Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
by Robert Southey
Faint gleams the evening radiance thro' the sky,
The sober twilight dimly darkens round;
In short quick circles the shrill bat flits by,
And the slow vapour curls along the ground.
Now the pleas'd eye from yon lone cottage sees
On the green mead the smoke long-shadowing play;
The Red-breast on the blossom'd spray
Warbles wild her latest lay,
And sleeps along the dale the silent breeze.
Calm CONTEMPLATION,'tis thy favorite hour!
Come fill my bosom, tranquillizing Power.
Meek Power! I view thee on the calmy shore
When Ocean stills his waves to rest;
Or when slow-moving on the surge's hoar
Meet with deep hollow roar
And whiten o'er his breast;
For lo! the Moon with softer radiance gleams,
And lovelier heave the billows in her beams.
When the low gales of evening moan along,
I love with thee to feel the calm cool breeze,
And roam the pathless forest wilds among,
Listening the mellow murmur of the trees
Full-foliaged as they lift their arms on high
And wave their shadowy heads in wildest melody.
Or lead me where amid the tranquil vale
The broken stream flows on in silver light,
And I will linger where the gale
O'er the bank of violets sighs,
Listening to hear its soften'd sounds arise;
And hearken the dull beetle's drowsy flight,
And watch the horn-eyed snail
Creep o'er his long moon-glittering trail,
And mark where radiant thro' the night
Moves in the grass-green hedge the glow-worms living light.
Thee meekest Power! I love to meet,
As oft with even solitary pace
The scatter'd Abbeys hallowed rounds I trace
And listen to the echoings of my feet.
Or on the half demolished tomb,
Whole warning texts anticipate my doom:
Mark the clear orb of night
Cast thro' the storying glass a faintly-varied light.
Nor will I not in some more gloomy hour
Invoke with fearless awe thine holier power,
Wandering beneath the sainted pile
When the blast moans along the darksome aisle,
And clattering patters all around
The midnight shower with dreary sound.
But sweeter 'tis to wander wild
By melancholy dreams beguil'd,
While the summer moon's pale ray
Faintly guides me on my way
To the lone romantic glen
Far from all the haunts of men,
Where no noise of uproar rude
Breaks the calm of solitude.
But soothing Silence sleeps in all
Save the neighbouring waterfall,
Whose hoarse waters falling near
Load with hollow sounds the ear,
And with down-dasht torrent white
Gleam hoary thro' the shades of night.
Thus wandering silent on and slow
I'll nurse Reflection's sacred woe,
And muse upon the perish'd day
When Hope would weave her visions gay,
Ere FANCY chill'd by adverse fate
Left sad REALITY my mate.
O CONTEMPLATION! when to Memory's eyes
The visions of the long-past days arise,
Thy holy power imparts the best relief,
And the calm'd Spirit loves the joy of grief.