Clears and irradiates all, and gives to strength
A mellow sweetness; hues late undefin’d
Grow more intense, or, if discordant, lose
Their coarseness, and become diaphanous.
This I admire, but still methinks I look
With a serener pleasure on the head
Crested by flaxen curls; or where soft locks,
Like to long coiling leaves that lose their edge,
Shine silken on the cheek, and parting smooth
Above a fair and modest countenance,
Harmonize with its pure, its tender bloom.
Still lovelier when with that infusion sweet
Of saint or angel spirit, resident
In the calm circle of a blue eye fring’d
With sable lashes! I remember once
A face like this, ere sickness took away
Its freshness, in whose looks there also dwelt,
If one may speak it of a thing so young,
And not subdue our warm belief to say
The prophecy of all these qualities,
Refinement, gentleness, and mild resolve;
Fitted to stem the evil of this world,
And hold with patient intrepidity,
The shield of calm resistance to its power.
It seem’d as if no anger e’er could dwell
Within his bosom; no blind prejudice
Distract his judgment; and no folly call
For a reproof: as if Affection were
Too soon allied to Thought, and tempered so
His morning, that the ministry of Time,
The chast’ning trial of Remorse and Grief,
And of stern Disappointment, all were spar’d.
On the Death of Herbert Southey: addressed to his Father.
Knowing the nature of thy grief,
Too deep, too recent for relief,
Oh! why impatient must I press
So early on a friend’s distress!
Why am I eager thus to prove,
To him who feels excess of love,
The tender liking we bestow
On fair and guileless things below?
On Love and Joy without pretence,
On kind and playful Innocence!
The pleas’d idea Memory kept,
The partial glance which never slept,
When hopes arose oft render’d vain,
Of seeing Keswick yet again.
Never but once a child had won
So much upon me as thy son;
And, for each wild and winning art,
That, nestling, fastens in the heart;
For graces that light tendrils fling
Around each nerve’s tenacious string;
Caprices beautiful, that strike
The heart, and captive fancy, like
Those of a tame, young bird at play,
That carols near, then flits away,
Will on a sudden upward soar,
Then give its little wanderings o’er,
For fondling, gentle, sweet repose,
When tapering pinions softly close,
Slight, warmth—pervaded quills are prest,
And head shrunk closely to the breast:
All sleeping but that lovely eye,
Which speaks delight, and asks reply:
Oh! with such graces never one
Was so much gifted as thy son!
In each variety of tone,
Each wayward charm, he stood alone;
And all too nicely pois’d to press,
Or ruffle tranquil happiness.