That bound the lady in the echoless cave
Where lay the sheath’d sword and the bugle horn,—
Or from the fullgrown intellect, that works
From age to age, exploring darkest truths,
With sympathy and knowledge in one yoke
Ploughing the harvest land.
lark is up,
Piercing the dazzling sky beyond the search
Of the acutest love: enough for me
To hear its song: but now it dies away,
Leaving the chirping sparrow to attract
The listless ear,—a minstrel, sooth to say,
Nearly as good. And now a hum like that
Of swarming bees on meadow-flowers comes up.
Each hath its just and yet luxurious joy,
As if to live were to be blessed. The mild
Maternal influence of nature thus
Ennobles both the sentient and the dead;—
The human heart is as an altar wreathed,
On which old wine pours, streaming o’er the leaves,
And down the symbol-carved sides. Behold!
Unbidden, yet most welcome, who be these?
The high-priests of this altar, poet-kings;—
Chaucer, still young with silvery beard that seems
Worthy the adoration of a child;
And Spenser, perfect master, to whom all
Sweet graces ministered. The shut eye weaves
A picture;—the immortals pass along
Into the heaven, and others follow still,
Each on his own ray-path, till all the field
Is threaded with the foot-prints of the great.
And now the passengers are lost; long lines
Only are left, all intertwisted, dark
Upon a flood of light......... I am awake!
I hear domestic voices on the stair.
Already hath the mower finished half
His summer day’s ripe task; already hath
His scythe been whetted often; and the heaps
Behind him lie like ridges from the tide.
In sooth, it is high time to wave away
The cup of Comus, though with nectar filled,
And sweet as odours to the mariner
From lands unseen, across the wide blank sea.
When midst the summer-roses the warm bees
Are swarming in the sun, and thou—so full
Of innocent glee—dost with thy white hands pull
Pink scented apples from the garden trees
To fling at me, I catch them, on my knees,
Like those who gather’d manna; and I cull
Some hasty buds to pelt thee—white as wool
Lilies, or yellow jonquils, or heartsease;—
Then I can speak my love, ev’n tho’ thy smiles
Gush out among thy blushes, like a flock
Of bright birds from rose-bowers; but when thou’rt gone
I have no speech,—no magic that beguiles,
The stream of utterance from the harden’d rock:—
The dial cannot speak without the sun!
Stars and Moon
Beneath the stars and summer moon
A pair of wedded lovers walk,
Upon the stars and summer moon
They turn their happy eyes, and talk.