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IV. TAKE, cradled Nursling of the mountain, take This parting glance, no negligent adieu ! A Protean change seems wrought while I pursue The curves, a loosely-scattered chain doth make; Or rather thou appear’st a glistering snake, Silent, and to the gazer's eye untrue, Thridding with sinuous lapse the rushes, through Dwarf willows gliding, and by ferny brake. Starts from a dizzy steep the undaunted Rill Robed instantly in garb of snow-white foam; And laughing dares the Adventurer, who hath clomb So high, a rival purpose to fulfil; Else let the Dastard backward wend, and roam, Seeking less bold achievement, where he will!
SOLE listener, Duddon! to the breeze that played
VI.— FLOWERS. ERE yet our course was graced with social trees It lacked not old remains of hawthorn bowers, Where small birds warbled to their paramours; And, earlier still, was heard the hum of bees; I saw them ply their harmless robberies, And caught the fragrance which the sundry flowers, Fed by the stream with soft perpetual showers, Plenteously yielded to the vagrant breeze. There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness; The trembling eyebright showed her sapphire blue, * The thyme her purple, like the blush of even; And, if the breath of some to no caress Invited, forth they peeped so fair to view, All kinds alike seemed favourites of Heaven,
VII. “CHANGE me, some God, into that breathing rose!” The love-sick Stripling fancifully sighs, The envied flower beholding, as it lies On Laura's breast, in exquisite repose; Or he would pass into her Bird, that throws 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! 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.
* See note, p. 27.
VIII. 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 What dreams encompassed ? Was the intruder nursed In hideous usages, and rites accursed, That thinned the living and disturbed the dead ? No voice replies; the earth, the air is mute; And Thou, blue Streamlet, murmuring yield'st not more 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!
IX. -THE STEPPING-STONÉS. The struggling Rill insensibly is grown Into a Brook of loud and stately march, Crossed ever and anon by plank and arch; And, for like use, lo! what might seem a zone Chosen for ornament; stone matched with stone 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, His budding courage to the proof;--and here Declining Manhood learns to note the sly And sure encroachments of infirmity, Thinking how fast time runs, life's end how near!
X. - THE SAME SUBJECT.
XI.—THE FAËRY 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 In secret revels — haply after theft Of some sweet babe, flower stolen, and coarse weed left For the distracted mother to assuage Her grief with, as she might !- But, where, oh! where Is traceable a vestige of the notes That ruled those dances wild in character ?
Deep underground? Or in the upper air, On the shrill wind of midnight? or where floats (l'er twilight fields the autumnal gossamer ?
XII.-HINTS FOR THE FANCY. On, loitering Muse — The swift Stream chides us - on! Albeit his deep-worn channel doth immure Objects immense portrayed in miniature, Wild shapes for many a strange comparison ! Niagaras, Alpine passes, and anon 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! - 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!
XIII.- OPEN PROSPECT. Hail to the fields — with Dwellings sprinkled o'er, And one small hamlet, under a green hill, Clustered 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 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, 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!