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ON to Iona!-What can she afford
To us save matter for a thoughtful sigh,
Heaved over ruin with stability
In urgent contrast? To diffuse the WORD
(Thy Paramount, mighty Nature! and Time's Lord)
Her Temples rose, 'mid pagan gloom; but why,
Even for a moment, has our verse deplored
Their wrongs, since they fulfilled their destiny?
And when, subjected to a common doom
Of mutability, those far-famed Piles
Shall disappear from both the sister Isles,
Iona's Saints, forgetting not past days,
Garlands shall wear of amaranthine bloom,
While heaven's vast sea of voices chants their praise.
How sad a welcome! To each voyager
Some ragged child holds up for sale a store
Of wave-worn pebbles, pleading on the shore
Where once came monk and nun with gentle stir,
Blessings to give, news ask, or suit prefer.
Yet is yon neat trim church a grateful speck
Of novelty amid the sacred wreck
Strewn far and wide. Think, proud Philosopher!
Fallen though she be, this Glory of the west,
Still on her sons, the beams of mercy shine;
And hopes, perhaps more heavenly bright than
A grace by thee unsought and unpossest, [thine,
A faith more fixed, a rapture more divine
Shall gild their passage to eternal rest.'
HOMEWARD we turn. Isle of Columba's Cell,
Where Christian piety's soul-cheering spark
(Kindled from Heaven between the light and dark
Of time) shone like the morning-star, farewell!—
And fare thee well, to Fancy visible,
Remote St. Kilda, lone and loved sea-mark
For many a voyage made in her swift bark,
When with more hues than in the rainbow dwell
Thou a mysterious intercourse dost hold,
Extracting from clear skies and air serene,
And out of sun-bright waves, a lucid veil,
That thickens, spreads, and, mingling fold with fold,
Makes known, when thou no longer canst be seen,
Thy whereabout, to warn the approaching sail.
Per me si va nella Città dolente.
We have not passed into a doleful City,
We who were led to-day down a grim dell,
By some too boldly named the Jaws of Hell: '
Where be the wretched ones, the sights for pity?
These crowded streets resound no plaintive ditty :-
As from the hive where bees in summer dwell,
Sorrow seems here excluded; and that knell,
It neither damps the gay, nor checks the witty.
Alas! too busy Rival of old Tyre, [thrones;
Whose merchants Princes were, whose decks were
Soon may the punctual sea in vain respire
To serve thy need, in union with that Clyde
Whose nursling current brawls o'er mossy stones,
The poor, the lonely, herdsman's joy and pride.
THE BLACK STONES OF IONA.
[See Martin's Voyage among the Western Isles.] HERE on their knees men swore the stones were black,
Black in the people's minds and words, yet they
Were at that time, as now,
in colour grey.
But what is colour, if upon the rack
Of conscience souls are placed by deeds that lack
Concord with oaths? What differ night and day
Then, when before the Perjured on his way
Hell opens, and the heavens in vengeance crack
Above his head uplifted in vain prayer
To Saint, or Fiend, or to the Godhead whom
He had insulted-Peasant, King, or Thane?
Fly where the culprit may, guilt meets a doom;
And, from invisible worlds at need laid bare,
Come links for social order's awful chain.
"THERE!" said a Stripling, pointing with meet pride Towards a low roof with green trees half concealed, "Is Mosgiel Farm; and that's the very field Where Burns ploughed up the Daisy." Far and
A plain below stretched seaward, while, descried
Above sea-clouds, the Peaks of Arran rose;
And, by that simple notice, the repose
Of earth, sky, sea, and air, was vivified.
Beneath the random bield of clod or stone
Myriads of daisies have shone forth in flower
Near the lark's nest, and in their natural hour
Have passed away; less happy than the One
That, by the unwilling ploughshare, died to prove
The tender charm of poetry and love.
THE RIVER EDEN, CUMBERLAND.
EDEN! till now thy beauty had I viewed
By glimpses only, and confess with shame
That verse of mine, whate'er its varying mood,
Repeats but once the sound of thy sweet name :
Yet fetched from Paradise that honour came,
Rightfully borne; for Nature gives thee flowers
That have no rivals among British bowers;
And thy bold rocks are worthy of their fame.
Measuring thy course, fair Stream! at length I pay
To my life's neighbour dues of neighbourhood;
But I have traced thee on thy winding way
With pleasure sometimes by this thought restrained
For things far off we toil, while many a good
Not sought, because too near, is never gained.
IN WETHERAL CHURCH, NEAR CORBY, ON THE BANKS OF
STRETCHED on the dying Mother's lap, lies dead
Her new-born Babe; dire ending of bright hope!
But Sculpture here, with the divinest scope
Of luminous faith, heavenward hath raised that head
So patiently; and through one hand has spread
A touch so tender for the insensate Child-
(Earth's lingering love to parting reconciled,
Brief parting, for the spirit is all but fled)—
That we, who contemplate the turns of life
Through this still medium, are consoled and cheered;
Feel with the Mother, think the severed Wife
Is less to be lamented than revered;
And own that Art, triumphant over strife
And pain, hath powers to Eternity endeared.
SUGGESTED BY THE FOREGOING.
TRANQUILLITY! the sovereign aim wert thou
In heathen schools of philosophic lore;
Heart-stricken by stern destiny of yore
The Tragic Muse thee served with thoughtful vow;
And what of hope Elysium could allow
Was fondly seized by Sculpture, to restore
Peace to the Mourner. But when He who wore
The crown of thorns around his bleeding brow
Warmed our sad being with celestial light,
Then Arts which still had drawn a softening grace
From shadowy fountains of the Infinite,
Communed with that Idea face to face:
And move around it now as planets run,
Each in its orbit round the central Sun.
