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THE TABLES TURNED.
AN EVENING SCENE ON THE SAME SUBJECT.
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books; Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks; Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher :
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
One impulse from a vernal wood
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:---
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING.
[ACTUALLY composed while I was sitting by the side of the brook that runs down from the Comb, in which stands the village of Alford, through the grounds of Alfoxden. It was a chosen resort of mine. The brook fell down a sloping rock so as to make a waterfall considerable for that country, and across the pool below, had fallen a tree, an ash if I rightly remember, from which rose perpendicularly, boughs in search of the light intercepted by the deep shade above. The boughs bore leaves of green that for want of sunshine had faded into almost lilywhite; and from the underside of this natural sylvan bridge depended long and beautiful tresses of ivy which waved gently in the breeze that might poetically speaking be called the breath of the waterfall. This motion varied of course in proportion to the power of water in the brook. When, with dear friends, I revisited this spot, after an interval of more than forty years, this interesting feature of the scene was gone. To the owner of the place I could not but regret that the beauty of this
retired part of the grounds had not tempted him to make it more accessible by a path, not broad or obtrusive, but sufficient for persons who love such scenes to creep along without difficulty.]
I HEARD a thousand blended notes,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
To her fair works did Nature link
And much it grieved my heart to think
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The birds around me hopped and played,
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
And I must think, do all I can,
If this belief from heaven be sent,
[THE principal features are taken from that of my friend Robert Jones.]
I MARVEL how Nature could ever find space
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.
There's weakness, and strength both redundant and Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain [vain; Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease, Would be rational peace-a philosopher's ease.
There's indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,
There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name.
This picture from nature may seem to depart,
TO MY SISTER.
[COMPOSED in front of Alfoxden House. My little boy-messenger on this occasion was the son of Basil Montagu. The larch mentioned in the first stanza was standing when I revisited the place in May, 1841, more than forty years after. I was disappointed that it had not improved in appearance as to size, nor had it acquired anything of the majesty of age, which, even though less perhaps than any other tree, the larch sometimes does. A few score yards from this tree, grew, when we inhabited Alfoxden, one of the most remarkable beech-trees ever seen. The ground sloped both towards and from it. It was of immense size, and threw out arms that struck into the soil, like those of the banyan-tree, and rose again from it. Two of the branches thus inserted themselves twice, which gave to each the appearance of a serpent moving along by gathering itself up in folds. One of the large boughs of this tree had been torn off by the wind before we left Alfoxden, but five remained. In 1841 we could barely find the spot where the tree had stood. So remarkable a production of nature could not have been wilfully destroyed.]
It is the first mild day of March :
There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
My sister! ('tis a wish of mine)