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Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down ; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
The same that oft-times hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades:
Fled is that music :- do I wake or sleep?
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN.
THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness !
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme : What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these ? what maidens loath? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape ?
What pipes and timbrels ? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never, canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal -- yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ;
For ever piping songs for ever new;
For ever panting and for ever young ;
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice ?
To that green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest ? What little town by river or sea-shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn ? Ah ! little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral !
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, “ Beauty is truth, truth beauty," that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
ODE TO PSYCHE.
GODDESS ! hear these tuneless numbers
wrung By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, And pardon that thy secrets should be sung,
Even into thine own soft-conched ear: Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes? I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
In deepest grass, beneath the whispering roof
A brooklet, scarce espied :
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
The winged boy I knew;
His Psyche true!
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy !
Fairer than Phæbe's sapphire-region'd star,
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky; Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers ;
Upon the midnight hours ;
From chain-swung censer teeming;
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming,
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
Holy the air, the water, and the fire ; Yet even in these days so far retired
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
Upon the midnight hours !
From swinged censer teeming :
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind, Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant
pain, Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind : Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep; And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
The moss-lain Dryads shall be luild to sleep;
With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same : And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,
To let the warm Love in !
VER let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home :
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,