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Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own; Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind, And, even with something of a mother's mind, And no unworthy aim,
The homely nurse doth all she can
To make her foster-child, her inmate man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.
Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A four years' darling of a pigmy size!
See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his father's eyes!
See, at his feet some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shap'd by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride,
The little actor cons another part,
Filling from time to time his humorous stage'
With all the persons, down to palsied age,
That Life brings with her in her equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy soul's immensity;
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,-
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find:
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a master o'er a slave,
A presence which is not to be put by ;
To whom the grave
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of untam'd pleasures, on thy Being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That Nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benedictions: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether fluttering or at rest,
With new-born hope for ever in his breast:
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised:
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish us, and make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never:
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather,
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then, sing ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song !
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be,
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And oh ye fountains, meadows, hills, and groves,
Think not of any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born day
Is lovely yet;
The clouds that gather round the setting sun,
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
VICISSITUDES OF LIFE.
[CAUNTER'S ISLAND BRIDE."]
LIFE'S May-day may be jocund, and its eve
Of summer close auspicious, while the sun
Of pleasure shines unclouded: few perceive,
When dangers are remote, the risks they run:
All hope the goal of happiness is won,
Till o'er them misery lifts its withering arm :
Hope and reality are never one-
Experience soon dissolves this dreaming charm,
Which ardent fancies work that least have known alarm.
Observe the strange vicissitudes of time!
Each hour is loaded with its separate share
Of good or ill, of moral or of crime;
And though the Power that governs all may spare
Some few light bosoms from the stings of care,
Small is the lot thus portioned; wretchedness
Treads in our path, and meets us every where :
Want pines in mournful silence, while distress
Proclaims herself twin-born with human happiness.
Do riches purchase bliss, or fame content?
Mark those vast stores of gold which only gild
The dust in which they're buried! Adamant
The heart that hoards, from which there ne'er dis-
The dews of Charity; where never thrilled
One keen emotion of requiting love.
Peace dwells not in the coffer richly filled,
Nor in the breast of fame secures her dove.-
She holds no league with man-her empire is above.
And what are titles, honours, or the gauds
That deck nobility-those toys of state
Which man's vain glory now so much applauds?
What are the proud distinctions of the great,
But burdens of such sore and crushing weight
As bend him to the very dust he spurns!
Oft from the portals of the rich man's gate-
No sanctuary there-contentment turns,
While glowing hot within the torch of discord burns.