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All I had been, and all my babe might be!
But when I saw it on its Mother's arm,
And hanging at her bosom (she the while
Bent o'er its features with a tearful smile)
Then I was thrill’d and melted, and most warm
Impress'd a Father's kiss : and all beguil'd
Of dark remembrance, and presageful fear
I seem'd to see an Angel's form appear.-
'Twas even thine, beloved Woman mild !
So for the Mother's sake the Child was dear,
And dearer was the Mother for the Child.
ON HAVING LEFT A PLACE OF RETIREMENT.
Low was our pretty Cot: our tallest Rose
Peep'd at the chamber-window. We could hear
At silent noon, and eve, and early morn,
The Sea's faint murmur. In the open air
Our Myrtles blossom’d; and across the porch
Thick Jasmins twin'd: the little landscape round
Was green and woody and refresh'd the eye.
It was a spot, which you might aptly call
The Valley of Seclusion ! Once I saw
(Hallowing his Sabbath-day by quietness)
A wealthy son of Commerce saunter by,
Bristowa's citizen: Methought, it calm’d
His thirst of idle gold, and made him muse
With wiser feelings: for he paus'd, and look'd
With a pleas'd sadness, and gaz'd all around,
Then eyed our cottage, and gaz'd round again,
And sigh’d, and said, it was a blessed place.
And we were blessed. Oft with patient ear
Long-listening to the viewless sky-lark's note
(Viewless, or haply for a moment seen
Gleaming on sunny wing) in whisper'd tones
I've said to my Beloved, “ Such, sweet Girl!
The inobtrusive song of Happiness-
Unearthly minstrelsy! then only heard
When the Soul seeks to hear; when all is hush'd
And the Heart listens !”
But the time, when first From that low Dell steep up the stony Mount I climb'd with perilous toil and reach'd the top, O what a goodly scene ! Here the bleak Mount, The bare bleak Mountain speckled thin with sheep; Grey Clouds, that shadowing spot the sunny fields ; And River, now with bushy rocks o'erbrow'd Now winding bright and full, with naked banks ; And Seats, and Lawns, the Abbey, and the Wood, And Cots, and Hamlets, and faint City-spire: The Channel there, the Islands and white Sails, Dim Coasts, and cloud-like Hills, and shoreless Ocean It seem'd like Omnipresence! God, methought, Had built him there a Temple; the whole World Seem'd imag’d in its vast circumference. No wish profan'd my overwhelmed Heart. Blest hour! It was a Luxury-to be!
Ah quiet Dell ! dear Cot! and Mount sublime ! I was constrain’d to quit you. Was it right, While my unnumber'd Brethren toil'd and bled, That I should dream away the trusted Hours
On rose-leaf Beds, pampr'ing the coward Heart
With feelings all too delicate for use?
Sweet is the Tear that from some Howard's eye
Drops on the cheek of one, he lifts from earth :
And He, that works me good with unmov'd face,
Does it but half: he chills me while he aids,
My Benefactor, not my Brother Man!
Yet even this, this cold Beneficence
Seizes my Praise, when I reflect on those,
The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving Tribe !
Who sigh for Wretchedness, yet shun the Wretched,
Nursing in some delicious solitude
Their slothful loves and dainty Sympathies !
I therefore go, and join head, heart, and hand,
Active and firm, to fight the bloodless fight
Of Science, Freedom, and the Truth in Christ.
Yet oft when after honourable toil
Rests the tir'd mind, and waking loves to dream,
My Spirit shall revisit thee, dear Cot!
Thy Jasmin and thy window-peeping Rose,
And Myrtles fearless of the mild sea-air.
And I shall sigh fond wishes-sweet Abode !
Ah-had none greater ! And that all had such !
It might be so—but the time is not yet.
Speed it, O Father! Let thy Kingdom come!
WRITTEN AT SHURTON BARS, NEAR BRIDGWATER SEPTEM
BER, 1795, IN ANSWER TO A LETTER FROM BRISTOL.
[The first Stanza alludes to a Passage in the Letter.)
Nor travels my meand'ring eye
The starry wilderness on high ;
Nor now with curious sight
I mark the glow-worm, as I pass,
Move with “green * radiance” thro' the grass,
An Emerald of Light.
Beloved Woman ! did you fly
Chilld Friendship’s dark disliking eye,
Or Mirth’s untimely din ?
With cruel weight these trifles press
A temper sore with Tenderness,
When aches the void within.
* The expression “green radiance" is borrowed from Mr. Wordsworth, a Poet whose versification is occasionally harsh, and his diction too frequently obscure; but whom I deem unrivalled among the writers of the present day, in manly sentiment, novel imagery, and vivid colouring.
But why with sable wand unbless'd
Should Fancy rouse within my breast
Dim-visag'd shapes of Dread ?
Untenanting its beauteous clay
My Sara's soul has wing'd its way,
And hovers round my head !
I felt it prompt the tender Dream,
When slowly sunk the day's last gleam ;
You rous'd each gentler sense,
As sighing o'er the Blossom's bloom,
Meek Evening wakes its soft perfume
With viewless influence.
And hark, my Love! The sea-breeze moans Thro' yon reft house! O’er rolling stones
With broad impetuous sweep, The fast encroaching tides supply The silence of the cloudless sky
With mimic thunders deep.
Dark-red’ning from the channel'd Isle *
(Where stands one solitary pile
Unslated by the blast)
The Watchfire, like a sullen star,
Twinkles to many a dozing Tar
Rude-cradled on the mast.
Ev'n there-beneath that light-house tower-
In the tumultuous evil hour
Ere Peace with Sara came,
Time was, I should have thought it sweet
The Holmes, in the Bristol Channel,