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The morning sunbeams to the great Apollo,
Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear
The o’erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring me to the fair
Visions of all places : a bowery nook
Will be elysium

an eternal book
Whence I may copy many a lovely saying
About the leaves, and flowers — about the playing
Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade
Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;
And many a verse from so strange influence
That we must ever wonder how, and whence
It came. Also imaginings will hover
Round my fire-side, and haply there discover
Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander
In happy silence, like the clear Meander
Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot
Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,
Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer's dress
Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,
Write on my tablets all that was permitted,
All that was for our human senses fitted.
Then the events of this wide world I'd seize
Like a strong giant, and my spirit tease
Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
Wings to find out an immortality.

Stop and consider ! life is but a day;
A fragile dewdrop on its perilous way
From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan ?
Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown;
The reading of an ever-changing tale;
The light uplifting of a maiden's veil;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air ;
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Riding the springy branches of an elm.

O for ten years, that I may overwhelm Myself in poesy! so I may do the deed That my own soul has to itself decreed. Then I will pass the countries that I see In long perspective, and continually Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I'll pass Of Flora, and Old Pan : sleep in the grass, Feed upon apples red, and strawberries, And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees, Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places, To woo sweet kisses from averted faces Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white Into a pretty shrinking with a bite As hard as lips can make it: till agreed, A lovely tale of human life we'll read. And one will teach a tame dove how it best May fan the cool air gently o’er my rest : Another, bending o'er her nimble tread, Will set a green robe floating round her head, And still will dance with ever-varied ease, Smiling upon the flowers and the trees : Another will entice me on, and on, Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon ; Till in the bosom of a leafy world We rest in silence, like two gems upcurld In the recesses of a pearly shell.

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,
Passing along before a dusky space
Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase
Some ever-fleeting music, on they sweep.
Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
Some with their faces muffled to the ear
Between their arms; some clear in youthful bloom,
Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom ;
Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;
Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways
Flit onward now a lovely wreath of girls
Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls ;
And now broad wings. Most awfully intent
The driver of those steeds is forward bent,
And seems to listen : O that I might know
All that he writes with such a hurrying glow!

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
Breath of new buds unfolding ? From the meaning
Of Jove's large eyebrow, to the tender greening
Of April meadows ? here her altar shone,
E'en in this isle; and who could paragon
The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
Eternally around a dizzy void ?
Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
With honours ; nor had any other care
Than to sing out and soothe their wavy hair.

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-sould ! 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, Tyll, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, Their verses tallied. Easy was the task : A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race ! That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face, And did not know it, — no, they went about, Holding a poor, decrepit standard out,

Mark'd with most flimsy mottoes, and in large
The name of one Boileau !

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 ? 'I was 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, doubtiess : yet in truth we've had Strange thunders from the potency of song ; Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong, From majesty : but in clear truth the themes Are ugly cubs, the Poet's Polyphemes Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower Of light is poesy ; 'tis the supreme of power; Tis might half slumbering on its own right arm. The very archings of her eyelids charm A thousand willing agents to obey, And still she governs with the mildest sway :

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