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TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk.
In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
Cooled a long age in the deep-delvèd earth, Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth! Oh, for a beaker full of the warm SouthFull of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim
And purple-stainèd mouth ; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never knownThe weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groanWhere palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs ; Where youth grows pale and spectre thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away, away! for I will fly to thee;
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards;
But here there is no light,
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
And mid-May's eldest child
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen ; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful death,
To take into the air my quiet breath ;
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days, by emperor and clown ;
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn ;
The same that ofttimes hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self !
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades.
Fled is that music do I wake or sleep?
TO A WATERFOWL.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
WHITHER, 'midst falling dew, While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
On the chafed ocean side ?
There is a power whose care
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end ; Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest, And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
And shall not soon depart.
He, who from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
“Two men bent up into the Temple to pray."-St. Luke xviii. 10.
Two went to pray? O rather say,
One nearer to God's altar trod,
WHEN Music, heavenly maid, was young,
Amid the chords bewildered laid, And back recoiled, he knew not why,
E'en at the sound himself had made.
Next, Anger rushed : his eyes on fire,
In lightnings owned his secret stings: In one rude clash he struck the lyre,
And swept with hurried hand the strings. With woeful measures, wan Despair,
Low, sullen sounds his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air,
'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.