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A brief and unreproved farewell ;
-Fly also, Muse! and from the dell Mount to the ridge of Nathdale Fell ; Thence, look thou forth o’er wood and lawn Hoar with the frost-like dews of dawn ; Across yon meadowy bottom look, Where close fogs hide their parent brook ; And see, beyond that hamlet small, The ruined towers of Threlkeld-hall, Lurking in a double shade, By trees and lingering twilight made ! There, at Blencathara's rugged feet, Sir Lancelot gave a safe retreat To noble Clifford ; from annoy Concealed the persecuted Boy, . Well pleased in rustic garb to feed His flock, and pipe on Shepherd's reed; Among this multitude of hills, Crags, woodlands, waterfalls, and rills ; Which soon the morning shall enfold, From east to west, in ample vest Of massy gloom and radiance bold.
The mists, that o'er the streamlet's bed Hung low, begin to rise and spread ;
Even while I speak, their skirts of grey Are smitten by a silver ray ; And lo! – up Castrigg's naked steep (Where, smoothly urged, the vapours sweep Along - and scatter and divide Like fleecy clouds self-multiplied) The stately Waggon is ascending With faithful Benjamin attending, Apparent now beside his team , Now lost amid a glittering steam. And with him goes his Sailor Friend, By this time near their journey's end, And, after their high-minded riot, Sickening into thoughtful quiet ; As if the morning's pleasant hour Had for their joys a killing power.
They are drooping, weak, and dull; . But the horses stretch and pull; With increasing vigour climb, Eager to repair lost time; Whether, by their own desert, · Knowing that there's cause for shame,
They are labouring to avert At least a portion of the blame, Which full surely will alight Upon his head, whom, in despite Of all his faults, they love the best ; Whether for him they are distrest; Or, by length of fasting roused, Are impatient to be housed; Up against the hill they strain Tugging at the iron chain Tugging all with might and main Last and foremost, every horse To the utmost of his force ! And the smoke and respiration Rising like an exhalation, Blends with the mist, - a moving shroud To form – an undissolving cloud ; Which, with slant ray, the merry sun Takes delight to play upon. Never, surely, old Apollo, He, or other God as old, Of whom in story we are told, Who had a favourite to follow
Through a battle or elsewhere,
Alas, what boots it ? - who can hide When the malicious Fates are bent On working out an ill intent ? Can destiny be turned aside ? No — sad progress of my story! Benjamin, this outward glory Cannot shield thee from thy Master, Who from Keswick has pricked forth, Sour and surly as the north ; And, in fear of some disaster, Comes to give what help he may, Or to hear what thou canst say ; If, as needs he must forbode, Thou hast loitered on the road ! His doubts — his fears may now take flight The wished-for object is in sight;