Great poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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To the clouds by William Wordsworth

Army of Clouds! ye winged Hosts in troops

Ascending from behind the motionless brow

Of that tall rock, as from a hidden world,

Oh whither with such eagerness of speed?

What seek ye, or what shun ye? of the gale

Companions, fear ye to be left behind,

Or racing o’er your blue ethereal field

Contend ye with each other? of the sea

Children, thus post ye over vale and height

To sink upon your’s mother’s lap and rest?

Or were ye rightlier hailed, when first mine eyes

Beheld in your impetuous march the likeness

Of a wide army pressing on to meet

Or overtake some unknown enemy?

But your smooth motions suit a peaceful aim;

And Fancy, not less aptly pleased, compares

Your squadrons to an endless flight of birds

Aerial, upon due migration bound

To milder climes; or rather do ye urge

In caravan your hasty pilgrimage

To pause at last on more aspiring heights

Than these, and utter your devotion there

With thunderous voice? Or are ye jubilant,

And would ye, tracking your proud lord the Sun,

Be present at his setting; or the pomp

Of Persian mornings would ye fill, and stand

Poising your splendours high above the heads

Of worshipers kneeling to their up-risen God?

Whence, whence, ye Clouds! this eagerness of speed?

Speak, silent creatures. They are gone, are fled,

Buried together in yon gloomy mass

That loads the middle heaven; and clear and bright

And vacant doth the region which they thronged

Appear; a calm descent of sky conducting

Down to the unapproachable abyss,

Down to that hidden gulf from which they rose

To vanish, fleet as days and months and years,

Fleet as the generations of mankind,

Power, glory, empire, as the world itself,

The lingering world, when time hath ceased to be.

But the winds roar, shaking the rooted trees,

And see! a bright precursor to a train

Perchance as numerous, overpeers the rock

That sullenly refuses to partake

Of the wild impulse. From a fount of life

Invisible, the long procession moves

Luminous or gloomy, welcome to the vale

Which they are entering, welcome to mine eye

That sees them, to my soul that owns in them,

And in the bosom of the firmament

O’er which they move, wherein they are contained,

A type of her capacious self and all

Her restless progeny.
A humble walk

Here is my body doomed to tread, this path,

A little hoary line and faintly traced,

Work, shall we call it, of the shepherd’s foot

Or of his flock? joint vestige of them both.

I pace it unrepining, for my thoughts

Admit no bondage and my words have wings.

Where is the Orphean lyre, or Druid harp,

To accompany the verse? The mountain blast

Shall be our ‘hand’ of music; he shall sweep

The rocks, and quivering trees, and billowy lake,

And search the fibres of the caves, and they

Shall answer, for our song is of the Clouds

And the wind loves them; and the gentle gales

Which by their aid re-clothe the naked lawn

With annual verdure, and revive the woods,

And moisten the parched lips of thirsty flowers

Love them; and every idle breeze of air

Bends to the favourite burthen. Moon and stars

Keep their most solemn vigils when the Clouds

Watch also, shifting peaceably their place

Like bands of ministering Spirits, or when they lie,

As if some Protean art the change had wrought,

In listless quiet o’er the ethereal deep

Scattered, a Cyclades of various shapes

And all degrees of beauty. O ye Lightnings!

Ye are their perilous offspring; and the Sun

Source inexhaustible of life and joy,

And type of man’s far-darting reason, therefore

In old time worshiped as the god of verse,

A blazing intellectual deity

Loves his own glory in their looks, and showers

Upon that unsubstantial brotherhood

Visions with all but beatific light

Enriched too transient were they not renewed

From age to age, and did not, while we gaze

In silent rapture, credulous desire

Nourish the hope that memory lacks not power

To keep the treasure unimpaired. Vain thought!

Yet why repine, created as we are

For joy and rest, albeit to find them only

Lodged in the bosom of eternal things?

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