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ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ;
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away, away ! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
But here there is no light,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs ; But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen ; and for many a time
To take into the air my quiet breath ;
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down ; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown ;
The same that oft-times hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self !
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades :
WHEN autumn, bleak and sunburnt, do appear,
When all the hills with woody seed are white,
When the fair apple, rudde as even sky,
Then, be the even foul, or even fair,
EARTH AND HEAVEN.
Hast thou not seen, impatient boy,
Hast thou not read the solemn truth,
On every mortal joy ?
And yet, with heedless haste,
The thirsty boy repeats the taste,
Earth has no unpolluted spring,
In vain we seek a heaven below the sky ;
The world has false but flattering charms;
In our embrace the visions die ;
We lose the pleasing dream.
Earth, with her scenes of gay delight,
For fools to gaze upon ;
KINDNESS OF YOUTH.
But bring the nauseous daubing nigh, Coarse and confused the hideous figures lie, Dissolve the pleasure, and offend the eye.
Look up, my soul, pant toward th'eternal hills ;
Those heavens are fairer than they seem ;
Nor grief disturbs the stream.
No cursed soil, no tainted spring,
KINDNESS OF YOUTH.
Ah, then, what honest triumph flush'd my breast ! This truth once known-To bless is to be blest ! We led the bending beggar on his way (Bare were his feet, his tresses silver-gray) ; Soothed the keen pangs his aged spirit felt, And on his tale with mute attention dwelt. As in his scrip we dropt our little store, And wept to think that little was no more, He breathed his prayer, “ Long may such goodness live !" 'Twas all he gave, 'twas all he had to give.