THE floods are roused, and will not soon be weary;
Down from the Pennine Alps* how fiercely sweeps
CROGLIN, the stately Eden's tributary!
He raves, or through some moody passage creeps
Plotting new mischief-out again he leaps
Into broad light, and sends, through regions airy,
That voice which soothed the Nuns while on the
They knelt in prayer, or sang to blissful Mary.
That union ceased: then, cleaving easy walks
Through crags, and smoothing paths beset with
Came studious Taste; and many a pensive stranger
Dreams on the banks, and to the river talks.
What change shall happen next to Nunnery Dell?
Canal, and Viaduct, and Railway, tell!
STEAMBOATS, VIADUCTS, AND RAILWAYS. MOTIONS and Means, on land and sea at war With old poetic feeling, not for this, Shall ye, by Poets even, be judged amiss! Nor shall your presence, howsoe'er it mar The loveliness of Nature, prove a bar To the Mind's gaining that prophetic sense Of future change, that point of vision, whence May be discovered what in soul ye are. In spite of all that beauty may disown In your harsh features, Nature doth embrace Her lawful offspring in Man's art; and Time, Pleased with your triumphs o'er his brother Space, Accepts from your bold hands the proffered crown Of hope, and smiles on you with cheer sublime.
THE MONUMENT COMMONLY CALLED LONG MEG AND HER
DAUGHTERS, NEAR THE RIVER EDEN.
A WEIGHT of awe, not easy to be borne,
Fell suddenly upon my Spirit-cast
From the dread bosom of the unknown past,
When first I saw that family forlorn.
Speak Thou, whose massy strength and stature scorn
The power of years-pre-eminent, and placed
Apart, to overlook the circle vast-
Speak, Giant-mother! tell it to the Morn
While she dispels the cumbrous shades of Night;
Let the Moon hear, emerging from a cloud;
At whose behest uprose on British ground
That Sisterhood, in hieroglyphic round
Forth-shadowing, some have deemed, the infinite
The inviolable God, that tames the proud +!
TO THE EARL OF LONSDALE.
'Magistratus indicat virum.'
LONSDALE! it were unworthy of a Guest,
Whose heart with gratitude to thee inclines,
If he should speak, by fancy touched, of signs
On thy Abode harmoniously imprest,
Yet be unmoved with wishes to attest
How in thy mind and moral frame agree
Fortitude, and that Christian Charity
Which, filling, consecrates the human breast.
And if the Motto on thy 'scutcheon teach
With truth,THE MAGISTRACY SHOWS THE MAN;'
That searching test thy public course has stood;
As will be owned alike by bad and good,
Soon as the measuring of life's little span
Shall place thy virtues out of Envy's reach.
LIST, ye who pass by Lyulph's Tower+
At eve; how softly then
Doth Aira-force, that torrent hoarse,
Speak from the woody glen!
Fit music for a solemn vale!
And holier seems the ground
To him who catches on the gale
The spirit of a mournful tale,
Embodied in the sound.
A pleasure-house built by the late Duke of Norfolk upon the banks of Ullswater. FORCE is the word used in the Lake District for Water-fall.
Not far from that fair site whereon
The Pleasure-house is reared,
As story says, in antique days
A stern-brow'd house appeared;
Foil to a Jewel rich in light
There set, and guarded well;
Cage for a Bird of plumage bright,
Sweet-voiced, nor wishing for a flight
Beyond her native dell.
To win this bright Bird from her cage,
To make this Gem their own,
Came Barons bold, with store of gold,
And Knights of high renown;
But one She prized, and only one;
Sir Eglamore was he;
Full happy season, when was known,
Ye Dales and Hills! to you alone
Their mutual loyalty—
Known chiefly, Aira! to thy glen,
Thy brook, and bowers of holly;
Where Passion caught what Nature taught, That all but love is folly;
Where Fact with Fancy stooped to play ;
Doubt came not, nor regret
To trouble hours that winged their way,
As if through an immortal day
Whose sun could never set.
But in old times Love dwelt not long Sequester'd with repose;
Best throve the fire of chaste desire,
Fanned by the breath of foes. "A conquering lance is beauty's test, "And proves the Lover true;" So spake Sir Eglamore, and pressed The drooping Emma to his breast, And looked a blind adieu.
They parted.-Well with him it fared
Through wide-spread regions errant ;
A knight of proof in love's behoof,
The thirst of fame his warrant:
And She her happiness can build
On woman's quiet hours;
Though faint, compared with spear and shield, The solace beads and masses yield,
And needlework and flowers.
Yet blest was Emma when she heard
Her Champion's praise recounted; Though brain would swim, and eyes grow dim, And high her blushes mounted;
Dear art thou to the light of heaven,
Though minister of sorrow; Sweet is thy voice at pensive even ; And thou, in lovers' hearts forgiven, Shalt take thy place with Yarrow !
(Your casual glance oft meeting) this bright cord,
What witchery, for pure gifts of inward seeing,
Lurks in it, Memory's Helper, Fancy's Lord,
For precious tremblings in your bosom found!
Nor in the mines beyond the western main,
You say, Cordelia, was the metal sought,
Which a fine skill, of Indian growth, has wrought
Into this flexible yet faithful Chain ;
Nor is it silver of romantic Spain
But from our loved Helvellyn's depths was brought,
Our own domestic mountain. Thing and thought
Mix strangely; trifles light, and partly vain,
Can prop, as you have learnt, our nobler being:
Yes, Lady, while about your neck is wound
MOST sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.
If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse:
With Thought and Love companions of our way,
Whate'er the senses take or may refuse,
The Mind's internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.