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When I was a boy, it was all my joy
To rest in its scented shade,
When the sun was high, and the river nigh
A musical murmur made :
When, floating along, like a winged song,
The traveller-bee would stop,
And choose for his bower the lime-tree flower,
And drink-to the last sweet drop.
When the evening star stole forth, afar,
And the gnats flew round and round, I sought for a rhyme, beneath the lime,
Or dreamed on the grassy ground.
Ah! years have fled; and the linden, dead,
Is a brand on the cottier's floor;
And the river creeps through its slimy deeps,
And youth—is a thought of yore !
Yet-they live again, in the dreamer's brain :
As deeds of love and wrong,
Which pass with a sigh, and seem to die,
Survive in the poet's song.
O Thou vast ocean ! ever-sounding sea !
Thou symbol of a drear immensity!
Thou thing that windest round the solid world
Like a huge animal, which, downward hurled
From the black clouds, lies weltering and alone,
Lashing and writhing till its strength be gone.
Thy voice is like the thunder, and thy sleep
Is like a giant's slumber, loud and deep.
Thou speakest in the east and in the west
At once, and on thy heavily-laden breast
Fleets come and go, and shapes that have no life
Or motion, yet are moved and meet in strife,
The earth hath nought of this; nor chance nor change
Ruffles its surface, and no spirits dare
Give answer to the tempest-waken air;
But o'er its wastes the weakly tenants range
At will, and wound his bosom as they go.
Ever the same, it hath no ebb, no flow;
But in their stated round the seasons come,
And pass like visions to their viewless home,
And come again and vanish: the young spring
Looks ever bright with leaves and blossoming,
And winter always winds his sullen horn,
And the wild autumn with a look forlorn
Dies in his stormy manhood; and the skies
Ween, and flowers sicken when the summer flies.
Oh! wonderful thou art, great element;
And fearful in thy spleeny humours bent,
And lovely in repose : thy summer form
Is beautiful, and when thy silver waves
Make music in earth's dark and winding caves,
I love to wander on thy pebbled beach,
Marking the sunlight at the evening hour,
And hearken to the thoughts thy waters teach-
“Eternity, eternity, and power."
CLEAR, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
With the wide world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from distraction; once I loved
Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved,
That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darkened Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of Aowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill:
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill,
But that is fancy-for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
The sky is changed !-and such a change! O night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud !
And this is in the night-most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight-
A portion of the tempest and of thee !
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 'tis black-and now, the glee
Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er the young earthquake's birth.
Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his way,
The mightiest of the storms hath ta’en his stand:
For here, not one, but many, make their play,
And Aling their thunderbolts from hand to hand,
Flashing and cast around: of all the band,
The brightest through these parted hills hath forked
His lightnings—as if he did understand,
That in such gaps as desolation worked,
There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurked.
Most glorious orb! that wert a worship, ere
The mystery of thy making was revealed!
Thou earliest minister of th' Almighty,
Which gladdened, on their mountain tops, the hearts
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they poured
Themselves in orisons! Thou material god !
And representative of th’ Unknown,
Who chose thee for his shadow! Thou chief star
Centre of many stars which mak'st our earth
Endurable, and temperest the lives
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays !
Sire of the seasons ! Monarch of the climes,
And those that dwell in them! for near or far
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee,
Even as our outward aspects ;-thou dost rise,
And shine, and set in glory.
O! that the Desert were my dwelling-place,
With one fair Spirit for my minister,
That I might all forget the human race,
And, hating no one, love but only her!
Ye Elements !-in whose ennobling stir
I fcel myself exalted—can ye not
Accord me such a being? Do I err
In deeming such inhabit many a spot?
Though with them to converse can rarely be our lot.