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O Lady! we receive but what we give,
Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth,
And from the soul itself must there be sent
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element !
O pure of heart! thou need'st not ask of me
This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given, Save to the pure, and in their purest hour, Life, and Life's effluence, cloud at once and shower, Joy, Lady! is the spirit and the power, Which wedding Nature to us gives in dower, A new Earth and new Heaven, Undreamt of by the sensual and the proud— Joy is the sweet voice, Joy the luminous cloudWe in ourselves rejoice!
And thence flows all that charms or ear or sight,
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
All colours a suffusion from that light.
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress, And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness:
And fruits, and foliage, not my own, seemed mine.
Nor care I that they rob me of my mirth,
Suspends what nature gave me at my birth,
From my own nature all the natural man— This was my sole resource, my only plan: Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my soul.
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
I turn from you, and listen to the wind,
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream Of agony by torture lengthened out
That lute sent forth! Thou Wind, that ravest without,
1 Tairn is a small lake, generally if not always applied to the lakes up in the mountains, and which are the feeders of those in the valleys. This address to the Storm-wind will not appear extravagant to those who have heard it at night, and in a mountainous country.
Or lonely house, long held the witches' home,
'Tis of the rushing of a host in rout,
With groans of trampled men, with smarting wounds
At once they groan with pain, and shudder with the cold!
But hush! there is a pause of deepest silence!
With groans, and tremulous shudderings-all is overIt tells another tale, with sounds less deep and loud!
A tale of less affright,
And tempered with delight,
As Otway's self had framed the tender lay,
"Tis of a little child
Upon a lonesome wild,
Not far from home, but she hath lost her way:
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep :
And may this storm be but a mountain-birth,
May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling,
Joy lift her spirit, joy attune her voice;
O simple spirit, guided from above,
ODE TO THE DEPARTING YEAR.1
Τὸ μέλλον ἥξει. Καὶ σύ μ ̓ ἐν τάχει παρὼν
Eschyl. Agam. 1225.
PIRIT who sweepest the wild harp of Time!
1 This Ode was composed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th days of December, 1796: and was first published on the last day of that year.
Long had I listened, free from mortal fear,
Then with no unholy madness
Ere yet the entered cloud foreclosed my sight,
Hither, from the recent tomb,
From the prison's direr gloom,
From distemper's midnight anguish ;
And thence, where poverty doth waste and languish!
By Time's wild harp, and by the hand
Raises its fateful strings from sleep,
I bid you haste, a mixed tumultuous band!
And each domestic hearth,
And with a loud and yet a louder voice,
Still echoes the dread name that o'er the earth