The Triad.

Show me the noblest Youth of present time,1
Whose trembling fancy would to love give birth ;2
Some God or Hero from the Olympian clime3
Return’d, to seek a consort upon earth ;4
Or, in no doubtful prospect, let me see5
The brightest Star of ages yet to be,6
And I will “ mate and match him” blissfully !7
I will not fetch that Naiad from a flood8
Pure as herself—(song lacks not mightier power),9
Nor leaf-crown’d Dryad from a pathless wood,10
No Sea-nymph glistening from her coral bower ;—11
Mere Mortals, bodied forth in vision still,12
Shall with Mount Ida’s triple luster fill13
The chaster coverts of a British hill.14
Appear !— obey my lyre’s command !15
Come, like the Graces, hand in hand !16
For ye, though not by birth allied,17
Are sisters in the bond of love ;18
And not the boldest tongue of envious pride19
In you those interweavings could reprove20
Which they, the progeny of Jove,21
Learnt from the tuneful spheres, that glide22
In endless union earth and seas above.”—23
——I speak in vain,—the pine have hush’d their waving.24
A peerless Youth expectant at my side,25
Breathless as they, with unabated craving26
Looks to the earth and to the vacant air ;27
And, with a wandering eye that seems to chide,28
Asks the clouds what occupants they hide.—29
But why solicit more than sight could bear,30
By casting on a moment all we dare ?31
Invoke we those bright beings one by one32
And what was boldly promised, truly shall be done.33
Fear not this constraining measure !34
Drawn by a poetic spell, 35
Lucida ! from domes of pleasure,36
Or from cottage-sprinkled dell,37
Come to regions solitary,38
Where the eagle builds her aery,39
Above the hermit’s long-forsaken cell !”40
——She comes !— behold41
That figure, like a ship with silver sail !42
Nearer she draws—a breeze uplifts her veil43
Upon her coming wait44
As pure a sunshine and as soft a gale45
As e’er, on herbage covering earthly mould,46
Tempted the bird of Juno to unfold47
His richest splendour, when her veering gait48
And every motion of his starry train49
Seem gover’d by a strain50
Of music audible to him alone51
——O Lady! worthy of earth’s proudest throne,52
Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit53
Beside an unambitious hearth to sit54
Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown ; 55
What living man could fear56
The worst of Fortune’s malice, wert thou near,57
Humbling that lily stem, thy scepter meek,58
That is fair flowers may brush from off his cheek59
The too, too happy tear ?60
——Queen, and handmaid lowly !61
Whose skill can speed the day with lively cares,62
And banish melancholy63
By all that mind invents or hand prepares ;64
O thou, against whose lip, without its smile65
And in its silence even, no heart is proof;66
Whose goodness, sinking deep, would reconcile67
The softest nursling of a gorgeous palace68
To the bare life beneath the hawthorn roof69
Of Sherwood’s archer, or in caves of Wallace70
Who that hath seen thy beauty could content71
His soul with but a glimpse of heavenly day ?72
His strong hand on the wind, if it were bent73
To take thee in thy majesty away ?74
——Pass onward (even the glancing deer75
Till we depart intrude not here) ;76
The mossy slope, o’er which the woodbine throws77
A canopy, is smooth’d for thy repose !78
Glad moment is it when the throng79
Of warblers in full concert strong80
Strive, and not vainly strive, to rout81
The lagging shower, and force coy Phœbus out,82
Met by the rainbow’s form divine,83
Issuing from her cloudy shrine ;—84
So may the thrillings of the lyre85
Prevail to further our desire,86
While to these shades a nymph I call,87
The youngest of the lovely Three.—88
Come, if the notes thine ear may pierce,89
Submissive to the might of verse,90
By none more deeply felt than thee !”91
—I sang ; and lo ! from pastimes virginal92
She hastens to the tents93
Of nature, and the lonely elements.94
Air sparkles round her with a dazzling sheen :95
But mark her glowing cheek, her vesture green !96
And, as if wishful to disarm97
Or to repay the potent charm,98
She bears the stringed lute of old romance,99
That cheer’d the trellis’d arbour’s privacy,100
And soothed war-wearied knights in rafter’d hall.101
How light her air! how delicate her glee !102
So tripp’d the Muse inventress of the dance ;103
So, truant is waste woods, the blithe Euphrosyne !104
But the ringlets of that head,105
Why are they ungarlanded ?106
