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SAD thoughts, avaunt !—the fervour of the year,
Poured on the fleece-encumbered flock, invites
To laving currents for prelusive rites
Duly performed before the Dales-men shear
Their panting charge. The distant Mountains hear, Hear and repeat, the turmoil that unites
Clamour of boys with innocent despites
Of barking dogs, and bleatings from strange fear.
Meanwhile, if Duddon's spotless breast receive
Unwelcome mixtures as the uncouth noise
Thickens, the pastoral River will forgive
Such wrong; nor need we blame the licensed joys,
Though false to Nature's quiet equipoise :
Frank are the sports, the stains are fugitive.
MID-NOON is past ;-upon the sultry mead
No zephyr breathes, no cloud its shadow throws:
If we advance unstrengthened by repose,
Farewell the solace of the vagrant reed!
This Nook-with woodbine hung and straggling weed,
Tempting recess as ever pilgrim chose,
Half grot, half arbour-proffers to enclose
Body and mind, from molestation freed,
In narrow compass-narrow as itself:
Or if the Fancy, too industrious Elf,
Be loth that we should breathe awhile exempt
From new incitements friendly to our task,
Here wants not stealthy prospect, that may tempt
Loose Idless to forego her wily mask.
METHINKS 'twere no unprecedented feat
Should some benignant Minister of air
Lift, and encircle with a cloudy chair,
The One for whom my heart shall ever beat
With tenderest love;—or, if a safer seat
Atween his downy wings be furnished, there
Would lodge her, and the cherished burden bear
O'er hill and valley to this dim retreat!
Rough ways my steps have trod ;-too rough and long
For her companionship; here dwells soft ease:
With sweets that she partakes not some distaste
Mingles, and lurking consciousness of wrong;
Languish the flowers; the waters seem to waste
Their vocal charm; their sparklings cease to please.
RETURN, Content! for fondly I pursued,
Even when a child, the Streams-unheard, unseen;
Through tangled woods, impending rocks between;
Or, free as air, with flying inquest viewed
The sullen reservoirs whence their bold brood-
Pure as the morning, fretful, boisterous, keen,
Green as the salt-sea billows, white and green-
Poured down the hills, a choral multitude!
Nor have I tracked their course for scanty gains ;
They taught me random cares and truant joys,
That shield from mischief and preserve from stains
Vague minds, while men are growing out of boys ;
Maturer Fancy owes to their rough noise
Impetuous thoughts that brook not servile reins.
FALLEN, and diffused into a shapeless heap,
Or quietly self-buried in earth's mould,
Is that embattled House, whose massy Keep
Flung from yon cliff a shadow large and cold.
There dwelt the gay, the bountiful, the bold;
Till nightly lamentations, like the sweep
Of winds though winds were silent-struck a deep
And lasting terror through that ancient Hold.
Its line of Warriors fled ;-they shrunk when tried
By ghostly power :-but Time's unsparing hand
Hath plucked such foes, like weeds, from out the land;
And now, if men with men in peace abide,
All other strength the weakest may withstand,
All worse assaults may safely be defied.