Page images

But they, beheld, must disappear, and melt
Away with fervent heat, nor ebb, nor flow

Of mighty waters shall be seen or felt:

No vestige will remain of lands where man hath dwelt.


And shall this ocean that compared might be (If aught the perishable world can have Liken'd unto it,) with eternity,

Be lost at once as is a single wave

That breaks the beach?-this greedy grave


Of shatter'd navies, shall it ever cease

Το gorge its victims while fierce tempests rave?
Whate'er the great Creator wills, with ease

He can perform-build worlds, destroy them, if he please.


Heaven, Earth, and Ocean perish; but the soul
Survives, through ages after ages blest.

Burning for knowledge, where new planets roll
'Twill wing its flight! Here oft by care deprest
The mind for wisdom loses all its zest;
But loosed from earth, all-seeing it will pass
Through boundless space, or contemplate at rest
Things which it darkly views as through a glass;
While "cabin'd, cribb'd, confined" within its fleshly



What other worlds interfluent among,

Oceans may swell and roar, 'tis vain to think.
Such themes befit not a poor mortal's song.
Imagination leads us to the brink

Of a vast precipice; we well might shrink
In gazing on the great obscure beneath.
There all is fathomless-the closest link

Of thought is broken by conjecture's breath,

When mind attempts to soar above the depths of death!


Ah, why in age

Do we revert so fondly to the walks

Of childhood, but that there the soul discerns
The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired

Of her own native vigour-but for this,
That it is given her thence in age to hear
Reverberations; and a choral song,
Commingling with the incense that ascends
Undaunted tow'rds the imperishable heavens
From her own lonely altar?

WORDSWORTH's Excursion, book viii.


BEAUTIFUL day thou art! but doubly fair
To me as from this spot I now behold
Things of familiar loveliness; the air

Whispers of childhood, changeful lights unfold
Scenes of which many a pleasant tale is told.
Lo! as the panorama gay is seen

Distinctly, hamlets, mansions known of old, Glow in the sunshine; cornfields, meadows green, And wood-surrounded domes of grandeur swell between.*

*And "flowery gardens curtain'd round

With world-excluding groves."


The deep of azure by a cloud unstained
Above; the wild bee's solitary hum;
The butterflies, whose joyaunce is unfeign'd,
Coloured, as if from gayer worlds they come,-
Creatures not grateful less for life, though dumb :
The swift that skims the ground with rapid wing,
The thousand thousand flowers we cannot sum,
The streams that from moss-covered founts outspring,-
All in the Sun rejoice, their earth-o'ergazing king.

[ocr errors]

Here the pavilion stands, where children bright
At morn assembled for the dance or game,
Lively as fays, as delicate Ariel light;

Though they are grown to womanhood, there came
To Fancy's eye apparently the same

To-day, their young successors full of joy :

And as the sun subdued his fiercer flame,

The dance commenced, that charmed me when a boy, And simple sports that gave delight without alloy.


The presence of the past is bodied forth,
Or in plantation deep, or covert glade;
Though my coevals planted toward the north,
Grown with our growth, flourishing as we fade,
Throw out a wider amplitude of shade,

It seemeth that this hill-encircling zone

Of beech and firs but yesterday was made; There to assist illusion, yon grey stone

Remains, of old the work-directing planter's throne.


The numerous steps of time that rise between
Childhood and age mature, when upward view'd,
Interminable seem; when downward seen,

The mental eye with smooth descent illude: 'Twixt was and is how brief the interlude! As we reseek a spot the heart that cheers

With the remembrance of a sport pursued In childhood, visibly there it re-appears ; Vanisheth like a rapid dream long interval of years!


And what is Time's progression? the same breeze
That in my boyhood fann'd me, on this hill
Around me plays; yon patriarchal trees
Unchanged remain, the ever lively rill

Runs through the garden rapidly at will;
The stars that cheered my nightly walks, here shed
Their spiritual influence on me still.

One proof, alas! there is, that years have fled—

Some who have here with me rejoiced are numbered

with the dead.

« PreviousContinue »