Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO THE CICALA, by FREDERICK TENNYSON



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TO THE CICALA, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Blithest spirit of the earth
Last Line: A god -- save immortality!
Subject(s): Cicadas


BLITHEST Spirit of the Earth,
Happy as incarnate Mirth,
Minion, whom the Fairies feed,
Who dost not toil, and canst not need,
Thine odorous ark a forest bough;
While Summer laughs as fair as now
I will not feast, or drink of wine,
But live with thee, and joys like thine.

Oh! who may be as blithe and gay
As thou, that singest night and day,
Setting the light and shadows green
A-tlutter with thy pulses keen,
And every viny glen and vale
A-thrilling with thy long long tale,
And river bank and star-lit shore
With thy triumphs flooding o'er.

When the wild Bee is at rest,
When the Nightingale hath ceased,
Still I hear thee, reveller, still,
Over heath and over hill;
Thou singest through the fire of noon,
Thou singest till the day be done,
Thou singest to the rising moon,
Thou singest up the unrisen sun.

Into the forest I will flee,
And be alone with Mirth and thee,
And wash the dust from Fancy's wings
With tears of Heaven, and virgin springs;
Thou shalt lead me o'er the tops
Of thymy hills, down orchard slopes,
Past sun-lit dell, and moon-lit river,
Thou shalt lead me on forever!

Lord of Summer, Forest-King,
Of the bright drops the breezes fling
Down upon the mossy lawn
In the dim sweet hours of dawn,
Clear as daylight, pure as Heaven,
Drops which the Midsummer Even
Weeps into pale cups silently,
I will take, and drink to thee!

Just as I raise it to my lip,
Plumed Oberon shall dip
His sceptre in, and Puck shall dive,
And I will swallow him alive;
And on the vapor of that dew
He shall rise, and wander through
My brain, and make a sudden light,
Like the first beam that scatters night.

Then shall I hear what songs they sing
Under the fresh leaves in the Spring:
And see what moon-lit feasts they hold
Under a Lily's roof of gold;
And, when the midnight mists upcurl,
Watch how they whisk, and how they whirl,
And dance, and flash from earth to air,
Bright and sudden as a star.

They shall dance, and thou shalt sing:
But they shall slumber, Court, and King,
They shall faint, ere thou be spent,
And each shall seek his dew-bell tent,
And Titania's self shall tire
And sleep beneath a wild-rose brier,
Ere thou be sad, ere thou be still,
Piper of the thymy hill.

Oft, at the first still flush of morn.
The soft tones of some charmed horn
I shall hear, like sounds in sleep,
Waft o'er the greenwood fresh and deep,
From magic hold, where Giants thrall
Beauty in some airy hall,
And a plumed lover waits
To burst the spell before the gates.

When the sun is hot and high,
I will rest where low winds sigh,
And dark leaves twine, and rillets creep,
And send me, with thy whir, asleep;
And softly on some prisoned beam
Shall quiver down a noonday dream,
Wherein thy ceaseless note shall tingle,
And the sweet-toned waters mingle.

A dream of Faery, where a million
Of winged Elves a rare pavilion
Build for Love amid the green,
The fairest Summer-house e'er seen;
While some their silver trowels ring,
Others opal blocks shall bring,
And with quaint laugh, and music fine,
Pile them in the sunny shine.

Monarch, thy great heart is more
Than treasuries, if thou be poor;
Though few the days that to thee fall,
They are long, and Summer's all;
Minstrel, though thy life be brief,
Thou art happier than the chief
Of mortal Poets, for thy song
Is fed with rapture all day long.

Thee, in thy fresh and leafy haunt,
Nor Wealth can bribe, nor Penury daunt,
Nor Glory puff, nor Envy tear,
Thy drink the dew, thy food the air;
Oh! could I share in thy delight,
And dream in music day and night,
Methinks I would be ev'n as thou,
And sing beneath a forest bough.

Nor Pain, nor Evil canst thou see,
Thou fear'st not Death, though it must be
Therefore no Sorrow lights on thee,
Or mingles with thy melody,
From want thy jocund heart is free,
Thou livest in triumphant glee,
Thou diest, shouting jubilee!
A God -- save Immortality!





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