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The grass, the thicket, and the fruit tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunts of flies on summer eves,
Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death, Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstacy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain—
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 't is buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:- do I wake or sleep?
SEE, the day begins to break,
And the light shoots like a streak
Of subtle fire; the wind blows cold,
While the morning doth unfold;
Now the birds begin to rouse,
And the squirrel from the boughs
Leaps, to get him nuts and fruit;
The early lark, that erst was mute,
Carols to the rising day
Many a note and many a lay.
SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery,
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;
But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours;
Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth—these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
Of the self-same universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sun-light shining, Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining, Buds that open only to decay;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gaily in the golden light;
Large desires, with most uncertain issues;
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers,
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field,
But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink;
Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tells us of the ancient games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with child-like, credulous affection,
We behold their tender bands expand;
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE spring is here—the delicate-footed May,
With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers,
And with it comes a thirst to be away,
In lovelier scenes to pass these sweeter hours,
A feeling like the worm's awakening wings,
Wild for companionship with swifter things.
We pass out from the city's feverish hum,
To find refreshment in the silent woods;
And nature, that is beautiful and dumb,
Like a cool sleep upon the pulses broodsYet, even there, a restless thought will steal, To teach the indolent heart it still must feel.. Strange, that the audible stillness of the noon, The waters tripping with their silver feet, The turning to the light of leaves in June,
And the light whisper as their edges meet