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Take thy flight;
Alps or Andes they are thine!
With the morning's roseate Spirit,
Sweep their length of snowy line;
Or survey the bright dominions
In the gorgeous colours drest
Flung from off the purple pinions,
Evening spreads throughout the west !
Thine are all the coral fountains
Warbling in each sparry vault
Of the untrodden lunar mountains ;
Listen to their songs !
To Niphate's top invited,
Whither spiteful Satan steered ;
Or descend where the ark alighted,
When the green earth re-appeared ;
For the power of hills is on thee,
As was witnessed through thine eye
Then, when old Helvellyn won thee
To confess their majesty!
O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear,
That seems to fill the whole air's space,
As loud far off as near.
Though babbling only, to the Vale,
Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring !
Even yet thou art to me
No Bird: but an invisible Thing,
A voice, a mystery ;
The same whom in my School-boy days
I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green ;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen.
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again,
O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee !
The sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture close, Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon, Which through that veil is indistinctly seen, A dull, contracted circle, yielding light So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls, Checkering the ground — from rock, plant, tree, or tower At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam Startles the pensive traveller while he treads His lonesome path, with unobserving eye Bent earthwards; he looks up the clouds are split Asunder, and above his head he sees The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens. There, in a black blue vault she sails along, Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss Drive as she drives; how fast they wheel away, Yet vanish not !- the wind is in the tree, But they are silent ; — still they roll along Immeasurably distant ; — and the vault, Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds, Still deepens its unfathomable depth. At length the Vision closes ; and the mind, Not undisturbed by the delight it feels, Which slowly settles into peaceful calm, Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
“Let me be allowed the aid of verse to describe the evolutions which “ these visitants sometimes perform, on a fine day towards the close “ of winter.” - Extract from the Author's Book on the Lakes.
MARK how the feathered tenants of the flood,
With grace of motion that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, prolong
Their curious pastime! shaping in mid air
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops)
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain ; - but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upward and downward, progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight. 'Tis done
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased ;
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending ; – they approach — I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound
Past in a moment - and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes ;
They tempt the water, or the gleaming ice,
To show them a fair image ; - 'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain,
Painted more soft and fair as they descend
Almost to touch ; then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest !
THERE is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the Bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's Heaths; or those that crossed the Sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree!—a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks !—and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved, -
Nor uninformed with Phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane; --a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially – beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked
With unrejoicing berries, ghostly Shapes
May meet at noontide -- Fear and trembling Hope,
Silence and Foresight-Death the Skeleton