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Perchance when you are wandering forth
Upon some vacant sunny day,
Without an object, hope, or fear,
Thither your eyes may turn, - the Isle is passed
Buried beneath the glittering Lake,
Its place no longer to be found;
Yet the lost fragments shall remain
To fertilize some other ground.
How beautiful the Queen of Night, on high
Her way pursuing among scattered clouds,
Where, ever and anon, her head she shrouds,
Hidden from view in dense obscurity.
But look, and to the watchful eye
A brightening edge will indicate that soon
We shall behold the struggling Moon
Break forth, again to walk the clear blue sky.
“ Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme."
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, Percy's Reliques.
ONCE I could hail (howe'er serene the sky)
The moon re-entering her monthly round,
No faculty yet given me to espy
The dusky Shape within her arms imbound,
That thin memento of effulgence lost
Which some have named her Predecessor's ghost.
Young, like the Crescent that above me shone,
Naught I perceived within it dull or dim;
All that appeared was suitable to one
Whose fancy had thousand fields to skim ;
To expectations spreading with wild growth,
And hope that kept with me her plighted troth.
I saw (ambition quickening at the view)
A silver boat launched on a boundless flood ;
A pearly crest, like Dian’s when it threw
Its brightest splendor round a leafy wood ;
But not a hint from under-ground, no sign
Fit for the glimmering brow of Proserpine.
Or was it Dian's self that seemed to move
Before me ? — nothing blemished the fair sight;
On her I looked whom jocund Fairies love
Cynthia, who puts the little stars to flight,
And by that thinning magnifies the great,
For exaltation of her sovereign state.
And when I learned to mark the spectral Shape
As each new Moon obeyed the call of time,
If gloom fell on me, swift was my escape;
Such happy privilege hath life's gay Prime,
To see or not to see, as best may please
A buoyant Spirit, and a heart at ease.
Now, dazzling Stranger! when thou meet'st my
Thy dark Associate ever I discern;
Emblem of thoughts too eager to advance
While I salute my joys, thoughts sad or stern ;
Shades of past bliss, or phantoms that, to gain
Their fill of promised lustre, wait in vain.
So changes mortal Life with fleeting years ;
A mournful change, should Reason fail to bring
The timely insight that can temper fears,
And from vicissitude remove its sting ;
While Faith aspires to seats in that domain
Where joys are perfect, - neither wax nor wane.
ON SEEING THE FOUNDATION PREPARING FOR THE EREC
TION OF RYDAL CHAPEL, WESTMORELAND.
Blest is this Isle, our native Land;
Where battlement and moated gate
Are objects only for the hand
Of hoary Time to decorate ;
Where shady hamlet, town that breathes
Its busy smoke in social wreaths,
No rampart's stern defence require,
Naught but the heaven-directed spire,
And steeple tower (with pealing bells
Far heard), –
our only citadels.
O Lady! from a noble line
Of.chieftains sprung, who stoutly bore
The spear, yet gave to works divine
A bounteous help in days of yore,
(As records mouldering in the Dell
Of Nightshade * haply yet may tell,)
Thee kindred aspirations moved
To build, within a vale beloved,
For Him upon whose high behests
All peace depends, all safety rests.
How fondly will the woods embrace
This daughter of thy pious care,
Lifting her front with modest grace
To make a fair recess more fair,
And to exalt the passing hour,
Or soothe it with a healing power
Drawn from the Sacrifice fulfilled,
Before this rugged soil was tilled,
Or human habitation rose
To interrupt the deep repose !
Well may the villagers rejoice!
Nor heat, nor cold, nor weary ways,
Will be a hindrance to the voice
That would unite in prayer and praise ;
More duly shall wild, wandering Youth
Receive the curb of sacred truth,
Shall tottering Age, bent earthward, hear
The Promise, with uplifted ear;
And all shall welcome the new ray
Imparted to their Sabbath-day.
Nor deem the Poet's hope misplaced,
His fancy cheated, that can see
A shade upon the future cast,
Of time's pathetic sanctity ;
Can hear the monitory clock
Sound o'er the lake with gentle shock
At evening, when the ground beneath
Is ruffled o'er with cells of death ;
Where happy generations lie,
Here tutored for eternity.
Lives there a man whose sole delights
Are trivial pomp and city noise,