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By mighty Jove; who did them porters make
Of heaven's gate (whence all the gods issued),
Which they did daily watch and nightly wake
By even turns, nor ever did their charge forsake.
And after all came Life; and lastly Death :
Death with most grim and grisly visage seen.
Yet is he nought but parting of the breath ;
Ne aught to see, but like a shade to ween,
Unbodied, unsouled, unheard, unseen;
But Life was like a fair young lusty boy,
Such as they feign Dan Cupid to have been,
Full of delightful health and lively joy,
Decked all with flowers and wings of gold fit to employ.
It was a day,
One of those heavenly days which cannot die,
When forth I sallied from our cottage door,
And with a wallet o'er
shoulders slung, A nutting crook in hand, I turn'd my steps Towards the distant woods, a figure quaint, Trick'd out in proud disguise of beggar's weeds Put on for the occasion, by advice And exhortation of my frugal dame. Motley accoutrements ! of power to smile At thorns, and brakes, and brambles, and, in truth, More ragged than need was. Among the woods, And o'er the pathless rocks, I forc'd my way Until, at length, I came to one dear nook Unvisited, where not a broken bough Droop'd with its wither'd leaves, ungracious sign Of devastation, but the hazels rose Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung,
A virgin scene!-A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet, or beneath the trees I sat
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I play'd ;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blessed
With sudden happiness beyond all hope. -
-Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons reappear
And fade, unseen by any human
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever;-I saw the sparkling foam,
And with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleec'd with moss, beneath the shady trees,
Lay round me scatter'd like a flock of sheep,
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things;
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then
rose, And dragg’d to earth both branch and bough with
crash And merciless ravage; and the shady nook Of hazels, and the
Deform’d and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past,
Even then, when from the bow'r I turn'd
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees and the intruding sky.
Then, dearest maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart, with gentle hand
Touch—for there is a Spirit in the woods.
HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE IN THE VALE OF
Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star
In his steep course? So long he seems to pause
On thy bald, awful head, O sovran Blanc !
The Arve and Arveiron at thy base
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful Form!
Risest from forth thy silent sea of pines,
How silently! Around thee and above,
Deep is the air and dark, substantial, black,
An ebon mass; methinks thou piercest it,
As with a wedge! But when I look again,
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine,
Thy habitation from eternity!
o dread and silent. Mount ! I gazed upon thee,
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,
Didst vanish from my thought; entranced in prayer,
I worshipp'd the Invisible alone.
Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought,
Yea, with my life and life's own secret joy,
Till the dilating Soul, enrapt, transfused
Into the mighty vision passing--there,
As in her natural form swell'd vast to heaven!
Awake, my soull not only passive praise
Thou owest! not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy! Awake,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my hymn!
Thou first and chief, sole sovran of the Vale!
O struggling with the darkness all the night,
And visited all night by troops of stars,
Or when they climb the sky or when they sink :
Companion of the morning star at dawn,
Thyself Earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald: wake, O wake, and utter praise !
Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in Earth ?
Who filled thy countenance with rosy light ?
Who made thee parent of perpetual streams?
And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad ! Who called you forth from night and utter death, From dark and icy caverns called you forth, Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks, For ever shattered and the same for ever? Who gave you your invulnerable life, Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy, Unceasing thunder and eternal foam ? And who commanded (and the silence came), Here let the billows stiffen, and have rest ?
Ye ice-falls !
that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain-
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopp'd at once amid their maddest plunge !
Motionless torrents! silent cataracts !
Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
Beneath the keen, full moon ?
Who bade the sun
with rainbows ? Who with living flowers Of loveliest hue spread garlands at your feet ? God ! let the torrents, like a shout of nations, Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God ! God! sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice ! Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds! And they, too, have a voice, yon piles of snow, And in their perilous fall shall thunder, God!
Ye living flowers that skirt th' eternal frost ! Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest ! Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain-storm! Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds !
GOD THE AUTHOR OF NATURE,
Ye signs and wonders of the element !
Utter forth, God! and fill the hills with praise !
Thou too, hoar Mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks, Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard, Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene Into the depth of clouds, that veil thy breastThou too, again, stupendous Mountain ! thou That as I raise my head, awhile bowed low In adoration, upward from thy base Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused with tears, Solemnly seemest, like a vapoury cloud, To rise before me—Rise, O ever rise, Rise like a cloud of incense, from the Earth ! Thou kingly Spirit throned among the hills, Thou dread ambassador from Earth to Heaven, Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun, Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God.
GOD THE AUTHOR OF NATURE.
THERE lives and works
A soul in all things, and that soul is God.
The beauties of the wilderness are His,
That make so gay the solitary place,
Where no eyes see them. And the fairer forms
That cultivation glories in are His.
He sets the bright procession on its way,
And marshals all the order of the year;
He marks the bounds which winter may not pass,
And blunts its pointed fury; in its case,
Russet and rude, folds up the tender germ
Uninjured, with inimitable art;