Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834 / Devon / England)
Written In Early Youth. The Time,--An Autumnal Evening
O thou wild fancy, check thy wing! No more
Those thin white flakes, those purple clouds explore!
Nor there with happy spirits speed thy light
Bathed in rich amber-glowing floods of light;
Nor in yon gleam, where slow descends the day,
With western peasants hail the morning ray!
Ah! rather bid the perished pleasures move,
A shadowy train, across the soul of love!
O'er disappointment's wintry desert fling
Each flower that wreathed the dewy locks of Spring,
When blushing, like a bride, from hope's trim bower
She leapt, awakened by the pattering shower.
Now sheds the sinking sun a deeper gleam,
Aid, lovely sorceress! aid thy poet's dream!
With fairy wand O bid the maid arise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes;
As erst when from the Muses' calm abode
I came, with learning's meed not unbestowed:
When, as she twined a laurel round my brow,
And met my kiss, and half returned my vow,
O'er all my frame shot rapid my thrilled heart,
And every nerve confessed the electric dart.
O dear conceit! I see the maiden rise,
Chaste joyance dancing in her bright blue eyes,
When first the lark high-soaring swells his throat
Mocks the tired eye, and scatters the loud note,
I trace her footsteps on the accustomed lawn,
I mark her glancing mid the gleams of dawn.
When the bent flower beneath the night-dew weeps,
And on the lake the silver lustre sleeps,
Amid the paly radiance soft and sad
She meets my lonely path in moon-beams clad.
With her along the streamlet's brink I rove;
With her I list the warblings of the grove;
And seems in each low wind her voice to float
Lone-whispering pity in each soothing note!
Spirits of love! ye heard her name! Obey
The powerful spell, and to my haunt repair,
Whither on clust'ring pinions ye are there,
Where rich snows blossom on the myrtle trees,
Or with fond languishment around my fair
Sigh in the loose luxuriance of her hair;
O heed the spell, and hither wing your way,
Like far-off music, voyaging the breeze!
Spirits! to you the infant maid was given,
Formed by the wondrous alchemy of Heaven!
No fairer maid does love's wide empire know,
No fairer maid e'er heaved the bosom's snow.
A thousand loves around her forehead fly;
A thousand loves sit melting in her eye;
Love lights her smile -- in joy's bright nectar dips
The flamy rose, and plants it on her lips!
Tender, serene, and all devoid of guile,
Soft is her soul, as sleeping infant's smile:
She speaks! and hark that passion-warbled song--
Still, fancy! still those mazy notes prolong.
Sweet as th' angelic harps, whose rapturous falls
Awake the softened echoes of heaven's halls!
O (have I sighed) were mine the wizard's rod,
Or mine the power of Proteus, changeful god!
A flower-entangled arbor I would seem
To shield my love from noontide's sultry beam:
Or bloom a myrtle, from whose od'rous boughs
My love might weave gay garlands for her brows.
When twilight stole across the fading vale,
To fan my love I'd be the evening gale;
Mourn in the soft folds of her swelling vest,
And flutter my faint pinions on her breast!
On seraph wing I'd float a dream, by night,
To soothe my love with shadows of delight:--
Or soar aloft to be the spangled skies,
And gaze upon her with a thousand eyes!
As when the savage, who his dowsy frame
Had basked beneath the sun's unclouded frame,
Awakes amid the troubles of the air,
The skyey deluge, and white lightning's glare--
Aghast he scours before the tempest's sweep,
And sad recalls the sunny hour of sleep:--
So tost by storms along life's wild'ring way
Mine eye reverted views that cloudless day,
When by my native brook I wont to rove
While hope with kisses nursed the infant love.
Dear native brook! like peace, so placidly
Smoothing thro' fertile fields thy current meel!
Dear native brook! where first young poesy
Stared wildly-eager in her noontide dream,
Where blameless pleasures dimple quiet's cheek,
As water-lilies ripple a slow stream!
Dear native haunts! where virtue still is gay:
Where friendship's fixed star sheds a mellowed ray
Where love a crown of thornless roses wears:
Where softened sorrow smiles within her tears;
And mem'ry, with a vestal's chaste employ,
Unceasing feeds the lambent flame of joy!
No more your skylarks melting from the sight
Shall thrill th' attuned heart-string with delight:--
No more shall deck your pensive pleasures sweet
With wreaths of sober hue my evening seat.
Yet dear to fancy's eye your varied scene
Of wood, hill, dale, and sparkling brook between!
Yet sweet to fancy's ear the warbled song,
That soars on morning's wing your vales among.
Scenes of my hope! the aching eye ye leave
Like yon bright hues that paint the clouds of eve!
Tearful and sadd'ning with the saddened blaze
Mine eye the gleam pursues with wistful gaze;
Sees shades on shades with deeper tint impend,
Till chill and damp the moonless night descend.
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