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WHERE lies the truth? has Man, in wisdom's creed,
A care more anxious, or a heavier grief?
Must Man, with labor born, awake to sorrow
When Flowers rejoice and Larks with rival speed
Through life's worst trials, whether shocks or snares, A happier, brighter, purer heaven than theirs.
COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR, IN THE SUMMER OF 1833.
[HAVING been prevented by the lateness of the season, in 1831, from visiting Staffa and Iona, the author made these the principal objects of a short tour in the summer of 1833, of which the following series of Poems is a memorial. The course pursued was down the Cumberland river Derwent, and to Whitehaven; thence (by the Isle of Man, where a few days were passed) up the Frith of Clyde to Greenock, then to Oban, Staffa, Iona; and back towards England, by Loch Awe, Inverary, Loch Goil-head, Greenock, and through parts of Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, and Dumfriesshire to Carlisle, and thence up the river Eden, and homewards by Ullswater.]
ADIEU, Rydalian Laurels ! that have grown
Farewell! no Minstrels now with harp new-strung For summer wandering quiet their household bowers;
Yet not for this wants Poesy a tongue
To cheer the Itinerant on whom she pours
WHY should the Enthusiast, journeying through this Isle,
Repine as if his hour were come too late?
'Mid fruitful fields that ring with jocund toil,
Of Truth and Beauty, strives to imitate,
If that be reverenced which ought to last.
THEY called thee MERRY ENGLAND, in old time;
A happy people won for thee that name,
With envy heard in many a distant clime;
And, spite of change, for me thou keep'st the same Endearing title, a responsive chime
To the heart's fond belief; though some there are Whose sterner judgments deem that word a snare For inattentive Fancy, like the lime
Which foolish birds are caught with. Can, I ask, This face of rural beauty be a mask
For discontent, and poverty, and crime;
These spreading towns a cloak for lawless will? Forbid it, Heaven! and MERRY ENGLAND still
Shall be thy rightful name, in prose and rhyme!
TO THE RIVER GRETA, NEAR KESWICK.
GRETA, what fearful listening! when huge stones
Combat, while darkness aggravates the groans:
TO THE RIVER DERWENT.
AMONG the mountains were we nursed, loved
Thou near the eagle's nest, - within brief sail,
Where thy deep voice could lull me! Faint the beam
Of human life when first allowed to gleam
Such thy meek outset, with a crown, though frail,
Of thy soft breath! — Less vivid wreath entwined
IN SIGHT OF THE TOWN OF COCKERMOUTH.
(Where the Author was born, and his Father's remains are laid.)
A POINT of life between my Parents' dust