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To woo sweet kisses from averted faces,-
And can I ever bid these joys farewell ? Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life, Where I may find the agonies, the strife Of human hearts : for lo! I see afar, O'er-sailing the blue cragginess, a car And steeds with streamy manes — the charioteer Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear; And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly Wheel downward come they into fresher skies, Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes. Still downward with capacious whirl they glide; And now I see them on a green-hill side In breezy rest among the nodding stalks. The charioteer with wondrous gesture talks To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear
Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,
The visions all are fled the car is fled Into the light of heaven, and in their stead A sense of real things comes doubly strong, And, like a muddy stream, would bear along My soul to nothingness: but I will strive Against all doubtings, and will keep alive The thought of that same chariot, and the strange Journey it went.
Is there so small a range In the present strength of manhood, that the high Imagination cannot freely fly As she was wont of old ? prepare her steeds. Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds Upon the clouds ? Has she not shown us all ?
From the clear space of ether, to the small
Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a schism Nurtured by foppery and barbarism Made great Apollo blush for this his land. Men were thought wise who could not understand His glories; with a puling infant's force They sway'd about upon a rocking-horse, And thought it Pegasus. Ah, dismal-soul'd! The winds of heaven blew, the ocean rollid Its gathering waves ye felt it not. The blue Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew Of summer night collected still to make The morning precious: Beauty was awake! Why were ye not awake ? But ye were dead To things ye knew not of, were closely wed To musty laws lined out with wretched rule And compass vile; so that ye taught a school Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit, Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, Their verses tallied. Easy was the task :
A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
O ye whose charge It is to hover round our pleasant hills ! Whose congregated majesty so fills My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace Your hallow'd names, in this unholy place, So near those common folk; did not their shames Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames Delight you ? did ye never cluster round Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound, And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu To regions where no more the laurel grew
? Or did ye stay to give a welcoming To some lone spirits who could proudly sing Their youth away, and die ? 'Twas even so. But let me think away those times of woe: Now 'tis a fairer season; ye have breathed Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed Fresh garlands : for sweet music has been heard In many places; some has been upstirr'd From out its crystal dwelling in a lake, By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake, Nested and quiet in a valley mild, Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild About the earth : happy are ye and glad. These things are, doubtless; yet in truth we've had
Strange thunders from the potency of song;
Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds Lifts its sweet heap into the air, and feeds A silent space with ever-sprouting green. All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen, Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering, Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing. Then let us clear away the choking thorns From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns, Yeaned in after-times, when we are flown, Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown With simple flowers: let there nothing be More boisterous than a lover's bended knee; Nought more ungentle than the placid look Of one who leans upon a closed book;