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Apt emblem (for reproof of pride)
This delicate Enclosure shows
Of modest kindness, that would hide
The firm protection she bestows;
Of manners, like its viewless fence,
Ensuring peace to innocence.
Thus spake the moral Muse--her wing
Abruptly spreading to depart,
She left that farewell offering,
Memento for some docile heart;
That may respect the good old age
When Fancy was Truth's willing Page;
And Truth would skim the flowery glade,
Though entering but as Fancy's Shade.
[OBSERVED in the holly-grove at Alfoxden, where these verses were
written in the spring of 1799. I had the pleasure of again
seeing, with dear friends, this grove in unimpaired beauty
forty-one years after.]
A WHIRL-BLAST from behind the hill
Rushed o'er the wood with startling sound;
Then-all at once the air was still,
And showers of hailstones pattered round.
Where leafless oaks towered high above,
I sat within an undergrove
Of tallest hollies, tall and green ;
A fairer bower was never seen.
From year to year the spacious floor
With withered leaves is covered o'er,
And all the year the bower is green.
But see! where'er the hailstones drop
The withered leaves all skip and hop;
There's not a breeze-no breath of air-
Yet here, and there, and every where
Along the floor, beneath the shade
By those embowering hollies made,
The leaves in myriads jump and spring,
As if with pipes and music rare
Some Robin Good-fellow were there,
And all those leaves, in festive glee,
Were dancing to the minstrelsy,
THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE.
[SUGGESTED nearer to Grasmere, on the same mountain track as that
referred to in the following Note. The Eglantine remained many years afterwards, but is now gone.]
“ BEGONE, thou fond presumptuous Elf,"
Exclaimed an angry Voice,
“ Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self
Between me and
A small Cascade fresh swoln with snows
Thus threatened a poor Briar-rose,
That, all bespattered with his foam,
And dancing high and dancing low,
Was living, as a child might know,
In an unhappy home.
“Dost thou presume my course to block ?
Off, off! or, puny Thing!
I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock
To which thy fibres cling."
The Flood was tyrannous and strong;
The patient Briar suffered long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
Hoping the danger would be past;
But, seeing no relief, at last,
He ventured to reply
“Ah!” said the Briar, " blame me not;
Why should we dwell in strife?
We who in this sequestered spot
Once lived a happy life!
You stirred me on my rocky bed
What pleasure through my veins you spread
The summer long, from day to day,
My leaves you freshened and bedewed ;
Nor was it common gratitude
That did your cares repay.
When spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreaths to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And in the sultry summer hours,
I sheltered you with leaves and flowers ;
leaves—now shed and gone, The linnet lodged, and for us two Chanted his pretty songs, when you Had little voice or none.
But now proud thoughts are in your breast-
What grief is mine you see,
Ah! would you think, even yet how blest
Together we might be!
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left-
Rich store of scarlet hips is mine,
With which I, in my
way, Would deck you many a winter day, A happy Eglantine!"
What more he said I cannot tell,
The Torrent down the rocky dell
Came thundering loud and fast;
I listened, nor aught else could hear;
The Briar quaked—and much I fear
Those accents were his last.
[SUGGESTED upon the mountain pathway that leads from Upper
Rydal to Grasmere. The ponderous block of stone, which is mentioned in the poem, remains, I believe, to this day, a good way up Nab-scar, Broom grows under it, and in many places on the side of the precipice.]
His simple truths did Andrew glean
Beside the babbling rills;
A careful student he had been
Among the woods and hills.
One winter's night, when through the trees
The wind was roaring, on his knees
His youngest born did Andrew hold:
And while the rest, a ruddy quire,
Were seated round their blazing fire,
This Tale the Shepherd told.
“I saw a crag, a lofty stone
As ever tempest beat!
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon-
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm south-west:
When, in a voice sedate with age,