Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

All this is beautiful in every land.-
But what see you beside ?-a shabby stand
Of Hackney coaches-a brick house or wall
Fencing some lonely court, white with the

scrawl Of our unhappy politics ;—or worse-A wretched woman reeling by, whose curse Mixed with the watchman's, partner of her trade,

270 You must accept in place of serenade ;Or yellow-haired Pollonia, murmuring To Henry some unutterable thing. I see a chaos of green leaves and fruit Built round dark caverns, even to the root Of the living stems that feed them in whose

bowers There sleep in their dark dew the folded flowers ; Beyond, the surface of the unsickled corn Trembles not in the slumbering air, and, borne In circles quaint, and ever-changing dance, 280 Like winged stars the fire-flies flash and glance, Pale in the open moonshine; but each one Under the dark trees seems a little sun, A meteor tamed, a fixed star gone astray From the silver regions of the milky way ;Afar the Contadino's song is heard, Rude, but made sweet by distance--and a bird Which cannot be the Nightingale, and yet I know none else that sings so sweet as it At this late hour;and then all is still Now Italy or London, which you will ! 291

Next winter you must pass with me; I'll

have My house by that time turned into a grave Of dead despondence and low-thoughted care, And all the dreams which our tormentors are; Oh! that Hunt, Hogg, Peacock and Smith

were there, With every thing belonging to them fair!-We will have books, Spanish, Italian, Greek ; And ask one week to make another week As like his father as I'm unlike mine, 300 Which is not his fault, as you may divine. Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine, Yet let's be merry: we'll have tea and toast, Custards for supper, and an endless host Of syllabubs and jellies and mince-pies, And other such lady-like luxuries,Feasting on which we will philosophize ! And we'll have fires out of the Grand Duke's

wood, To thaw the six weeks' winter in our blood. And then we'll talk ;-what shall we talk about?

310 Oh! there are themes enough for many a bout Of thought-entangled descant ;-as to nervesWith cones and parallelograms and curves I've sworn to strangle them if once they dare To bother me—when you are with me there. And they shall never more sip laudanum, From Helicon or Himeros; well, come ; And, in despite of God and of the devil, We'll make our friendly philosophic revel Outlast the leafless time; till buds and flowers Warn the obscure inevitable hours,

321 Sweet meeting by sad parting to renew ;To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.”

1 "Iuspos, from which the river Himera was named, is, with some slight shade of difference, a synonym of Love.

THE WITCH OF ATLAS.

TO MARY,

ON HER OBJECTING TO THE FOLLOWING POEM, UPON THE SCORE OF ITS CONTAINING

NO HUMAN INTEREST.

How, my dear Mary, are you critic-bitten, (For vipers kill, though dead,) by some

review, That you condemn these verses I have written,

Because they tell no story, false or true ! What, though no mice are caught by a young

kitten, May it not leap and play as grown cats do, Till its claws come? Prithee, for this one time, Content thee with a visionary rhyme.

[ocr errors]

What hand would crush the silken-winged fly,

The youngest of inconstant April's minions, Because it cannot climb the purest sky, Where the swan sings, amid the sun's

dominions ? Not thine. Thou knowest 'tis its doom to die, When day shall hide within her twilight

pinions

200 LINES TO MARY ON THE WITCH OF ATLAS.

The lucent eyes and the eternal smile,
Serene as thine, which lent it life awhile.

III. To thy fair feet a winged Vision came, Whose date should have been longer than a

day, And o’er thy head did beat its wings for fame,

And in thy sight its fading plumes display ; The watery bow burned in the evening flame, But the shower fell, the swift sun went his

wayAnd that is dead. - 0, let me not believe That any thing of mine is fit to live!

IV. Wordsworth informs us he was nineteen years

Considering and retouching Peter Bell; Watering his laurels with the killing tears

Of slow, dull care, so that their roots to hell Might pierce, and their wide branches blot the

spheres Of heaven, with dewy leaves and flowers ;

this well May be, for Heaven and Earth conspire to foil The over-busy gardener's blundering toil.

My Witch indeed is not so sweet a creature

As Ruth or Lucy, whom his graceful praise Clothes for our grandsons--but she matches

Peter,
Though he took nineteen years, and she three

days In dressing Light the vest of flowing metre

| Laon and Cythna, also dedicated to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.-ED.

She wears; he, proud as dandy with his stays, Has hung upon his wiry limbs a dress Like King Lear's “looped and windowed

raggedness.”

VI.

If you strip Peter, you will see a fellow,

Scorched by Hell's hyperequatorial climate Into a kind of a sulphureous yellow :

A lean mark, hardly fit to fling a rhyme at; In shape a Scaramouch, in hue Othello.

If you unveil my Witch, no priest nor primate Can shrive you of that sin,-if sin there be In love, when it becomes idolatry.

THE WITCH OF ATLAS.

BEFORE those cruel Twins, whom at one birth

Incestuous Change bore to her father Time, Error and Truth, had hunted from the Earth All those bright natures which adorned its

prime, And left us nothing to believe in, worth

The pains of putting into learnèd rhyme, A lady-witch there lived on Atlas' mountain Within a cavern, by a secret fountain.

II.

Her mother was one of the Atlantides:

The all-beholding Sun had ne'er beholden In his wide voyage o'er continents and seas

So fair a creature, as she lay enfolden In the warm shadow of her loveliness ;

« PoprzedniaDalej »