There is a small cloud in the sky,1
In peace it sails along ;2
Upon the chesnut tree on high3
The linnet sings its song.4
A gentle breathing air is out,5
With lonely sound it grieves ;6
It bends the grass, it plays about7
The inside of the leaves.8
It stirs the surface of the lake,9
In wrinkles bending far,10
Until the marge they gain, and break11
Where water lilies are.12
The flowers of spring are beautiful,13
And well their sight may cast14
Before our visions, fresh and full,15
The memory of the past.16
The spirit alters : ne’er again17
Will life restore the hours18
Of innocence, when, free from pain,19
Our day was like the flowers !20
No doubts to check, no fears to dim21
Our cloudless destiny ;22
Like little barks, ’twas ours to swim23
Upon a summer sea.24
The playfulness, the pride of heart,25
—As seasons journeyed by26
Were quenched, and youth came to impart27
More thoughtfulness of eye.28
And passions, that without a wing,29
Lay sleeping in their cells,30
Came forth, as, at the touch of spring,31
The dewy buds and bells.32
But thou the princess wert of all,33
Delicious, holy love,34
Adored in cot, and palace hall,35
In city, and in grove.36
What marvel, then, that I should be37
A worshipper of thine ?38
That I should leave the world, and flee39
To kneel before thy shrine !40
Long years have past—and hope, and grief,41
And fear, and doubt, and strife,42
I since have found, make up the brief,43
And clouded span of life.44
And for an hour—an evening hour45
Of rural solitude,46
I come to view the field and flower,47
And stand, where I have stood !48
Like gushing rills, a thousand thoughts49
O’erpower my sinking mind ;50
Within my heart, the well known spots51
Their pictured image find.52
And dreams, that have been long subdued,53
In fair succession rise ;54
Dim shadows o’er my bosom brood,55
And tears bedim mine eyes.56
With her, who was the source of bliss,57
I never else had found,58
’Twas heaven, on such an eve as this,59
To tread this very ground !60
I see her smiles—I list her words61
Her winning looks I see ;62
The very music of the birds63
I hear from yonder tree !64
’Tis well the brightest things of earth65
Are half with shade o’ercast ;66
I could not wish my present mirth67
To emulate the past.68
The hills, the fields, the woods, the sky,69
Are fair, as fair can be ;70
They are not altered to the eye,71
The change pertains to me.72
But yet, methinks, my soul could share73
The glories of the scene ;74
My heart its vanish’d frame repair,75
And be what it hath been !76
Ah ! no—my bosom could not melt77
With thoughts, that once had moved ;78
We cannot feel, as we have felt ;79
Nor love as we have loved !80
And holier far the thoughts must be81
Of things, whose relics sleep82
In silence, ’neath the whelming sea,83
Than such as sail the deep.84
The weeds that rustle o’er the grave,85
When evening lowers around,86
Tongues—language more persuasive have,87
Than any living sound.88
And dreams of past existence bright89
A double charm impart,90
’They are like rainbows to the sight,91
And lessons to the heart.92