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Best Famous William Lisle Bowles Poems

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Written by William Lisle Bowles |

Bereavement

 Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
Soothing it stole on my deluded ear,
Most like soft music, that might sometimes cheat
Thoughts dark and drooping! 'Twas the voice of Hope.
Of love and social scenes, it seemed to speak, Of truth, of friendship, of affection meek; That, oh! poor friend, might to life's downward slope Lead us in peace, and bless our latest hours.
Ah me! the prospect saddened as she sung; Loud on my startled ear the death-bell rung; Chill darkness wrapt the pleasurable bowers, Whilst Horror, pointing to yon breathless clay, "No peace be thine," exclaimed, "away, away!"

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

On a Beautiful Landscape

 Beautiful landscape! I could look on thee 
For hours,--unmindful of the storm and strife, 
And mingled murmurs of tumultuous life.
Here, all is still as fair--the stream, the tree, The wood, the sunshine on the bank: no tear No thought of time's swift wing, or closing night Which comes to steal away the long sweet light, No sighs of sad humanity are here.
Here is no tint of mortal change--the day Beneath whose light the dog and peasant-boy Gambol with look, and almost bark, of joy-- Still seems, though centuries have passed, to stay.
Then gaze again, that shadowed scenes may teach Lessons of peace and love, beyond all speech.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

In Age

 And art thou he, now "fallen on evil days," 
And changed indeed! Yet what do this sunk cheek, 
These thinner locks, and that calm forehead speak! 
A spirit reckless of man's blame or praise,-- 
A spirit, when thine eyes to the noon's blaze 
Their dark orbs roll in vain, in suffering meek, 
As in the sight of God intent to seek, 
Mid solitude or age, or through the ways 
Of hard adversity, the approving look 
Of its great Master; whilst the conscious pride 
Of wisdom, patient and content to brook 
All ills to that sole Master's task applied, 
Shall show before high heaven the unaltered mind, 
Milton, though thou art poor, and old, and blind!

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

In Youth

 Milton, our noblest poet, in the grace 
Of youth, in those fair eyes and clustering hair, 
That brow untouched by one faint line of care, 
To mar its openness, we seem to trace 
The front of the first lord of the human race, 
Mid thine own Paradise portrayed so fair, 
Ere Sin or Sorrow scathed it: such the air 
That characters thy youth.
Shall time efface These lineaments as crowding cares assail! It is the lot of fallen humanity.
What boots it! armed in adamantine mail, The unconquerable mind, and genius high, Right onward hold their way through weal and woe, Or whether life's brief lot be high or low!

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

To a Friend

 Go, then, and join the murmuring city's throng! 
Me thou dost leave to solitude and tears; 
To busy phantasies, and boding fears, 
Lest ill betide thee; but 't will not be long 
Ere the hard season shall be past; till then 
Live happy; sometimes the forsaken shade 
Remembering, and these trees now left to fade; 
Nor, mid the busy scenes and hum of men, 
Wilt thou my cares forget: in heaviness 
To me the hours shall roll, weary and slow, 
Till mournful autumn past, and all the snow 
Of winter pale, the glad hour I shall bless 
That shall restore thee from the crowd again, 
To the green hamlet on the peaceful plain.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

Sonnet: O Poverty! Though From Thy Haggard Eye

 O, Poverty! though from thy haggard eye,
Thy cheerless mien, of every charm bereft,
Thy brow that Hope's last traces long have left,
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly;
I love thy solitary haunts to seek.
For Pity, reckless of her own distress; And Patience, in her pall of wretchedness, That turns to the bleak storm her faded cheek; And Piety, that never told her wrong; And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel; And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song; And Sorrow, listening to a lost friend's knell, Long banished from the world's insulting throng; With thee, and thy unfriended offspring, dwell.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

Sonnet: Languid And Sad And Slow From Day To Day

 Languid, and sad, and slow, from day to day
I journey on, yet pensive turn to view
(Where the rich landscape gleams with softer hue)
The streams and vales, and hills, that steal away.
So fares it with the children of the earth: For when life's goodly prospect opens round, Their spirits beat to tread that fairy ground, Where every vale sounds to the pipe of mirth.
But them vain hope and easy youth beguiles, And soon a longing look, like me, they cast Back on the pleasing prospect of the past: Yet Fancy points where still far onward smiles Some sunny spot, and her fair colouring blends, Till cheerless on their path the night descends!

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

XIII. O Time! Who Knowst a Lenient Hand to Lay..

 O TIME! who know'st a lenient hand to lay 
Softest on sorrow's wound, and slowly thence, 
(Lulling to sad repose the weary sense) 
Stealest the long-forgotten pang away; 
On Thee I rest my only hope at last, 
And think, when thou hast dried the bitter tear 
That flows in vain o'er all my soul held dear, 
I may look back on many a sorrow past, 
And meet life's peaceful evening with a smile -- 
As some poor bird, at day's departing hour, 
Sings in the sunbeam, of the transient shower 
Forgetful, tho' its wings are wet the while: -- 
Yet ah! how much must that poor heart endure, 
Which hopes from thee, and thee alone, a cure!

