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Oft on the dappled turf at ease
I sit and play with similes,
Loose types of things through all degrees,
Thoughts of thy raising ;
And many a fond and idle name
I give to thee, for praise or blame
As is the humour of the game,
While I am gazing.
A nun demure, of lowly port;
Or sprightly maiden, of Love's court,
In thy simplicity the sport
Of all temptations ;
A queen in crown of rubies dresť
A starveling in a scanty vest;
Are all, as seems to suit thee best,
1 A little Cyclops, with one eye
Staring to threaten and defy,
That thought comes next-and instantly
The freak is over,
The shape will vanish, and behold!
A silver shield with boss of gold
That spreads itself, some faery bold
In fight to cover.
I see thee glittering from afar-
And then thou art å pretty star, done Hehe) In heaven above thee !
Yet like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem'st to rest ;-
May peace come never to his nest
Who shall reprove thee!
Sweet Flower ! for by that name at last
When all my reveries are past
I call thee, and to that cleave fast,
Sweet silent Creature !
That breath'st with me in sun and air,
Do thou, as thou art wont, repair
My heart with gladness, and a share
Of thy meek nature !
Repairing quite so fair as many are
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run ;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core ;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet
kernel ; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease ;
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind ;
Or on a half-reap'd surrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers :
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook ;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watches the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue ;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies ;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn ;
Iledge-crickets sing ; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft ;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
ODE TO IVINTER
Germany, December, 1800
When first the fiery-mantled Sun
His heavenly race began to run,
Round the earth and ocean blue
His children four the Seasons flew.
First, in green apparel dancing,
The young Spring smiled with angel-grace ;
Rosy Summer next advancing,
Rush'd into her sire's embrace-
Her bright-hair'd sire, who bade her keep
For ever nearest to his smiles,
On Calpe's olive-shaded steep
Or India's citron-cover'd isles : More remote, and buxom-brown,
The Queen of vintage bow'd before his throne; A rich pomegranate gemm'd her crown,
A ripe sheaf bound her zone.
But howling Winter fled afar
To hills that prop the polar star ;
And loves on deer-borne car to ride
With barren darkness by his side,
Round the shore where loud Lofoden
Whirls to death the roaring whale,
Round the hall where Runic Odin
Howls his war-song to the gale ; Save when adown the ravaged globe
He travels on his native storm, Deflowering Nature's grassy robe
And trampling on her faded form : Till light's returning Lord assume
The shaft that drives him to his polar field,
Of power to pierce his raven plume
And crystal-cover'd shield.
Oh, sire of storms! whose savage ear
The Lapland drum delights to hear,
When Frenzy with her blood-shot eye
Implores thy dreadful deity-
Archangel! Power of desolation !
Fast descending as thou art,
Say, hath mortal invocation
Spells to touch thy stony heart?
Then, sullen Winter! hear my prayer,
And gently rule the ruin'd year ;
Nor chill the wanderer's bosom bare
Nor freeze the wretch's falling tear :
To shuddering Want's unmantled bed
Thy horror-breathing agues cease to lend,
And gently on the orphan head
Of Innocence descend.
But chiefly spare, O king of clouds !
The sailor on his airy shrouds,
When wrecks and beacons strew the steep,
And spectres walk along the deep.
Milder yet thy snowy breezes
Pour on yonder tented shores,
Where the Rhine's broad billow freezes,
Or the dark-brown Danube roars.
Oh, winds of Winter ! list ye there
To many a deep and dying groan?
Or start, ye demons of the midnight air,
At shricks and thunders louder than your own? Alas ! ev'n your unhallow'd breath
May spare the victim fallen low;
But Mían will ask no truce to death, --
No bounds to human woe.
From Stirling Castle we had scen
The mazy Forth unravell'i, ,
Had trod the banks of Clyde and Tay,
And with the Tweed had travell’d;
And when we came to Clovenford,
Then said my 'winsome Marrow,'
Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside,
And see the Braes of Varrow.'
Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town,
Who have been buying, selling,
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own,
Each maiden to her dwelling !
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrow;
But we will downward with the Tweed,
Nor turn aside to Yarrow.
* There's Gala Water, Leader Haughs,
Both lying right before us;
And Dryburgh, where with chiming Tweed
The lintwhites sing in chorus ;
There's pleasant Tiviot-dale, a land
Made blithe with plough and harrow :
Why throw away a needful day
To go in search of Yarrow ?
· What's Yarrow but a river bare
That glides the dark hills under ?
There are a thousand such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder.
- Strange words they seem'd of slight and scorn ;
My True-love sigh'd for sorrow,
And look'd me in the face, to think
I thus could speak of Yarrow!
O green,' said I, 'are Yarrow's holms,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing !
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
But we will leave it growing.
O'er hilly path and open strath
We'll wander Scotland thorough ;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.
* Let beeves and home-bred kine partako
The sweets of Burn-mill meadow ;
The swan on still Saint Mary's Lake
Float double, swan and shadow !
We will not see them ; will not go
To-day, nor yet to-morrow ;
Enough if in our hearts we know
There's such a place as Yarrow.