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride.
As when far off the warbled strains are heard,
That soar on Morning's wing the vales among,
Within his cage the imprisoned matin bird
Swells the full chorus with a generous song:
He bathes no pinion in the dewy light,
No father's joy, no lover's bliss he shares,
Yet still the rising radiance cheers his sight;
His fellows' freedom soothes the captive's cares!
Thou, Fayette! who didst wake with startling voice
Life's better sun from that long wintry night,
Thus in thy country's triumphs shalt rejoice,
And mock with raptures high the dungeon's might:
For lo! the morning struggles into day,
And Slavery's spectres shriek and vanish from the ray!
[Composed at Clevedon, Somersetshire.]
My pensive Sara! thy soft cheek reclined
Thus on mine arm, most soothing sweet it is
To sit beside our cot, our cot o'ergrown
With white-flowered jasmin, and the broad-leaved myrtle,
(Meet emblems they of Innocence and Love!)
And watch the clouds, that late were rich with light,
Slow saddening round, and mark the star of eve
Serenely brilliant (such should wisdom be)
Shine opposite! How exquisite the scents
Snatched from yon bean-field! and the world so hushed! The stilly murmur of the distant sea
Tells us of silence. And that simplest lute,
Placed length-ways in the clasping casement, hark!
How by the desultory breeze caressed,
Like some coy maid half-yielding to her lover,
It pours such sweet upbraiding, as must needs
Tempt to repeat the wrong! And now, its strings
Boldlier swept, the long sequacious notes
Over delicious surges sink and rise,
Such a soft floating witchery of sound
As twilight Elfins make, when they at eve
Voyage on gentle gales from Fairy-Land,
Where melodies round honey-dropping flowers,
Footless and wild, like birds of Paradise,
Nor pause, nor perch, hovering on untamed wing!
O! the one life, within us and abroad,
Which meets all motion, and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere.
Methinks, it should have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled,