On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays;
Or, on the wavy grass outstretchd supinely,
Pry mong the stars, to strive to think divinely:
That I should never hear Apollos song,
Though feathery clouds were floating all along
The purple west, and, two bright streaks between.
The golden lyre itself were dimly seen:
That the still murmur of the honey-bee
Would never teach a rural song to me:
That the bright glance from beautys eyelids slanting
Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold
Some tale of love and arms in time of old.
Fly from all sorrowing far, far away;
A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see
In water, earth, or air, but poesy.
It has been said, dear George, and true I hold it,
(For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it)
That when a poet is in such a trance,
In air he sees white coursers paw and prance,
Bestridden of gay knights, in gay apparel,
Who at each other tilt in playful quarrel;
And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call,
Is the swift opening of their wide portal,
When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear,
Whose tones reach nought on earth but poets ear,
When these enchanted portals open wide,
And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide,
The Poets eye can reach those golden halls,
And view the glory of their festivals:
Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem
Fit for the silvering of a seraphs dream;
Their rich brimmed goblets, that incessant run,
Like the bright spots that move about the sun;
And when upheld, the wine from each bright jar
Pours with the lustre of a falling star.
Yet further off are dimly seen their bowers,
Of which no mortal eye can reach the flowers;
And tis right just, for well Apollo knows
Twould make the Poet quarrel with the rose.
All thats reveald from that far seat of blisses,
Is, the clear fountains interchanging kisses,
As gracefully descending, light and thin,
Like silver streaks across a dolphins fin,
When he upswimmeth from the coral caves,
And sports with half his tail above the waves.
Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore:
Should he upon an evening ramble fare
With forehead to the soothing breezes bare,
Would he nought see but the dark, silent blue,
With all its diamonds trembling through and through?
Or the coy moon, when in the waviness
Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress,
And staidly paces higher up, and higher,
Like a sweet nun in holiday attire?
Ah, yes! much more would start into his sight
The revelries and mysteries of night:
And should I ever see them, I will tell you
Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you.
But richer far posteritys award.
What does he murmur with his latest breath,
While his proud eye looks through the film of death?
What though I leave this dull and earthly mould,
Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold
With after times.The patriot shall feel
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel;
Or in the senate thunder out my numbers,
To startle princes from their easy slumbers.
The sage will mingle with each moral theme
My happy thoughts sententious: he will teem
With lofty periods when my verses fire him,
And then Ill stoop from heaven to inspire him.
Lays have I left of such a dear delight
That maids will sing them on their bridal-night;
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May,
When they have tired their gentle limbs with play,
And formd a snowy circle on the grass,
And placd in midst of all that lovely lass
Who chosen is their queen,with her fine head
Crowned with flowers purple, white and red:
For there the lily and the musk-rose sighing,
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying:
Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble,
A bunch of violets full blown, and double,
Serenely sleep:she from a casket takes
A little book,and then a joy awakes
About each youthful heart,with stifled cries,
And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes:
For shes to read a tale of hopes and fears:
One that I fosterd in my youthful years:
The pearls, that on each glistening circlet sleep,
Gush ever and anon with silent creep,
Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest
Shall the dear babe, upon its mothers breast,
Be lulld with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu!
Thy dales and hills are fading from my view:
Swiftly I mount, upon wide-spreading pinions,
Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions.
Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air,
That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair,
And warm thy sons! Ah, my dear friend and brother,
Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother,
For tasting joys like these, sure I should be
Happier, and dearer to society.
At times, tis true, Ive felt relief from pain
When some bright thought has darted through my brain:
Through all that day Ive felt a greater pleasure
Than if Id brought to light a hidden treasure.
As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them,
I feel delighted, still, that you should read them.
Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment,
Stretchd on the grass at my best-loved employment
Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought
While, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught.
Een now I am pillowd on
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