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Slowly and sadly we laid him down,

From the field of his fame fresh and gory;

We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone

But we left him alone with his glory!




SOME dreams we have are nothing else but dreams,
Unnatural, and full of contradictions;
Yet others of our most romantic schemes
Are something more than fictions.

It might be only on enchanted ground;
It might be merely by a thought's expansion;
But, in the spirit or the flesh, I found
An old deserted mansion;

A residence for woman, child, and man,
A dwelling-place--and yet no habitation;
A house-but under some prodigious ban
Of excommunication.

Unhinged, the iron gates half open hung,
Jarred by the gusty gales of many winters,
That from its crumbled pedestal had flung
One marble globe in splinters.

No dog was at the threshold, great or small;
No pigeon on the roof-no household creature-
No cat demurely dozing on the wall—

Not one domestic feature.

No human figure stirr'd, to go or come,

No face looked forth from shut or open casement;
No chimney smoked-there was no sign of home
From parapet to basement.

(1) The extract here given is a portion only of a poem of Hood's with the above title, but it gives a good idea of the author's skill in the choice of details, which, by accumulation, make up a striking picture. The aptness, too, of the epithets, which give tone and colour to the picture, and the musical flow of the verse, evince a high degree of artistical ingenuity.

With shatter'd panes the grassy court was starr'd;
The time-worn coping-stone had tumbled after;
And through the ragged roof the sky shone, barr'd
With naked beam and rafter.

O'er all there hung a shadow and a fear;
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted!

The flower grew wild and rankly as the weed,
Roses with thistles struggled for espial,'
And vagrant plants of parasitic breed
Had overgrown the dial.

But gay or gloomy, steadfast or infirm,

No heart was there to heed the hour's duration;
All times and tides were lost in one long term
Of stagnant desolation.

The wren had built within the porch-she found
Its quiet loneliness so sure and thorough;

And on the lawn, within its turfy mound,

The rabbit made his burrow:

The rabbit wild and grey, that flitted through

The shrubby clumps, and frisked, and sat, and vanished; But leisurely and bold, as if he knew

His enemy was banished.

The weary crow, the pheasant from the woods,
Lull'd by the still and everlasting sameness,
Close to the mansion, like domestic broods,
Fed with a "shocking tameness."

The coot was swimming in the reedy pond,
Beside the water-hen, so soon affrighted;
And in the weedy moat the heron, fond
Of solitude, alighted;

The moping heron, motionless and stiff,
That on a stone, as silently and stilly,
Stood, an apparent sentinel, as if
To guard the water-lily.

(1) i. e. to try which could look over the other.


No sound was heard, except, from far
The ringing of the whitwall's shrilly laughter,
Or now and then the chatter of the jay,
That echo murmur'd after.

But echo never mock'd the human tongue;
Some mighty crime, that Heaven could not pardon,
A secret curse on that old building hung,
And its deserted garden.

The beds were all untouch'd by hand or tool;
No footstep marked the damp and mossy gravel;
Each walk was green as is the mantled pool,
For want of human travel.

The vine unpruned, and the neglected peach,
Droop'd from the wall with which they used to grapple ;
And on the canker'd tree, in easy reach,

Rotted the golden apple.

But awfully the truant shunn'd the ground,
The vagrant kept aloof, and daring poacher;
In spite of gaps, that through the fences round
Invited the encroacher.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted!


The pear and quince lay squander'd on the
The mould was purple with unheeded showers
Of bloomy plums-a wilderness it was

Of fruits, and weeds, and flowers.

The marigold amidst the nettles blew,

The gourd embraced the rose-bush in its ramble,
The thistle and the stock together grew,

The hollyhock and bramble.

The bear-bine with the lilac interlaced,

The sturdy bur-dock choked its slender neighbour,
The spicy pink. All tokens were effaced

Of human care and labour.

The very yew formality had train'd
To such a rigid pyramidal stature,
For want of trimming had almost regained
The raggedness of nature.

The fountain was a-dry-neglect and time
Had marr'd the work of artisan and mason,
And efts and croaking frogs, begot of slime,
Sprawl'd in the ruin'd bason.

The statue, fallen from its marble base,
Amidst the refuse leaves, and herbage rotten,
Lay like the idol of some bygone race,
Its name and rites forgotten.

side the aspect was the same,
All ruin'd, desolate, forlorn, and savage;
No hand or foot within the precinct came
To rectify or ravage.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted!

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Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap2 throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee and wish thee long.


(1) Not the least charm of this graceful salutation to May morning is the sudden change of the metre in the fifth line, which seems as it were to introduce us at once into the presence of the fair vision, whose approach is indicated by the previous passage.

(2) Green lap-Spenser describes "faire May" as "throwing flowers out of her lap around."

(3) Woods and groves, &c.-i. e. thou deckest them with verdure.


THE lovely young Lavinia once had friends;
And fortune smiled deceitful on her birth:
For, in her helpless years deprived of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and Heaven,
She, with her widowed mother, feeble, old,
And poor, lived in a cottage, far retired
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep-surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, concealed.
Together thus they shunned the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passion, and low-minded pride;
Almost on Nature's bounty fed,

Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wets its leaves; unstained and pure,
As is the lily or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected,' darting all
Their humid beams into the blooming flowers;
Or when the mournful tale her mother told,
Of what her faithless fortune promised once,
Thrilled in her thought, they, like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace
Sat fair-proportioned on her polished2 limbs,
Veiled in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when unadorned, adorned the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amidst the close-embowering woods:

(1) Dejected-cast down, referring to the eyes, not to the feelings; a very peculiar application of the term.

(2) Polished-Dr. Johnson has proposed a critical canon, which though not universally true, may perhaps be considered as applicable here. It is that "an epithet or metaphor drawn from nature ennobles art; an epithet or metaphor drawn from art degrades nature."



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