English Poet, Engraver, Painter, Visionary Mystic
"He who sees the Infinite in all things, sees God. He who sees the Ratio only, sees himself only. Therefore, God becomes as we are that we may be as He is."
"I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare. My business is to create."
"If one is to do good one must do it in the minute particulars. General good is the plea of the hypocrite, the flatterer and the scoundrel."
"There exists in that Eternal World the permanent realities of every thing, which we see reflected in this vegetable glass of nature."
"Sleep, sleep, beauty bright, Dreaming in the joys of night; Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep Little sorrows sit and weep. Sweet babe, in thy face Soft desires I can trace, Secret joys and secret smiles, Little pretty infant wiles. As thy softest limbs I feel Smiles as of the morning steal O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast Where thy little heart doth rest. O the cunning wiles that creep In thy little heart asleep! When thy little heart doth wake, Then the dreadful night shall break. "
"Hear the voice of the Bard, Who present, past, and future, sees; Whose ears have heard The Holy Word That walk'd among the ancient trees; Calling the lapsèd soul, And weeping in the evening dew; That might control The starry pole, And fallen, fallen light renew! 'O Earth, O Earth, return! Arise from out the dewy grass! Night is worn, And the morn Rises from the slumbrous mass. 'Turn away no more; Why wilt thou turn away? The starry floor, The watery shore, Is given thee till the break of day.'"
"The Little Black Boy - My mother bore me in the southern wild, And I am black, but O, my soul is white! White as an angel is the English child, But I am black, as if bereaved of light. My mother taught me underneath a tree, And, sitting down before the heat of day, She took me on her lap and kissèd me, And, pointing to the East, began to say: 'Look at the rising sun: there God does live, And gives His light, and gives His heat away, And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday. 'And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love; And these black bodies and this sunburnt face Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove. 'For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear, The cloud will vanish; we shall hear His voice, Saying, "Come out from the grove, my love and care, And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice."' Thus did my mother say, and kissèd me, And thus I say to little English boy. When I from black and he from white cloud free, And round the tent of God like lambs we joy, I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear To lean in joy upon our Father's knee; And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, And be like him, and he will then love me."
"Love's Secret - Never seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind doth move Silently, invisibly. I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart, Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears. Ah! she did depart! Soon after she was gone from me, A traveler came by, Silently, invisibly: He took her with a sigh."
"Night - The sun descending in the west, The evening star does shine; The birds are silent in their nest. And I must seek for mine. The moon, like a flower In heaven's high bower, With silent delight Sits and smiles on the night. Farewell, green fields and happy grove, Where flocks have took delight: Where lambs have nibbled, silent move The feet of angels bright; Unseen they pour blessing And joy without ceasing On each bud and blossom, And each sleeping bosom. They look in every thoughtless nest Where birds are cover'd warm; They visit caves of every beast, To keep them all from harm: If they see any weeping That should have been sleeping, They pour sleep on their head, And sit down by their bed. When wolves and tigers howl for prey, 25 They pitying stand and weep, Seeking to drive their thirst away And keep them from the sheep. But, if they rush dreadful, The angels, most heedful, Receive each mild spirit, New worlds to inherit. And there the lion's ruddy eyes Shall flow with tears of gold: And pitying the tender cries, And walking round the fold: Saying, 'Wrath, by His meekness, And, by His health, sickness, Are driven away From our immortal day. 'And now beside thee, bleating lamb, I can lie down and sleep, Or think on Him who bore thy name, Graze after thee, and weep. For, wash'd in life's river, My bright mane for ever Shall shine like the gold As I guard o'er the fold.'"
