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PRESENTIMENTS

PRESENTIMENTS ! they judge not right
Who deem that ye from open light

Retire in fear of shame;
All heaven-born Instincts shun the touch
Of vulgar sense,-and, being such,

Such privilege ye claim.
The tear whose source I could not guess,
The deep sigh that seemed fatherless,

Were mine in early days;
And now, unforced by time to part
With fancy, I obey my heart,

And venture on your praise.

What though some busy foes to good,
Too potent over nerve and blood,

Lurk near you—and combine
To taint the health which ye infuse;
This hides not from the moral Muse

Your origin divine.

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How oft from you, derided Powers !
Comes Faith that in auspicious hours

Builds castles, not of air ;
Bodings unsanctioned by the will
Flow from your visionary skill,

And teach us to beware.
The bosom-weight, your stubborn gift,
That no philosophy can lift,

Shall vanish, if ye please,
Like morning mist; and, where it lay,
The spirits at your bidding play

In gaiety and ease.
Star-guided contemplations move
Through space, though calm, not raised above

Prognostics that ye rule;
The naked Indian of the wild,
And haply, too, the cradled Child,

Are pupils of your school.
But who can fathom your intents,
Number their signs or instruments ?

A rainbow, a sunbeam,
A subtle smell that Spring unbinds,
Dead pause abrupt of midnight winds,

An echo, or a dream.
The laughter of the Christmas hearth
With sighs of self-exhausted mirth

Ye feelingly reprove ;

And daily, in the conscious breast,
Your visitations are a test

And exercise of love.
When some great change gives boundless scope
To an exulting Nation's hope,

Oft, startled and made wise
By your low-breathed interpretings,
The simply-meek foretaste the springs

Of bitter contraries.
Ye daunt the proud array of war,
Pervade the lonely ocean far

As sail hath been unfurled;
For dancers in the festive hall
What ghastly partners hath your call

Fetched from the shadowy world! 'Tis said, that warnings ye dispense, Emboldened by a keener sense;

That men have lived for whom, With dread precision, ye made clear The hour that in a distant year

Should knell them to the tomb.
Unwelcome insight! Yet there are
Blest times when mystery is laid bare,

Truth shows a glorious face,
While on that isthmus which commands
The councils of both worlds, she stands

Sage Spirits ! by your grace.

God, who instructs the brutes to scent
All changes of the element,

Whose wisdom fixed the scale
Of natures, for our wants provides
By higher, sometimes humbler, guides,
When lights of reason fail.

1830.

• A JEWISH FAMILY

(IN A SMALL VALLEY OPPOSITE ST. GOAR,

UPON THE RHINE.)

Genius of Raphael ! if thy wings

Might bear thee to this glen, With faithful memory left of things

To pencil dear and pen,
Thou woulds't forego the neighbouring Rhine,

And all his majesty-
A studious forehead to incline

O'er this poor family.

The Mother-her thou must have seen,

In spirit, ere she came
To dwell these rifted rocks between,

Or found on earth a name;
An image, too, of that sweet Boy,

Thy inspirations give-
Of playfulness, and love, and joy,

Predestined here to live.

Downcast, or shooting glances far,

How beautiful his eyes,
That blend the nature of the star

With that of summer skies !
I speak as if of sense beguiled;

Uncounted months are gone, Yet am I with the Jewish Child,

That exquisite Saint John.

I see the dark brown curls, the brow,

The smooth transparent skin,
Refined, as with intent to show

The holiness within ;
The grace of parting Infancy

By blushes yet untamed;
Age faithful to the mother's knee,

Nor of her arms ashamed.

Two lovely Sisters, still and sweet

As flowers, and side by side;

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