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II.

THE TABLES TURNED.

AN EVENING SCENE ON THE SAME SUBJECT.

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble ?

The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books ! 'tis a dull and endless strife :
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

And hark! how blithe the throstle sings !
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your

teacher.

She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless-
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.

One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach

you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

Sweet is the lore which Nature brings ;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things :-
We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;
Close

up

those barren leaves ;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.

1798.

III.

LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING.

(ACTUALLY composed while I was sitting by the side of the brook retired part of the grounds had not tempted him to make it more accessible by a path, not broad or obtrusive, but sufficient for persons who love such scenes to creep along without difficulty.)

that runs down from the Comb, in which stands the village of Alford, through the grounds of Alfoxden. It was a chosen resort of mine. The brook fell down a sloping rock so as to make a waterfall considerable for that country, and across the pool below, had fallen a tree, an ash if I rightly remember, from which rose perpendicularly, boughs in search of the light intercepted by the deep shade above. The boughs bore leaves of green that for want of sunshine had faded into almost lilywhite; and from the underside of this natural sylvan bridge depended long and beautiful tresses of ivy which waved gently in the breeze that might poetically speaking be called the breath of the waterfall. This motion varied of course in proportion to the power of water in the brook. When, with dear friends, I revisited this spot, after an interval of more than forty years, this interesting feature of the scene was gone. To the owner of the place I could not but regret that the beauty of this

I HEARD a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis

flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure :-
But the least motion which they made,
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air ;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man ?

my
faith that

every

199

IV.

À CHARACTER.

[The principal features are taken from that of my friend Robert

Jones.]

I MARVEL how Nature could ever find space
For so many strange contrasts in one human face :
There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness

and bloom
And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.
There's weakness, and strength both redundant and
Such strength as, if ever affliction and pain (vain;
Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease,
Would be rational peace-a philosopher's ease.
There's indifference, alike when he fails or succeeds,
And attention full ten times as much as there needs;
Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy;
And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.
There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare
Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there,
There's virtue, the title it surely may claim,
Yet wants heaven knows what to be worthy the name.
This picture from nature may seem to depart,
Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart,
And I for five centuries right gladly would be
Such an odd such a kind happy creature as he.

a

V.

TO MY SISTER,

[COMPOSED in front of Alfoxden House. My little boy-messenger on

this occasion was the son of Basil Montagu. The larch men-
tioned in the first stanza was standing when I revisited the
place in May, 1841, more than forty years after. I was dis-
appoiated that it had not improved in appearance as to size, nor
had it acquired anything of the majesty of age, which, even
though less perhaps than any other tree, the larch sometimes dues.
A few score yards from this tree, grew, when we inhabited
Alfoxden, one of the most remarkable beech-trees ever seen.
The ground sloped both towards and from it. It was of
immense size, and threw out arms that struck into the soil,
like those of the banyan-tree, and rose again from it. Two of
the branches thus inserted themselves twice, which gave to each
the appearance of a serpent moving along by gathering itself up
in folds. One of the large boughs of this tree had been torn off
by the wind before we left Alfoxden, but five remained. In
1841 we could barely find the spot where the tree had stood.
So remarkable a production of nature could not have been
wilfully destroyed.]

It is the first mild day of March :
Each minute sweeter than before
The redbreast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.

There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
And
grass
in the
green

field.

My sister! ('tis a wish of mine)
Now that our morning meal is done,
Make haste, your morning task resign;
Come forth and feel the sun.

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