"Reeds of Innocence - Piing down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child, And he laughing said to me: 'Pipe a song about a Lamb!' So I piped with merry cheer. 'Piper, pipe that song again;' So I piped: he wept to hear. 'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; Sing thy songs of happy cheer!' So I sung the same again, While he wept with joy to hear. 'Piper, sit thee down and write In a book that all may read.' So he vanish'd from my sight; And I pluck'd a hollow reed, And I made a rural pen, And I stain'd the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear. "
"Song - My silks and fine array, My smiles and languish'd air, By Love are driven away; And mournful lean Despair Brings me yew to deck my grave: Such end true lovers have. His face is fair as heaven When springing buds unfold: O why to him was 't given, Whose heart is wintry cold? His breast is Love's all-worshipp'd tomb, Where all Love's pilgrims come. Bring me an axe and spade, Bring me a winding-sheet; When I my grave have made, Let winds and tempests beat: Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay: True love doth pass away! "
"Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire? And what shoulder and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand and what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? What dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, And water'd heaven with their tears, Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee? Tiger, tiger, burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?"
"To Spring - O Thou with dewy locks, who lookest down Through the clear windows of the morning, turn Thine angel eyes upon our western isle, Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring! The hills tell one another, and the listening Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn'd Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth And let thy holy feet visit our clime! Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds Kiss thy perfumèd garments; let us taste Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee. O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put Thy golden crown upon her languish'd head, Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee. "
"To the Muses - Whether on Ida's shady brow Or in the chambers of the East, The chambers of the Sun, that now From ancient melody have ceased; Whether in heaven ye wander fair, Or the green corners of the earth, Or the blue regions of the air Where the melodious winds have birth; Whether on crystal rocks ye rove, Beneath the bosom of the sea, Wandering in many a coral grove; Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry; How have you left the ancient love That bards of old enjoy'd in you! The languid strings do scarcely move, The sound is forced, the notes are few. "
"Broken Love - My Spectre around me night and day Like a wild beast guards my way; My Emanation far within Weeps incessantly for my sin. ‘A fathomless and boundless deep, There we wander, there we weep; On the hungry craving wind My Spectre follows thee behind. ‘He scents thy footsteps in the snow Wheresoever thou dost go, Thro’ the wintry hail and rain. When wilt thou return again? ’Dost thou not in pride and scorn Fill with tempests all my morn, And with jealousies and fears Fill my pleasant nights with tears? ‘Seven of my sweet loves thy knife Has bereavèd of their life. Their marble tombs I built with tears, And with cold and shuddering fears. ‘Seven more loves weep night and day Round the tombs where my loves lay, And seven more loves attend each night Around my couch with torches bright. ‘And seven more loves in my bed Crown with wine my mournful head, Pitying and forgiving all Thy transgressions great and small. ‘When wilt thou return and view My loves, and them to life renew? When wilt thou return and live? When wilt thou pity as I forgive?’ ‘O’er my sins thou sit and moan: Hast thou no sins of thy own? O’er my sins thou sit and weep, And lull thy own sins fast asleep. ‘What transgressions I commit Are for thy transgressions fit. They thy harlots, thou their slave; And my bed becomes their grave. ‘Never, never, I return: Still for victory I burn. Living, thee alone I’ll have; And when dead I’ll be thy grave. ‘Thro’ the Heaven and Earth and Hell Thou shalt never, quell: I will fly and thou pursue: Night and morn the flight renew.’ ‘Poor, pale, pitiable form That I follow in a storm; Iron tears and groans of lead Bind around my aching head. ‘Till I turn from Female love And root up the Infernal Grove, I shall never worthy be 55 To step into Eternity. ‘And, to end thy cruel mocks, Annihilate thee on the rocks, And another form create To be subservient to my fate. ‘Let us agree to give up love, And root up the Infernal Grove; Then shall we return and see The worlds of happy Eternity. ‘And throughout all Eternity I forgive you, you forgive me. As our dear Redeemer said: “This the Wine, and this the Bread.”’ "
