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Forgive me, Freedom! O forgive those dreams!
The Sensual and the Dark rebel in vain, Slaves by their own compulsion 1 In mad game They burst their manacles and wear the name Of Freedom, graven on a heavier chain! O Liberty! with profitless endeavour Have I pursued thee, many a weary hour; 90 But thou nor swell 'st the victor's strain nor ever Didst breathe thy soul in forms of human power. Alike from all, howe'er they praise thee, (Nor prayer, nor boastful name delays thee) Alike from Priestcraft's harpy minions, And factious Blasphemy's obscener slaves, Thou speedest on thy subtle pinions, The guide of homeless winds, and playmate of
the waves! And there I felt thee! — on that sea-cliff's verge, Whose pines, scarce travelled by the breeze above, 100
Had made one murmur with the distant surge!
HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE IN THE WALE OF CHAMOUNI*
Hast thou a charm to stay the morning-star
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, 21
Into the mighty vision passing—there
As in her natural form, swelled vast to Heaven!
Awake, my soul! 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 sovereign of the Vale!
O struggling with the darkness all the night, And visited all night by troops of stars, 31 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, 40 From dark and icy caverns called you forth, Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks, For ever shattered and the same for ever?
* This rather Ossianic poem has been perhaps unduly admired. Coleridge never was at Chamouni : his immediate model was a poem by the German poetess Frederike Brun.
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Ye Ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow Adown enormous ravines slope amain— 50 Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice, And, stopped 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 Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers Of loveliest blue, 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! 60 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 the eternal frost! Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest! Ye eagles, play-mates of the mountain-storm' Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds! Ye signs and wonders of the element! Utter forth God, and fill the hills with praise!
Thou too, hoar Mount! ing peaks, Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard, Shoots downward, glittering through the pure - serene Into the depth of clouds, that veil thy breast— Thou 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, 79 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.
with thy sky-point70
1 A mountain in Cumberland.
* A first rough draft of this poem was called “Area Spontanea,” and the whole still reads like a musical improvisation.
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old? Ah woeful Ere,
and wasted opportunities.
1 Solway Firth, noted for its swift tides.
* Compare Katharine Jaffray, p. 79, upon which Scott “in a very slight degree founded” the
The bride kissed the goblet: the knight’ took tit up, He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup. She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye. He took her soft hand ere her mother could
bar, ‘Now tread we a measure!’ said young Lochinvar. 30
So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a galliard2 did grace; While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnets and plume; And the bride-maidens whispered ‘’Twere bet
ter by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.” 36
One touch to her hand and one word in her ear, When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near; So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! “She is won' we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;4 They’ll have fleet steeds that follow,’ quoth young Lochinvar. 42
There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the
FROM THE LADY OF THE LAKE, CANTo I
Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Dream of battled fields no more,
In our isle's enchanted hall,
Fairy strains of music fall,
2 A brisk dance. 3 cap
Red hand in the foray,
Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone, and forever! 24
THE BATTLE OF BEAL” AN DUINE* FROM THE LADY OF THE LAKE, CANTO WI
The Chieftain reared his form on high,
Upon her eyrie nods the erne,4 The deer has sought the brake; The small birds will not sing aloud, The springing trout lies still, So darkly glooms yon thunder cloud, That swathes, as with a purple shroud, Benledi’s distant hill. Is it the thunder’s solemn sound That mutters deep and dread, Or echoes from the groaning ground The warrior's measured tread? Is it the lightning's quivering glance That on the thicket streams, Or do they flash on spear and lance The sun's retiring beams?— I see the dagger-crest of Mar,” I see the Moray’so silver star, Wave o'er the cloud of Saxon war, That up the lake comes winding far ! To hero bouneo for battle-strife, Or bard of martial lay, 'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life, One glance at their array!
“Their light-armed archers far and near 400 Surveyed the tangled ground, Their centre ranks, with pike and spear, A twilight forest frowned, Their barded" horsemen, in the rear, The stern battalia 8 crowned. No cymbal clashed, no clarion rang, Still were the pipe and drum; Save heavy tread, and armour's clang, The sullen march was dumb. There breathed no wind their crests to shake, Or wave their flags abroad; 410 Scarce the frail aspen seemed to quake, That shadowed o'er their road. Their vawardo scouts no tidings bring, Can rouse no lurking foe, Nor spy a trace of living thing, Save when they stirred the roe; The host moves, like a deep-sea wave, Where rise no rocks its pride to brave, High-swelling, dark, and slow. The lake is passed, and now they gain A narrow and a broken plain, Before the Trosachs’10 rugged jaws: And here the horse and spearmen pause, While, to explore the dangerous glen, Dive through the pass the archer-men.
“At once there rose so wild a yell Within that dark and narrow dell,
* Roderick Dhu. a marauding chieftain of the Highland Clan-Alpine, having been wounded in combat with the disguised King of Scotland, lies dying in prison, while the Minstrel, Allan-bane. recites to him the story of the conflict between his clan and the forces of the king. The Minstrel's tale begins at line 369; he speaks of himself in the third person.
1 The , Campbells. 3 One of the king's
2 Lowland men.
g 10 The rough moun5 A Lowland leader. tains and pass in 6 prepared the Highlands he7 armed with plate-ar- t W. e. e. n Lochs
mor Katrine and Ach8 battle array ray.