And on yonder shore are gather’d
Friends and lovers, trembling for the bold one:
“Why, alas, remain’d he here not with us!
Ah, the tempest I Cast away by fortune!
Must the good one perish in this fashion?
Might not he perchance * * *. Ye great immortals!”
Yet he, like a man, stands by his rudder;
With the bark are sporting wind and water,
Wind and water sport not with his bosom:
On the fierce deep looks he, as a master,—
In his gods, or shipwreck’d, or safe landed,
TO THE MOON (1778)
Bush and vale thou fill’st again
With thy misty ray,
And my spirit’s heavy chain
Casteth far away.
Thou dost o’er my fields extend
Thy sweet soothing eye,
Watching like a gentle friend,
O’er my destiny.
Vanish’d days of bliss and woe
Haunt me with their tone,
Joy and grief in turns I know,
As I stray alone.
Stream beloved, flow on! Flow on!
Ne’er can I be gay!
Thus have sport and kisses gone,
Truth thus pass’d away.
Once I seem’d the lord to be
Of that prize so fair!
Now, to our deep sorrow, we
Can forget it ne’er.
Murmur, stream, the vale along,
Never cease thy sighs;
Murmur, whisper to my song
When thou in the winter’s night
Overflow’st in wrath,
Or in spring-time sparklest bright,
As the buds shoot forth.
He who from the world retires,
Void of hate, is blest;
Who a friend’s true love inspires,
Leaning on his breast!
That which heedless man ne’er knew,
Or ne’er thought aright,
Roams the bosom’s labyrinth through,
Boldly into night.
The waters rush’d, the waters rose,
A fisherman sat by,
While on his line in calm repose
He cast his patient eye.
And as he sat, and hearken’d there,
The flood was cleft in twain,
And, lo! a dripping mermaid fair
Sprang from the troubled main.
She sang to him, and spake the while
“Why lurest thou my brood,
With human wit and human guile
From out their native flood?
Oh, couldst thou know how gladly dart
The fish across the sea,
Thou wouldst descend, e’en as thou art,
And truly happy be!
Do not the sun and moon with grace
Their forms in ocean lave?
Shines not with twofold charms their face,
When rising from the wave?
The deep, deep heavens, then lure thee not,—
The moist yet radiant blue,—
Not thine own form,—to tempt thy lot
’Midst this eternal dew?”