ODE TO BORROWDALE IN CUMBERLAND.[Page ][Page ]
ODE TO BORROWDALE IN CUMBERLAND.
[Written in 1794.]
1 HAIL, Derwent's beauteous pride!
2 Whose charms rough rocks in threatening grandeur guard,
3 Whose entrance seems to mortals barred,
4 But to the Genius of the storm thrown wide.
5 He on thy rock's dread height,
6 Reclined beneath his canopy of clouds,
7 His form in darkness shrouds,
8 And frowns as fixt to keep thy beauties from the sight.
9 But rocks and storms are vain:
10 Midst mountains rough and rude
11 Man's daring feet intrude,
12 Till, lo! upon the ravished eye
13 Burst thy clear stream, thy smiling sky,
14 Thy wooded valley, and thy matchless plain.
15 Bright vale! the Muse's choicest theme,
16 My morning thought, my midnight dream;
17 Still memory paints thee, smiling scene,
18 Still views the robe of purest green,
19 Refreshed by beauty-shedding rains,
20 Which wraps thy flower-enamelled plains;[Page 59]
21 Still marks thy mountains' fronts sublime,
22 Force graces from the hand of time;
23 Still I thy rugged rocks recall,
24 Which seem as nodding to their fall,
25 Whose wonders fixed my aching sight,
26 Till terror yielded to delight,
27 And my surprises, pleasures, fears,
28 Were told by slow delicious tears.
29 But suddenly the smiling day
30 That cheered the valley, flies away;
31 The wooded rocks, the rapid stream,
32 No longer boast the noon-tide beam. [Page 60]
33 But storms athwart the mountains sail,
34 And darkly brood o'er Borrowdale.
35 The frightened swain his cottage seeks,
36 Ere the thick cloud in terror speaks: —
37 And see, pale lightning flashes round!
38 While as the thunder's awful sound
39 On Echo's pinion widely flies,
40 Yon cataract's roar unheeded dies; ....
41 And thee, Sublimity! I hail,
42 Throned on the gloom of Borrowdale.
43 But soon the thunder dies away,
44 The flash withdraws its fearful ray;[Page 61]
45 Again upon the silver stream
46 Waves in bright wreaths the noon-tide beam.
47 O scene sequestered, varied, wild,
48 Scene formed to soothe Affliction's child,
49 How blest were I to watch each charm
50 That decks thy vale in storm or calm!
51 To see Aurora's hand unbind
52 The mists by night's chill power confined;
53 Upon the mountain's dusky brow
54 Then mark their colours as they flow,
55 Gliding the colder West to seek,
56 As from the East day's splendours break.
57 Now the green plain enchants the sight,
58 Adorned with spots of yellow light;
59 While, by its magic influence, shade
60 With contrast seems each charm to aid,
61 And clothes the woods in deeper dyes,
62 To suit the azure-vested skies.
63 While, lo! the lofty rocks above,
64 Where proudly towers the bird of Jove;
65 See from the view yon radiant cloud
66 His broad and sable pinions shroud,
67 Till, as he onward wings his flight,
68 He vanishes in floods of light;
69 Where feathered clouds on æther sail,
70 And glittering hang o'er Borrowdale .....
71 Or, at still midnight's solemn hour,
72 When the dull bat revolves no more,
73 In search of nature's awful grace,
74 I'd go, with slow and cautious pace,
75 Where the loud torrent's foaming tide
76 Lashes the rock's uneven side, ....
77 That rock which, o'er the stream below
78 Bending its moss-clad crumbling brow,
79 Makes pale with fear the wanderer's cheek,
80 Nor midnight's silence fails to break
81 By fragments from its aged head,
82 Which, rushing to the river's bed,
83 Cause, as they dash the waters round,
84 A dread variety of sound;[Page 64]
85 While I the gloomy grandeur hail,
86 And awe-struck rove through Borrowdale.
87 Yes, scene sequestered, varied, wild,
88 So form'd to soothe Affliction's child,
89 Sweet Borrowdale! to thee I'll fly,
90 To hush my bosom's ceaseless sigh.
91 If yet in Nature's store there be
92 One kind heart-healing balm for me,
93 Now the long hours are told by sighs,
94 And sorrow steals health's crimson dyes, —
95 If aught can smiles and bloom restore,
96 Ah! surely thine's the precious power!
97 Then take me to thy world of charms,
98 And hush my tortured breast's alarms;
99 Thy scenes with unobtrusive art
100 Shall steal the mourner from her heart, ....
101 The hands in sorrow claspt unclose,
102 Bid her sick soul on Heaven repose,
103 And, soothed by time and nature, hail
104 Health, peace, and hope in Borrowdale.