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Yet how?—for I, if there be truth
Unblest distinctions! showered on me
A woman rules my prison's key;
Farewell for ever human aid,
Hark! the death-note^of the year,
SONG FOR THE SPINNING-WHEEL.
rniNDKD UPON A BELIEF PBBVALENT AMONG THE PASTOBAL VALES OF WB8TMOKBLAND.
Swiftly turn the murmuring wheel!
Now, beneath the starry sky,
The sylvan slopes with corn-clad fields
And, sooth to say, yon vocal Grove
For lhut from turbulence and heat
This, this is holy;—while I hear
But list'—though winter-sto ms be nigh,
UPON THE SAME OCCASION.
Depabtino Summer hath assumed
No faint and hesitating trill,
Nor doth the example fail to cheer
Mc conscious that my leaf is sear,
And yellow on the bough:—
Fall, rosy garlands, from my head!
Ye myrtle-wreaths, your fragrance ghed
Around a younger brow!
Yet will I temperately rejoice;
Wide is the range, and free the choice
Of undiscordant themes;
Which, haply, kindred souls may prize
Not less than vernal extacies,
And passion's feverish dreams.
For deathless powers to verse belong,
Not such the initiatory strains
Committed to the silent plains
In Britain's earliest dawn;
Trembled the groves, the stars grew pale,
While all-too-daringly the veil
Of Nature was withdrawn!
Nor such the spirit-stirring note
And not unhallow'd was the page
O ye who patiently explore
That were, indeed, a genuine birth
TO MY DAUGHTER.
"A Little onward lend thy guiding hand To these dark steps, a little further on!" —What trick of memory to my voice hath
brought, This mournful iteration? For though Time,
The Conqueror, crowns the Conquer'd, on
this brow Planting his favourite silver diadem, Nor he, nor minister of his intent To run before him, hath enrolled mc yet. Though not unmennced, among those who
lean Upon a living staff, with borrowed sight. —O my Antigone, beloved child! Should that day come—but hark! the birds
salute The cheerful dawn brightening for me the
east; For me, thy natural Leader, once again Impatient to conduct thee, not as erst A tottering Infant, with compliant stoop From flower to flower supported; hut to
curb Thy nymph-like step swift-bounding o'er
the lawn, Along the loose rocks, or the slippery verge Of foaming torrents. — From thy orisons Come forth; and, while the morning-air
is yet Transparent as the soul of innocent youth. Let me, thy happy Guide, now point thy way, And now precede thee, winding to and fro. Till we by perseverance gain the top Of some smooth ridge, whose brink precipitous Kindles intense desire for powers withheld From this corporeal frame; whereon who
stands, Is seized with strong incitement to push forth His arms, as swimmers use, nnd plunge—
dread thought! For pastime plunge — into the abrupt
abyss, Where Ravens spread their plumy vans, at
ease! And yet more gladly thee would I conduct Through woods and spacious forests,—to
behold There, how the Original of human art. Heaven-prompted Nature, measures and
erects Her temples, fearless for the stately work, Though waves in every breeze its higharched root, And storms the pillars rock. But we such
schools Of reverential awe will chiefly seek In the still summer-noon, while beams of
light, Reposing here, and in the aisles beyond Traccably gliding through the dusk, recall To mind the living presences of nuns; A gentle, pensive, white-robed sisterhood. Whose saintly radiance mitigates the gloom Of those terrestrial fabrics, where they serve, To Christ, the Sun of Righteousness,
espoused. Re-open now thy everlnsting gates. Thou Fane of holy writ! Ye classic Domes, I'o these glad orbs from darksome bondage
Not envying shades which haply yet may
throw A grateful coolness round that rocky spring, Randusia, once responsive to the string Of the Horatian lyre with babbling flow; Careless of flowers that in perennial blow Hound the moist marge of Persian fountains
cling; Heedless of Alpine torrents thundering Through icy portals radiant as heaven's how; I seek the birth-place of a native Stream.— All hail ye mountains, hail thou morninglight! Better to breathe upon this aery height Than pass in needless sleep from dream to
dream; Pure flow the verse, pure, vigorous, free,
and bright, For Duddon, long lov'd Duddon, is my theme!
