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WHAT aspect bore the Man who roved or fled,
First of his tribe, to this dark dell-who first
In this pellucid Current slaked his thirst?

What hopes came with him? what designs were spread
Along his path? His unprotected bed

What dreams encompassed? Was the intruder nursed
In hideous usages, and rites accursed,

That thinned the living and disturbed the dead?
No voice replies ;—both air and earth are mute;
And Thou, blue Streamlet, murmuring yield'st no more
Than a soft record, that, whatever fruit

Of ignorance thou might'st witness heretofore,
Thy function was to heal and to restore,

To soothe and cleanse, not madden and pollute!



THE struggling Rill insensibly is grown
Into a Brook of loud and stately march,

Crossed ever and anon by plank or arch ;
And, for like use, lo! what might seem a zone
Chosen for ornament-stone matched with stone
In studied symmetry, with interspace
For the clear waters to pursue their race

Without restraint. How swiftly have they flown,
Succeeding-still succeeding! Here the Child

Puts, when the high-swoln Flood runs fierce and wild,
His budding courage to the proof; and here

Declining Manhood learns to note the sly

And sure encroachments of infirmity,

Thinking how fast time runs, life's end how near!



Nor so that Pair whose youthful spirits dance
With prompt emotion, urging them to pass;
A sweet confusion checks the Shepherd-lass;
Blushing she eyes the dizzy flood askance ;
To stop ashamed-too timid to advance ;
She ventures once again—another pause!
His outstretched hand He tauntingly withdraws
She sues for help with piteous utterance!
Chidden she chides again; the thrilling touch
Both feel, when he renews the wished-for aid :
Ah! if their fluttering hearts should stir too much,
Should beat too strongly, both may be betrayed.
The frolic Loves who, from yon high rock, see
The struggle, clap their wings for victory!



No fiction was it of the antique age:

A sky-blue stone, within this sunless cleft,
Is of the very foot-marks unbereft

Which tiny Elves impressed ;-on that smooth stage
Dancing with all their brilliant equipage

In secret revels-haply after theft

Of some sweet Babe-Flower stolen, and coarse Weed left

For the distracted Mother to assuage

Her grief with, as she might!-But, where, oh! where

Is traceable a vestige of the notes

That ruled those dances wild in character ?

Deep underground? Or in the upper air,

On the shrill wind of midnight? or where floats
O'er twilight fields the autumnal gossamer?

[blocks in formation]



ON, loitering Muse-the swift Stream chides us-on!
Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure
Objects immense portrayed in miniature,

Wild shapes for many a strange comparison !
Niagaras, Alpine passes, and anon

Abodes of Naiads, calm abysses pure,

Bright liquid mansions, fashioned to endure
When the broad oak drops, a leafless skeleton,
And the solidities of mortal pride,

Palace and tower, are crumbled into dust !-
The Bard who walks with Duddon for his guide,
Shall find such toys of fancy thickly set:

Turn from the sight, enamoured Muse-we must ;
And, if thou canst, leave them without regret!

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