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VERSE, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young? Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change 'twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along :—
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather,
When Youth and I lived in 't together.
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was Old? Ah woeful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth 's no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
"T is known that Thou and I were one,
I'll think it but a fond conceit-
It cannot be, that Thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet tolled:
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe that Thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size :
But spring-tide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought; so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life 's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
When we are old:
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist;
Yet hath outstayed his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.
WHEN in disgrace, with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possest,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least:
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark, at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered, such wealth brings, That then I scorne to change my state with kings.
"O Lachrymarum fons, tenero sacros
Ducentium ortus ex animo: quater
Felix! in imo qui scatentem
Pectore te, pia Nymphá, sensit."
THERE's not a joy the world can give like that it takes away, When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay ; 'T is not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone, which fades so
But the tender bloom of heart is gone, ere youth itself be past.
Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess;
The magnet of their course is gone, or only points in vain
The shore to which their shivered sail shall never stretch again.
Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for other's woes, it dare not dream its own;
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears,
And though the eye may sparkle still, 't is where the ice appears.
Though wit may flash from fluent lips, and mirth distract the breast, Through midnig hours that yield no more their former hope of rest; 'T is but as ivy-leaves around the ruined turret wreathe,
All green and wildly fresh without, but worn and grey beneath.
Oh could I feel as I have felt, or be what I have been,
Or weep as I could once have wept, o'er many a vanished scene;
As springs in deserts found seem sweet, all brackish though they be,
So 'midst the withered waste of life, those tears would flow to me.
OFT I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ;
She dwelt on a wide moor,
The sweetest thing that ever grew Beside a human door!
'To-night will be a stormy night—
You to the town must go;
And take a lantern, Child, to light
Your mother through the snow."
You yet may spy the fawn at play,
upon the green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
That, Father! will I gladly do: 'T is scarcely afternoon
The minster-clock has just struck two, And yonder is the moon !"
At this the Father raised his hook,
And snapped a faggot band;
He plied his work ;-and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.