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497                                               To the Muses

WHETHER on Ida’s shady brow
    Or in the chambers of the East,
The chambers of the Sun, that now
   From ancient melody have ceased;
Whether in heaven ye wander fair,
   Or the green corners of the earth,
Or the blue regions of the air
   Where the melodious winds have birth;
Whether on crystal rocks ye rove,
   Beneath the bosom of the sea,
Wandering in many a coral grove;
   Fair Nine, forsaking Poetry;
How have you left the ancient love
   That bards of old enjoy’d in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move,
   The sound is forced, the notes are few.

498                                               To Spring

O THOU with dewy locks, who lookest down
Through the clear windows of the morning, turn
Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring !
The hills tell one another, and the listening
Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turn’d
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth
And let thy holy feet visit our clime!
Come o’er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumàed garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our lovesick land that mourns for thee.
O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languish’d head,
Whose modest tresses are bound up for thee.

499                                     Jerusalem (from ‘Milton’)

AND did those feet in ancient time
   Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
   On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
   Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
   Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold !
   Bring me my arrows of desire !
Bring me my spear ! O clouds, unfold !
   Bring me my chariot of fire !
I will not cease from mental fight,
   Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
   In England’s green and pleasant land.

500                                         Reeds of Innocence

PIPING down the valleys wild,
   Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
   And he laughing said to me:
‘Pipe a song about a Lamb !’
   So I piped with merry cheer.
‘Piper, pipe that song again;’
   So I piped: he wept to hear.
‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
   Sing thy songs of happy cheer !’
So I sung the same again,
   While he wept with joy to hear.
‘Piper, sit thee down and write
   In a book that all may read.’
So he vanish’d from my sight;
   And I pluck’d a hollow reed,
And I made a rural pen,
   And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
   Every child may joy to hear.

501                                         The Little Black Boy

MY mother bore me in the southern wild,
   And I am black, but O, my soul is white !
White as an angel is the English child,
   But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
   And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissàed me,
   And, pointing to the East, began to say:
‘Look at the rising sun: there God does live,
   And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
   Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.
‘And we are put on earth a little space,
   That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
   Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
‘For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,
   The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
Saying, ‘‘Come out from the grove, my love and care,
   And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.’’ ’
Thus did my mother say, and kissàed me,
   And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
   And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,
I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
   To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
   And be like him, and he will then love me.

502                                           Hear the Voice

HEAR the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk’d among the ancient trees;
Calling the lapsàed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew !
‘O Earth, O Earth, return !
Arise from out the dewy grass !
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.
‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.’

503                                               The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?
What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

504                                            Cradle Song

SLEEP, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.
Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.
As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O’er thy cheek, and o’er thy breast
Where thy little heart doth rest.
O the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart doth wake,
Then the dreadful night shall break.

505                                                    Night

   THE sun descending in the west,
   The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
   And I must seek for mine.
     The moon, like a flower
     In heaven’s high bower,
     With silent delight
     Sits and smiles on the night.
   Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
   Where flocks have took delight:
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
   The feet of angels bright;
     Unseen they pour blessing
     And joy without ceasing
     On each bud and blossom,
     On each sleeping bosom.
   They look in every thoughtless nest
   Where birds are cover’d warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
   To keep them all from harm:
     If they see any weeping
     That should have been sleeping,
     They pour sleep on their head,
     And sit down by their bed.
 When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
   They pitying stand and weep,
Seeking to drive their thirst away
   And keep them from the sheep.
     But, if they rush dreadful,
     The angels, most heedful,
     Receive each mild spirit,
     New worlds to inherit.
   And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
   Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries,
   And walking round the fold:
     Saying, ‘Wrath by His meekness,
     And, by His health, sickness,
     Are driven away
     From our immortal day.
   ‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
   I can lie down and sleep,
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
   Graze after thee, and weep.
     For, wash’d in life’s river,
     My bright mane for ever
     Shall shine like the gold
     As I guard o’er the fold.’

506                                             Love’s Secret

NEVER seek to tell thy love,
    Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
    Silently, invisibly.
I told my love, I told my love,
    I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
    Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,
    A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
    He took her with a sigh.


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