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In sweet dreams softer than unbroken rest Thou leddest by the hand thine infant Hope. The eddying of her garments caught from thee The light of thy great presence; and the cope

Of the half-attain'd futurity,

Though deep not fathomless,
Was cloven with the million stars which tremble
O'er the deep mind of dauntless infancy.
Small thought was there of life's distress;
For sure she deem'd no mist of earth could dull
Those spirit-thrilling eyes so keen and beautiful:
Sure she was nigher to heaven's spheres,
Listening the lordly music flowing from

The illimitable years.
O strengthen me, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.

4
Come forth I charge thee, arise,
Thou of the many tongues, the myriad eyes !
Thou comest not with shows of flaunting vines

Unto mine inner eye,

Divinest Memory!
Thou wert not nursed by the waterfall
Which ever sounds and shines

A pillar of white light upon the wall
Of purple cliffs, aloof descried :
Come from the woods that belt the

gray

hill-side,
The seven elms, the poplars four
That stand beside my father's door,
And chiefly from the brook that loves
To purl o'er matted cress and ribbed sand,
Or dimple in the dark of rushy coves,
Drawing into his narrow earthen urn,

In every elbow and turn,
The filter'd tribute of the rough woodland.

O! hither lead thy feet !
Pour round mine ears the livelong bleat
Of the thick-fleeced sheep from wattled folds,

Upon the ridged wolds,
When the first matin-song hath waken'd loud
Over the dark dewy earth forlorn,
What time the amber morn
Forth gushes from beneath a low-hung cloud.

5
Large dowries doth the raptured eye
To the young spirit present
When first she is wed;

And like a bride of old
In triumph led,

With music and sweet showers

Of festal flowers,
Unto the dwelling she must sway.
Well hast thou done, great artist Memory,
In setting round thy first experiment

With royal frame-work of wrought gold;
Needs must thou dearly love thy first essay,
And foremost in thy various gallery

Place it, where sweetest sunlight falls
Upon the storied walls;

For the discovery
And newness of thine art so pleased thee,
That all which thou hast drawn of fairest

Or boldest since, but lightly weighs
With thee unto the love thou:bearest
The first-born of thy genius. . Artist-like,
Ever retiring thou dost gaze
On the prime labour of thine early days:
No matter what the sketch might be;
Whether the high field on the bushless Pike,
Or even a sand-built ridge
Of heaped hills that mound the sea,
Overblown with murmurs harsh,
Or even a lowly cottage whence we see
Stretch'd wide and wild the waste enormous marsh,
Where from the frequent bridge,
Like emblems of infinity,
The trenched waters run from sky to sky;
Or a garden bower'd close
With plaited alleys of the trailing rose,
Long alleys falling down to twilight grots,
Or opening upon level plots
Of crowned lílies, standing near
Purple-spiked lavender :
Whither in after life retired
From brawling storms,
From weary wind,
With youthful fancy reinspired,
We may hold converse with all forms

Of the many-sided mind,
And those whom passion hath not blinded,
Subtle-thoughted, myriad-minded.
My friend, with you to live alone,
Were how much better than to own
A crown, a sceptre, and a throne !
O strengthen me, enlighten me!
I faint in this obscurity,
Thou dewy dawn of memory.
(1853)

XXIII
SONG

I

I'THE glooming light
Of middle night

So cold and white,
Worn Sorrow sits by the moaning wave;

Beside her are laid

Her mattock and spade,
For she hath half delved her own deep grave.

Alone she is there :
The white clouds drizzle : her hair falls loose ;

Her shoulders are bare;
Her tears are mixed with the beaded dews.

2

Death standeth by;
She will not die ;

With glazèd eye
She looks at her grave: she cannot sleep;

Ever alone

She maketh her moan:
She cannot speak; she can only weep,

For she will not hope.
The thick snow falls on her flake by flake,

The dull wave mourns down the slope, The world will not change, and her heart will not break. (1830)

XXIV

SONG

I

A SPIRIT haunts the year's last hours
Dwelling amid these yellowing bowers :

To himself he talks ;

For at eventide, listening earnestly,
At his work you may hear him sob and sigh

In the walks ;

Earthward he boweth the heavy stalks Of the mouldering flowers :

Heavily hangs the broad sunflower

Over its grave i' the earth so chilly ;
Heavily hangs the hollyhock,

Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.

2

The air is damp, and hush'd, and close,
As a sick man's room when he taketh repose

An hour before death;
My very heart faints and my whole soul grieves
At the moist rich smell of the rotting leaves,

And the breath

Of the fading edges of box beneath, And the year's last rose.

Heavily hangs the broad sunflower

Over its grave i' the earth so chilly;
Heavily hangs the hollyhock,

Heavily hangs the tiger-lily. (1853)

XXV
ADELINE

I

MYSTERY of mysteries,

Faintly smiling Adeline,
Scarce of earth nor all divine,
Nor unhappy, nor at rest,

But beyond expression fair

With thy floating flaxen hair;
Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes

Take the heart from out my breast
Wherefore those dim looks of thine,
Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?

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i

Or a phantom two hours old

Of a maiden past away,
Ere the placid lips be cold?
Wherefore those faint smiles of thine,
Spiritual Adeline?

3
What hope or fear or joy is thine?
Who talketh with thee, Adeline ?
For sure thou art not all alone:

Do beating hearts of salient springs
Keep measure with thine own?

Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings?

Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews?

Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings

To the mosses underneath ?

Hast thou look'd upon the breath
Of the lilies at sunrise ?
Wherefore that faint smile of thine,
Shadowy, dreaming Adeline ?

4
Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,

Some spirit of a crimson rose
In love with thee forgets to close
His curtains, wasting

odorous sighs
All night long on darkness blind.
What aileth thee? whom waitest thou
With thy soften'd, shadow'd brow,

And those dew-lit eyes of thine,
Thou faint smiler, Adeline ?

5
Lovest thou the doleful wind

When thou gazest at the skies?
Doth the low-tongued Orient
Wander from the side of the morn,

Dripping with Sabæan spice
On thy pillow, lowly bent

With melodious airs lovelorn,
Breathing Light against thy face,
While his locks a-dropping twined

Round thy neck in subtle ring

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