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Shakes his thin sun-curls, while his eye-beams leap
As half in fear, along the stranger's dress,
Then, half advancing, yields to his caress :
Then, peers beneath his locks, and seeks his eye
With the clear look of radiant infancy,
The cherub smile of love, the azure of the sky.
The stranger now is kneeling by the side
Of that young mother,—watching for the tide
Of her returning life :—it comes—a glow
Goes—faintly—slowly--o'er her cheek and brow :
A rising of the gauze that lightly shrouds
snowy breast-like twilight's melting clouds In nature's pure, still eloquence, betrays The feelings of the heart that reels beneath his gaze.
She lives! she lives——see how her feelings speak, Through what transparency of eye and cheek! Her color comes and goes, like that faint ray, That flits o'er lilies at the close of day. O, nature, how omnipotent—that sighThat youthful mother in her ecstacy, Feels but the wandering of a husband's eye. Her lip now ripens, and her heaving breast Throbs wildly in its light, and now subsides to rest.
'Tis dark abroad. The majesty of night
Bows down superbly from her utmost height:
Stretches her starless plumes across the world;
And all the banners of the wind are furl'd.
How heavily we breathe amid such gloom!
As if we slumber'd in creation's tomb.
It is the noon of that tremendous hour,
When life is helpless, and the dead have power:
When solitudes are peopled : when the sky
Is swept by shady wings that, sailing by,
Proclaim their watch is set; when hidden rills
Are chirping on their course; and all the hills
Are bright with armor :--when the starry vests
And glittering plumes, and fiery twinkling crests
Of moon-light sentinels, are sparkling round,
And all the air is one rich floating sound:
When countless voices, in the day unheard,
Are piping from their haunts: and every bird
That loves the leafy wood, and blooming bower,
And echoing cave, is singing to her flower:
When every lovely-every lonely place,
Is ringing to the light and sandal'd
pace Of twinkling feet; and all about, the flow Of new-born fountains murmuring as they go: When watery tunes are richest—and the call Of wandering streainlets, as they part and fall In foaming melody, is all around: Like fairy harps beneath enchanted ground, Sweet drowsy distant music! like the breath Of airy flutes that blow before an infant's death.
It is that hour when listening ones will weep And know not why: when we would gladly sleep Our last-last sleep; and feel no touch of fear,
Unconscious where we are-or what is near, Till we are startled by a falling tear, That unexpected gather'd in our eye, While we were panting for yon blessed sky: That hour of gratitude-of whispering prayer, When we can hear a worship in the air: When we are lifted from the earth, and feel Light fanning wings around us faintly wheel, And o'er our lids and brow a blessing steal: And then—as if our sins were all forgivenAnd all our tears were wiped—and we in heaven It is that hour of quiet ecstacy, When every ruffling wind, that passes by The sleeping leaf, makes busiest minstrelsy; When all at once! amid the quivering shade, Millions of diamond sparklers are betray'd ! When dry leaves rustle, and the whistling song Of keen-tuned grass, comes piercingly along: When windy pipes are heard—and many a lute Is touch'd amid the skies, and then is mute : When even the foliage on the glittering steep, Of feathery bloom--is whispering in its sleep: When all the garlands of the precipice, Shedding their blossoms, in their moonlight bliss, Are floating loosely on the eddying air, And breathing out their fragrant spirits there: And all their braided tresses fluttering—bright, Are sighing faintly to the shadowy light: When every cave and grot—and bower and lake, And drooping floweret-bell
, are all awake: When starry eyes are burning on the cliff Of many a crouching tyrant too, as if Such melodies were grateful even to him: When life is loveliest--and the blue skies swim
In lustre, warm as sunshine--but more dim:
When all the holy sentinels of night
Step forth to watch in turn, and worship by their light.
Such is the hour !—the holy, breathless hour,
When such sweet minstrelsy hath mightiest power;
When sights are seen, that all the blaze of day
Can never rival, in its fierce display:
Such is the hour-yet not a sound is heard ;
No sights are seen--no melancholy bird
Sings tenderly and sweet; but all the air
Is thick and motionless-as if it were
A prelude to some dreadful tragedy ;
Some midnight drama of an opening sky!
The genius of the mountain, and the wood;
The stormy eagle, and her rushing brood;
The fire-eyed tenant of the desert cave;
The gallant spirit of the roaring wave;
The star-crown'd messengers that ride the air ;
The meteor watch-light, with its streamy hair,
Threatening and sweeping redly from the hill;
The shaking cascade—and the merry rill
Are hush'd to slumber now-and heaven and earth are still.