"The Crystal Cabinet - The Maiden caught me in the wild, Where I was dancing merrily; She put me into her Cabinet, And lock’d me up with a golden key. This Cabinet is form’d of gold And pearl and crystal shining bright, And within it opens into a world And a little lovely moony night. Another England there I saw, Another London with its Tower, Another Thames and other hills, And another pleasant Surrey bower, Another Maiden like herself, Translucent, lovely, shining clear, Threefold each in the other clos’d— O, what a pleasant trembling fear! O, what a smile! a threefold smile Fill’d me, that like a flame I burn’d; I bent to kiss the lovely Maid, And found a threefold kiss return’d. I strove to seize the inmost form With ardour fierce and hands of flame, But burst the Crystal Cabinet, And like a weeping Babe became— A weeping Babe upon the wild, And weeping Woman pale reclin’d, And in the outward air again I fill’d with woes the passing wind. "
"To Thomas Butts - To my friend Butts I write My first vision of light, On the yellow sands sitting. The sun was emitting His glorious beams From Heaven’s high streams. Over sea, over land, My eyes did expand Into regions of air, Away from all care; Remote from desire; The light of the morning Heaven’s mountains adorning: In particles bright, The jewels of light Distinct shone and clear. Amaz’d and in fear I each particle gazèd, Astonish’d, amazèd; For each was a Man Human-form’d. Swift I ran, For they beckon’d to me, Remote by the sea, Saying: ‘Each grain of sand, Every stone on the land, Each rock and each hill, Each fountain and rill, Each herb and each tree, Mountain, hill, earth, and sea, Cloud, meteor, and star, Are men seen afar.’ I stood in the streams Of Heaven’s bright beams, And saw Felpham sweet Beneath my bright feet, In soft Female charms; And in her fair arms My Shadow I knew, And my wife’s Shadow too, And my sister, and friend. We like infants descend In our Shadows on earth, Like a weak mortal birth. My eyes, more and more, Like a sea without shore, Continue expanding, The Heavens commanding; Till the jewels of light, Heavenly men beaming bright, Appear’d as One Man, Who complacent began My limbs to enfold In His beams of bright gold; Like dross purg’d away All my mire and my clay. Soft consum’d in delight, In His bosom sun-bright I remain’d. Soft He smil’d, And I heard His voice mild, Saying: ‘This is My fold, O thou ram horn’d with gold, Who awakest from sleep On the sides of the deep. On the mountains around The roarings resound Of the lion and wolf, The loud sea, and deep gulf. These are guards of My fold, O thou ram horn’d with gold!’ And the voice faded mild; I remain’d as a child; All I ever had known Before me bright shone: I saw you and your wife By the fountains of life. Such the vision to me Appear’d on the sea."
"From ‘Milton’ - And did those feet in ancient time Walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the holy Lamb of God On England’s pleasant pastures seen? And did the Countenance Divine Shine forth upon our clouded hills? And was Jerusalem builded here Among these dark Satanic Mills? Bring me my bow of burning gold! Bring me my arrows of desire! Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold! Bring me my chariot of fire! I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land. "
"I give you the end of a golden string; Only wind it into a ball, It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate, Built in Jerusalem’s wall.… England! awake! awake! awake! Jerusalem thy sister calls! Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death, And close her from thy ancient walls? Thy hills and valleys felt her feet Gently upon their bosoms move: Then was a time of joy and love. And now the time returns again: Our souls exult, and London’s towers Receive the Lamb of God to dwell In England’s green and pleasant bowers. "
"Ah, sun-flower! weary of time, Who countest the steps of the Sun; Seeking after that sweet golden clime, Where the traveller’s journey is done; Where the Youth pined away with desire, And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow, Arise from their graves, and aspire Where my sun-flower wishes to go."
