All for Love
O TALK not to me of a name great in story;
The days of our youth are the days of our glory;
And the myrtle and ivy of sweet two-and-twenty
Are worth all your laurels though ever so plenty.
What are garlands and crowns to the brow that is wrinkled? 5
'Tis but as a dead flower with May-dew besprinkled:
Then away with all such from the head that is hoary—
What care I for the wreaths that can only give glory?
O Fame! if I e'er took delight in thy praises
'Twas less for the sake of thy high-sounding phrases 10
Than to see the bright eyes of the dear one discover
She thought that I was not unworthy to love her.
There chiefly I sought thee there only I found thee;
Her glance was the best of the rays that surround thee;
When it sparkled o'er aught that was bright in my story 15
I knew it was love and I felt it was glory.
"There be none of Beauty's daughters"
THERE be none of Beauty's daughters
With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me:
When as if its sound were causing 5
The charmed ocean's pausing
The waves lie still and gleaming
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:
And the midnight moon is weaving
Her bright chain o'er the deep 10
Whose breast is gently heaving
As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion 15
Like the swell of summer's ocean.
"She walks in beauty like the night"
SHE walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow'd to that tender light 5
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more one ray the less
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face 10
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft so calm yet eloquent
The smiles that win the tints that glow 15
But tell of days in goodness spent —
A mind at peace with all below
A heart whose love is innocent.
"When we two parted"
WHEN we two parted
In silence and tears
To sever for years
Pale grew thy cheek and cold 5
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this!
The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow; 10
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken
And light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken 15
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
Why wert thou so dear? 20
They know not I knew thee
Who knew thee too well:
Long long shall I rue thee
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met: 25
In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years 30
How should I greet thee?—
With silence and tears.
Elegy on Thyrza
AND thou art dead as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft and charms so rare
Too soon return'd to Earth!
Though Earth received them in her bed 5
And o'er the spot the crowd may tread
In carelessness or mirth
There is an eye which could not brook
A moment on that grave to look.
I will not ask where thou liest low 10
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved and long must love 15
Like common earth can rot;
To me there needs no stone to tell
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou 20
Who didst not change through all the past
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal
Nor age can chill nor rival steal
Nor falsehood disavow; 25
And what were worse thou canst not see
Or wrong or change or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours
The worst can be but mine;
The sun that cheers the storm that lours 30
Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep
I envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine
That all those charms have pass'd away 35
I might have watch'd through long decay.
The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd
Must fall the earliest prey;
Though by no hand untimely snatch'd.
The leaves must drop away. 40
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering leaf by leaf
Than see it pluck'd to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair. 45
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that follow'd such a morn
Had worn a deeper shade.
Thy day without a cloud hath pass'd 50
And thou wert lovely to the last
Extinguish'd not decay'd;
As stars that shoot along the sky
Shine brightest as they fall from high.
As once I wept if I could weep 55
My tears might well be shed
To think I was not near to keep
One vigil o'er thy bed—
To gaze how fondly! on thy face
To fold thee in a faint embrace 60
Uphold thy drooping head
And show that love however vain
Nor thou nor I can feel again.
Yet how much less it were to gain
Though thou hast left me free 65
The loveliest things that still remain
Than thus remember thee!
The all of thine that cannot die
Through dark and dread eternity
Returns again to me 70
And more thy buried love endears
Than aught except its living years.
On the Castle of Chillon
ETERNAL Spirit of the chainless Mind!
Brightest in dungeons Liberty! thou art
For there thy habitation is the heart—
The heart which love of Thee alone can bind.
And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd 5
To fetters and the damp vault's dayless gloom
Their country conquers with their martyrdom
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place
And thy sad floor an altar for 'twas trod 10
Until his very steps have left a trace
Worn as if thy cold pavement were a sod
By Bonnivard! May none those marks efface!
For they appeal from tyranny to God.
Youth and Age
THERE'S not a joy the world can give like that it takes away
When the glow of early thought declines in feeling's dull decay;
'Tis not on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone which fades so fast
But the tender bloom of heart is gone ere youth itself be past.
Then the few whose spirits float above the wreck of happiness 5
Are driven o'er the shoals of guilt or ocean of excess:
The magnet of their course is gone or only points in vain
The shore to which their shiver'd sail shall never stretch again.
Then the mortal coldness of the soul like death itself comes down;
It cannot feel for others' woes it dare not dream its own; 10
That heavy chill has frozen o'er the fountain of our tears
And though the eye may sparkle still 'tis where the ice appears.
Though wit may flash from fluent lips and mirth distract the breast
Through midnight hours that yield no more their former hope of rest
'Tis but as ivy-leaves around the ruin'd turret wreathe 15
All green and wildly fresh without but worn and gray beneath.
Oh could I feel as I have felt or be what I have been
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene —
As springs in deserts found seem sweet all brackish though they be
So midst the wither'd waste of life those tears would flow to me! 20
OH snatch'd away in beauty's bloom!
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves the earliest of the year
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom: 5
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head
And feed deep thought with many a dream
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturb'd the dead! 10
Away! we know that tears are vain
That Death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou who tell'st me to forget 15
Thy looks are wan thine eyes are wet.