A Monody, To Commemorate the Author's Friend, Arthur Hugh Clough, Who Died At Florence, 1861
How changed is here each spot
man makes or fills!
In the two Hinkseys
nothing keeps the same;
The village street its haunted mansion lacks,
And from the sign
is gone Sibylla's name,
And from the roofs the twisted chimney-stacks--
Are ye too changed, ye hills?
See, 'tis no foot
of unfamiliar men
To-night from Oxford up your pathway strays!
Here came I often, often, in old days--
Thyrsis and I; we still had
Runs it not here, the track by Childsworth Farm,
Past the high wood, to where
the elm-tree crowns
hill behind whose ridge the sunset flames?
The signal-elm, that looks on
Vale, the three lone weirs, the youthful Thames?--
This winter-eve is warm,
Humid the air! leafless, yet
soft as spring,
tender purple spray on copse and briers!
that sweet city with her dreaming spires,
She needs not June for
Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night!--
Only, methinks, some loss of
Befalls me wandering through this upland dim.
Once passed I blindfold here,
at any hour;
seldom come I, since I came with him.
That single elm-tree bright
Against the west - I miss it!
is it goner?
prized it dearly; while it stood, we said,
friend, the Gipsy-Scholar, was not dead;
While the tree lived, he in
these fields lived on.
Too rare, too rare, grow now my visits here,
But once I knew each field,
each flower, each stick;
with the country-folk acquaintance made
By barn in threshing-time, by
Here, too, our shepherd-pipes we first assayed.
Ah me! this many a year
My pipe is
lost, my shepherd's holiday!
must I lose them, needs with heavy heart
the world and wave of men depart;
of his own will went away.
It irked him to be here, he could not rest.
He loved each simple joy the
loved his mates; but yet he could not keep,
For that a shadow loured on
with the shepherds and the silly sheep.
Some life of men unblest
He knew, which made him droop,
and fill'd his head.
went; his piping took a troubled sound
storms that rage outside our happy ground;
He could not wait their
passing, he is dead.
So, some tempestuous morn in early June,
When the year's primal burst
of bloom is o'er,
the roses and the longest day--
When garden-walks and all the
blossoms red and white of fallen May
And chestnut-flowers are strewn--
So have I heard the cuckoo's
the wet field, through the vext garden-trees,
with the volleying rain and tossing breeze:
The bloom is
gone, and with the bloom go I!
Too quick despairer, wherefore wilt thou go?
Soon will the high Midsummer
pomps come on,
will the musk carnations break and swell,
Soon shall we have gold-dusted
Sweet-William with his homely cottage-smell,
And stocks in fragrant blow;
Roses that down the alleys
open, jasmine-muffled lattices,
groups under the dreaming garden-trees,
And the full moon, and the
He hearkens not! light comer, he is flown!
it? next year he will return,
shall have him in the sweet spring-days,
With whitening hedges, and
blue-bells trembling by the forest-ways,
And scent of hay new-mown.
But Thyrsis never more we
swains shall see;
him come back, and cut a smoother reed,
blow a strain the world at last shall heed--
not Corydon, hath conquered thee!
Alack, for Corydon no rival now!--
Sicilian shepherds lost a mate,
good survivor with his flute would go,
Piping a ditty sad for Bion's
cross the unpermitted ferry's flow,
And relax Pluto's brow,
And make leap up with joy the
Of Proserpine, among whose crowned hair
flowers first opened on Sicilian air,
his friend, like Orpheus, from the dead.
O easy access to the hearer's grace
When Dorian shepherds sang to
she herself had trod Sicilian fields,
She knew the Dorian water's
knew each lily white which Enna yields
Each rose with blushing face;
the Dorian pipe, the Dorian strain.
ah, of our poor Thames she never heard!
foot the Cumner cowslips never stirr'd;
And we should tease her with our plaint
Well! wind-dispersed and vain the words
Yet, Thyrsis, let
me give my grief its hour
In the old haunt,
and find our tree-topp'd hill!
Who, if not I, for questing here hath
I know the wood
which hides the daffodil,
I know the Fyfield tree,
I know what white, what purple
harvest of the river-fields,
Above by Ensham,
down by Sandford, yields,
And what sedged brooks are Thames's
I know these slopes; who knows them if not I?--
But many a tingle on the loved hillside,
With thorns once
studded, old, white-blossom'd trees,
Where thick the cowslips grew, and far
High towered the
spikes of purple orchises,
Hath since our day put by
The coronals of that forgotten time;
Down each green
bank hath gone the ploughboy's team,
And only in the
hidden brookside gleam
Primroses, orphans of the flowery prime.
