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Past in a moment-and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes;
They tempt the water, or the gleaming ice,
To show them a fair image;-'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain,
Painted more soft and fair as they descend
Almost to touch;-then up again aloft,

Up with a sally and a flash of speed,

As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!


THERE is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.

Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree!-a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks!—and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved,—
Nor uninformed with phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane;-a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially-beneath whose sable roof

Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked
With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes

May meet at noontide-Fear and trembling Hope, Silence and Foresight-Death the Skeleton,

And Time the Shadow,-there to celebrate,

As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose

To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.


THIS height a ministering angel might select;,
For from the summit of Black Comb (dread name
Derived from clouds and storms!) the amplest range
Of unobstructed prospect may be seen

That British ground commands:-low dusky tracts,
Where Trent is nursed, far southward! Cambrian hills
To the south-west, a multitudinous show;
And, in a line of eye-sight linked with these,
The hoary peaks of Scotland that gave birth

To Teviot's stream, to Annan, Tweed, and Clyde ;—
Crowding the quarter whence the sun comes forth,
Gigantic mountains rough with crags; beneath,
Right at the imperial station's western base,
Main Ocean, breaking audibly, and stretched
Far into silent regions blue and pale;-
And visibly engirding Mona's Isle,

That, as we left the plain, before our sight
Stood like a lofty mount, uplifting slowly,
(Above the convex of the watery globe)
Into clear view the cultured fields that streak
Her habitable shores; but now appears

A dwindled object, and submits to lie

At the spectator's feet.-Yon azure ridge,
Is it a perishable cloud? Or there

Do we behold the frame of Erin's coast?
Land sometimes by the roving shepherd swain
(Like the bright confines of another world)
Not doubtfully perceived.-Look homeward now!
In depth, in height, in circuit, how serene
The spectacle, how pure! Of nature's works,
In earth, and air, and earth-embracing sea,
A revelation infinite it seems;

Display august of man's inheritance,
Of Britain's calm felicity and power.


It seems a day

(I speak of one from many singled out),
One of those heavenly days which cannot die;
When, in the eagerness of boyish hope,
I left our cottage threshold, sallying forth
With a huge wallet o'er my shoulder slung,
A nutting-crook in hand, and turned my steps
Towards the distant woods, a figure quaint,
Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds
Which for that service had been husbanded,
By exhortation of my frugal dame.

Motley accoutrement, of power to smile

At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,—and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! Among the woods,
And o'er the pathless rocks, I forced my way,
Until, at length, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough

Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation, but the hazels rose

Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung,

A virgin scene! A little while I stood,

Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed

The banquet,

or beneath the trees I sate

Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blessed
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever, and I saw the sparkling foam,
And with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, beneath the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep,
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage; and the shady nook

Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past,
Even then, when from the bower I turned away
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees and the intruding sky.

Then, dearest maiden! move along these shades
In gentleness of heart: with gentle hand
Touch-for there is a spirit in the woods.


SHE was a phantom of delight

When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament:
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight's too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.

I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too!

Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;

A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller betwixt life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill,
A perfect woman, nobly planned,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.

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