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And this was my reply:- 'As it befel,
One summer morning we had walk'd abroad
At break of day, Joanna and myself.
'Twas that delightful season, when the broom,
Full-flowered, and visible on every steep,
Along the copses runs in veins of gold.
Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks :
And when we came in front of that tall rock
Which looks towards the east, I there stopp'd short,
And traced the lofty barrier with my eye
From base to summit ; such delight I found
To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower,
That intermixture of delicate hues,
Along so vast a surface, all at once,
In one impression, by connecting force
Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart.
- When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space,
Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld
That ravishment of mine, and laugh'd aloud.
The rock, like something starting from a sleep,
Took up the lady's voice, and laugh'd again :
That ancient woman seated on Helm Crag
Was ready with her cavern : Hammar Scar,
And the tall steep of Silver How, sent forth
A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard,
And Fairfield answer'd with a mountain tone :
Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky
Carried the lady's voice ; old Skiddaw blew
His speaking trumpet ; back out of the clouds
Of Glaramara southward came the voice ;
And Kirkstone toss'd it from his misty head.
Now whether,' said I to our cordial friend,
Who in the hey-day of astonishment
Smiled in my face, this were in simple truth
A work accomplish'd by the brotherhood
Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touch'd
With dreams and visionary impulses,
Is not for me to tell ; but sure I am
That there was a loud uproar in the hills :
And, while we both were listening, to my side
The fair Joanna drew, as if she wish'd
To shelter from some object of her fear.
And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons
Were wasted, as I chanced to walk alone
Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm
And silent morning, I sat down, and there,
In memory of affections old and true,
I chisellid out in those rude characters
Joanna's name upon the living stone.
And I, and all who dwell by my fireside,
Have call'd the lovely rock, Joanna's Rock. *
THERE is an eminence,- of these our bills
The last that parleys with the setting sun.
We can behold it from our orchard-seat;
And, when at evening we pursue our walk
Along the public way, this cliff so high
Above us, and so distant in its height,
Is visible; and often seems to send
Its own deep quiet to restore our hearts.
The meteors make of it a favourite haunt :
The star of Jove, so beautiful and large
In the mid heavens, is never half so fair
As when she shines above it. 'Tis in truth
The loneliest place we have among the clouds.
And she who dwells with me, whom I have loved
With such coinmunion, that no place on earth
Can ever be a solitude to me,
Hath to this lonely summit given my name.
* In Cumberland and Westmorland are several inscriptions upon the native rock, which, from the wasting of time and the rudeness of the workmanship, have been mistaken for Runic ; they are, without doubt, Roman.
Blank misgivings of a creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts, before which our mortal nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised !
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us — cherish — and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal silence : truths that wake,
To perish never ;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,
Nor man nor boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy !
· Hence, in a season of calm weather,
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither ;
Can in a moment travel thither,And see the children sport upon the shore, And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then, sing ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song !
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
We, in thought, will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May !
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower ;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
I have walk'd through wildernesses dreary,
And to-day my heart is weary;
Had I now the wings of a fairy,
Up to thee would I fly.
There is madness about thee and joy divine
In that song of thine ;
Up with me, up with me, high and high,
To thy banqueting-place in the sky!
Joyous as morning,
Thou art laughing and scorning ; Thou hast a nest, for thy love and thy rest : And, though little troubled with sloth, Drunken Lark? thou wouldst be loth
To be such a traveller as I.
Happy, happy liver ! With a soul as strong as a mountain river, Pouring out praise to th’ Almighty Giver,
Joy and jollity be with us both !
Hearing thee, or else some other,
As merry as a brother,
I on the earth will go plodding on
By myself, cheerfully, till the day is done.
SWEET flower ! belike, one day, to have
A place upon thy Poet's grave,
I welcome thee once more :
But he, who was on land, at sea,
My brother, too, in loving thee,
Although he loved more silently,
Sleeps by his native shore.
Ah ! hopeful, hopeful was the day
When to that ship he bent his way,
To govern and to guide :
His wish was gain'd: a little time
Would bring him back in manhood's prime,
And free for life, these hills to climb,
With all his wants supplied.
And full of hope day follow'd day,
While that stout ship at anchor lay
Beside the shores of Wight;
The May had then made all things green;
And, floating there in pomp serene,
That ship was goodly to be seen,
His pride and his delight !
Yet then, when call’d ashore, he sought
The tender peace of rural thought;
In more than happy mood,
To your abodes, bright daisy flowers !
He then would steal at leisure hours,
And loved you glittering in your bowers,
A starry multitude,
But hark the word !- the ship is gone ;-
From her long course returns — anon
Sets sail : in season due,
Once more on English earth they stand :
But, when a third time from the land
They parted, sorrow was at hand
For him and for his crew.
Ill-fated vessel ! ghastly shock !
At length deliver'd from the rock,
The deep she hath regain'd;
And through the stormy night they steer,
Labouring for life, in hope and fear,
Towards a safer shore - how near,
Yet not to be attain'd !
Silence !' the brave commander cried ;
To that calm word a shriek replied ;
It was the last death-shriek.