Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE CLOUD.
I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade, for the leaves, when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet birds every one,
When rock'd to rest, on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under;
And then again, † dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as

I
pass

in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast ;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fetter'd the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits ;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the

love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea.
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The spirit he loves remains ;
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,
Whilst hie is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack
When the morning star shines dead.
As on the jag of a mountain

crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit, one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings;
And when sunset may breathe on the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love;
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of heaven above;

With wings folded I rest on mine airy nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden, with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet-
Which only the angels hear
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer.
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm river, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky, fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the moon's with a girdle of pearl ;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam proof, I hang like a roof,
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march,
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of air are chain'd to my chair,
In the million-color'd bow;
The sphere-fire above, its soft colors wove,
Wnile the nioist earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of the earth and water,
And the nursling of the sky;
I pass'd through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
l'or after the rain, when with never a strain,
The pavilion is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams,
Build up the blue dome of air ;
1 silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I rise, and upbuild it again.

Shelley.

THE DESERTED VILLAGE.

SWEET Auburn! loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheer'd the laboring swain;
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer's lingering blooms delay'd;
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Scenes of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Where humble happiness endear'd each scene !
How often have I paused on every

charm The never-failing-brook, the busy mill

, The decent church that topp'd the neighboring hill, The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade, For talking age and whispering lovers made ! How often have I bless'd that coming day, When toil, remitting, lent its turn to play, And all the village train, from labor free, Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree; While many a pastime circled in the shade, The young contending as the old survey'd; And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground, And sleights of art and feats of strength went round; And still, as each repeated pleasure tired, Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired. The dancing pair that simply sought renown, By holding out to tire each other down ; The swain, mistrustless of his smutted face, While secret laughter titter'd round the place; The bashful virgin's side-long looks of love, The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove : These were thy charms, sweet village ! sports like these With sweet succession taught e’en toil to please, These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed; These were thy charms—but all these charms are fled. Sweet village, loveliest of the lawn, Thy sports are fled and all thy charms withdrawn: Amidst thy bowers the tyrant hand is seen, And desolation saddens all thy green; One only master grasps the whole domain, And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain. No more thy glassy brook reflects the day, But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way ; Along thy glades, a solitary guest, The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest ;

Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bowers in shapeless ruin all

,
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall;
And trembling, shrinking from the spoiler's hand,
Far, far away thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ill a prey,
Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade,
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroy'd can never be supplied.
A time there was ere England's griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintain’d its man;
For him light labor spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, but gave no more;
His best companions, innocence and health,
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are alter'd: Trade's unfeeling train,
Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain:
Along the lawn, where scatter'd hamlet rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose;
And

every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that ask'd but little room,
Those healthful sports that graced the peacefuil scene,
Lived in each look and brighten’d all the green, —
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn ! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant's power.
Here, as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks and ruin’d grounds ;
And, many a year elapsed, return to view,
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew;
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings through this world of care,
In all my griefs, and God has given my share,
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst the humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life's taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose ;-
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to show my book-learn'd skill ;

Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt and all I saw;
And, as a hare, whom horns and hounds pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexation past,
Here to return--and die at home at last.
Oh, blest retirement, friend to life's decline,
Retreat from care that never must be mine,
How blest is he who crowns in shades like these,
A youth of labor with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state
To spurn imploring famine from the gate ;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend,
Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences ere the world be past.
Sweet was the sound when oft at evening's close
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There as I past with careless steps and slow
The mingled notes came soften’d from below,-
The swain responsive as the milk-maid

sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog's voice, that bay'd the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind:
These, all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill’d each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is shed;
All but, yon widow'd solitary thing
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring :
She, wretched matron, forced in age for bread
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread;
To pick her wintry fagot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed and weep till morn, -
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain. Goldsmith.

« PreviousContinue »