In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye.
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat.
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp.
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears
And watered heaven with their tears:
Did he smile His work to see?
Did he who made the lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp’d in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.
“Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?”
“My son, ’tis the mist rising over the plain.”
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold.”
“My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?”
“Be calm, dearest child, ’tis thy fancy deceives;
‘Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves.”
“Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They’ll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep.”
“My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?”
“My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
‘Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight.”
“I love thee, I’m charm’d by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou’rt unwilling, then force I’ll employ.”
“My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last.”
The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,–
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.
Fair Venus’ train, appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo’s note,
The untaught harmony of spring:
While, whisp’ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs thro’ the clear blue sky
Their gathered fragrance fling.
A broader browner shade,
Where’er the rude and moss-grown beech
O’er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water’s rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclined in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the Crowd,
How low, how little are the Proud,
How indigent the Great!Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how through the peopled air
The busy murmur glows!
The insect-youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring
And float amid the liquid noon:
Some lightly o’er the current skim,
Some show their gayly-gilded trim
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation’s sober eye
Such is the race of Man:
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.
Alike the Busy and the Gay
But flutter thro’ life’s little day,
In Fortune’s varying colours drest:
Brushed by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chilled by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply:
Poor moralist! and what art thou?
A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,
No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone—
We frolic while ’tis May.
Ling’ring year at last has flown,
Pomp and pleasure, pride and plenty
Great Sir John, are all your own
Free to mortgage or to sell,
Wild as wind, and light as feather
Bid the slaves of thrift farewell.
Ev’ry name that laughs at care,
Lavish of your Grandsire’s guineas,
Show the spirit of an heir.
All that prey on vice and folly
Joy to see their quarry fly,
Here the gamester light and jolly
There the lender grave and sly.
Wealth, Sir John, was made to wander,
Let it wander as it will;
See the jocky, see the pander,
Bid them come, and take their fill.
When the bonny blade carouses,
Pockets full, and spirits high,
What are acres? What are houses?
Only dirt, or wet or dry.
If the Guardian or the Mother
Tell the woes of willful waste,
Scorn their counsel and their pother,
You can hang or drown at last.
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can soothe her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom, is—to die.
How can that happen? let each be all complete in itself.