Child of the clouds! remote from every taint
quaint Thy cradle decks;—to ehaunt thy birth,
thou hast No meaner Poet than the whistling Blast, And Desolation is thy Patron-saint! She guards thee, ruthless Power! who
would not spare Those mighty forests, once the bison's screen, Where stalk'il the huge deer to his shaggy
lair Through paths and alleys roofed with sombre
green, 1 lioimands of years before the silent air M'aspierccd by whizzing shaft of hunter keen!
How shall I paint thee?— Be this naked stone
gleam Of brilliant moss, instinct with freshness
rare; Prompt offering to thy Foster-mother, Earth!
Take, cradled Nursling of the mountain, take
pursue The curves, a loosely-scattered chain doth
make; Or rather thou appcarst a glistering snake, Silent, and to the gazer's eye untrue, Thridding with sinuous lapse the rushes,
through Dwarf willows gliding, and by ferny brake. Starts from a dizzy steep the undaunted Rill Rob'd instantly in garb of snow-white foain; And laughing dares the Adventurer, who
hath clomb So high, a rival purpose ito fulfil; Else let the Dastard backward wend, nnd
roam. Seeking less bold achievement, where he
Sole listener, Duddon! to the breeze that
play'd With thy clear voice, I caught the fitful
sound Wafted o'er sullen moss and craggy mound, Unfruitful solitudes, that seem'd to upbraid The sun in heaven!—but now, to form a
shade For The^ green alders have together wound Their foliage; ashes flung their arms around; And birch-trees risen in silver colonnade. And thou hast also tempted here to rise, 'Mid sheltering pines, this Cottage rude and
Whose ruddy children, by the mother's oyes
Ebb yet our course was graced with social trees
It lacked not old remains of hawthornbowers,
Where small birds warbled to their paramours;
And, earlier still, was heard the hum of bees;
I saw them ply their harmless robberies,
And caught the fragrance which the sundry flowers,
Fed by the stream with soft perpetual showers,
Plenteously yielded to the vagrant breeze.
There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness;
The trembling eye-bright showed her sapphire blue,
The thyme her purple like the blush of even;
And, if the breath of some to no caress
Invited, forth they peeped so fair to view,
All kinds alike seemed favourites of Heaven.
"chance me, some God, into that breathing
rose!" The love-sick Stripling fancifully sighs, The envied flower beholding, as it lies On Laura's breast, in exquisite repose; Or he would pass into her Bird, that throws The darts of song from out its wiry cage; Enraptured,—could he for himself engage The thousandth pnrt of what the Nymph
bestows, And what the little careless Innocent Ungraciously receives. Too daring choice! There are whose calmer mind it would
content To be an unculled flow'ret of the glen, Fearless of plough and scythe; or darkling
wren, That tunes on Duddon's banks her slender
What aspect bore the Man who roved or
fled, First of his tribe, to this dark dell—who first In this pellucid Current slaked his thirst? What hopes came with him? what designs
were spread Along his path? His unprotected bed Whntdreamsencompnss'd? Was the Intruder
nurs'd In hideous usages, and rites accurs'd, That thinned the living and disturbed .the
dead? No voice replies;—the earth, the air is mute; And Thou, blue Streamlet, murmuring
v ieliUt no more
Than a soft record that whatever fruit Of ignorance thou mightst witness heretofore, Thy function was to heal and to restore, To soothe and cleanse, not madden and pollute!
The struggling Rill insensibly is grown
zone Chosen for ornament; stone match'd with
stone In studied symmetry, with interspace For the clear waters to pursue their race Without restraint.—How swiftly have they
flown! Succeeding — still succeeding! Here the
Child Puts, when the high-swoln Flood rnns fierce
and wild, His budding courage to the proof;—and here Declining Manhood learns to note the sly And sure encroachments of infirmity, Thinking how fast time rnns, life's end how
Not Bo that Pair whose youthful spirit* danco
With prompt emotion, urging them to pass;
A sweet confusion checks the Shepherd-lass;
Blushing she eyes the dizzy flood askance,—
To stop ashamed—too timid to advance;
She ventures once again—another pause!
