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ABOU BEN ADHEM.

AB

BOU Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel, writing in a book of gold; Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold: And to the presence in the room he said, "What writest thou?" The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord." "And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

The next night

The angel wrote and vanished.
It came again, with a great wakening light,

And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Percy Bysshe Shelley.

TO THE 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 setting 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 overflowed.

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.

Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden,

In a palace tower,

Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour

With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden,

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue

Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,

By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives

Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was

Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach no sprite or bird

What sweet thoughts are thine:

I have never heard

Praise of love or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

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Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphant chant,

Matched with thine would be all

But an empty vaunt—

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain?

What fields, or waves, or mountains?

What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear, keen joyance

Languor cannot be;

Shades of annoyance

Never come near thee:

Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking, or asleep,

Thou of death must deem

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream;

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;

If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound;
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,

Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow, The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

THE SENSITIVE PLANT.

A SENSITIVE Plant in a garden grew,

And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light, And closed them beneath the kisses of night.

And the spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

But none ever trembled and panted with bliss

In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.

The snow-drop, and then the violet,

Arose from the ground with warm rain wet,

And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, sent From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.

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