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

VII. At a Village in Scotland...

 O NORTH! as thy romantic vales I leave, 
And bid farewell to each retiring hill, 
Where thoughtful fancy seems to linger still, 
Tracing the broad bright landscape; much I grieve 
That mingled with the toiling croud, no more 
I shall return, your varied views to mark, 
Of rocks winding wild, and mountains hoar, 
Or castle gleaming on the distant steep.
Yet not the less I pray your charms may last, And many a soften'd image of the past Pensive combine; and bid remembrance keep To cheer me with the thought of pleasure flown, When I am wand'ring on my way alone.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs July 20th 1787

 On these white cliffs, that calm above the flood
Uplift their shadowing heads, and, at their feet,
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat,
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood;
And whilst the lifted murmur met his ear,
And o'er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave
Tomorrow; of the friends he loved most dear;
Of social scenes, from which he wept to part;
But if, like me, he knew how fruitless all
The thoughts that would full fain the past recall,
Soon would he quell the risings of his heart,
And brave the wild winds and unhearing tide,
The world his country, and his God his guide.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

III. O Thou whose stern command and precepts pure..

 O THOU, whose stern command and precepts pure 
(Tho' agony in every vein should start, 
And slowly drain the blood-drops from the heart) 
Have bade the patient spirit still endure; 
Thou, who to sorrow hast a beauty lent, 
On the dark brow, with resolution clad, 
Illumining the dreary traces sad, 
Like the cold taper on a monument; 
O firm Philosophy! display the tide 
Of human misery, and oft relate 
How silent sinking in the storms of fate, 
The brave and good have bow'd their head and died.
So taught by Thee, some solace I may find, Remembering the sorrows of mankind.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

Languid And Sad And Slow From Day To Day

 Languid, and sad, and slow, from day to day 
I journey on, yet pensive turn to view 
(Where the rich landscape gleams with softer hue) 
The streams and vales, and hills, that steal away.
So fares it with the children of the earth: For when life's goodly prospect opens round, Their spirits beat to tread that fairy ground, Where every vale sounds to the pipe of mirth.
But them vain hope and easy youth beguiles, And soon a longing look, like me, they cast Back on the pleasing prospect of the past: Yet Fancy points where still far onward smiles Some sunny spot, and her fair colouring blends, Till cheerless on their path the night descends!

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

XII. Written at a Convent

 IF chance some pensive stranger, hither led, 
His bosom glowing from majestic views, 
The gorgeous dome, or the proud landscape's hues, 
Should ask who sleeps beneath this lowly bed -- 
'Tis poor Matilda! To the cloister'd scene, 
A mourner, beauteous and unknown, she came, 
To shed her tears unseen; and quench the flame 
Of fruitless love: yet was her look serene 
As the pale midnight on the moon-light isle -- 
Her voice was soft, which e'en a charm could lend, 
Like that which spoke of a departed friend, 
And a meek sadness sat upon her smile! 
Now here remov'd from ev'ry human ill, 
Her woes are buried, and her heart is still.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

IX. O Poverty! though from thy haggard eye..

 O POVERTY! though from thy haggard eye, 
Thy cheerless mein, of every charm bereft, 
Thy brow, that hope's last traces long have left, 
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly; 
Thy rugged paths with pleasure I attend; -- 
For Fancy, that with fairest dreams can bless; 
And Patience, in the Pall of Wretchedness, 
Sad-smiling, as the ruthless storms descend; 
And Piety, forgiving every wrong, 
And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel; 
And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song; 
And Pity, list'ning to the poor man's knell, 
Long banish'd from the world's insulting throng; 
With Thee, and loveliest Melancholy, dwell.

Written by William Lisle Bowles |

I. Written at Tinemouth Northumberland after a Tempestuous Voyage

 AS slow I climb the cliff's ascending side, 
Much musing on the track of terror past 
When o'er the dark wave rode the howling blast 
Pleas'd I look back, and view the tranquil tide, 
That laves the pebbled shore; and now the beam 
Of evening smiles on the grey battlement, 
And yon forsaken tow'r, that time has rent.
The lifted oar far off with silver gleam Is touch'd and the hush'd billows seem to sleep.
Sooth'd by the scene, ev'n thus on sorrow's breast A kindred stillness steals and bids her rest; Whilst the weak winds that sigh along the deep, The ear, like lullabies of pity, meet, Singing the saddest notes of farewell sweet.