Imagens das páginas

From the calm daylight of life's real sphere

Into the world of dreams. Year follow'd year,

In one scarce varied, yet unwearying round

Of undisturb'd enjoyment; still I found

The present more unclouded than the past,

And almost deem'd joys' increase thus would last

Endless and still progressive. Why should I

Quit this fair world, and all its imagery,

For the unreal and unblest domain

Of shadowy fancy? why invoke again

My passionate Muse? why crowd this world-worn


With unaccustom'd visions, far less bright
Than the loved objects of my waking sight,
Exchanging sober certainty of peace
For wild unrest? 'Twas well my song should cease.
My harp lie mute; but now that Death hath come
Across my threshold, and despoil'd my home
Of its long virgin bliss, I rove once more
Through the dim fields of thought well known of yore,
But long forsaken; summon from my brain
The ghosts of dreams which there had buried lain
Through my past years of happiness; extend
My plumeless wings, and struggle to ascend
(With efforts weak indeed, and little worth)
From the dim sphere of this perturbed earth
To Fancy's wizard realm. Thou'lt hardly guess
How swiftly since yon day of bitterness
My stream of what was once poetic thought
Hath flow'd and murmur'd; how this pen hath


At the old toil, for years well nigh forgot,
While verse, almost without a blur or blot,
Starts from its touch unbidden. So I range
From bank to bank, culling a garland strange
Of many-colour'd flowers, explore the mine,
Boundless and deep, of Hebrew lore divine,
And fashion some sweet tale, by Moses writ,
Into such simple rhyme as may befit
The studies of my nursery; or again
Revert, in thought, to our still recent pain,
And ere its memory fade (if fade it may),
Or all its bitterness hath past away,
Note down minutely every pang we felt
While Death, grim inmate in our household dwelt;
Our griefs and consolations, one and all,
Before and since our darling's funeral:
Thus treasuring up such thoughts for after years
As then may fill our eyes with pleasant tears.
In these, and tasks like these, do I beguile
My leisure hours, and wander many a mile
With book and pencil; Gerard, at my side,
Meanwhile his gallant donkey doth bestride,
With questions grave and deep, from time to time,
Scattering my thoughts, and spoilingmanyarhyme;
Which, were his chat less clever or less quaint,
Might well provoke ten poets or a saint.
Thus by degrees have I laid up a store
Of verse—some eighteen hundred lines or more,
In two brief months, yet not encroach'd at all
On. pastoral labours or didactical;

By strict economy of brains and time

Alternating my sermons with my rhyme,

And not retrenching half an hour per week

Of lecture to my flock, a page of Greek

Or Latin to my pupils. So I spend

My time (I trust not idly), and now send

A sample (not, perchance, first rate), to thee

Of my new manufacture, which will be ••'

A voice as from the sepulchre, to tell

Of days long past, but still remember'd well,

And ne'er to be forgotten; days of youth,

And hope, and gladness, and unsullied truth,

And rich imagination, which no more

Shall visit us in this world, or restore

What Time hath taken from us. Yet, my friend,

I trust Time borrows less than he doth lend

To souls like thine and mine; nor would I now,

While recent grief still half o'erclouds my brow—

While that, of which my home hath been bereft,

Still throws a shade of gloom o'er all that's left—

Give, if I could, my four and thirty years,

With all their cares and sorrows, hopes and fears,

For reckless twenty-one :—I'd not exchange

For all the ideal beauty, bright and strange,

Which fancy painted in the days gone by,

My Margaret's thin pale cheek and sunken eye;

(For grief, alas! on her hath done its work,

And in the depths of that deep heart doth lurk

A still consuming trouble ;) I'd not give

The bliss which in my children's smiles doth live— Their prattle, or their sports, for all the joy,

(Nay, ten times all) which, when I was a boy,

Or wayward stripling, danced before my sight

In waking dreams fantastically bright;

Though I believe, e'en then, my fondest thought

But rarely long'd for, or imagined aught

Of bliss more perfect than hath been my share;

Which, if 'tis mingled now with grief and care,

Why should I marvel, or repine that I

Must bear the burdens of mortality,—

The ills that flesh is heir to? I believe

That God, in mercy, causes me to grieve:

And should the current of my future years

Be ruffled with deep sighs, and swoln with tears,

Let me reflect how cloudless and serene

The spring and summer of my life have been:

Yea, and thank God for sending griefs like these,

Lest I, like Moab, settle on my lees;

And, having preach'd to others, prove one day

Myself a miserable castaway.

But shall I waste the waters whose wild rush From my heart's rock hath now been made to gush By the sharp stroke of Heaven's afflictive rod? Not so: henceforth let me devote to God Whatever with that current may be roll'd; Whether some few pure grains of genuine gold, Such as enrich'd Pactolus' stream of yore, Or haply baser and less brilliant ore, Even such as stains yourCornish streams like blood, Dimming their brightness with metallic mud,

And spoiling of its glories many a scene

Which, but for them, right beautiful had been;

So that we strangers, with offended eye,

Loathe the foul brooks, and wish their channel dry.

Such haply mine may be; for 'twill be fed

From depths whose better ore hath perished,

Work'd up long since by youthful passion's rnge,

And manhood's cares, till now, in middle age,

A fragment only of what was remains,

Scanty and base, and scarcely worth the pains

By which it must be wrought; yet, such as 'tis,

Henceforth let it be His and only His,

Who form'd and who can use it, if he will,

Designs by us undreamt of to fulfill,

Poor though it be. Nor boots it to regret

The loss of my past years to verse, if yet

My heart has springs of feeling which may be

Wrought into strains of loftier poesy

Than I have yet attempted; though, I own,

t feel as if my spirit had outgrown

Its aptitude for song; as if too late

Tt sought its wither'd powers to renovate,

Shooting forth blossoms on late summer's bough,

Which should have bloom'd in spring, and yielded


To autumn's mellow fruitage. Good, my friend,
Thy sympathy and counsel quickly lend;
And if thou canst (as well thou couldst of old)
Assist my struggling spirit to unfold
Its latent powers; if thou canst guide aright

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