But ah! what earthly happiness can last!
How does the fairest purpose often fail?
A truant schoolboy’s wantonness could blast
Their flattering hopes, and leave them both to wail.
The most ungentle of his tribe was he,
No generous precept ever touched his heart;
With concord false, and hideous prosody,
He scrawled his task, and blundered o’er his part.
On mischief bent, he marked, with ravenous
Where wrapped in down the callow songsters lay;
Then rushing, rudely seized the glittering prize.
And bore it in his impious hands away!
But how stall I describe, in numbers rude,
The pangs for poor Chrysomitris decreed,
When from her secret stand aghast she viewed
The cruel spoiler perpetrate the deed?
‘O grief of griefs!’ with
shrieking voice she cried,
’What sight is this that I have lived to see!
O! that I had in youth’s fair season died,
From love’s false joys and bitter sorrows free.’
From A DESCRIPTIVE POEM
... To nature’s pride, Sweet Keswick’s vale, the Muse will guide: The Muse who trod th’ enchanted ground, Who sailed the wondrous lake around, With you will haste once more to hail The beauteous brook of Borrodale.
* * * * *
Let other streams rejoice to roar
Down the rough rocks of dread Lodore,
Rush raving on with boisterous sweep,
And foaming rend the frighted deep;
Thy gentle genius shrinks away
From such a rude unequal fray;
Through thine own native dale where rise
Tremendous rocks amid the skies,
Thy waves with patience slowly wind,
Till they the smoothest channel find,
Soften the horrors of the scene,
And through confusion flow serene.
Horrors like these at first alarm,
But soon with savage grandeur charm,
And raise to noblest thought the mind:
Thus by the fall, Lodore, reclined,
The craggy cliff, impendent wood,
Whose shadows mix o’er half the flood,
The gloomy clouds which solemn sail,
Scarce lifted by the languid gale.
* * * * *
Channels by rocky torrents torn,
Rocks to the lake in thunder borne,
Or such as o’er our heads appear,
Suspended in their mid-career,
To start again at his command
Who rules fire, water, air, and land,
I view with wonder and delight,
A pleasing, though an awful sight.
* * * * *
And last, to fix our wandering eyes,
Thy roofs, O Keswick, brighter rise
The lake and lofty hills between,
Where Giant Skiddow shuts the scene.
Supreme of mountains, Skiddow, hail!
To whom all Britain sinks a vale!
Lo, his imperial brow I see
From foul usurping vapours free!
’Twere glorious now his side to climb,
Boldly to scale his top sublime,
And thence—My Muse, these flights forbear,
Nor with wild raptures tire the fair.