Charles Lloyd (1775-1839)
Dismal November! me it soothes to view,
At parting day, the scanty foliage fall
From the wet fruit tree, or the grey stone wall,
Whose cold films glisten with unwholesome dew;
To watch the yellow mists from the dank earth
Enfold the neighbouring copse; while on as they pass
The silent rain-drops bend the long rank grass
Which wraps some blossom's unmaturéd birth.
And through my cot's lone lattice glimmering grey
Thy damp chill evenings have a charm for me,
Dismal November! for strange vacancy
Summoneth then my very heart away!
Till from mist-hidden spire comes the slow knell,
And says, that in the still air Death doth dwell!
To the Sabbath
Ah! quiet day, I oft recall the time
When I did chase my childish sluggishness
The "rear of darkness lingering still"--to dress
In due sort for thy coming: the first chime
Of blithesome bells that ushered in the morn
Carolled to me of rest and simplest mirth:
It was then all happiness on the wide earth
To gaze! I little dreamt that man was born
For aught but wholesome toil and holiest praise,
Thanking that God who made him to rejoice!
But I am changéd now! nor could I raise
My sunken spirit at thy well-known voice;
But that thou seemest soothingly to say,
"Look up, poor mourner, to a better day."
Is not all nature smiling? Why should I
Pine with the agonies of wretchedness?
This active life excites, that vanity,
And him the fervours of affection bless.
Ambition beckoning waves her banners high,
Streaming with rays of glory and success,
And on the wings of folly thousands fly
To grasp the toy of hourly happiness.
Dejection presses me with power like fate
In fellowship with woe, and inward care;
The beauteous forms of nature wrought so fair
Sink on my spirits with a weary weight;
Nor active life less threatens with despair,
There flourish insincerity and hate.
Written after a Walk by Rydal Water, Westmoreland, in Time of War
In such a day how calm and mild this scene,
Made for poetic thought. The woods displayed
Of brown and yellow every varying shade
And here and there the fresh and lingering green
Told yet of summer and her days serene,
Too soon departed! Fading fern arrayed
The russet hills; and as faint sun-gleams strayed,
In warmer hues the upland slopes were seen.
Oh, beauteous aspect of a beauteous world!
Mournful to think how little understood!
In man's distempered heart hath frenzy hurled
Envenomed shafts. The sword, defiled with blood,
Lays waste the earth; and over the ocean flood
The crimson flag of discord is unfurled.
The Faithful One
Where is that crowd of friends that could dispense
Refreshing rapture to life's sunny morn?
Where are those loves, affections, that are born
Of freedom, sentiment, and confidence?
It is silent all! a blank to every sense!
The energy of life, that used to scorn
The rule of pale experience, is withdrawn!
That power erewhile so buoyant and intense.
Yet there is one who faithful still remains,
Who loves my solitude, as once she loved
My cheer in social life: who loves my joy,
Nor flies my couch when gnawing sickness reigns:
She, like the minister of heaven, hath proved
That "time and chance" can true love never destroy.
After Seeing "Rob Roy" at Covent Garden
Macready! thou hast pleased me much; till now
(And yet I would not thy fine powers arraign)
I did not think thou hadst that livelier vein
Nor that clear open spirit on thy brow.
Come, I will crown thee with Apollo's bough;
Mine is a humble branch, yet not in vain
Given, if the few I sing shall not disdain
To wear the little wreaths that I bestow:--
There is a buoyant air, a passionate tone
That breathes about thee, lighting up thine eye
With fire and freedom; it becomes thee well.
It is the bursting of a good seed sown
Beneath a cold and artificial sky;
It is genius overmastering its spell.
When from my dreary home I first moved on
After my friend was in her grave-clothes dressed,
A dim despondence on my spirit pressed
As all my pleasant days were come and gone!
Strange whispers parted from the entombing clay,
The thin air murmured, each dumb object spake,
Bidding my overwhelméd bosom ache;
Oft did I look to heaven, but could not pray.
"How shall I leave thee, quiet scene?" said I,
"How leave the passing breeze that loves to sweep
The holy sod where my due footsteps creep?"
"The passing breeze? It was she! Thy friend passed by!"
But the time came; the passing breeze I left;
"Farewell," I sighed; and seemed of all bereft.
To Sophia: Dedicatory
Once we had joys in common: common woes
Have lately been our portion, friend, once loved!
And still as much loved as mid sorrow's throes
It is possible to move, or to be moved.
Faithless I'm not because no word that glows,
No look that cheers accost a friend approved;
Love's language lies in more profound repose
Than that of death, since hope has been removed
From my soul's dreams.
But couldst thou pierce my heart
And see the tenderest thought it doth enshrine,
It is, should myself and sorrow ever part,
Mine eyes shall then tell thee when sought by thine,
While blessed tears gush, like children's, without art,
"These had not flowed, wert thou again not mine."