"Reeds of Innocence - Piping down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child, And he laughing said to me: ‘Pipe a song about a Lamb!’ So I piped with merry cheer. ‘Piper, pipe that song again;’ So I piped: he wept to hear. ‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; Sing thy songs of happy cheer!’ So I sung the same again, While he wept with joy to hear. ‘Piper, sit thee down and write In a book that all may read.’ So he vanish’d from my sight; And I pluck’d a hollow reed, And I made a rural pen, And I stain’d the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear. "
"Auguries of Innocence - To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. A robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage. A dove-house fill’d with doves and pigeons Shudders hell thro’ all its regions. A dog starv’d at his master’s gate Predicts the ruin of the state. A horse misused upon the road Calls to heaven for human blood. Each outcry of the hunted hare A fibre from the brain does tear. A skylark wounded in the wing, A cherubim does cease to sing. The game-cock clipt and arm’d for fight Does the rising sun affright. Every wolf’s and lion’s howl Raises from hell a human soul. The wild deer, wand’ring here and there, Keeps the human soul from care. The lamb misus’d breeds public strife, And yet forgives the butcher’s knife. The bat that flits at close of eve Has left the brain that won’t believe. The owl that calls upon the night Speaks the unbeliever’s fright. He who shall hurt the little wren Shall never be belov’d by men. He who the ox to wrath has mov’d Shall never be by woman lov’d. The wanton boy that kills the fly Shall feel the spider’s enmity. He who torments the chafer’s sprite Weaves a bower in endless night. The caterpillar on the leaf Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief. Kill not the moth nor butterfly, For the last judgment draweth nigh. He who shall train the horse to war Shall never pass the polar bar. The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat, Feed them and thou wilt grow fat. The gnat that sings his summer’s song Poison gets from slander’s tongue. The poison of the snake and newt Is the sweat of envy’s foot. The poison of the honey bee Is the artist’s jealousy. The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags Are toadstools on the miser’s bags. A truth that’s told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent. It is right it should be so; Man was made for joy and woe; And when this we rightly know, Thro’ the world we safely go. Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine. Under every grief and pine Runs a joy with silken twine. The babe is more than swaddling bands; Throughout all these human lands Tools were made, and born were hands, Every farmer understands. Every tear from every eye Becomes a babe in eternity; This is caught by females bright, And return’d to its own delight. The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar, Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore. The babe that weeps the rod beneath Writes revenge in realms of death. The beggar’s rags, fluttering in air, Does to rags the heavens tear. The soldier, arm’d with sword and gun, Palsied strikes the summer’s sun. The poor man’s farthing is worth more Than all the gold on Afric’s shore. One mite wrung from the lab’rer’s hands Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands; Or, if protected from on high, Does that whole nation sell and buy. He who mocks the infant’s faith Shall be mock’d in age and death. He who shall teach the child to doubt The rotting grave shall ne’er get out. He who respects the infant’s faith Triumphs over hell and death. The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons Are the fruits of the two seasons. The questioner, who sits so sly, Shall never know how to reply. He who replies to words of doubt Doth put the light of knowledge out. The strongest poison ever known Came from Caesar’s laurel crown. Nought can deform the human race Like to the armour’s iron brace. When gold and gems adorn the plow, To peaceful arts shall envy bow. A riddle, or the cricket’s cry, Is to doubt a fit reply. The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile Make lame philosophy to smile. He who doubts from what he sees Will ne’er believe, do what you please. If the sun and moon should doubt, They’d immediately go out. To be in a passion you good may do, But no good if a passion is in you. The whore and gambler, by the state Licensed, build that nation’s fate. The harlot’s cry from street to street Shall weave old England’s winding-sheet. The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse, Dance before dead England’s hearse. Every night and every morn Some to misery are born, Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night. We are led to believe a lie When we see not thro’ the eye, Which was born in a night to perish in a night, When the soul slept in beams of light. God appears, and God is light, To those poor souls who dwell in night; But does a human form display To those who dwell in realms of day."
"When the voices of children are heard on the green, And laughing is heard on the hill, My heart is at rest within my breast, And everything else is still. ‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, And the dews of night arise; Come, come, leave off play, and let us away Till the morning appears in the skies.’ ‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day, And we cannot go to sleep; Besides, in the sky the little birds fly, And the hills are all cover’d with sheep.’ ‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away, And then go home to bed.’ The little ones leapèd and shoutèd and laugh’d And all the hills echoèd."
"’Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green, Grey headed beadles walk’d before, with wands as white as snow, Till unto the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames’ waters flow. O what a multitude they seem’d, these flowers of London town! Seated in companies, they sit with radiance all their own. The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs, Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands. Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song, Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among. Beneath them sit the agèd men, wise guardians of the poor; Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door."
"O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stainèd With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe, And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers. ‘The narrow bud opens her beauties to The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins; Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve, Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing, And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head. ‘The spirits of the air live on the smells Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.’ Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat; Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load."