Where is the girl, who by the boatman's door,
Above the locks, above the boating
skiff when through the Wytham flats,
Red loosestrife and blond meadow-sweet
swallows and light water-gnats,
We tracked the shy Thames shore?
Where are the mowers, who, as the tiny
Of our boat
passing heaved the river-grass,
suspended scythe to see us pass?--
They all are gone, and thou art gone as
Yes, thou art gone! and round me too the night
In ever-nearing circle weaves her shade.
I see her veil
draw soft across the day,
I feel her slowly chilling breath invade
The cheek grown
thin, the brown hair sprent with grey;
I feel her finger light
Laid pausefully upon life's headlong
The foot less
prompt to meet the morning dew,
The heart less
bounding at emotion new,
And hope, once crush'd, less quick to
And long the way appears, which seem'd so short
To the less practised eye of sanguine
And high the
mountain-tops, in cloudy air,
The mountain-tops where is the throne of
Tops in life's
morning-sun so bright and bare!
Unbreachable the fort
Of the long-batter'd world uplifts its
And strange and
vain the earthly turmoil grows,
And near and real
the charm of thy repose,
And night as welcome as a friend would
But hush! the upland hath a sudden loss
Of quiet! - Look, adown the dusk
A troop of Oxford
hunters going home,
As in old days, jovial and talking, ride!
From hunting with
the Berkshire hounds they come.
Quick! let me fly, and cross
Into yon farther field! - 'Tis done; and
Backed by the
sunset, which doth glorify
The orange and
pale violet evening-sky,
Bare on its lonely ridge, the Tree! the
I take the omen! Eve lets down her veil,
The white fog creeps from bush to bush
unflushes, the high stars grow bright,
And in the scatter'd farms the lights
I cannot reach
the signal-tree to-night,
Yet, happy omen, hail!
Hear it from thy broad lucent Arno-vale
(For there thine
earth forgetting eyelids keep
and unawakening sleep
Under the flowery oleanders pale),
Hear it, O Thyrsis, still our tree is there!--
Ah, vain! These English fields, this
pale with mist engarlanded,
That lone, sky-pointing tree, are not for
To a boon southern country he is fled,
And now in happier air,
Wandering with the
great Mother's train divine
(And purer or
more subtle soul than thee,
I trow, the
mighty Mother doth not see)
Within a folding of the Apennine,
Thou hearest the immortal chants of old!--
Putting his sickle to the perilous grain
In the hot
cornfield of the Phrygian king,
For thee the Lityerses-song again
with his silver voice doth sing;
Sings his Sicilian fold,
His sheep, his hapless love, his blinded
And how a call
celestial round him rang,
from the fountain-brink he sprang,
And all the marvel of the golden skies.
There thou art gone, and me thou leavest here
Sole in these fields! yet will I not
Despair I will
not, while I yet descry
'Neath the mild canopy of English air
That lonely tree
against the western sky.
Still, still these slopes, 'tis clear,
Our Gipsy-Scholar haunts, outliving thee!
Fields where soft
sheep from cages pull the hay,
anemonies in flower till May,
Know him a wanderer still; then why not
A fugitive and gracious light he seeks,
Shy to illumine; and I seek it too.
This does not
come with houses or with gold,
With place, with honour, and a flattering
'Tis not in the
world's market bought and sold--
But the smooth-slipping weeks
Drop by, and leave its seeker still
Out of the heed of mortals
he is gone,
He wends unfollowed, he must house alone;
Yet on he fares, by his own heart
Thou too, O Thyrsis, on like quest wast bound;
Thou wanderedst with me for a little
Men gave thee
nothing; but this happy quest,
If men esteem'd thee feeble, gave thee power,
If men procured
thee trouble, gave thee rest.
And this rude Cumner ground,
Its fir-topped Hurst, its farms, its
Here cams't thou
in thy jocund youthful time,
Here was thine
height of strength, thy golden prime!
And still the haunt beloved a virtue
What though the music of thy rustic flute
Kept not for long its happy, country
Lost it too soon,
and learnt a stormy note
Of men contention-tost, of men who groan,
Which tasked thy
pipe too sore, and tired thy throat--
It failed, and thou wage mute!
Yet hadst thou always visions of our
And long with men
of care thou couldst not stay,
And soon thy foot
resumed its wandering way,
Left human haunt, and on alone till
Too rare, too rare, grow now my visits here!
'Mid city-noise, not, as with thee of
Thyrsis! in reach
of sheep-bells is my home.
Then through the great town's harsh,
Let in thy voice
a whisper often come,
To chase fatigue and fear:
Why faintest thou! I wander'd till I
Roam on! The
light we sought is shining still.
Dost thou ask
proof? Our tree yet crowns the hill,
Our Scholar travels yet the loved