To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been..
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold..
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean
This is not solitude, 'tis but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and view her
But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless..
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued..
This is to be alone, this, this is solitude!
OH! SNATCHED AWAY IN BEAUTY'S BLOOM
Oh! snatched away in beauty's bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb..
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom..
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturbed the dead!
Away! ye know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou -who tell'st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
WHEN WE TWO PARTED
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow..
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me..
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well..
Long, long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met..
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?..
With silence and tears.
TO THYRZA: AND
THOU ART DEAD
And thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth..
And form so soft and charm so rare
Too soon returned to Earth!
Though Earth received them in her bed,
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread..
In carelessness or mirth,
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.
I will not ask where thou liest low,
Nor gaze upon the spot..
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not..
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved, and long must love,
Like common earth can rot..
To me there needs no stone to tell
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal
Nor age can chill, nor rival steal,
Nor falsehood disavow..
And, what were worse, thou canst not see
Or wrong or change or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours..
The worst can be but mine..
The sun that cheers, the storm that lours,
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that
I envy now too much to weep
Nor need I to repine
That all those charms have passed away
I might have watched through long decay.
The flower in ripened bloom unmatched
Must fall the earliest prey..
Though by no hand untimely snatched,
The leaves must drop away..
And yet it were a greater grief
To watct it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it plucked today
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that followed such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade:
Thy day without a cloud hath past,
And thou wert lovely to the last..
Extinguished, not decayed,
As stars that shoot along the sky
Shine brightest as they fall from high.
As once I wept, if I could weep,
My tears might well be shed
To think I was not near to keep
One vigil o'er thy bed:
To gaze, how fondly! on thy face,
To fold thee in a faint embrace,
Uphold thy drooping head,
And show that love, however vain,
Nor thou nor I can feel again.
Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
The loveliest things that still remain
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread Eternity
Returns again to me,
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught, except its living years.