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“ Let me be allowed the aid of verse to describe the evolutions

“ which these visitants sometimes perform, on a fine day to“ wards the close of winter.”

Extract from the Author's Book on the Lakes.

MARK how the feathered tenants of the flood,
With grace of motion that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, prolong
Their curious pastime! shaping in mid air
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops)
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain ; - but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upward and downward, progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight. — 'Tis done-
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased;
But lo! the vanished company again

Ascending ; — they approach - I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first ; and then an eager sound
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 shew 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 give birth
To Tiviot'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 ;

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