Till I heard, hard by, a thrush break
Shouting with his whole voice,
So that he made the distant air
And the things around rejoice.
My soul gushed, for the sound awoke
Memories of early joy:
I sobbed like a chidden boy.
Sonnet: Early Aspirations
How many a throb of the young poet-heart,
Aspiring to the ideal bliss of Fame,
Deems that Time soon may sanctify his claim
Among the sons of song to dwell apart.—
Time passes—passes! The aspiring flame
Of Hope shrinks down; the white flower Poesy
Breaks on its stalk, and from its earth-turned eye
Drop sleepy tears instead of that sweet dew
Rich with inspiring odours, insect wings
Drew from its leaves with every changing sky,
While its young innocent petals unsunn’d grew.
No more in pride to other ears he sings,
But with a dying charm himself unto:—
For a sad season: then, to active life he springs.
From the Cliffs: Noon
The sea is in its listless chime:
Time’s lapse it is, made audible,—
The murmur of the earth’s large shell.
In a sad blueness beyond rhyme
It ends: sense, without thought, can pass
No stadium further. Since time was,
This sound hath told the lapse of time.
No stagnance that death wins,—it
The mournfulness of ancient life,
Always enduring at dull strife.
As the world’s heart of rest and wrath,
Its painful pulse is in the sands.
Last utterly, the whole sky stands,
Grey and not known, along its path.
Fancies at Leisure
I. In Spring
The sky is blue here, scarcely with a
Of grey for clouds: here the young grasses gain
A larger growth of green over this splinter
Fallen from the ruin. Spring seems to have told Winter
He shall not freeze again here. Tho’ their loss
Of leaves is not yet quite repaired, trees toss
Sprouts from their boughs. The ash you called so stiff
Curves, daily, broader shadow down the cliff.
II. In Summer
How the rooks caw, and their beaks seem
Let us just move out there,—(it might be cool
Under those trees,) and watch how the thick tank
By the old mill is black,—a stagnant pool
Of rot and insects. There goes by a lank
Dead hairy dog floating. Will Nature’s rule
Of life return hither no more? The plank
Rots in the crushed weeds, and the sun is cruel.
III. The Breadth of Noon