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BELPHCEBE, A HUNTRESS.
Eftsoon there stepped forth
Her face so fair as flesh it seemed not,
In her fair eyes two living lamps did flame.
Her ivory forehead, full of bounty brave,
Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
And every one with meekness to her bows:
So fair, and thousand thousand times more fair,
And in her hand a sharp bow spear she held,
Her yellow locks crisped like golden wire, About her shoulders weren loosely shed, And when the wind amongst them did enspire, They waved like a pennon wide disspread, And low behind her back were scattered; And whether art it were or heedless hap, As through the flowering forest rash she fled, In her rude hairs sweet flowers themselves did lap, And flourishing fresh leaves and blossoms did enwrap.
AN APOLOGY FOR HAVING LOVED BEFORE.
They that never had the use
So they that are to love inclined,
To man, that as in th' evening made,
But when the bright sun did appear,
All those he 'gan despise;
His wonder was determined there,
And could no higher rise.
He neither might nor wished to know
A more refulgent light:
For that (as mine your beauties now)
Employed his utmost sight.
THE NAMELESS MOUNTAIN STREAM.
Up from the shore of the placid lake
I've traced thy course, thou gentle brook:—
I've seen thy life in all thy moods;
I've seen thee lingering in the nook
Of the shady, fragrant, pine-tree woods;
I've seen thee starting and leaping down
The smooth high rocks and boulders brown;
I've track'd thee upwards, upwards still,
From the spot where the lonely birch-tree stands,
Low adown amid shingle and sands,
Over the brow of the ferny hill,
Over the moorland, purple dyed,
Over the rifts of granite grey,
Up to thy source on the mountain side,
Far away—oh, far away.
Beautiful stream! By rock and dell,
There's not an inch in all thy course
I have not tracked. I know thee well;
I know where blossoms the yellow gorse,
I know where waves the pale blue-bell,
And where the hidden violets dwell.
I know where the foxglove rears its head,
And where the heather tufts are spread:
I know where the meadow-sweets exhale,
And the white valerians load the gale.
I know the spot where the bees love best,
And where the linnet has built her nest.
I know the bushes the grouse frequent,
And the nooks where the shy deer browse the bent.
1 know each tree to thy fountain head—
The lady-birches, slim and fair:
The feathery larch, the rowans red,
The brambles trailing their tangled hair.
And each is linked to my waking thought
By some remembrance fancy-fraught.
I know the pools where the trout are found,
I know thy voice: I've heard thee sing
Many a soft and plaintive tune,
Like a lover's song in life's young spring,
Or Endymion's to the moon.
I've heard it deepen to a roar
When thou wert swollen by Autumn rains,
And rush'd from the hill-tops to the plains,
A loud and passionate orator.
I've spoken to thee—and thou to me—
At morn, or noon, or closing night!
And ever the voice of thy minstrelsy
Has been companion of delight.
Yet, lovely stream, unknown to fame,
Thou hast oozed, and flow'd, and leap'd, and run,
Ever,sinee Time its course begun,
Without a record, without a name.
I ask'd the shepherd on the hill—
He knew thee but as a common rill;
I ask'd the farmer's blue-eyed daughter—
She knew thee but as a running water;
I ask'd the boatman on the shore,
He was never ask'd to tell before—
Thou wert a brook, and nothing more.
Yet, stream so dear to me alone,
I prize and cherish thee none the less
That thou flow'st unseen, unpraised, unknown,
In the unfrequented wilderness.
Though none admire and lay to heart
How good and beautiful thou art,
Thy flowerets bloom, thy waters run,
And the free birds chant thy benison.
Beauty is beauty, though unseen;
And those who live it all their days,
Find meet reward in their soul serene,
And the inner voice of prayer and praise.
Like thee, fair streamlet, undefined,