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Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair !”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
P. B. SHELLEY.
247. COMPOSED AT NEIDPATH CASTLE, THE PROPERTY OF LORD QUEENSBERRY, 1803.
Degenerate Douglas ! O the unworthy lord !
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please
And love of havoc (for with such disease
Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word
To level with the dust a noble horde.
A brotherhood of venerable trees,
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these
Beggar'd and outraged !-Many hearts deplored
The fate of those old trees; and oft with pain
The traveller at this day will stop and gaze
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed :
For shelter'd places, bosoms, nooks, and bays,
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
And the green silent pastures, yet remain.
248. ADMONITION TO A TRAVELLER.
Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye!
-The lovely cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirr'd thee deeply; with its owu dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the abode-o do not sigh
As many do, repining while they look ;
Intruders who would tear from Nature's book
This procious leaf with harsh impiety :
-Think what the home would be if it were thine, Even thine, though few thy wants !-Roof, window,
door, The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine :
Yea, all that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touch'd would melt away!
249. TO THE HIGHLAND GIRL OF
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :
And these gray rocks, this household lawn,
These treesma veil just half withdrawn,
This fall of water that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake,
This little bay, a quiet road
That holds in shelter thy abode ;
In truth together ye do seem
Like something fashion'd in a dream;
Such forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep!
But O fair Creature! in the light
Of common day, so heavenly bright,
I bless Thee, Vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart :
God shield thee to thy latest years !
I neither know thee nor thy peers :
And yet my eyes are fill'd with tears.
With earnest feeling I shall pray
For thee when I am far away ;
For never saw I mien or face
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here scatter'd like a random seed,
Remote from men, Thou dost not need
The embarrass'd look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness :
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a mountaineer :
A face with gladness overspread,
Soft smiles, by human kindness bred;
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech :
A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life !
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful ?
O happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess!
But I could frame a wish for thet
More like a grave reality :
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea : and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see!
Thy elder brother I would be,
Thy father, anything to thee.
Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place ;
Joy have I had; and going hence
I bear away my recompense.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our memory, feel that she hath eyes :
Then why should I be loth to stir?
I feel this place was made for her ;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old
As fair before me shall behold
As I do now, the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall ;
And Thee, the spirit of them all!
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain ;
O listen ! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands :
No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings ?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day ?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again!
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;
I listen'd till I had my fill;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore
Long after it was heard no more.
251. THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN. At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three