Often rebuked, yet always back returning To those first feelings that were born with me, And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning For idle dreams of things that cannot be: To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region; Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear; And visions rising, legion after legion, Bring the unreal world too strangely near. I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces, And not in paths of high morality, And not among the half-distinguished faces, The clouded forms of long-past history. I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide: Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding; Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side. What have those lonely mountains worth revealing? More glory and more grief than I can tell: The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.
Silent is the house: all are laid asleep:
One alone looks out o’er the snow-wreaths deep,
Watching every cloud, dreading every breeze
That whirls the wildering drift, and bends the groaning trees.
Cheerful is the hearth, soft the matted floor;
Not one shivering gust creeps through pane or door;
The little lamp burns straight, its rays shoot strong and far:
I trim it well, to be the wanderer’s guiding-star.
Frown, my haughty sire! chide, my angry dame!
Set your slaves to spy; threaten me with shame:
But neither sire nor dame nor prying serf shall know,
What angel nightly tracks that waste of frozen snow.
What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
What loves me, no word of mine shall e’er betray,
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.
Burn, then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear—
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air:
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.