Written on the Day That Mr. Leigh Hunt Left Prison(Bartleby)
How many bards gild the lapses of time(Bartleby)
O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell(Bartleby)
Keen, fitful gusts are whispring here and there(Bartleby)
To one who has been long in city pent(Bartleby)
On Leaving Some Friends at an Early Hour(Bartleby)
Happy is England! I could be content(Bartleby)
If by dull rhymes our English must be chained,And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweetFettered, in spite of paind loveliness;Let us find out, if we must be constrained,Sandals more interwoven and completeTo fit the naked foot of poesy;Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stressOf every chord, and see what may be gainedBy ear industrious, and attention meet;Misers of sound and syllable, no lessThan Midas of his coinage, let us beJealous of dead leaves in the bay-wreath crown;So, if we may not let the Muse be free,She will be bound with garlands of her own.
Much have I travelld in the realms of gold,And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;Round many western islands have I beenWhich bards in fealty to Apollo hold.Oft of one wide expanse had I been toldThat deep-browd Homer ruled as his demesne;Yet did I never breathe its pure sereneTill I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:Then felt I like some watcher of the skiesWhen a new planet swims into his ken;Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyesHe stard at the Pacific–and all his menLookd at each other with a wild surmiseSilent, upon a peak in Darien.
The poetry of earth is never dead:When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,And hide in cooling trees, a voice will runFrom hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;That is the Grasshoppers–he takes the leadIn summer luxury,–he has never doneWith his delights; for when tired out with funHe rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.The poetry of earth is ceasing never:On a lone winter evening, when the frostHas wrought a silence, from the stove there shrillsThe Crickets song, in warmth increasing ever,And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,The Grasshoppers among some grassy hills.
The above sonnet was written in competition withLeigh Hunt.
O golden tongued Romance, with serene lute!Fair plumed Syren, Queen of far-away!Leave melodizing on this wintry day,Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute:Adieu! for, once again, the fierce disputeBetwixt damnation and impassiond clayMust I burn through; once more humbly assayThe bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit:Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,Begetters of our deep eternal theme!When through the old oak Forest I am gone,Let me not wander in a barren dream,But, when I am consumed in the fire,Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.
My spirit is too weak–mortalityWeighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,And each imagind pinnacle and steepOf godlike hardship, tells me I must dieLike a sick Eagle looking at the sky.Yet tis a gentle luxury to weepThat I have not the cloudy winds to keep,Fresh for the opening of the mornings eye.Such dim-conceived glories of the brainBring round the heart an undescribable feud;So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rudeWasting of old Time–with a billowy main–A sun–a shadow of a magnitude.
Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell.No God, no Demon of severe response,Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell.Then to my human heart I turn at once.Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone;I say, why did I laugh! 0 mortal pain!O Darkness! Darkness! ever must I moan,To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain.Why did I laugh? I know this Beings lease,My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads;Yet would I on this very midnight cease,And the worlds gaudy ensigns see in shreds;Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,But Death intenser–Death is Lifes high meed.
When I have fears that I may cease to beBefore my pen has gleand my teeming brain,Before high-piled books, in charactery,Hold like rich garners the full ripend grain;When I behold, upon the nights starrd face,Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,And think that I may never live to traceTheir shadows, with the magic hand of chance;And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,That I shall never look upon thee more,Never have relish in the faery powerOf unreflecting love;–then on the shoreOf the wide world I stand alone, and thinkTill love and fame to nothingness do sink.
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–Not in lone splendour hung aloft the nightAnd watching, with eternal lids apart,Like natures patient, sleepless Eremite,The moving waters at their priestlike taskOf pure ablution round earths human shores,Or gazing on the new soft-fallen maskOf snow upon the mountains and the moorsNo–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,Pillowd upon my fair loves ripening breast,To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,And so live ever-or else swoon to death.