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POEMS ON THE NAMING

OF PLACES

ADVERTISEMENT

By persons resident in the country, and attached to rural objects, many places will be found unnamed or of unknown names, where little Incidents must have occurred, or feelings been experienced, which will have given to such places a private and peculiar interest. From a wish to give some sort of record to such Incidents, and renew the gratification of such feelings, Names have been given to places by the Author and some of his Friends, and the following Poems written in consequence.

POEMS ON THE NAMING OF

PLACES

"IT WAS AN APRIL MORNING. FRESH AND CLEAR"

It was an April morning: fresh and clear
The rivulet, delighting in its strength,

Ran with a young man's speed; and yet the voice
Of waters which the winter had supplied

Was softened down into a vernal tone.

The spirit of enjoyment and desire,

And hopes and wishes, from all living things
Went circling, like a multitude of sounds.
The budding groves seemed eager to urge on
The steps of June; as if their shades

Of various green were hindrances that stood
Between them and their object: yet, meanwhile,
There was such deep contentment in the air
That every naked ash, and tardy tree
Yet leafless, showed as if the countenance
With which it looked on this delightful day
Were native to the summer. Up the brook
I roamed in the confusion of my heart,
Alive to all things and forgetting all.
At length I to a sudden turning came
In this continuous glen, where down a rock
The stream, so ardent in its course before,
Sent forth such sallies of glad sound, that all
Which I till then had heard appeared the voice
Of common pleasure: beast and bird, the lamb,

The shepherd's dog, the linnet and the thrush,
Vied with this waterfall, and made a song

Which, while I listened, seemed like the wild growth
Or like some natural produce of the air,
That could not cease to be.

Green leaves were here;

But 'twas the foliage of the rocks--the birch,
The yew, the holly, and the bright green thorn,
With hanging islands of resplendent furze :
And on a summit, distant a short space,
By any who should look beyond the dell
A single mountain-cottage might be seen.
I gazed and gazed, and to myself I said,

Our thoughts at least are ours; and this wild nook, My EMMA, I will dedicate to thee."

Soon did the spot become my other home,

My dwelling, and my out-of-doors abode.

And of the shepherds who have seen me there,
To whom I sometimes in our idle talk

Have told this fancy, two or three, perhaps,
Years after we are gone and in our graves,
When they have cause to speak of this wild place,
May call it by the name of EMMA'S DELL.

TO JOANNA

AMID the smoke of cities did you pass
The time of early youth; and there you learned,
From years of quiet industry, to love
The living Beings by your own fire-side,

With such a strong devotion, that your heart
Is slow to meet the sympathies of them

Who look upon the hills with tenderness,

And make dear friendships with the streams and

groves.

Yet we, who are transgressors in this kind,

Dwelling retired in our simplicity

Among the woods and fields, we love you well,
Joanna! and I guess, since you have been
So distant from us now for two long years,

That you will gladly listen to discourse
However trivial, if you thence be taught

That they, with whom you once were happy, talk
Familiarly of you and of old times.

While I was seated, now some ten days past, Beneath those lofty firs, that overtop

Their ancient neighbour, the old steeple-tower,
The vicar from his gloomy house hard by
Came forth to greet me; and, when he had asked,
"How fares Joanna, that wild-hearted maid!
And when will she return to us?" he paused;
And, after short exchange of village news,
He with grave looks demanded for what cause,
Reviving obsolete idolatry,

I, like a Runic priest, in characters

Of formidable size had chiselled out
Some uncouth name upon the native rock,
Above the Rotha, by the forest-side.
Now, by those dear immunities of heart
Engendered between malice and true love,
I was not loth to be so catechised,
And this was my reply: "As it befell,
One summer morning we had walked abroad
At break of day, Joanna and myself.

'Twas that delightful season when the broom,
Full-flowered, and visible on every steep,
Along the copses runs in veins of gold.

Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks;
And, when we came in front of that tall rock
That eastward looks, I there stopped short- and
stood

Tracing the lofty barrier with my eye

From base to summit; such delight I found
To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower,
That intermixture of delicious hues,

Along so vast a surface, all at once,

In one impression, by connecting force
Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart.
When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space,

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