« PreviousContinue »
Nor wanted, when their fortitude had held
It is no Spirit who from Heaven hath flown
First admonition that the sun is down, —
My Soul, an Apparition in the place,
THE PASS OF KIRKSTONE. I.
Within the mind strong fancies work,
A deep delight the bosom thrills,
Oft as I pass along the fork
Of these fraternal hills:
Where, save the rugged road, we find
No appanage of human kind;
Nor hint of man, if stone or rock
Seem not his handy-work to mock
By something cognizably shaped;
Mockery — or model — roughly hewn,
And left as if by earthquake strewn,
Or from the Flood escaped: —
Altars for Druid service fit;
(But where no fire was ever lit
Unless the glow-worm to the skies
Thence offer nightly sacrifice ;)
Wrinkled Egyptian monument;
Green moss-grown tower; or hoary tent;
Tents of a camp that never shall be raised;
On which four thousand years have gazed!
Ye plough-shares sparkling on the slopes!
Ye snow-white lambs that trip
Imprisoned 'mid the formal props
Of restless ownership!
Ye trees, that may to-morrow fall
To feed the insatiate Prodigal!
Lawns, houses, chattels, groves, and fields,
All that the fertile valley shields;
Wages of folly — baits of crime, —
Of life's uneasy game the stake, —
Playthings that keep the eyes awake
Of drowsy, dotard Time; —
O care! O guilt! — O vales and plains,
Here, 'mid his own unvexed domains,
A Genius dwells, that can subdue
At once all memory of You, —
Most potent when mists veil the sky,
Mists that distort and magnify;
While the coarse rushes, to the sweeping breeze,
Sigh forth their ancient melodies!
List to those shriller notes! — that march
Perchance was on the blast,
When, through this Height's inverted arch,
Rome's earliest legion passed!
— They saw, adventurously impelled,
And older eyes than theirs beheld,
This block — and yon, whose Church-like frame
Gives to the savage Pass its name.
Aspiring Road! that lovest to hide
Thy daring in a vapoury bourn,
Not seldom may the hour return
When thou shalt be my Guide;
And I (as often we find cause,
When life is at a weary pause,
And we have panted up the hill
Of duty with reluctant will)
Be thankful, even though tired and faint,
For the rich bounties of Constraint;
Whence oft invigorating transports flow
That Choice lacked courage to bestow!