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It is a lofty feeling, yet a kind,
Thus to be topped with leaves ;-to have a sense
Of honour-shaded thought,-
As from great Nature's fingers, and be twined
With her old, sacred, verdurous ivy-bind,
As though she hallowed with that sylvan fence
A head that bows to her benevolence,
of fancied trumpets in the wind. 'Tis what's within us crowned. And kind and great Are all the conquering wishes it inspires,Love of things lasting, love of the tall woods, Love of love's self, and ardour for a state Of natural good befiittng such desires, Towns without gain, and haunted solitudes.
With what a fine unyielding wish to bless,
Does Nature, Horace, manage to oppose
The town's encroachments! Vulgar he, who goes
By suburb gardens which she deigns to dress,
And does not recognize her green caress
Reaching back to us in those genial shows
Of box-encircled flowers and poplar rows,
Or other nests for evening weariness.
Then come the squares, with noon-day nymphs
Then vines, and ivy; tree tops that look out
Over back walls; green in the windows too;-
And even where gain huddles it's noisiest rout,
The smile of her sweet wisdom will break through,
For there, dear Horace, has she planted you.
TO BENJAMIN ROBERT HAYDON.
Haydon, whom now the conquered toil confesses
Painter indeed, gifted, laborious, true,
Fit to be numbered in succession due
With Michael, whose idea austerely presses,
And sweet-soul'd Raphael with his amorous tresses ;
Well hast thou urged thy radiant passage through
A host of clouds; and he who with thee grew,
The bard and friend, congratulates and blesses.
'Tis glorious thus to have one's own proud will,
And see the crown acknowledged that we earn;
But nobler yet, and nearer to the skies,
To feel one's-self, in hours serene and still,
One of the spirits chosen by heaven to turn
The sunny side of things to human eyes.
TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS,
ON HIS LINES UPON THE STORY OF RIMINI.
Reynolds, whose Muse, from out thy gentle em
braces, Holding a little crisp and dewy flower, Came to me in my close-entwined bower, Where many fine-eyed Friendships and glad Graces, Parting the boughs, have looked in with like faces, And thanked the song which had sufficient power With Phoebus to bring back a warmer hour, And turn his southern eye to our green places : Not for this only, but that thou dost long For all men's welfare, may there be a throng Of kind regards, wherever thou appearest; And in thy home, firm-handed Health, a song Girt with rich-hearted friends, and she the nearest To whom the warble of thy lip is dearest.
ON HIS GIVING ME A LOCK OF MILTON'S HAIR.
I FELT my spirit leap, and look at thee
Through my changed colour with glad grateful stare,
When after shewing us this glorious hair,
Thou didst turn short, and bending pleasantly
With gracious hand gav’st the great lock to me.
An honouring gift indeed! which I will wear
About me, while I breathe this strenuous air,
That nursed his Apollonian tresses free.
I'll wear it, not as my inherited due,
(For there is one, whom had he kept his art
For Freedom still, nor left her for the crew
Of lucky slaves in his misgiving heart,
I would have begged thy leave to give it to)
Yet not without some claims, though far apart.