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And so I won my Genevieve,
I can hardly say a word upon this poem for very admiration. I must observe, however, that one of the charms of it consists in the numerous repetitions and revolvings of the words, one on the other, as if taking delight in their own beauty.
SUGGESTED TO THE AUTHOR BY A PASSAGE IN PURCHAS'S PILGRIMAGE.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan1
A stately pleasure-dome decree,
So twice five miles of fertile ground
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
But oh, that deep romantic chasm which slanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
A mighty fountain mor ptly was forc'd:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome, with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 't would win me,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
1 “In Xanadu.”--I think I recollect a variation of this stanza, as follows:
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-house ordain,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
The nice-eared poet probably thought there were too many ns in these rhymes; and man and main are certainly not the best neighbors: yet there is such an open, sounding, and stately into nation in the words pleasure-house ordain, and it is so superior to pleasure-dome decree, that I am not sure I would not give up the correctness of the other terminations to retain it.
But what a grand flood is this, flowing down through measureless caverns to a sea without a sun! I know no other sea equal
to it, except Keats's, in his Ode to a Nightingale; and none can surpass that.
“Ancestral voices prophesying war."-Was ever anything more wild, and remote, and majestic, than this fiction of the " ancestral voices?" Methinks I hear them, out of the blackness of the past.
YOUTH AND AGE.
Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying,
When I was young? Ah, woful when!
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like:
Ere I was old? Ah, woful ere!
It cannot be that thou art gone!
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
This is one of the most perfect poems, for style, feeling, and everything, that ever were written.
THE HEATHEN DIVINITIES MERGED INTO ASTROLOGY.
FROM THE TRANSLATION OF SCHILLER'S PICCOLOMINI.
-Fable is Love's world, his home, his birthplace:
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The power, the beauty, and the majesty,
Or forest by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms and wat'ry depths; all these have vanish'd,
WORK WITHOUT HOPE.
LINES COMPOSED 21ST FEBRUARY, 1827.
All Nature seems at work. Stags leave their lair-
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
I insert this poem on account of the exquisite imaginative picture in the third and fourth lines, and the terseness and melody of the whole. Here we have a specimen of a perfect style,unsuperfluous, straightforward, suggestive, impulsive, and seBut how the writer of such verses could talk of "work without hope," I cannot say. What work had he better to do than to write more? and what hope but to write more still, and delight himself and the world? But the truth is, his mind was too active and self-involved to need the diversion of work; and his body, the case that contained it, too sluggish with sedentary living to like it; and so he persuaded himself that if his writings did not sell, they were of no use. Are we to disrespect these self-delusions in such a man? No; but to draw from them salutary cautions for ourselves, his inferiors.