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It rested there to bleach or tan,
And though no man nor nation The rains had soaked, the suns had Will move with full consent burned it;
In heavenly gravitation, With many a ban the fisherman
Yet by one Sun is every orbit bent.
FOR AN AUTOGRAPH.
THOUGH old the thought and oft ex.
Life is a leaf of paper white
His word or two, and then comes night. In shape, material, and dimension ! Give it but strings, and, lo, it sings,
“Lo, time and space enough,” we cry, A wonderful invention!"
“ To write an epic !" so we try
Our nibs upon the edge, and die.
Muse not which way the pen to hold, The shell disdained a soul had gained, I Luck hates the slow and loves the bold, The lyre had been discovered.
Soon come the darkness and the cold. O empty world that round us lies, Dead shell, of soul and thought forsaken, Brought we but eyes like Mercury's,
Greatly begin! though thou have time In thee what songs should waken!
| But for a line, be that sublime, — Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
NEW-YEAR'S EVE. 1850.
Ah, with what lofty hope we camel
And scrawl, as I do here, a name.
hark ! Through aisle and arch of Godminster
AL FRESCO. have gone Twelve throbs that tolled the zenith of the dark,
The dandelions and buttercups And mornward now the starry hands
Gild all the lawn; the drowsy bee move on;
Stumbles among the clover-tops, “Mornward !" the angelic watchers say,
And summer sweetens all but me: • Passed is the sorest trial;
Away, unfruitful lore of books, No plot of man can stay
For whose vain idiom we reject The hand upon the dial;
The soul's more native dialect,
Aliens among the birds and brooks,
What gospels lost the woods retrievo!
And in the first man's footsteps tread, When volcan glares set all the east Like those who toil through drifted aglow,
snow! We are not poorer that we wept and Away, my poets, whose sweet spell yearned;
('an make a garden of a cell ! Though earth swing wide from God's I need ye not, for I to-day intent,
Will make one long sweet verse of play. Snap, chord of manhood's tenser | While Roundheads prim, with point of strain !
fox, To-day I will be a boy again;
Probe wainscot-chink and empty hox; The mind's pursuing element,
Here no hoarse-voiced iconoclast Like a bow slackened and unbent,
Insults thy statues, royal Past; In some dark corner shall be leant. Myself too prone the axe to wield, The robin sings, as of old, from the I touch the silver side of the shield limb!
With lance reversed, and challenge The catbird croons in the lilac-bush! |
peace, Through the din arbor, himself more A willing convert of the trees.
dim, Silently hops the hermit-thrush,
How chanced it that so long I tost The withered leaves keep dumb for him; A cable's length from this rich coast. The irreverent buccaneering bee
With foolish anchors hugging close Hath stormed and rifled the nunnery
The beckoning weeds and lazy ooze, Of the lily, and scattered the sacred Hoor
the sacred Hoor Nor hail the wit to wreck before With haste-dropt gold froin shrine to | On this enchanted island's shore, door;
Whither the current of the sea, There, as of yore,
With wiser drift, persuaded me? The rich, milk-tingeing buttercup
0, might we but of such rare days Its tiny polished uru holds up, Filled with ripe suminer to the edge,
Build up the spirit's dwelling-place! The sun in his own wine to pledge;
A temple of so Parian stone And our tall elm, this hundredth year
Would brook a marble god alone, Doge of our leafy Venice here,
The statue of a perfect life, Who, with an annual ring, doth wed
Far-shrined from earth's bestaining
strife. The blue Adriatic overhead, Shadows with his palatial mass
Alas! though such felicity
In our vext world here may not be,
Show's stones which old religion cut
Of the Eternal and Divine, O never-unsympathizing trees!
Torn from the consecration deep O never-rejecting roof of blue,
Of some fallen nunnery's mossy sleep, Whose rash disherison never falls So, from the ruins of this day On us unthinking prodigals,
Crumbling in golden dust away, Yet who convictest all our ill,
The soul one gracious block may draw, So grand and unappeasable!
Carved with some fragment of the law, Methinks my heart from each of these Which, set in life's prosaic wall, Plucks part of childhood back again, Old benedictions may recall, Long there imprisoned, as the breeze And lure sone nunlike thoughts to take Doth every hidden odor seize
Their dwelling here for memory's sake.
IN THE BRANCACCI CHAPEL.
He came to Florence long ago, Upon these elm-arched solitudes
And painted here these walls, that shone No hum of neighbor toil intrudes; For Raphael and for Angelo, The only hammer that I hear
With secrets deeper than his own, Is wiel led by the woodpecker,
Then shrank into the dark again, The single noisy calling his
And died, we know not how or when. In all our leaf-hid Sy baris; The good old time, close-hidden here, The shadows deepened, and I turned Persists, a loyal cavalier,
| Half sadly from the fresco grand;
WITHOUT AND WITHIN. — GODMINSTER CHIMES.
"And is this," mused I, "all ye earned, He thinks how happy is my arm High-vaulted brain and cunning hand, Neath its white-gloved and jewelled That ye to greater men could teach
load; The skill yourselves could never reach?" And wishes me some dreadful harm,
Hearing the merry corks explode. “And who were they," I mused, "that Meanwhile I inly curse the bore wrought
Of hunting still the same old coon,
In golden quiets of the moon.
The winter wind is not so cold
As the bright smile he sees me win,
Nor the host's oldest wine so old Out clanged the Ave Mary bells,
As our poor gabble sour and thin.
The galley-slave of dreary forms.
And I lis quiet!-past a doubt
| 'T would still be one man bored within, Thoughts that great hearts once broke
And just another bored without. for, we Breathe cheaply in the common air; Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee, The dust we trample heedlessly
| Some idler on my headstone grim Throbbed once in saints and heroes rare. Traces the moss-blurred name, will he Who perished, opening for their race Think me the happier, or I him ? New pathways to the commonplace.
Henceforth. when rings the health to | WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS those
FOR CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE. Who live in story and in song,
GODMIXSTER? Is it Fancy's play? O nameless dead, that now repose
I know not, but the word Safe in Oblivion's chambers strong,
Sings in my heart, nor can I say One cup of recognition true
Whether 't was dreamed or heard ; Shall silently be drained to you !
Yet fragrant in my mind it clings
As blossoms after rain,
And builds of half-remembered things WITHOUT AND WITHIN.
This vision in my brain. My coachman, in the moonlight there. Through aisles of long-drawn centuries Looks through the side-light of the My spirit walks in thought, door;
And to that symbol lifts its eyes I hear him with his brethren swear,
Which God's own pity wrought ; As I could do, – but only more.
From Calvary shines the altar's gleam,
The Church's East is there, Flattening his nose against the pane,
The Ages one great minster seem, He envies me my brilliant lot,
That throbs with praise and prayer. Breathes on his aching fists in vain, And all the way from Calvary down And dooms me to a place more hot.
The carven pavement shows
Their graves who won the martyr's He sees me in to supper go,
crown A silken wonder by my side,
And safe in God repose;
Of flounces, for the door too wide. | Who now in heaven have learned