"‘O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors: The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs, Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.’ He hears me not, but o’er the yawning deep Rides heavy; his storms are unchain’d, sheathèd In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes, For he hath rear’d his sceptre o’er the world. Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings To his strong bones, strides o’er the groaning rocks He withers all in silence, and in his hand Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. He takes his seat upon the cliffs,—the mariner Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal’st With storms!—till heaven smiles, and the monster Is driv’n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla. "
"To the Evening Star - Thou fair-hair’d angel of the evening, Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown Put on, and smile upon our evening bed! Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes In timely sleep. Let thy west wind sleep on The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes, And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon, Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide, And the lion glares thro’ the dun forest: The fleeces of our flocks are cover’d with Thy sacred dew: protect them with thine influence. "
"To Morning - O Holy virgin! clad in purest white, Unlock heav’n’s golden gates, and issue forth; Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light Rise from the chambers of the east, and bring The honey’d dew that cometh on waking day. O radiant morning, salute the sun Rous’d like a huntsman to the chase, and with Thy buskin’d feet appear upon our hills."
"How sweet I roam’d from field to field And tasted all the summer’s pride, Till I the Prince of Love beheld Who in the sunny beams did glide! He show’d me lilies for my hair, And blushing roses for my brow; He led me through his gardens fair Where all his golden pleasures grow. With sweet May dews my wings were wet, And Phoebus fir’d my vocal rage; He caught me in his silken net, And shut me in his golden cage. He loves to sit and hear me sing, Then, laughing, sports and plays with me; Then stretches out my golden wing, And mocks my loss of liberty."
"Fair Elenor - The bell struck one, and shook the silent tower; The graves give up their dead: fair Elenor Walk’d by the castle gate, and lookèd in. A hollow groan ran thro’ the dreary vaults. She shriek’d aloud, and sunk upon the steps, On the cold stone her pale cheeks. Sickly smells Of death issue as from a sepulchre, And all is silent but the sighing vaults. Chill Death withdraws his hand, and she revives; Amaz’d, she finds herself upon her feet, And, like a ghost, thro’ narrow passages Walking, feeling the cold walls with her hands. Fancy returns, and now she thinks of bones And grinning skulls, and corruptible death Wrapp’d in his shroud; and now fancies she hears Deep sighs, and sees pale sickly ghosts gliding. At length, no fancy but reality Distracts her. A rushing sound, and the feet Of one that fled, approaches.—Ellen stood Like a dumb statue, froze to stone with fear. The wretch approaches, crying: ‘The deed is done; Take this, and send it by whom thou wilt send; It is my life—send it to Elenor:— He’s dead, and howling after me for blood! ‘Take this,’ he cried; and thrust into her arms A wet napkin, wrapp’d about; then rush’d Past, howling: she receiv’d into her arms Pale death, and follow’d on the wings of fear. They pass’d swift thro’ the outer gate; the wretch, Howling, leap’d o’er the wall into the moat, Stifling in mud. Fair Ellen pass’d the bridge, And heard a gloomy voice cry ‘Is it done?’ As the deer wounded, Ellen flew over The pathless plain; as the arrows that fly By night, destruction flies, and strikes in darkness. She fled from fear, till at her house arriv’d. Her maids await her; on her bed she falls, That bed of joy, where erst her lord hath press’d: ‘Ah, woman’s fear!’ she cried; ‘ah, cursèd duke! Ah, my dear lord! ah, wretched Elenor! ‘My lord was like a flower upon the brows Of lusty May! Ah, life as frail as flower! O ghastly death! withdraw thy cruel hand, Seek’st thou that flow’r to deck thy horrid temples? ‘My lord was like a star in highest heav’n Drawn down to earth by spells and wickedness; My lord was like the opening eyes of day When western winds creep softly o’er the flowers; ‘But he is darken’d; like the summer’s noon Clouded; fall’n like the stately tree, cut down; The breath of heaven dwelt among his leaves. O Elenor, weak woman, fill’d with woe!’ Thus having spoke, she raisèd up her head, And saw the bloody napkin by her side, Which in her arms she brought; and now, tenfold More terrified, saw it unfold itself. Her eyes were fix’d; the bloody cloth unfolds, Disclosing to her sight the murder’d head Of her dear lord, all ghastly pale, clotted With gory blood; it groan’d, and thus it spake: ‘O Elenor, I am thy husband’s head, Who, sleeping on the stones of yonder tower, Was ’reft of life by the accursèd duke! A hirèd villain turn’d my sleep to death! ‘O Elenor, beware the cursèd duke; O give not him thy hand, now I am dead; He seeks thy love; who, coward, in the night, Hirèd a villain to bereave my life.’ She sat with dead cold limbs, stiffen’d to stone: She took the gory head up in her arms; She kiss’d the pale lips; she had no tears to shed; She hugg’d it to her breast, and groan’d her last."
