To Helen

HELEN, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicèan barks of yore
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
To the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche,

How statue-like I see thee stand, The agate lamp within thy hand! Ah, Psyche, from the regions which Are holy land!

The Skylark

BIRD of the wilderness,

Blithesome and cumberless,


Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea!
Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling-place-
Oh, to abide in the desert with thee!

Wild is thy lay and loud,
Far in the downy cloud,

Love gives it energy, love gave it birth.
Where, on thy dewy wing,

Where art thou journeying?

Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.

O'er fell and fountain sheen,

O'er moor and mountain green,
O'er the red streamer that heralds the day,
Over the cloudlet dim,

Over the rainbow's rim,
Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!

Then, when the gloaming comes,

Low in the heather blooms

Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be! Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling-place

Oh, to abide in the desert with thee !



FEAR no more the heat o' the sun
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone and ta'en thy wages :
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o' the great,
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe, and eat;

To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,

Nor the all-dreaded thunder-tone; Fear not slander, censure rash ;

Thou hast finish'd joy and moan: All lovers young, all lovers must Consign to thee, and come to dust.

Cumnor Hall


THE dews of summer night did fall ;
The moon, sweet Regent of the sky,
Silver'd the walls of Cumnor Hall,

And many an oak that grew thereby.

Now nought was heard beneath the skies,
The sounds of busy life were still,

Save an unhappy lady's sighs

That issued from that lonely pile.

'Leicester!' she cried, 'is this thy love
That thou so oft hast sworn to me,
To leave me in this lonely grove,
Immured in shameful privity?

'No more thou com'st with lover's speed
Thy once-belovèd bride to see ;
But, be she alive, or be she dead,

I fear, stern Earl, 's the same to thee.

'Not so the usage I received

When happy in my father's hall;
No faithless husband then me grieved,
No chilling fears did me appal.

'I rose up with the cheerful morn,

No lark more blithe, no flower more gay;
And like the bird that haunts the thorn
So merrily sung the livelong day.

"If that my beauty is but small,
Among court ladies all despised,
Why didst thou rend it from that hall,
Where, scornful Earl! it well was prized?

'But, Leicester, or I much am wrong,
Or 'tis not beauty lures thy vows;
Rather, ambition's gilded crown

Makes thee forget thy humble spouse.

'Then, Leicester, why,—again I plead, The injured surely may repine,— Why didst thou wed a country maid,

When some fair Princess might be thine?

'Why didst thou praise my humble charms,
And oh! then leave them to decay?
Why didst thou win me to thy arms,
Then leave to mourn the livelong day?

'The village maidens of the plain
Salute me lowly as they go;
Envious they mark my silken train,
Nor think a Countess can have woe.

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'How far less blest am I than them!
Daily to pine and waste with care!
Like the poor plant, that, from its stem
Divided, feels the chilling air.

'My spirits flag-my hopes decay-
Still that dread death-bell smites my ear:
And many a boding seems to say,
Countess, prepare, thy end is near !'

Thus sore and sad that Lady grieved
In Cumnor Hall so lone and drear;
And many a heartfelt sigh she heaved,
And let fall many a bitter tear.

And ere the dawn of day appear'd,
In Cumnor Hall so lone and drear,
Full many a piercing scream was heard,
And many a cry of mortal fear.

The death-bell thrice was heard to ring;
An aerial voice was heard to call,
And thrice the raven flapp'd its wing
Around the towers of Cumnor Hall.

The mastiff howl'd at village door,

The oaks were shatter'd on the green;
Woe was the hour-for never more
That hapless Countess e'er was seen!

And in that manor now no more
Is cheerful feast and sprightly ball:
For ever since that dreary hour

Have spirits haunted Cumnor Hall.

The village maids, with fearful glance,
Avoid the ancient moss-grown wall;
Nor ever lead the merry dance

Among the groves of Cumnor Hall.

Full many a traveller oft hath sigh'd,
And pensive wept the Countess' fall.
As wand'ring onwards they've espied
The haunted towers of Cumnor Hall.



To a Skylark

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!
Bird thou never wert-
That from heaven or near it
Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest:
Like a cloud of fire,

The blue deep thou wingest,

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,

O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thou dost float and run,

Like an embodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;

Like a star of heaven

In the broad daylight,

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight-

Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere

Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,

Until we hardly see, we feel, that it is there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody :

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