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The darts of song from out its wiry cage;
Enraptured,—could he for himself engage
The thousandth part of what the Nymph bestows;
And what the little careless innocent
Ungraciously receives. Too daring choice! 10
There are whose calmer mind it would content
To be an unculled floweret of the glen,
Fearless of plough and scythe; or darkling wren
That tunes on Duddon's banks her slender voice.
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 5
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 10
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
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, 10
His budding courage to the proof; and here
Declining Manhood learns to note the sly
And sure encroachments of infirmity,
Thinking howfast time runs.life's endhownear!
THE SAME SUBJECT.
Not 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; 5
She ventures once again—another pause!
His outstretched hand He tauntingly with-
She sues for help with piteous utterance!
Chidden she chides again; the thrilling touch
Both feel, when he renews the wished-for aid: 10
Ah! if their fluttering hearts should stir too
Should beat too strongly, both may be betrayed.
The frolic Loves, who, from yon high rock, see
The struggle, clap their wings for victory!
THE FAERY CHASM.
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 5
In secret revels—haply after theft
Of some sweet Babe—Flower stolen, and coarse
For the distracted Mother to assuage
Her grief with, as she might!—But, where, oh!
where Is traceable a vestige of the notes 10
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?
HINTS FOR THE FANCY.
On, loitering Muse—the swift Stream chides
Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure
Objects immense portrayed in miniature,
Wild shapes for many a strange comparison!
Niagaras, Alpine passes, and anon 5
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!—- 10
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!
Haii, to the fields—with Dwellings sprinkled
o'er, And one small hamlet, under a green hill Clustering, with barn and byre, and spouting
mill! A glance suffices;—should we wish for more, Gay June would scorn us. But when bleak
winds roar 5
Through the stiff lance-like shoots of pollard ash,
Dread swell of sound! loud as the gusts that lash
The matted forests of Ontario's shore
By wasteful steel unsmitten—then would I
Turn into port; and, reckless of the gale, 10
Reckless of angry Duddon sweeping by,
While the warm hearth exalts the mantling ale,
Laugh with the generous household heartily
At all the merry pranks of Donnerdale!
0 Mountain Stream! the Shepherd and his Cot
Are privileged Inmates of deep solitude;
Nor would the nicest Anchorite exclude
A field or two of brighter green, or plot
Of tillage-ground, that seemeth like a spot 5
Of stationary sunshine :—thou hast viewed
These only, Duddon! with their paths renewed
By fits and starts, yet this contents thee not.
Thee hath some awful Spirit impelled to leave.
Utterly to desert, the haunts of men, 10
Though simple thy companions were and few;
And through this wilderness a passage cleave
Attended but by thy own voice, save when
The clouds and fowls of the air thy way pursue!
From this deep chasm, where quivering sun-
Upon its loftiest crags, mine eyes behold
A gloomy Niche, capacious, blank, and cold;
A concave free from shrubs and mosses grey;
In semblance fresh, as if, with dire affray, 5
Some Statue, placed amid these regions old
For tutelary service, thence had rolled,
Startling the flight of timid Yesterday!
Was it by mortals sculptured ?—weary slaves
Of slow endeavour! or abruptly cast 10
Into rude shape by fire, with roaring blast
Tempestuously let loose from central caves?
Or fashioned by the turbulence of waves,
Then, when o'er highest hills the Deluge passed?
Such fruitless questions may not long beguile
Or plague the fancy 'mid the sculptured shows
Conspicuous yet where Oroonoko flows;
There would the Indian answer with a smile 4
Aimed at the White Man's ignorance the while,
Of the Great Waters telling how they rose,
Covered the plains, and, wandering where they
Mounted through every intricate defile,