Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a Spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.
Whether that Lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,
I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance, and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,
It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.
That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away:
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed; not they.
For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change: their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.
_19 lovely Harvard manuscript, 1839; lively 1820.
_23 of the morning 1820, 1839; of morning Harvard manuscript.
_26 snow Harvard manuscript, 1839; now 1820.
_28 And lilies were drooping, white and wan Harvard manuscript.
_32 Leaf by leaf, day after day Harvard manuscript;
Leaf after leaf, day after day 1820;
Leaf after leaf, day by day 1839.
_63 mist]mists Harvard manuscript.
_96 and sudden flight]and their sudden flight the Harvard manuscript.
_98 And under]Under Harvard manuscript.
_114 Whether]And if Harvard manuscript.
_118 Whether]Or if Harvard manuscript.