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The heart's light laugh pursued the circling jest;
And all was sunshine in each little breast.
'T was here we chas'd the slipper by the sound;
And turn'd the blindfold hero round and round.
'T was here, at eve, we form'd our fairy ring;
And Fancy flutter'd on her wildest wing.
Giants and genii chain'd each wondering ear;
And orphan-sorrows drew the ready tear.
Oft with the babes we wander'd in the wood,
Or view'd the forest-feats of Robin Hood:
Oft fancy-led, at midnight's fearful hour,
With startling step we scal'd the lonely tower;
O'er infant innocence to hang and weep,
Murder'd by ruffian hands, when smiling in its sleep.
Ye household deities! whose guardian eye
Mark'd each pure thought, ere register'd on high ;
Still, still ye walk the consecrated ground,
And breathe the soul of Inspiration round.
As o'er the dusky furniture I bend,
Each chair awakes the feelings of a friend.
The storied arras, source of fond delight,
With old achievement charms the wilder'd sight;
And still, with heraldry's rich hues imprest,
On the dim window glows the pictur'd crest.
The screen unfolds its many-colour'd chart.
The clock still points its moral to the heart.
That faithful monitor 't was heav'n to hear!
When soft it spoke a promis'd pleasure near:
And has its sober hand, its simple chime,
Forgot to trace the feather'd feet of time?
That massive beam, with curious carvings wrought,
Whence the caged linnet sooth'd my pensive thought;
Those muskets cas'd with venerable rust;
Those once-lov'd forms, still breathing through their dust,
Still from the frame, in mould gigantic cast,
Starting to life-all whisper of the past!
As through the garden's desert paths I rove,
What fond illusions swarm in every grove!
How oft, when purple evening ting'd the west,
We watch'd the emmet to her grainy nest;
Welcom❜d the wild-bee home on weary wing,
Laden with sweets, the choicest of the spring!
How oft inscrib'd, with Friendship's votive rhyme,
The bark now silver'd by the touch of time;
Soar'd in the swing, half pleas'd and half afraid,
Through sister elms that wav'd their summer shade;
Or strew'd with crumbs yon root-inwoven seat,
To lure the red-breast from his lone retreat!
THE school's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay. Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn, Quickening my truant-feet across the lawn; Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air, When the slow dial gave a pause to care. Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear, Some little friendship form'd and cherish'd here! And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems With golden visions, and romantic dreams!
Down by yon hazel copse, at evening, blaz'd
The Gipsy's faggot-there we stood and gaz'd;
Gaz'd on her sun-burnt face with silent awe,
Her tatter'd mantle, and her hood of straw;
Her moving lips, her caldron brimming o'er;
The drowsy brood that on her back she bore;
Imps, in the barn with mousing owlet bred,
From rifled roost at nightly revel fed;
Whose dark eyes flash'd through locks of blackest shade,
When in the breeze the distant watch-dog bay'd:
And heroes fled the Sibyl's mutter'd call,
Whose elfin prowess scal'd the orchard-wall.
As o'er my palm the silver piece she drew,
And trac'd the line of life with searching view,
How throbb'd my fluttering pulse with hopes and fears, To learn the colour of my future years!
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)
Sooth'd 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 breath'd his prayer, "Long may such goodness live!" 'T was all he gave, 't was all he had to give.
Angels, when Mercy's mandate wing'd their flight,
Had stopt to catch new rapture from the sight.
THE PARTING FROM HOME.
THE adventurous boy, that asks his little share, And hies from home, with many a gossip's prayer, Turns on the neighbouring hill, once more to see The dear abode of peace and privacy;
And as he turns, the thatch among the trees,
The smoke's blue wreaths ascending with the breeze,
The village common spotted white with sheep,
The church-yard yews round which his fathers sleep;
All rouse Reflection's sadly-pleasing train,
And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again.
So, when the mild Tupia dar'd explore
Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before,
And, with the sons of Science, woo'd the gale,
That, rising, swell'd their strange expanse of sail;
So, when he breath'd his firm yet fond adieu,
Borne from his leafy hut, his carv'd canoe,
And all his soul best lov'd-such tears he shed,
While each soft scene of summer-beauty fled.
Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
Long watch'd the streaming signal from the mast;
Till twilight's dewy tints deceiv'd his eye,
And fairy forests fring'd the evening sky.
So Scotia's Queen, as slowly dawn'd the day,
Rose on her couch, and gaz'd her soul away.
Her eyes had bless'd the beacon's glimmering height,
That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light;
But now the morn with orient hues portray'd
Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade :
All touched the talisman's resistless spring,
And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing!
FROM AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND.
STILL must my partial pencil love to dwell
On the home-prospects of my hermit cell;
The mossy pales that skirt the orchard-green,
Here hid by shrub-wood, there by glimpses seen;
And the brown pathway, that, with careless flow,
Sinks, and is lost among the trees below.
Still must it trace (the flattering tints forgive)
Each fleeting charm that bids the landscape live.
Oft o'er the mead, at pleasing distance, pass-
Browsing the hedge by fits, the pannier'd ass;
The idling shepherd-boy, with rude delight,
Whistling his dog to mark the pebble's flight;
And in her kerchief blue the cottage-maid,
With brimming pitcher from the shadowy glade.
Far to the south a mountain vale retires,
Rich in its groves, and glens, and village-spires;
Its upland lawns, and cliffs with foliage hung,
Its wizard-stream, nor nameless nor unsung:
And through the various year, the various day,
What scenes of glory burst, and melt away!
When Christmas revels in a world of snow,
And bids her berries blush, her carols flow;
His spangling shower when frost the wizard flings;
Or, borne in ether blue, on viewless wings,
O'er the white pane his silvery foliage weaves,
And gems with icicles the sheltering eaves;
-Thy muffled friend his nectarine-wall pursues,
What time the sun the yellow crocus woos,
Screen'd from the arrowy North; and duly hies
To meet the morning-rumour as it flies,
To range the murmuring market-place, and view
The motley groups that faithful Teniers drew.
When Spring bursts forth in blossoms through the vale, And her wild music triumphs on the gale, Oft with my book I muse from stile to stile ; Oft in my porch the listless noon beguile, Framing loose numbers, till declining day Through the green trellis shoots a crimson ray; Till the west-wind leads on the twilight hours, And shakes the fragrant bells of closing flowers.
Ir ever you should come to Modena,
(Where among other relics you may see
Tassoni's bucket-but 'tis not the true one)
Stop at a palace near the Reggio-gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statutes, cypresses,
Will long detain you-but, before you go,
Enter the house-forget it not, I pray you—
And look awhile upon a picture there.
"T is of a lady in her earliest youth,
The last of that illustrious family;
He, who observes it-ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up, when far away.
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half open, and her finger up,
As though she said "Beware!" her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers, and clasped from head to foot,
An emerald-stone in every golden clasp;
And on her brow, fairer than alabastar,
A coronet of pearls.
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart—
It haunts me still, though many a year has fled, ́
Like some wild melody!
Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion,
An oaken-chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Antony of Trent
With scripture-stories from the Life of Christ.
She was an only child-her name Ginevra,
The joy, the pride of an indulgent father;
And in her fifteenth year became a bride,
Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria,
Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
She was all gentleness, all gaiety,
Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue.
But now the day was come, the day, the hour;
Now, frowning, smiling for the hundredth time,
The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum;
And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave
Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy; but at the nuptial feast,
When all sat down, the bride herself was wanting.
Nor was she to be found! Her Father cried,
""Tis but to make a trial of our love !"
And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook,
And soon from guest to guest the panic spread.
"T was but that instant she had left Francisco,
Laughing and looking back and flying still,
Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger.
But now, alas, she was not to be found;
Nor from that hour could anything be guessed,
But that she was not!
Francesco flew to Venice, and, embarking,
Flung it away in battle with the Turk.
Orsini lived and long might you have seen
An old man wandering as in quest of something,
Something he could not find he knew not what.