VI. For on its wing was dark alloy
And as it fluttered–fell
An essence–powerful to destroy
A soul that knew it well.
But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon the spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody–
Then–ah, then, I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.
Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight–
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define–
Nor Love–although the Love were thine.
Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining–
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.
“The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”
The joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May:
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul,
My griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine!
Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme
These woes of mine fulfil,
Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
Because they are Thy will!
Then all I want (O, do thou grant
This one request of mine!)
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny,
Assist me to resign!
The soul selects her own society,
Then shuts the door;
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.
Unmoved, she notes the chariot’s pausing
At her low gate;
Unmoved, an emperor is kneeling
Upon her mat.
I’ve known her from an ample nation
Then close the valves of her attention
And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet Bird did follow
Ne any day for food or play
Came to the Marinere’s hollo!
And I had done an hellish thing
And it would work ‘em woe:
For all averr’d, I had kill’d the Bird
That made the Breeze to blow.
Ne dim ne red, like God’s own head,
The glorious Sun uprist:
Then all averr’d, I had kill’d the Bird
That brought the fog and mist.
‘Twas right, said they, such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.
The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow follow’d free:
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent Sea.
Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the Sea.
All in a hot and copper sky
The bloody sun at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, ne breath ne motion,
As idle as a painted Ship
Upon a painted Ocean.
Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Ne any drop to drink.
The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy Sea.
About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires danc’d at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
Nine fathom deep he had follow’d us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.
And every tongue thro’ utter drouth
Was wither’d at the root;
We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young;
Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
A violet grew by the river-side,
And gladdened all hearts with its bloom;
While over the fields, on the scented air,
It breathed a rich perfume.
But the clouds grew dark in the angry sky,
And its portals were opened wide;
And the heavy rain beat down the flower
That grew by the river-side.
Not far away in a pleasant home,
There lived a little boy,
Whose cheerful face and childish grace
Filled every heart with joy.
He wandered one day to the river’s verge,
With no one near to save;
And the heart that we loved with a boundless love
Was stilled in the restless wave.
The sky grew dark to our tearful eyes,
And we bade farewell to joy;
For our hearts were bound by a sorrowful tie
To the grave of the little boy.
The birds still sing in the leafy tree
That shadows the open door;
We heed them not, for we think of the voice
That we shall hear no more.
We think of him at eventide,
And gaze on his vacant chair
With a longing heart that will scarce believe
That Charlie is not there.
We seem to hear his ringing laugh,
And his bounding step at the door;
But, alas! there comes the sorrowful thought,
We shall never hear them more!
We shall walk sometimes to his little grave,
In the pleasant summer hours;
We will speak his name in a softened voice,
And cover his grave with flowers;
We will think of him in his heavenly home,–
In his heavenly home so fair;
And we will trust with a hopeful trust
That we shall meet him there.
I leave the crowded streets,
The hum of busy life,
Its clamor and its strife,
To breathe thy perfumed sweets.
O rare and golden hours!
The bird’s melodious song,
Wavelike, is borne along
Upon a strand of flowers.
I wander far away,
Where, through the forest trees,
Sports the cool summer breeze,
In wild and wanton play.
A patriarchal elm
Its stately form uprears,
Which twice a hundred years
Has ruled this woodland realm.
I sit beneath its shade,
And watch, with careless eye,
The brook that babbles by,
And cools the leafy glade.
In truth I wonder not,
That in the ancient days
The temples of God’s praise
Were grove and leafy grot.
The noblest ever planned,
With quaint device and rare,
By man, can ill compare
With these from God’s own hand.
Pilgrim with way-worn feet,
Who, treading life’s dull round,
No true repose hast found,
Come to this green retreat.
For bird, and flower, and tree,
Green fields, and woodland wild,
Shall bear, with voices mild,
Sweet messages to thee.