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Me rather all that bowery loneliness,
The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,
And bloom profuse and cedar arches
Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
Where some refulgent sunset of India
Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,
And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods
Whisper in odorous heights of even.
O you chorus of indolent reviewers,
Irresponsible, indolent reviewers,
Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem
All composed in a metre of Catullus,
All in quantity, careful of my motion,
Like the skater on ice that hardly bears him,
Lest I fall unawares before the people,
Waking laughter in indolent reviewers.
Should I flounder awhile without a tumble
Thro’ this metrification of Catullus,
They should speak to me not without a welcome,
All that chorus of indolent reviewers.
Hard, hard, hard is it, only not to tumble,
So fantastical is the dainty metre.
Wherefore slight me not wholly, nor believe me
Too presumptuous, indolent reviewers.
O blatant Magazines, regard me rather-
Since I blush to belaud myself a moment-
As some exquisite rose, a piece of inmost
Horticultural art, or half coquette-like
Maiden, not to be greeted unbenignly.
SPECIMEN OF A TRANSLATION OF THE ILIAD
IN BLANK VERSE
He ceased, and sea-like roar'd the Trojan host,
And loosed their sweating horses from the yoke,
And each beside his chariot bound his own;
And oxen from the city and goodly sheep
In haste they drove, and honey-hearted wine
And bread from out the houses brought, and heap'd
Their firewood, and the winds from off the plain
Roll’d the rich vapour far into the heaven.
And these all night sat on the bridge of war
Triumphant; many a fire before them blazed :
As when in heaven the stars about the moon
Look beautiful, when all the winds are laid,
And every height comes out, and jutting peak
And valley, and the immeasurable heavens
Break open to their highest, and all the stars
Shine, and the hind rejoices in his heart :
So many a fire between the ships and stream
Of Xanthus blazed before the towers of Troy,
A thousand on the plain; and close by each
Sat fifty in the blaze of burning fire;
And champing golden grain their horses stood,
Hard by the chariots, waiting for the dawn.
Iliad, viii. 542-561. (Cornhill Magazine, Decenzber 1863)
Oh sad No More! Oh sweet No More !
Oh strange No More !
By a mossed brookbank on a stone
I smelt a wildweed-flower alone;
There was a ringing in my ears,
And both my eyes gushed out with tears. Surely all pleasant things had gone before,
Low-buried fathom-deep beneath with thee, No More ! (The Gem, 1831)
THE SEA-FAIRIES Slow sail'd the
mariners and saw,
Betwixt the green brink and the running foam,
Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
To little harps of gold; and while they mused,
Whispering to each other half in fear,
Shrill music reach'd them on the middle sea.
Whither away, whither away, whither away? fly no more.
Whither away from the high green field, and the happy
blossoming shore ?
Day and night to the billow the fountain calls ;
Down shower the gambolling waterfalls
From wandering over the lea:
Out of the live-green heart of the dells
They freshen the silvery-crimson shells,
And thick with white bells the clover-hill swells
High over the full-toned sea :
O hither, come hither and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me:
Hither, come hither and frolic and play;
Here it is only the mew that wails;
We will sing to you all the day :
Mariner, mariner, furl your sails,
For here are the blissful downs and dales,
And merrily merrily carol the gales,
And the spangle dances in bight and bay,
And the rainbow forms and flies on the land
Over the islands free;
And the rainbow lives in the curve of the sand ;
Hither, come hither and see;
And the rainbow hangs on the poising wave,
And sweet is the colour of cove and cave,
And sweet shall your welcome be:
O hither, come hither, and be our lords
For merry brides are we:
We will kiss sweet kisses, and speak sweet words :
O listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten
With pleasure and love and jubilee :
O listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten
When the sharp clear twang of the golden chords
Runs up the ridged sea.
Who can light on as happy a shore
All the world o'er, all the world o'er ?
Whither away? listen and stay: mariner, mariner, fly no
AS WHEN A MAN
The first four verses of "A Dream of Fair Women.” 1833
As when a man, that sails in a balloon,
Downlooking sees the solid shining ground
Stream from beneath him in the broad blue noon,
Tilth, hamlet, mead and mound:
And takes his flags and waves them to the mob,
That shout below, all faces turned to where
Glows rubylike the far-up crimson globe,
Filled with a finer air :
3 So, lifted high, the Poet at his will
Lets the great world flit from him, seeing all, Higher thro' secret splendours mounting still, Self-poised, nor fears to fall,
4 Hearing apart the echoes of his fame.
While I spoke thus, the seedsman, Memory, Sowed my deep-furrowed thought with many a name,
Whose glory will not die.
TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH
You did late review my lays,
Crusty Christopher ;
You did mingle blame and praise,
When I learnt from whom it came,
I forgave you all the blame,
I could not forgive the praise,
We know him, out of Shakspeare's art,
And those fine curses which he spoke; The old Timon, with his noble heart,
That, strongly loathing, greatly broke.
So died the Old : here comes the New.
Regard him : a familiar face :
I thought we knew him: What, it's you,
The padded man—that wears the stays-
Who kill'd the girls and thrill'd the boys,
With dandy pathos when you wrote, A Lion, you, that made a noise,
And shook a mane en papillotes.