OFT, as I gaze on landscape fair,
In thought I feel me poor and base;
Soft shades and gleaming lights are there—
I know it well, but cannot trace.
Mine eye unworthy seems to read
One page of Nature’s beauteous book;
It lies before me, fair outspread—
I only cast a wishful look.
I cannot paint to Memory’s eye
The scene, the glance, I dearest love—
Unchang’d themselves, in me they die,
Or faint, or false, their shadows prove.
In vain, with dull and tuneless ear,
I linger by soft Music’s cell,
And in my heart of hearts would hear
What to her own she deigns to tell.
‘Tis misty all, both sight and sound—
I only know ‘tis fair and sweet—
‘Tis wandering on enchanted ground
With dizzy brow and tottering feet.
But patience! there may come a time
When these dull ears shall scan aright
Strains, that outring Earth’s drowsy chime,
As Heaven outshines the taper’s light.
These eyes, that dazzled now and weak,
At glancing motes in sunshine wink,
Shall see the King’ full glory break,
Nor from the blissful vision shrink:
In fearless love and hope uncloy’d
For ever on that ocean bright
Empower’d to gaze; and undestroy’d,
Deeper and deeper plunge in light.
Though scarcely now their laggard glance
reach to an arrow’s flight, that day
They shall behold, and not in trance,
"The region very far away."
If Memory sometimes at our spell
Refuse to speak, or speak amiss,
We shall not need her where we dwell
Ever in sight of all our bliss.
Meanwhile, if over sea or sky
Some tender lights unnotic’d fleet,
Or on lov’d features dawn and die,
Unread, to us, their lesson sweet;
Yet are there saddening sights around,
Which heaven, in mercy, spares us too,
And we see far in holy ground,
If duly purg’d our mental view.
The distant landscape draws not nigh
For all our gazing; but the soul,
That upward looks, may still descry
Nearer, each day, the brightening goal.
And though, too curious ear, that fain
Wouldst thread the maze of Harmony,
Content thee with one simple strain,
The lowlier, sure, the worthier thee;
Till thou art duly trained, and taught
The concord sweet of Love divine:
Then, with that inward Music fraught,
For ever rise, and sing, and shine.