"My silks and fine array, My smiles and languish’d air, By love are driv’n away; And mournful lean Despair Brings me yew to deck my grave; His face is fair as heav’n When springing buds unfold; O why to him was ’t giv’n Whose heart is wintry cold? His breast is love’s all-worshipp’d tomb, Where all love’s pilgrims come. Bring me an axe and spade, Bring me a winding-sheet; When I my grave have made Let winds and tempests beat: Then down I’ll lie as cold as clay. True love doth pass away!"
"Love and harmony combine, And around our souls entwine While thy branches mix with mine, And our roots together join. Joys upon our branches sit, Chirping loud and singing sweet; Like gentle streams beneath our feet Innocence and virtue meet. Thou the golden fruit dost bear, I am clad in flowers fair; Thy sweet boughs perfume the air, And the turtle buildeth there. There she sits and feeds her young’ Sweet I hear her mournful song; And thy lovely leaves among, There is love, I hear his tongue. There his 1 charming nest doth lay, There he sleeps the night away; There he sports along the day, And doth among our branches play. "
"I love the jocund dance, The softly breathing song, Where innocent eyes do glance, And where lisps the maiden’s tongue. I love the laughing vale, I love the echoing hill, Where mirth does never fail, And the jolly swain laughs his fill. I love the pleasant cot, I love the innocent bow’r, Where white and brown is our lot, Or fruit in the mid-day hour. I love the oaken seat, Beneath the oaken tree, Where all the old villagers meet, And laugh our sports to see. I love our neighbours all, But, Kitty, I better love thee; And love them I ever shall; But thou art all to me."
"Fresh from the dewy hill, the merry year Smiles on my head and mounts his flaming car; Round my young brows the laurel wreathes a shade, And rising glories beam around my head. My feet are wing’d, while o’er the dewy lawn, I meet my maiden risen like the morn: O bless those holy feet, like angels’ feet; O bless those limbs, beaming with heav’nly light. Like as an angel glitt’ring in the sky In times of innocence and holy joy; The joyful shepherd stops his grateful song To hear the music of an angel’s tongue. So when she speaks, the voice of Heaven I hear; So when we walk, nothing impure comes near; Each field seems Eden, and each calm retreat; Each village seems the haunt of holy feet. But that sweet village where my black-eyed maid Closes her eyes in sleep beneath night’s shade, Whene’er I enter, more than mortal fire Burns in my soul, and does my song inspire."
"When early morn walks forth in sober grey, Then to my black-eyed maid I haste away; When evening sits beneath her dusky bow’r, And gently sighs away the silent hour, The village bell alarms, away I go, And the vale darkens at my pensive woe. To that sweet village, where my black-eyed maid Doth drop a tear beneath the silent shade, I turn my eyes; and pensive as I go Curse my black stars and bless my pleasing woe. Oft when the summer sleeps among the trees, Whisp’ring faint murmurs to the scanty breeze, I walk the village round; if at her side A youth doth walk in stolen joy and pride, I curse my stars in bitter grief and woe, That made my love so high and me so low. O should she e’er prove false, his limbs I’d tear And throw all pity on the burning air; I’d curse bright fortune for my mixèd lot, And then I’d die in peace and be forgot."
