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But any man that walks the mead,
In bud or blade, or bloom, may find, According as his humours lead,
A meaning suited to his mind. And liberal applications lie
In Art like Nature, dearest friend ; So 'twere to cramp its use, if I
Should hook it to some useful end.
For, am I right, or am I wrong,
To choose your own you did not care ; You'd have my moral from the song,
And I will take my pleasure there : And, am I right or am I wrong,
My fancy, ranging thro' and thro', To search a meaning for the song,
Perforce will still revert to you; Nor finds a closer truth than this
All-graceful head, so richly curld, And evermore a costly kiss
The prelude to some brighter world.
You shake your head. A random string
Your finer female sense offends. Well -- were it not a pleasant thing
To fall asleep with all one's friends; To pass with all our social ties
To silence from the paths of men ; And every hundred years to rise
And learn the world, and sleep again ; To sleep thro' terms of mighty wars,
And wake on science grown to more, On secrets of the brnin, the stars,
As wild as aught of fairy lore ;
The Poet-forms of stronger hours,
The Federations and the Powers ; Titanic forces taking birth
In divers seasons, divers climes ;
Thro' sunny decads new and strange, Or gay quinquenniads would we reap
The flower and quintessence of change.
For since the time when Adam first
Embraced his Eve in happy hour, And every bird of Eden burst
In carol, every bud to flower, What eyes, like thine, have waken'd
hopes, What lips, like thine, so sweetly join'd ? Where on the double rosebud droops
The fullness of the pensive mind; Which all too dearly self-involved,
Yet sleeps a dreamless sleep to me ; A sleep by kisses undissolved,
That lets thee neither hear nor see : But break it. In the name of wife,
And in the rights that name may give, Are clasp'd the moral of thy life,
And that for which I care to live.
So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
And, if you find a meaning there, O whisper to your glass, and say,
• What wonder, if he thinks me fair?' What wonder I was all unwise,
To shape the song for your delight Like long-tail'd birds of Paradise That float thro' Heaven, and cannot
Ah, yet would I—and would I might !
So much your eyes my fancy takeBe still the first to leap to light
That I might kiss those eyes awake !
Or old-world trains, upheld at court
By Cupid-boys of blooming hueBut take it-earnest wed with sport,
And either sacred unto you.
And down the middle, buzz! she went
With all her bees behind her: The poplars, in long order due,
With cypress promenaded, The shock-head willows two and two
By rivers gallopaded.
My father left a park to me,
But it is wild and barren,
And waster than a warren:
It is not bad but good land, And in it is the germ of all
That grows within the woodland.
In days of old Amphion,
Nor cared for seed or scion !
And legs of trees were limber, And ta’en my fiddle to the gate,
And fiddled in the timber !
Came wet-shot alder from the wave,
Came yews, a dismal coterie ; Each pluck'd his one foot from the
The vine stream'd out to follow,
From many a cloudy hollow.
And wasn't it a sight to see,
When, ere his song was ended, Like some great landslip, tree by tree,
The country-side descended ; And shepherds from the mountain-eaves Look'd down, half-pleased, half
frighten’d, As dash'd about the drunken leaves
The random sunshine lightend !
'Tis said he had a tuneful tongue,
Such happy intonation, Wherever he sat down and sung
He left a small plantation; Wherever in a lonely grove
He set up his forlorn pipes,
And flounder into hornpipes.
And, as tradition teaches,
Coquetting with young beeches ; And briony-vine and ivy-wreath
Ran forward to his rhyming, And from the valleys underneath
Came little copses climbing. The linden broke her ranks and rent .
The woodbine wreaths that bind her,
Oh, nature first was fresh to men,
And wanton without measure; So youthful and so flexile then,
You moved her at your pleasure. Twang out, my fiddle ! shake the twigs !
• And make her dance attendance ; Blow, flute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,
And scirrhous roots and tendons.
'Tis vain ! in such a brassy age
I could not move a thistle ; The very sparrows in the hedge
Scarce answer to my whistle ; Or at the most, when three-parts-sick
With strumming and with scraping, A jackass heehaws from the rick,
The passive oxen gaping.