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It lies before me there, and my own breath
Stirs it's thin outer threads, as though beside
The living head I stood in honoured pride,
Talking of lovely things that conquer death.
Perhaps he pressed it once, or underneath
Ran his fine fingers, when he leant, blank-eyed,
And saw, in fancy, Adam and his bride
With their heaped locks, or his own Delphic wreath.
There seems a love in hair, though it be dead.
It is the gentlest, yet the strongest thread
Of our frail plant,-a blossom from the tree
Surviving the proud trunk;—as if it said,
Patience and Gentleness is Power. In me
Behold affectionate eternity.
A LIBERAL taste, and a wise gentleness
Have ever been the true physician's dower,
As still is visible in the placid power
Of those old Grecian busts; and helps to bless
The balmy name of Haller, and the address
Of cordial Garth; and him in Cowley's bower,
Harvey; and Milton's own exotic flower,
Young Deodati, plucked from his caress.
To add to these an ear for the sweet hold
Of music, and an eye, ay and a hand
For forms which the smooth Graces tend and follow,
Shews thee indeed true offspring of the bland
And vital god, whom she of happy mould,
The Larissæan beauty, bore Apollo.
It flows through old hushed Ægypt and it's sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands,
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roamed through the young world, the glory
extreme Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam, The laughing queen that caught the world's great
Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
As of a world left empty of its throng,
And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
Our own calm journey on for human sake.
TO THOMAS STOTHARD, R. A.
Thy fancy lives in a delightful sphere,
Stothard,-fit haunt for spirit so benign;
For never since those southern masters fine,
Whose pictured shapes like their own souls appear
Reflected many a way in waters clear,
Has the true woman's gentle mien divine
Looked so, as in those breathing heads of thine,
With parted locks, and simple cheek sincere.
Therefore, against our climate's chilly hold,
Thou hast a nest in sunny glades and bowers ;
And there, about thee, never growing old,
Are these fair things, clear as the lily flowers,
Such as great Petrarch loved,- only less cold,
More truly virtuous, and of gladdening powers.