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And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech :
A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life !
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind-
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful ?
O happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell ;
Adopt your homely ways, and dress,
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess !
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality :
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea : and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see !
Thy elder brother I would be,
Thy father-anything to thee.
Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place :
Joy have I had ; and going hence
bear away my recompence.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes :
Then why should I be loth to stir ?
I feel this place was made for her ;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland Girl ! from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old
As fair before me shall behold
As I do now, the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall ;
And Thee, the Spirit of them all!
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass !
Reaping and singing by herself ;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain
O listen for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Ainong Arabian sands :
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, sar-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again !
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending ;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ;
I listen'd, motionless and still ;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more.
THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three
years : Poor Susan has pass’d by the spot, and has heard In the silence of morning the song of the bird. 'Tis a note of enchantment ; what ails her? She sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees ; Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside. Green pastures she views in the midst nf the dale Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail ; And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's, The one only dwelling on earth that she loves. She looks, and her heart is in heaven : but they fade, The mist and the river, the hill and the shade ; The stream will not Aow, and the hill will not rise, And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes !
TO A LADY, WITH A GUITAR
Ariel to Miranda :-Take
This slave of music, for the sake
Of him, who is the slave of thee;
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst, and only thou,
Make the delighted spirit glow,
Till joy denies itself again
And, too intense, is turn’d to pain.
For by permission and command
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,
Poor Ariel sends this silent token
Of more than ever can be spoken;
Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who
From life to life must still pursue
Your happiness, for thus alone
Can Ariel ever find his own.
From Prospero's enchanted cell,
As the mighty verses tell,
To the throne of Naples he
Lit you o'er the trackless sea,
Flitting on, your prow before,
Like a living meteor.
When you die, the silent Moon
In her interlunar swoon
Is not sadder in her cell
Than deserted Ariel :-
When you live again on earth,
Like an unseen Star of birth
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
Of life from your nativity :-
Many changes have been run
Since Ferdinand and you begun
Your course of love, and Ariel still
Has track'd your steps and served your will.
Now in humbler, happier lot,
This is all remember'd not ;
And now, alas ! the poor Sprite is
Imprison'd for some fault of his
In a body like a grave-
From you he only dares to rave,
For his service and his sorrow
A smile to-day, a song to-morrow.
The artist who this idol wrought
To echo all harmonious thought,
Fell'd a tree, while on the steep
The woods were in their winter sleep,
Rock'd in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Apennine ;
And dreaming, some of Autumn past,
And some of Spring approaching fast,
And some of April buds and showers,
And some of songs in July bowers,
And all of love: And so this tree,-
Oh that such our death may be !-
Died in sleep, and felt no pain,
To live in happier form again :
From which, beneath heaven's fairest star,
The artist wrought this loved Guitar ;
And taught it justly to reply
To all who question skilfully
In language gentle as thine own;
Whispering in enamour'd tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
And summer winds in sylvan cells :
-For it had learnt all harmonies
Of the plains and of the skies,
Of the forests and the mountains,
And the many-voicéd fountains ;
The clearest echoes of the hills,
The softest notes of falling rills,
The melodies of birds and bees,
The murmuring of summer seas,
And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound
Which, driven on its diurnal round,
As it floats through boundless day,
Our world enkindles on its way :
--All this it knows, but will not tell
To those who cannot question well
The Spirit that inhabits it;
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before
By those who tempt it to betray
These secrets of an elder day.
But, sweetly as it answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill,
It keeps its highest holiest tone
For our beloved Friend alone.
P. B. Shelley