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While in the beechen shade I rest
Upon a bank of daisies.
It is the sabbath of the day,
Which every forest leaf is keeping; The hum of life hath died away;
The passions all are sleeping.
It seems as conscious Nature yields
At her Creator's shrine devotion; There comes no music from the fields,
No murmur from the ocean.
A silent joy, a holy pride,
Steal on my swelling heart, and o'er me; The visions of my boyhood glide
In long review before me.
One lovely eve, at such an hour,
The woods were green, the sun was shining; And I, within this beechen bower,
Upon the bank reclining;
When she for whom my bosom glows,
Came in the pride of vernal brightness, With brow of snow, and lip of rose,
And form of fairy lightness.
I clasp'd my seraph to my breast,
With ecstasy my heart was beating, And hers, within its joyous nest,
Was throb for throb repeating.
We roam'd about this woodland scene,
And down the hill, and thro' the meadow, Till lowering, sombre and serene,
The evening threw her shadow.
The dews were softly falling round,
And in the south a star was twinkling ; And from afar, with fitful sound,
The curfew bell' was tinkling.
I press'd her hand in mine—the blush
Of meek and maiden perturbation
Came o'er her features, like the flush
Which crimsons the carnation. I caught her gaze-it thrill’d my heart
In silence eloquently pleading ; From her my thoughts could not depart,
And of nought else were heeding. We parted with a fond embrace
I stood and gaz'd in melancholy,
Ev’n as the pilgrim turns his face
To Mecca's temple holy.
But ere yon hedge-row from my sight
The Peri of my hope had banish’d,
She wav'd her hand of lily-white,
And like a spirit vanish'd !
Three summers since have pass'd; and all
My hopes divine, and dreams Elysian, Like sunbeams when night's shadows fall,
Have fled, and mock'd my vision. But fair is Nature-oh! how fair
Are all her beauties spread before me; The tearful star, with dewy hair,
Beams tremulously o'er me: The shades are darkening o'er the dell;
The night-fog hangs above the river ; O scenes belov’d, farewell-farewell !
For ever and for ever.
She had a form, but I might talk till night,
(Young as the sun is now upon our watch)
Ere I had told its beauties ;—it was slight
Ev'n as yon willow, and, like its soft stem,
Fell into thousand motions, and all lovely.
But for her cheek, look on those streaks of rose
Tinting the white clouds o’er us, now and then
A flush of deeper crimson lighting up
Their wreaths like wind-kiss'd lilies;
And now and then a long, rich, ebon tinge
Floating between them.—There I think I see
Still, tho’ she's in the grave, the cheek I lov’d,
With the dark tress that veil'd it. When I sat
Beneath her eye, I felt its splendour on me
Like a bright spell. 'Tis not the diamond's ray,
Nor vesper star-light, nor aught beautiful
In this ascending sun, or in this world,
Can bring me back its image ;- 'twas a soul
That has no portraiture on earth, a beam
As we have heard of angels, where no lips
Are wanted to give utterance to the thought;
Her eye was radiant thought. Yet when her
Spoke to me, or at evening o'er her lute
Breath'd some old melody, or clos'd the day
With her due hymn to the Virgin, I have turn'd
Ev'n from the glory of her eye, to weep
With sudden keenness of delight. Those tears
On earth I weep no more-She's in the grave.
SWEET is the trance of slumber ; sweet th' escape
From life's realities to Fancy's world
Of vision'd happiness : the throbs of hope,
The smiles of rapture; voices breathing love,
Delightful shapes, and scenes of fairy-land;
To memory's pleasures and the fleeting joys
That seem'd for ever flown ; but nightly wing
Their backward Alight, and hover o'er my brow.
Such recognitions, vivid and soul-felt,
The work of wonder-shaping intellect,
Wake when the body sleeps. No day-dream wild
On river-brink, beneath the beech-tree's gloom,
Can with such clear distinctness to the soul
Picture the groupes of faded bliss; or call
Such light, aërial fantasies of joy
To float around the brain. Thou lovely Moon,
Companion of my bed! I would invoke
Thy influence : now from Ocean's trembling verge
Lift thy full orb, that, reddening thro' the woods,
Gleams like a sanguine shield; till slow it climbs,
And lessens as it climbs; and hovering high
In the blue calm of ether, sheds abroad
Its white effulgence. Thro' my heart I feel
Thy influence glide; thy beams of snowy light
Steal on my eyes, and swimming slumber veils
The consciousness of vision: Then awake
The eye and ear of Fancy : then the soul
Slides round the visionary sphere, more swift
And wildly sportive than the swallow's wing
That hovering skims the surface of the stream.
Oh, happy! whom Imagination seeks
Where'er he rests his head; on feathery down,
Or the hard pallet; on the reeling deck
Scourg'd by the waves; or on the moonshine bank,
Bower'd by the hazel's foliage, where the dew
On primrose and on violet hangs its gems.
The lover—no, reality itself
Scarce equals that blest moment, when he grasps
The hand so long withheld, that trembles soft
Within his trembling pressure : when his eyes
Drink in the lucid languishment of look
That thrills the shivering nerves; the mystic glance
Avowing all unutterable things,
And kindling hope to madness.
Rise not yet,
Unwelcome Sun! for never shall he know
So sweet a moment: never, tho' he clasp
Possession, shall he feel an hour like that;
When even impossibility gave way
At Fancy's bidding ; and the sighs, the smiles,
The murmur'd accents, and the glowing touch,
Heard, felt, and seen, in slumber's ecstasy,
Mingled the zest of mystery with bliss,
The tumult of amazement! these are thine,
Creative Slumber : by thy magic power,
Consign'd to more than mortal blessedness,
The poet smiles, and muses that the bough
Of ivy wreathes his temples; that the car
Triumphal bears him to the fane on high,
Where sat Petrarca with his laurel crown;
That blushing maidens roll their sparkling eyes
To gratulate his coming; and entwine
With ivory fingers myrtle and the rose,
To shadow him with flowers of Paradise.
By slumber's charm, whole oceans interpos’d
Shrink, and are dry: the friend whom chance of
Had sever'd from thee, sits beside thee now,
As in time past; the self-same oak above
Expands its dome of leaves; the rivulet sends