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This is the charm, by sages often told,
Converting all it touches into gold,
Content can soothe, where'er by fortune plac'd,
Can rear a garden in the desert waste.
How lovely, from this hill's superior height,
Spreads the wide view before my straining sight!
O'er many a varied mile of lengthening ground,
E’en to the blue-ridg'd hills remotest bound
My ken is borne, while o'er my head serene,
The silver moon illumes the misty scene,
Now shining clear, now darkening in the glade,
In all the soft varieties of shade.
Behind me, lo! the peaceful hamlet lies
The drowsy god has seald the cotter's eyes.
No more, where late the social faggot blaz'd,
The vacant peal resounds; by little rais'd;
But, lock'd in silence, o'er Arion's * star
The slumbering night rolls on her velvet car;
The church-bell tolls, deep-sounding down the glade,
The solemn hour, for walking spectres niade;
The simple plough-boy, wakening with the sound,
Listens aghast, and turns him startled round,
Then stops his ears, and strives to close his eyes,
Lest at the sound some grisly ghost should rise.
Now ceas'd the long, the monitory toll,
Returning silence stagnates in the soul;
Save when, disturb'd by dreams, with wild affright,
The deep-mouth'd mastiff bays the troubled night;
Or where the village ale-house crowns the vale,
The creaking sign-post whistles to the gale,
A little onward let me bend my way,
Where the moss'd seat invites the traveller's stay.
That spot, oh! yet it is the very same;
That hawthorn gives it shade, and gave it name;
There yet the primrose opes its earliest bloom,
There yet the violet sheds its first perfume,
And in the branch that rears above the rest
The robin unmolested builds its nest.
"Twas here, when hope presiding o'er my breast,
In vivid colours every prospect drest;
'Twas here, reclining, I indulged her dreams,
And lost the hour in visionary schemes.
Here, as I press once more the ancient seat,
Why, bland deceiver! not renew the cheat?
Say, can a few short years this change atchieve,
That thy illusions can no more deceive!
Time's sombrous tints have every view o'erspread,
And thou too, gay Seducer! art thou fled?
Tho' vain thy promise, and the suite severe,
Yet thou could'st guile misfortune of her tear,
And oft thy smiles across life’s gloomy way,
Could throw a gleam of transitory day.
How gay, in youth, the flattering future seems;
How sweet is manhood in the infants' dreams;
The dire mistake too soon is brought to light,
And all is buried in redoubled night.
Yet some can rise superior to the pain,
And in their breasts the charmer hope retain:
Wbile others, dead to feeling, can survey
Unmov'd, their fairest prospects fade away:
But yet a few there be,—too soon o'ercast!
Who shrink unhappy from the adverse blast,
And woo the first bright gleam, which breaks the gloom,
To gild the silent slumbers of the tomb.
So, in these shades, the early primrose blows,
Too soon deceiv'd by suns, and melting snows:
So falls untimely on the desert waste,
Its blossoms withering in the northern blast.
Now pass'd whate'er the upland heights display,
Down the steep cliff I wind my devious way;
Oft rousing, as the rustling path I beat,
The timid hare from its accustom'd seat.
And oh! how sweet this walk o'er-hung with wood,
That winds the margin of the solemn flood!
What rural objects steal upon the sight!
Wbat rising views prolong the calm delight!
The brooklet branching from the silver Trent,
The whispering birch by every zephyr bent,
The woody island, and the naked mead,
The lowly hut half hid in groves of reed,
The rural wicket, and the rural style,
And frequent interspers’d, the woodman's pile.
Above, below, where'er I turn my eyes,
Rocks, waters, woods, in grand succession rise,
High up the cliff the varied groves ascend,
And mournful larches o'er the wave impend.
Around, what sounds, what magic sounds arise,
What glimm'ring scenes salute my ravish'd eyes:
Soft sleep the waters on their pebbly bed,
The woods wave gently o'er my drooping head,
And swelling slow, comes wafted on the wind,
Lorn Progne's note from distant copse behind.
Still, every rising sound of calm delight
Stamps but the fearful silence of the night;
Save, when is heard, between each dreary rest,
Discordant, from her solitary nest,
The owl, dull screaming to the wandering moon,
Now riding, cloud-wrapt, near her highest noon:
Or when the wild-duck, southering, hither rides,
And plunges sullen in the sounding tides,
How oft, in this sequester'd spot, when youth
Gave to each tale the holy force of truth,
Have I long linger’d, while the milk-maid şung
The tragic legend, till the woodland rung!
That tale, so sad! which, still to memory dear,
From its sweet source can call the sacred tear.
And (lull’d to rest stern reason's harsh control)
Steal its soft magic to the passive soul.
These hallow'd shades,—these trees that woo the wind,
Recall its faintest features to my mind.
A hundred passing years, with march sublime,
Have swept beneath the silent wing of time,
Since, in yon hamlet's solitary shade,
Reclusely dwelt the far-fam'd Clifton Maid,
The beauteous MARGARET; for her each swain
Confest in private bis peculiar pain,
In secret sigh'd, a victim to despair,
Nor dar'd to hope to win the peerless fair.
No more, the shepherd on the blooming mead
Attun'd to gaiety his artless reed,
No more entwin'd the pansied wreath, to deck
His favorite wether's unpolluted neck,
But listless, by yon babbling stream reclin'd,
He mix'd his sobbings with the passing wind,
Bemodn'd his hapless love, or boldly bent,
Far from these smiling fields, a rover went,
O’er distant lands, in search of ease to roam,
A self-will'd exile from his native home.
Yet not to all the maid express'd disdain,
Her BATEMAN lov'd, nor lov'd the youth in vain.
Full oft, low whispering o'er these arching boughs,
The echoing vault responded to their vows,
As here deeep hidden from the glare of day,
Enamour'd oft, they took their secret way.
Yon bosky diagle, still the rustics name; 'Twas there the blushing maid confess'd her flame. ' Down yon green lane they oft were seen to hier When evening slumber'd on the western sky.