"Mad Song - The wild winds weep, And the night is a-cold; Come hither, Sleep, And my griefs unfold: But lo! the morning peeps 5 Over the eastern steeps, And the rustling beds of dawn The earth do scorn. Lo! to the vault Of pavèd heaven, With sorrow fraught My notes are driven: They strike the ear of night, Make weep the eyes of day; They make mad the roaring winds, And with tempests play. Like a fiend in a cloud, With howling woe After night I do crowd, And with night will go; I turn my back to the east From whence comforts have increas’d; For light doth seize my brain With frantic pain."
"Who is this, that with unerring step dares tempt the wilds, where only Nature’s foot hath trod? ’Tis Contemplation, daughter of the grey Morning! Majestical she steppeth, and with her pure quill on every flower writeth Wisdom’s name; now lowly bending, whispers in mine ear, ‘O man, how great, how little, thou! O man, slave of each moment, lord of eternity! seest thou where Mirth sits on the painted cheek? doth it not seem ashamed of such a place, and grow immoderate to brave it out? O what an humble garb true Joy puts on! Those who want Happiness must stoop to find it; it is a flower that grows in every vale. Vain foolish man, that roams on lofty rocks, where, ’cause his garments are swoln with wind, he fancies he is grown into a giant! Lo, then, Humility, take it, and wear it in thine heart; lord of thyself, thou then art lord of all. Clamour brawls along the streets, and destruction hovers in the city’s smoke; but on these plains, and in these silent woods, true joys descend: here build thy nest; here fix thy staff; delights blossom around; numberless beauties blow; the green grass springs in joy, and the nimble air kisses the leaves; the brook stretches its arms along the velvet meadow, its silver inhabitants sport and play; the youthful sun joys like a hunter roused to the chase, he rushes up the sky, and lays hold on the immortal coursers of day; the sky glitters with the jingling trappings. Like a triumph, season follows season, while the airy music fills the world with joyful sounds.’ I answered, ‘Heavenly goddess! I am wrapped in mortality, my flesh is a prison, my bones the bars of death; Misery builds over our cottage roofs, and Discontent runs like a brook. Even in childhood, Sorrow slept with me in my cradle; he followed me up and down in the house when I grew up; he was my schoolfellow: thus he was in my steps and in my play, till he became to me as my brother. I walked through dreary places with him, and in church-yards; and I oft found myself sitting by Sorrow on a tomb-stone.’"
"The Couch of Death - The veiled evening walked solitary down the western hills, and Silence reposed in the valley; the birds of day were heard in their nests, rustling in brakes and thickets; and the owl and bat flew round the darkening trees: all is silent when Nature takes her repose.—In former times, on such an evening, when the cold clay breathed with life, and our ancestors, who now sleep in their graves, walked on the steadfast globe, the remains of a family of the tribes of Earth, a mother and a sister, were gathered to the sick bed of a youth. Sorrow linked them together; leaning on one another’s necks alternately—like lilies dropping tears in each other’s bosom—they stood by the bed like reeds bending over a lake, when the evening drops trickle down. His voice was low as the whisperings of the woods when the wind is asleep, and the visions of Heaven unfold their visitation. ‘Parting is hard and death is terrible; I seem to walk through a deep valley, far from the light of day, alone and comfortless! The damps of death fall thick upon me! Horrors stare me in the face! I look behind, there is no returning; Death follows after me; I walk in regions of Death, where no tree is, without a lantern to direct my steps, without a staff to support me.’ Thus he laments through the still evening, till the curtains of darkness were drawn. Like the sound of a broken pipe, the aged woman raised her voice. ‘O my son, my son, I know but little of the path thou goest! But lo! there is a God, who made the world; stretch out thy hand to Him.’ The youth replied, like a voice heard from a sepulchre, ‘My hand is feeble, how should I stretch it out? My ways are sinful, how should I raise mine eyes? My voice hath used deceit, how should I call on Him who is Truth? My breath is loathsome, how should He not be offended? If I lay my face in the dust, the grave opens its mouth for me; if I lift up my head, sin covers me as a cloak. O my dear friends, pray ye for me! Stretch forth your hands that my Helper may come! Through the void space I walk, between the sinful world and eternity! Beneath me burns eternal fire! O for a hand to pluck me forth!’ As the voice of an omen heard in the silent valley, when the few inhabitants cling trembling together; as the voice of the Angel of Death, when the thin beams of the moon give a faint light, such was this young man’s voice to his friends. Like the bubbling waters of the brook in the dead of night, the aged woman raised her cry, and said, ‘O Voice, that dwellest in my breast, can I not cry, and lift my eyes to Heaven? Thinking of this, my spirit is turned within me into confusion! O my child, my child, is thy breath infected? so is mine. As the deer wounded, by the brooks of water, so the arrows of sin stick in my flesh; the poison hath entered into my marrow.’ Like rolling waves upon a desert shore, sighs succeeded sighs; they covered their faces and wept. The youth lay silent, his mother’s arm was under his head; he was like a cloud tossed by the winds, till the sun shine, and the drops of rain glisten, the yellow harvest breathes, and the thankful eyes of the villagers are turned up in smiles. The traveller, that hath taken shelter under an oak, eyes the distant country with joy. Such smiles were seen upon the face of the youth: a visionary hand wiped away his tears, and a ray of light beamed around his head. All was still. The moon hung not out her lamp, and the stars faintly glimmered in the summer sky; the breath of night slept among the leaves of the forest; the bosom of the lofty hill drank in the silent dew, while on his majestic brow the voice of Angels is heard, and stringed sounds ride upon the wings of night. The sorrowful pair lift up their heads, hovering Angels are around them, voices of comfort are heard over the Couch of Death, and the youth breathes out his soul with joy into eternity."
"Songs of Innocence (Introduction) - Piping down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child, And he laughing said to me: ‘Pipe a song about a Lamb!’ So I piped with merry cheer. ‘Piper, pipe that song again;’ So I piped; he wept to hear. ‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; Sing thy songs of happy cheer:’ So I sang the same again, While he wept with joy to hear. ‘Piper, sit thee down and write In a book, that all may read.’ So he vanish’d from my sight, And I pluck’d a hollow reed, And I made a rural pen, And I stain’d the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear."
"Never seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind does move Silently, invisibly. I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart; Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears, Ah! she doth depart. Soon as she was gone from me, A traveller came by, Silently, invisibly: He took her with a sigh."
"Silent, silent Night, Quench the holy light Of thy torches bright; For possess’d of Day, Thousand spirits stray That sweet joys betray. Why should joys be sweet Usèd with deceit, Nor with sorrows meet? But an honest joy Does itself destroy For a harlot coy."
"The Good are attracted by men’s perceptions, And think not for themselves; Till Experience teaches them to catch And to cage the fairies and elves. And then the Knave begins to snarl, And the Hypocrite to howl; And all his good friends show their private ends, And the eagle is known from the owl."
"The Caverns of the Grave I’ve seen, And these I show’d to England’s Queen. But now the Caves of Hell I view, Who shall I dare to show them to? What mighty soul in Beauty’s form Shall dauntless view the infernal storm? Egremont’s Countess can control The flames of Hell that round me roll; If she refuse, I still go on Till the Heavens and Earth are gone, Still admir’d by noble minds, Follow’d by Envy on the winds, Re-engrav’d time after time, Ever in their youthful prime, My designs unchang’d remain. Time may rage, but rage in vain. For above Time’s troubled fountains, On the great Atlantic Mountains, In my Golden House on high, There they shine eternally."
"Once a dream did weave a shade O’er my Angel-guarded bed, That an emmet lost its way Where on grass methought I lay. Troubled, ’wilder’d, and forlorn, Dark, benighted, travel-worn, Over many a tangled spray, All heart-broke I heard her say: ‘O, my children! do they cry? Do they hear their father sigh? Now they look abroad to see: Now return and weep for me.’ Pitying, I dropp’d a tear; But I saw a glow-worm near, Who replied: ‘What wailing wight Calls the watchman of the night? ‘I am set to light the ground, While the beetle goes his round: Follow now the beetle’s hum; Little wanderer, hie thee home.’"