And now the day-light comes:-slowly it rides,
In ridgy lustre o'er the cloudy tides,
Like the soft foam upon the billow's breast;
Or feathery light upon a shadowy crest;
The morning breezes from their slumbers wake,
And o'er the distant hill-tops cheerly shake
Their dewy locks, and plame themselves, and poise
Their rosy wings, and listen to the noise
Of echoes wandering from the world below:
The distant lake, rejoicing in its flow :
The bugle's ready cry: the laboring drum:
The neigh of steeds-and the incessant hum
That the bright tenants of the forest send:
The sunrise gun: the heave-the wave—and bend
Of everlasting trees, whose busy leaves
Rustle their song of praise, while ruin weaves
A robe of verdure for their yielding bark;
While mossy garlands--rich, and full, and dark,
Creep slowly round them. Monarchs of the wood !
Whose mighty spectres sway the mountain brood !
Whose aged bosoms, in their last decay,
Shelter the wing'd idolators of day;
Who, ʼmid the desert wild, sublimely stand,
And grapple with the storm-god hand to hand !
Then drop like weary pyramids away;
Stupendous monuments of calm decay !
As yet the warring thunders have not rent
The swimming clouds, the brightening firmament,
The lovely mists that float around the sky-
Ruddy and rich with fresh and glorious dye,
Like hovering seraph wings—or robe of poesy!
Now comes the sun forth! not in blaze of fire:
With rainbow-harness'd coursers, that respire
An atmosphere of flame. No chariot whirls
O’er reddening clouds. No sunny flag unfurls
O’er rushing smoke. No chargers in array
Scatter through heaven and earth their fiery spray.
No shouting charioteer, in transport flings
Ten thousand anthems, from tumultuous strings :
And round and round, no fresh-plumed echoes dance :
No airy minstrels in the flush light glance:
No rushing melody comes strong and deep:
And far away no fading winglets sweep:
No boundless hymning o'er the blue sky rings,
In hallelujahs to the King of kings:
No youthful hours are seen. No riband lash,
Flings its gay stripings like a rainbow flash,
While starry crowns, and constellations fade
Before the glories of that cavalcade,
Whose trappings are the jewelry of heaven,
Embroider'd thickly on the clouds of even.
No!--no!-he comes not thus in pomp, and light! A new creation bursting out of night! But he comes darkly forth! in storm array'd Like the red tempest marshall’d in her shade, When mountains rock; and thunders travelling round, Hold counsel in the sky—and midnight trumps resound.
SWITZERLAND! my country! 'tis to thee,
I rock my harp in agony :-
My country! nurse of Liberty,
Home of the gallant, great and free,
My sullen harp I rock
A mountain-plumage o'er ye bends.
The cliff-yew in funereal gloom,
Is now the only mourning plume,
That nods above a people's tomb.
Of the echoes that swim o'er thy bright blue lake,
And deep in its caverns, their merry bells shake;
And repeat thy young huntsman's cry:
That clatter and laugh, when the goatherds take
Their browsing flocks at the morning's break,
Far over the hills—not one is awake
In the swell of thy peaceable sky. They sit on that wave with a motionless wing; And their cymbals are mute and the desert birds sing Their unanswer'd notes to the wave and the skyOne startling, and sudden-unchangeable cryAs they stoop their broad wing, and go sluggishly by:
For deep in that blue-bosom’d water is laid
As innocent, true, and as lovely a maid As ever in cheerfulness carol'd her song,
In the blithe mountain air, as she bounded along : The heavens are all blue, and the billow's bright verge Is frothily laved by a whispering surge, That heaves incessant, a tranquil dirge,
To lull the pale forms that sleep below:
Forms-that rock as the waters flow.
That bright lake is still as a liquid sky,
And when o'er its bosom the swift clouds fly,
They pass like thoughts o'er a clear blue eye!
The fringe of thin foam that their sepulchre binds,
Is as light as a cloud that is borne by the winds;
While over its bosom the dim vapors hover,
And flutterless skims the snowy-wing'd plover :
Swiftly passing away—like a haunted wing ;
With a drooping plume-that may not fling
One sound of life—or a rustling note-
O’er that sleepless tomb--where my loved ones float.
Oh cool and fresh is that bright blue lake,
While over its stillness no sounds awake :
No sights—but those of the hill-top fountain
That swims on the height of a cloud-wrapp'd mountain--
The basin of the rainbow-stream,
The sunset gush—the morning gleam-
The picture of the poet's dream.
Land of proud hearts! where freedom broods
Amid her home of echoing woods,
The mother of the mountain floods-