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O CIRCLE, where erst the lightning's lance
With its keen azure shot thy wavy way;
Or-such the tales of village maidens, say-
The merry Fayes (what time their troops advance
To thread the fleeting mazes of the dance,
While bends dim Iris in the lunar ray)
Formed as they tripped, with many a twinkling glance,
Thy ring, to speak their revels to the day; Still fancying, lovely Circle, that I trace,
Amid the features of the fading dyes, The little footsteps of the faery race
Still, 'round the springing verdure, shall arise, In soft relief, thy gently-curving grace
Too trivial but for fond poetic eyes !
Tho' now pale Eve, with many a crimson streak
Soft fading, tips the lime-invested hill;
And though blue steams emerging from the lake
Roll curling on, and hover o'er the rill;
The smoke, that slow evolves its pillared form
From yonder straw-roofed cottage, sweetly throws
hushed bosom a superior charm, And seems to breathe a cherub-like repose ! With its grey column to yon sapphire cloud,
Stealing in stillness, the calm mind ascendsThe unruffled line, though lost amid the shroud
Of heaven, in fancy rising never ends! Thus ever may my tranquil spirit riseFree from the gust of passion—to the skies!
ON A STORMY SEA PROSPECT.
How fearful 'tis to walk the sounding shore,
When lowers the sky, and winds are piping loud !
And round the beach the tearful maidens crowd,
Scared at the swelling surge and thunder's roar.
High o'er the cliffs the screaming sea-mews soar,
Lost is the adventurous bark in stormy cloud,
The shrill blast whistles through the fluttering shroud;
And, lo! the gallant crew, that erst before
Secure rode tilting o'er the placid wave,
Scarce know to stem the black and boisterous main,
And view with eyes_aghast their watery grave,-
So fares it with the breast of him, the Swain,
Who quits Content for mad Ambition's lore;
Short are his days, and distant far the shore.
How pleasant ’tis to walk the silent shore,
When scarce the humming tide can reach mine ear!
Of scattered mist, the sun dispels the rear,
And birds of calm the distant wave explore;
And safe in craggy bay the bark doth moor,
Whose streamers proud and slackened sails appear
Deep in the glassy pool reflected clear:
And, lo, the crew, all blithe, to part no more
From happy native fields, in artless rounds
Provoke the lively dance! the smiling main
With shouts and mirth and merriment resounds :
So fares it with the breast of him, the Swain,
Who quits Ambition for Contentment's lore ;
For joyful are his days, and near the shore.
What numerous votaries 'neath thy shadowy wing,
O mild and modest Evening, find delight!
First to the grove, his lingering fair to bring,
The warm and youthful lover, hating light,
Sighs oft for thee. And next the boisterous string
Of school-imps, freed from dame’s all-dreaded sight.
Round village cross, in many a wanton ring,
Wishes thy stay. Then too with vasty might,
From steeple's side to urge the bounding ball,
The lusty hinds await thy fragrant call.
I, friend to all by turns, am joined with all,
Lover, and elfin gay, and harmless hind;
Nor heed the proud, to real wisdom blind,
So as my heart be pure, and free my mind.
When that the fields put on their gay attire,
Thou silent sit’st near brake or river's brim,
gay thrush sings loud from covert dim;
But when pale Winter lights the social fire,
And meads with slime are sprent and ways with mire,
Thou charm’st us with thy soft and solemn hymn
From battlement, or barn, or haystack trim;
And now not seldom tunest, as if for hire,
Thy thrilling pipe to me, waiting to catch
The pittance due to thy well-warbled song:
Sweet bird, sing on! for oft near lonely hatch,
Like thee, Myself have pleased the rustic throng,
And oft for entrance, 'neath the peaceful thatch,
Full many a tale have told and ditty long.
As when, to one who long hath watched, the Morn
Advancing, slow forewarns the approach of day,
(What time the young and flowery-kirtled May
Decks the green hedge and dewy grass unshorn
With cowslips pale and many a whitening thorn ;)
And now the Sun comes forth, with level ray
Gilding the high wood-top and mountain grey;
And, as he climbs, the meadows 'gins adorn;
The rivers glisten to the dancing beam,
The awakened birds begin their amorous strain,
And hill and vale with joy and fragrance teem;
Such is the sight of thee; thy wished return
eyes, like mine, that long have waked to mourn, That long have watched for light, and wept in vain.
Rings the shrill peal of dawn, gay chanticleer,
Thrice warning that the day-star climbs on high,
And pales his beam as Phoebus' car draws nigh ;
Now, ere the lawns or distant cribs appear,
Or ere the crows from wattled sheep-cote veer
Their early flight, or wakeful herdsman's eye
Discerns the smoky hamlet, let me ply
My daily task, to guide the labouring steer,
Plant the low shrub, remove the unsightly mound,
Or nurse the flower, or tend the humming swarms :
Thus ever with the Morn may I be found,
Far from the hunter-band's discordant yell;
So in my breast Content and Health shall dwell,
And conscious Bliss, and love of Nature's charms.
Slow sinks the glimmering beam from western sky;
The woods and hills, obscured by Evening grey,
Vanish from mortal sight, and fade away.
Now with the flocks and yearlings let me hie
To farm, or cottage lone, where, perched hard by
On mossy pale, the red-breast tunes his lay,
Soft twittering, and bids farewell to-day :
Then whilst the watch-dog barks, and ploughmen lie
Lulled by the rocking winds, let me unfold
Whate'er in rhapsody, or strain most holy,
The hoary minstrel sang in times of old ;
For, well I ween, from them the Nine inspire,
Wisdom shall flow, and Virtue's sacred fire,
And Peace, and Love, and heavenly Melancholy.