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Nor wanted, when their fortitude had held
It is no Spirit who from Heaven hath flown
above, My Soul, an Apparition in the place, Tread there, with steps that no one shall reprove !
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!