Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: DEDICATION, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE WANDERER: DEDICATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: As, in the laurel's murmurous leaves
Last Line: With thoughts less fond arise!
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Youth; Memory; England; English


AS, in the laurel's murmurous leaves
'T was fabled, once, a Virgin dwelt;
Within the poet's page yet heaves
The poet's Heart, and loves or grieves
Or triumphs, as it felt.

A human spirit here records
The annals of its human strife.
A human hand hath touched these chords.
These songs may all be idle words:
And yet -- they once were life.

I gave my harp to Memory.
She sung of hope, when hope was young,
Of youth, as youth no more may be;
And, since she sung of youth, to thee,
Friend of my youth, she sung.

For all youth seeks, all manhood needs,
All youth and manhood rarely find:
A strength more strong than codes or creeds,
In lofty thoughts and lovely deeds
Revealed to heart and mind;

A staff to stay, a star to guide;
A spell to soothe, a power to raise;
A faith by fortune firmly tried;
A judgment resolute to preside
O'er days at strife with days.

O large in lore, in nature sound!
O man to me, of all men, dear!
All these in thine my life hath found,
And force to tread the rugged ground
Of daily toil, with cheer.

Accept -- not these, the broken cries
Of days receding far from me --
But all the love that in them lies,
The man's heart in the melodies,
The man's heart honoring thee!

Sighing I sung; for some sublime
Emotion made my music jar:
The forehead of this restless time
Pales in a fervid, passionate clime,
Lit by a changeful star;

And o'er the Age's threshold, traced
In characters of hectic fire,
The name of that keen, fervent-faced
And toiling seraph, hath been placed,
Which men have called Desire.

But thou art strong where, even of old,
The old heroic strength was rare,
In high emotions self-controlled,
And insight keen, but never cold,
To lay all falsehood bare;

Despising all those glittering lies
Which in these days can fool mankind;
But full of noble sympathies
For what is genuinely wise,
And beautiful, and kind.

And thou wilt pardon all the much
Of weakness which doth here abound,
Till music, little prized as such,
With thee find worth from one true touch
Of nature in its sound.

Though mighty spirits are no more,
Yet spirits of beauty still remain.
Gone is the Seer that, by the shore
Of lakes as limpid as his lore,
Lived to one ceaseless strain

And strenuous melody of mind.
But one there rests that hath the power
To charm the midnight moon, and bind
All spirits of the sweet south-wind,
And steal from every shower

That sweeps green England cool and clear,
The violet of tender song.
Great Alfred! long may England's ear
His music fill, his name be dear
To English bosoms long!

And one ... in sacred silence sheathed
That name I keep, my verse would shame.
The name my lips in prayer first breathed
Was his: and prayer hath yet bequeathed
Its silence to that name; --

Which yet an age remote shall hear,
Borne on the fourfold wind sublime
By Fame, where, with some faded year
These songs shall sink, like leaflets sere,
In avenues of Time.

Love on my harp his finger lays;
His hand is held against the chords.
My heart upon the music weighs,
And, beating, hushes foolish praise
From desultory words:

And Childhood steals, with wistful grace,
'Twixt him and me; an infant hand
Chides gently back the thoughts that chase
The forward hour, and turns my face
To that remembered land

Of legend, and the Summer sky,
And all the wild Welsh waterfalls,
And haunts where he, and thou, and I
Once wandered with the wandering Wye,
And scaled the airy walls

Of Chepstow, from whose ancient height
We watched the liberal sun go down;
Then onward, through the gradual night,
Till, ere the moon was fully bright,
We supped in Monmouth Town.

And though, dear friend, thy love retains
The choicest sons of song in fee,
To thee not less I pour these strains,
Knowing that in thy heart remains
A little place for me.

Nor wilt thou all forget the time
Though it be past, in which together,
On many an eve, with many a rhyme
Of old and modern bards sublime
We soothed the summer weather:

And, citing all he said or sung
With praise reserved for bards like him,
Spake of that friend who dwells among
The Apennine, and there hath strung
A harp of Anakim;

Than whom a mightier master never
Touched the deep chords of hidden things;
Nor error did from truth dissever
With keener glance; nor made endeavor
To rise on bolder wings

In those high regions of the soul
Where thought itself grows dim with awe.
But now the star of eve hath stole
Through the deep sunset, and the whole
Of heaven begins to draw

The darkness round me, and the dew.
And my pale Muse doth fold her eyes.
Adieu, my friend; my guide, adieu!
May never night, 'twixt me and you,
With thoughts less fond arise!





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