Why bedeck her temples less107
Than the simplest shepherdess ?108
Is it not a brow inviting109
Choicest flower that ever breathed,110
Which the myrtle would delight in,111
With Idalian rose enwreathed ?112
But her humility is well content113
With one wild floweret, (call is not forlorn !)114
Flower Of The Winds, beneath her bosom worn ;115
Yet is it more for love than ornament.116
Open, ye thickets ! let her fly,117
Swift as a Thracian nymph, o’er field and height !118
For she, to all but those who love her, shy,119
Would gladly vanish from a stranger’s sight ;120
Though where she is beloved, and loves, as free121
As bird that rifles blossoms on a tree,122
Turning them inside out” with arch audacity.123
Alas ! how little can a moment show124
Of an eye where feeling plays125
In ten thousand dewy rays ;126
A face o’er which a thousand shadows go !—127
—She stops—is fasten’d to that rivulet’s side ;128
And here, while, with sedater mien,129
O’er timid waters, that have scarcely left130
Their birthplace in the rocky cleft,131
She bends, at leisure may be seen132
Features to old ideal grace allied,133
Amid their smiles and dimples dignified134
Fit countenance for the soul of primal truth,135
The bland composure of eternal youth !136
What more changeful than the sea ?137
But over his great tides138
Fidelity presides,139
And this light-hearted maiden constant is as he.—140
High is her aim as heaven above,141
And wide as either he good-will,142
And, like the lowliest reed, her love143
Can drink its nurture form the scantiest rill ;144
Insight as keen as frosty star145
Is to her charity no bar,146
Nor interrupts her frolic graces147
When she is, far from these wild places,148
Encircled by familiar faces.149
O the charm that manners draw,150
Nature, from thy genuine law !151
Through benign affections—pure,152
In the slight of self—secure,153
If, from what her hand would do,154
Or tongue utter, there ensue155
Aught untoward or unfit,156
Transient mischief, vague mischance,157
Shunn’d by guarded elegance,158
Hers is not a cheek shame-stricken,159
But her blushes are joy-flushes160
And the fault (if fault it be)161
Only ministers to quicken162
Laughter-loving gayety,163
And kindle sportive wit164
Leaving this daughter of the mountains free,165
As if she knew that Oberon the fairy166
Had cross’d her purpose with some quaint vagary,167
And heard his viewless bands168
Over their mirthful triumph clapping hands !169
Last of the Three, though eldest born !170
Reveal thyself, like pensive morn,171
Touch’d by the skylark’s earliest note,172
Ere humbler gladness be afloat.173
But whether in the semblance drest174
Of dawn, or eve–fair vision of the west,175
Come with each anxious hope subdued176
By woman’s gentle fortitude,177
Each grief through meekness settling into rest !178
——Or I would hail thee when some high-wrought page179
Of a closed volume lingering in thy hand,180
Has raised thy spirit to a fearless stand181
Among the glories of a happier age.”—182
—Her brow hath open’d on me—see it there,183
Brightening the umbrage of her hair ;184
So gleams the crescent moon, that loves185
To be described through shady groves.—186
—Tenderest bloom is on her cheek ;187
Wish not for a richer streak,188
Nor dread the depth of meditative eye ;189
But let thy love, upon that azure field190
Of thoughtfulness and beauty, yield191
Its homage offered up in purity.—192
—What wouldst thou more ? In sunny glade,193
Or under leave of thickest shade,194
Was such as stillness e’er diffused195
Since earth grew calm while angels mused ?196
Softly she treads, as if her foot were loth197
To crush the mountain dew-drops, soon to melt198
On the flowers’ breast ; as if she felt199
That flowers themselves, whate’er their hue,200
With all their fragrance, all their glistening,201
Call to the heart for inward listening ;202
And though for bridal wreaths and tokens true203
Welcomed wisely—though a growth204
Which the careless shepherd sleeps on,205
As fitly spring form turf the mourner weeps on206
And without wrong are cropp’d the marble tomb to strew.207
The charm is over ; the mute phantoms gone,208
Nor will return—but droop no, favour’d Youth !209
The apparition that before three shone210
Obey’d a summons covetous of truth.211
From these wild rocks thy footsteps I will guide212
To bowers in which thy fortune may be tried,213
And one of the bright Three become thy happy bride !214