His outstrctch'd hand lie tauntingly withdraws—
She sues for help with piteons utterance!
Chidden she chides again; the thrilling touch
Both feci when he renews the wish'd-foraid:
Ah! if their fluttering hearts should stir too much,
Should beat too strongly, both may be betrayed.
The frolic Loves who, from yon high rock, see
The struggle, clap their wings for victory!
No fiction was it of the antique age:
weed left, For the distracted mother to assuage Her grief with, as she might!—Bat, where,
oh where Is traceable a vestige of the notes That ruled those dances, wild in character? —Deep underground ¥—Or in the upper air, On the shrill wind of midnight? or where
floats O'er twilight-fields the autumnal gossamer?
Oh, loitering Muse ! — The swift Stream
chides us—on! Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure Objects immense, portray'd in miniature, Wild shapes for many a strange comparison! Niagaras, Alpine-passes, and anon Abodes of Naiads, calm abysses pure, Bright liquid mansions, fashidn'd to endure When the broad Oak drops, a leafless skeleton, And the solidities of mortal pride, Palace and Tower, are crumbled into dust! The Bard who walks with Duddon for his
guide, Shall find such toys of Fancy thickly set:— Tarn from the sight, enamour'd Muse—we
must; Leave them—and, if thou canst, without
Hin to the fields—with Dwellings sprinkled
o'er, And one small Hamlet, under a green hill, Cluatcr'd with barn and bycr, and spouting
mill! A glance suffices,—should we wish for more, Gay June would scorn us;—but when bleak
winds roar Through the stiff lancc-likeshoots of pollard
ash, Dread swell of sound! loud as the gusts
that lash The matted forests of Ontario's shore By wasteful steel unsmitten, then would I Turn into port,—and, reckless of the gale, Reckless of angry Duddon sweeping by, While the warm hearth exalts the mantling
ale, l-iitgh with the generous household heartily, At all the merry pranks of Donnerdale!
O Mountain-Stream! thcShepherd and hisCot
By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not. Thee hath some awful Spirit impelled to
leave, Utterly to desert, the haunts of men, «
Though simple thy companions were and few; And through this wilderness a passage cleave Attended but by thy own voice, save when The Clouds and Fowls of the air thy way
From this deep chasm—where quivering
sun-beams play Upon its loftiest crags—mine eyes behold A gloomy Niche, capacious, blank, and cold; A concave free from shrubs and mosses gray; In semblance fresh, as if, with dire affray, Some Statue, placed amid these regions old For tutelary service, thence had rolled, Startling the flight of timid Yesterday! Was it by mortals sculptur'd—weary slaves Of slow endeavour! or abruptly cast Into rude shape by fire, with roaring blast Tempestuously let loose from central caves? Or fashioned by the turbulence of waves, Then, when o'er highest hills the Deluge past?
Such fruitless questions may not long beguile Or plague the fancy, 'mid the sculptured
shows Conspicuous yet where Oroonoko flows; There would the Indian answer with a smile' Aim'd at the White Man's ignorance, the
while Of the Great Waters telling, how they rose, Covered the plains, and wandering where
they chose, Mounted through every intricate defile, Triumphant.—Inundation wide and deep, O'er which his Fathers urged, to ridge and
steep Else unapproachable, their buoyant way; And carved, on mural cliff's undreaded side, Sun, moon, and stars, and beast of chase or
prey; WhatcVr they sought, shunn'd, loved, or
A Dark plume fetch me from yon blasted
Yew Perched on whose top the Danish Raven
Aloft, the imperial Bird of Rome invokes Departed ages, shedding where he flew Loose fragments of wild wailing that bestrew The clouds, and thrill the chambers of the
rocks, And into silence hush the timorous flocks,