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But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may, Are yet the fountain light of all our day, Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence : truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy !
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be, Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
Can in a moment travel thither, And see the Children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower ;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind:
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forbode not any severing of our loves !
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might:
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they :
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears;
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
THE FOUNTAIN; A CONVERSATION.
We talked with open heart, and tongue,
Affectionate and true,
A pair of friends, though I was young,
And Matthew seventy-two.
Now, Matthew !' said I, • let us match
This water's pleasant tune
With some old border-song, or catch,
That suits a summer's noon;
Or of the church-clock and the chimes
Sing here beneath the shade,
That half-mad thing of witty rhymes
Which you last April made!'
• No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears ; How merrily it goes ! 'Twill murmur on a thousand years, And flow as now it flows !
And here, on this delightful day,
I cannot choose but think
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay
Beside this fountain's brink.
My eyes are dim with childish tears,
My heart is idly stirred,
For the same sound is in my ears
Which in those days I heard.
Thus fares it still in our decay:
And yet the wiser mind
Mourns less for what takes
Than what it leaves behind.
The blackbird amid leafy trees,
The lark above the hill,
Let loose their carols when they please,
Are quiet when they will.
With Nature never do they wage
A foolish strife; they see
A happy youth, and their old age
Is beautiful and free.
But we are pressed by heavy laws;
And often, glad no more,
We wear a face of joy, because
We have been glad of yore.
If there be one who need bemoan
His kindred laid in earth,
The household hearts that were his own
It is the man of mirth.
My days, my Friend, are almost gone,
My life has been approved,
love me; but, by none
Am I enough beloved.'
Now both himself and me he wrongs,
The man who thus complains !
I live and sing my idle songs
Upon these happy plains,
And Matthew, for thy children dead
I'll be a son to thee!'
At this he grasped my hand, and said,
• Alas! that cannot be.'
We rose up from the fountain-side ;
And down the smooth descent
Of the green sheep-track did we glide;
And through the wood we went.
And, ere we came to Leonard's rock,
He sang those witty rhymes
About the crazy old church-clock,
And the bewildered chimes.
Earth has not anything to show more fair,
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty :
This city now doth like a garinent wea