Poem – A Parsonage in Oxfordshire

Where holy ground begins, unhallowed ends,

Is marked by no distinguishable line;

The turf unites, the pathways intertwine;

And, wheresoe’er the stealing footstep tends,

Garden, and that domain where kindred, friends,

And neighbours rest together, here confound

Their several features, mingled like the sound

Of many waters, or as evening blends

With shady night. Soft airs, from shrub and flower,

Waft fragrant greetings to each silent grave; 

And while those lofty poplars gently wave

Their tops, between them comes and goes a sky

Bright as the glimpses of eternity,

To saints accorded in their mortal hour. 

Poem – A Night Thought 

Lo! where the Moon along the sky
Sails with her happy destiny;

Oft is she hid from mortal eye

Or dimly seen,

But when the clouds asunder fly

How bright her mien!
Far different we–a froward race,

Thousands though rich in Fortune’s grace

With cherished sullenness of pace

Their way pursue, 

Ingrates who wear a smileless face

The whole year through.
If kindred humours e’er would make

My spirit droop for drooping’s sake,

From Fancy following in thy wake,

Bright ship of heaven!

A counter impulse let me take

And be forgiven. 

Poem – London 1802 

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour;
England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,

Have forfeited their ancient English dower

Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;

Oh! raise us up, return to us again;

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.

Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:

Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,

So didst thou travel on life’s common way,

In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart

The lowliest duties on herself did lay. 

Poem – Lines Written  in Early Spring

I HEARD a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran;

And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,

The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;

And ’tis my faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,

Their thoughts I cannot measure:—

But the least motion which they made,

It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,

To catch the breezy air;

And I must think, do all I can,

That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,

If such be Nature’s holy plan,

Have I not reason to lament

What man has made of man? 

Poem – It is not to be Thought of 

. It is not to be thought of that the Flood 
Of British freedom, which, to the open sea

Of the world’s praise, from dark antiquity

Hath flowed, “with pomp of waters, unwithstood,”

Roused though it be full often to a mood

Which spurns the check of salutary bands,

That this most famous Stream in bogs and sands

Should perish; and to evil and to good

Be lost for ever. In our halls is hung

Armoury of the invincible Knights of old:

We must be free or die, who speak the tongue

That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold

Which Milton held.–In every thing we are sprung

Of Earth’s first blood, have titles manifold. 

Poem – It is a Beauteous Evening

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free, 
The holy time is quiet as a nun 

Breathless with adoration; the broad sun 

Is sinking down in its tranquility; 

The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea: 

Listen! the mighty Being is awake, 

And doth with his eternal motion make 

A sound like thunder – everlastingly. 

Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here, 

If thou appear untouched by solemn thought, 

Thy nature is not therefore less divine: 

Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year, 

And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine, 

God being with thee when we know it not. 

Poem – In Due Observance of an Ancient Rite

IN due observance of an ancient rite,
The rude Biscayans, when their children lie

Dead in the sinless time of infancy,

Attire the peaceful corse in vestments white;

And, in like sign of cloudless triumph bright,

They bind the unoffending creature’s brows

With happy garlands of the pure white rose:

Then do a festal company unite

In choral song; and, while the uplifted cross

Of Jesus goes before, the child is borne 

Uncovered to his grave: ’tis closed,–her loss

The Mother ‘then’ mourns, as she needs must mourn;

But soon, through Christian faith, is grief subdued;

And joy returns, to brighten fortitude.