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MILD Splendour of the various-vested Night!
Mother of wildly-working visions ! hail !
I watch thy gliding, while with watery light
Thy weak eye glimmers through a fleecy veil;
And when thou lovest thy pale orb to shroud
Behind the gathered blackness lost on high ;
And when thou dartest from the wind-rent cloud
Thy placid lightning o'er the awakened sky.
Ah such is Hope! as changeful and as fair!
Now dimly peering on the wistful sight;
Now hid behind the dragon-winged Despair :
But soon emerging in her radiant might
She o'er the sorrow-clouded breast of Care
Sails, like a meteor kindling in its flight.
TIME, REAL AND IMAGINARY.
On the wide level of a mountain's head,
(I knew not where, but 'twas some faery place)
Their pinions, ostrich-like, for sails outspread,
Two lovely children run an endless race,
A sister and a brother !
This far outstript the other;
Yet ever runs she with reverted face,
And looks and listens for the boy behind :
For he, alas! is blind!
O’er rough and smooth with even step he passed,
And knows not whether he be first or last.
O what a wonder seems the fear of death,
Seeing how gladly we all sink to sleep,
Babes, Children, Youths and Men,
Night following night for threescore years and ten !
But doubly strange, where life is but a breath
To sigh and pant with, up Want's rugged steep.
Away, Grim Phantom! Scorpion King, away!
Reserve thy terrors and thy stings display
For coward Wealth and Guilt in robes of State !
Lo! by the grave I stand of one, for whom
A prodigal Nature and a niggard Doom
(That all bestowing, this withholding all,)
Made each chance knell from distant spire or dome
Sound like a seeking Mother's anxious call, Return, poor Child! Home, weary Truant, home!
Thee, CHATTERTON! these unblest stones protect
From want, and the bleek freezings of neglect.
Too long before the vexing Storm-blast driven
Here hast thou found repose ! beneath this sod!
Thou! O vain word! thou dwell'st not with the clod!
Amid the shining Host of the Forgiven
Thou at the throne of Mercy and thy God
The triumph of redeeming Love dost hymn
(Believe it, O my Soul !) to harps of Seraphim.
Yet oft, perforce, ('tis suffering Nature's call)
weep, that heaven-born Genius so shall fall;
And oft, in Fancy's saddest hour, my soul
Averted shudders at the poisoned bowl.
Now groans my sickening heart, as still I view
Thy corse of livid hue;
Now indignation checks the feeble sigh,
Or flashes through the tear that glistens in mine eye!
Is this the land of song-enobled line?
Is this the land, where Genius ne'er in vain
Poured forth his lofty strain ?
Ah me! yet SPENSER, gentlest bard divine,
Beneath chill Disappointment's shade,
His weary limbs in lonely anguish lay'd.
And o'er her darling dead
Pity hopeless hung her head,
While “ mid the pelting of that merciless storm,"
Sunk to the cold earth O'rway's famished form!
Sublime of thought, and confident of fame,
From vales where Avon winds the Minstrel* came.
Light-hearted youth! aye, as he hastes along,
He meditates the future song,
How dauntless Ælla fray'd the Dacyan foe;
And while the numbers flowing strong
In eddies whirl, in surges throng,
Exulting in the spirits' genial throe
In tides of power his life-blood seems to flow.
And now his cheeks with deeper ardors flame,
His eyes have glorious meanings, that declare
More than the light of outward day shines there,
A holier triumph and a sterner aim !
Wings grow within him ; and he soars above
Or Bard's, or Minstrel's lay of war or love.
Friend to the friendless, to the Sufferer health,
He hears the widow's prayer, the good man's praise ;
Avon, a river near Bristol ; the birth-place of Chatterton.