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L INES WRITTEN IN A HIGHLAND GLEN:
To whom belongs this valley fair,
That sleeps beneath the filmy air,
Even like a living thing?
Silent, as infant at the breast,
Save a still sound that speaks of rest,
That streamlet's murmuring.
The heavens appear to love this vale ;
Here clouds with unseen motion sail,
Or mid the silence lie.
By that blue arch, this beauteous earth,
Mid evening's hour of dewy mirth,
Seems bound unto the sky.
0! that this lovely vale were mine !
Then, from glad youth to calm decline,
My years would gently glide ;
Hope would rejoice in endless dreams,
And memory's oft-returning gleams
By peace be sanctified.
There would unto my soul be given,
From presence of that gracious heaven;
A piety sublime :
And thoughts would come of mystic mood
To make, in this deep solitude,
Eternity of Time!
And did I ask to whom belonged
This vale ?-I feel that I have wronged
Nature's most gracious soul;
She spreads her glories o'er the earth,
And all her children, from their birth,
Are joint heirs of the whole.
Yes, long as Nature's humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled
By sinful sacrifice,
Earth's fairest scenes are all his own ;
He is a monarch, and his throne
Is built amid the skies.
When breezes are soft and skies are fair,
I steal an hour from study and care,
And hie me away to the woodland scene
Where wanders the stream with waters of green ;
As if the bright fringe of herbs on its brink,
Had given their stain to the wave they drink;
And they whose meadows it murmurs through
Have named the stream from its own fair hue.
Yet pure its waters, its shallows are bright
With colored pebbles and sparkles of light,
And clear the depths where its eddies play,
And dimples deepen and whirl away,
And the plane tree's speckled arins o'ershoot
The swifter current that mines its root;
Through whose shifting leaves as you walk the hill,
The quivering glimmer of sea and rill
With a sudden flash on the
is thrown, Like the ray that streams from the diamond stone.
0! loveliest there the spring days come,
With blossoms, and birds, and wild bees' hum ;
The flowers of summer are fairest there,
And freshest the breath of the summer air ;
And sweetest the golden autumn day,
In silence and sunshine, glides away.
Yet fair as thou art, thou shunnest to glide;
Beautiful stream ! by the village side ;
from the haunts of men,
To quiet valley and shaded glen ;
And forest, and meadow, and slope of hill
Around thee are lonely, lovely and still.
Lonely-save when by thy rippling tides,
From thicket to thicket, the angler glides;
Or the simpler comes, with basket and book,
For herbs of power on thy banks to look ;
Or haply some idle dreamer, like me,
To wander and muse and gaze on thee.
Still-save the chirp of the birds that feed
On the river cherry and seedy reed,
And thy own wild music gushing out,
With mellow murmur and fairy shout,
From dawn to the blush of another day,
Like traveller singing along his way.
See how the orient dew,
Shed from the bosom of the morn
Into the blowing roses,
Yet careless of its mansion new,
For the clear region where 'twas born,
Round in itself incloses;
And in its little globe's extent
Frames as it can its native element.
How it the purple flower does slight,
Scarce touching where it lies;
But, gazing back upon the skies,
Shines with a mournful light,
Like its own tear,
Because so long divided from its sphere.
Restless it rolls and insecure,
Trembling lest it grow impure,
Till the warm sun pities its pain,
And to the skies exhales it back again.
So the soul, that drop, that ray,
Of the clear Fountain of Eternal Day,
Could it within the human flower be seen,-
Remembering still its former height, Shuns the sweet leaves and blossoms green;
And, recollecting its own light, Does, in its pure and circling thoughts, express The greater heaven in a heaven less, In how coy a figure wound,
Every way it turns away ; So the world excluding round
Yet receiving in the day ; Dark beneath, but bright above; Here disdaining, there in love;
How loose and easy hence to go ; How girt and ready to ascend ;
Moving but on a point below, It all about does upward tend.
As few the gleams that here and there betray The secret streamlet on its leaf-clad
way, So faintest hints and tokens may express Hearts poor in thanks, but rich in thankfulness,