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Could he but feel how sweet, how free from strise,
The harmless pleasures of a harmless life,
No more his soul would pant for joys impure,
The deadly chalice would no more allure,
But the sweet potion he was wont to sip
Would turn to poison on his conscious lip.
Fair Nature! thee, in all thy varied charms,
Fain would I clasp for ever in my arms!
Thine are the sweets which never, never sate,
Thine still remain through all the storms of fate.
Though not for me 't was Heaven's divine command
To roll in acres of paternal land,
Yet still my lot is blest, while I enjoy
Thine opening beauties with a lover's eye.
Happy is he, who, though the cup of bliss
Has ever shunn'd him when he thought to kiss,
Who, still in abject poverty or pain,
Can count with pleasure what small joys remain:
Though were his sight convey'd from zone to zone,
He would not find one spot of ground his own,
Yet as he looks around, he cries with glee,
These bounding prospects all were made for me:
For me yon waving fields their burthen bear,
For me yon laborer guides the shining share,
While happy I in idle ease recline,
And mark the glorious visions as they shine.
This is the charm, by sages often told,
Converting all it touches into gold.
Content can soothe, where'er by Fortune placed,
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-ridged hill's 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 seal'd the cotter's eyes.
No more, where late the social fagot blazed,
The vacant peal resounds, by little raised,
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 made :
The simple plow-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 ceased 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:
1 The constellation Delphinus. For authority for this appel
lation, vide Ovid's Fasti, B. xi. 113.
There yet the primrose opes its earliest bloorn,
There yet the violet sheds its first perfume.
And in the branch that rears above the rest
The robin unmolested builds its nest.
"T was here, when Hope, presiding o'er my breast.
In vivid colors every prospect drest;
"T was 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 2
Say, can a few short years this change achieve,
That thy illusions can no more deceive 2
Time's sombrous tints have every view o'erspread.
And thou too, gay Seducer! art thou fled !
Though vain thy promise, and the suit severe,
Yet thou couldst 'guile Misfortune of her tear.
And of thy smiles across life's gloomy way
Could throw a gleam of transitory day.
How gay, in youth, the fluttering suture seems :
How sweet is manhood in the infant's dreams:
The dire mistake too soon is brought to light,
And all is buried in redoubled night.
Yet some can rise superior to their pain,
And in their breasts the charmer Hope retain :
While others, dead to feeling, can survey,
Unmoved, 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 deceived 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'erhung with ww.l
That winds the margin of the solemn flood!
What rural objects steal upon the sight!
What 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 stile,
And, frequent interspersed, 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 glimmering 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-rapt, 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 sung
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
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-famed Clifton Maid,
The beauteous Margaret; for her each swain
Confest in private his peculiar pain,
In secret sigh'd, a victim to despair,
Nor dared to hope to win the peerless fair.
No more the shepherd on the blooming mead
Attuned to gaiety his artless reed;
No more entwined the pansied wreath, to deck
His favorite wether's unpolluted neck,
But listless, by yon babbling stream reclined,
He mix'd his sobbings with the passing wind,
Bemoan'd his helpless 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 nativo home.
Yet not to all the maid express'd disdain;
Her Bateman loved, nor loved the youth in vain.
Full off, low whispering o'er these arching boughs,
The echoing vault responded to their vows,
As here, deep hidden from the glare of day,
Enamour'd oft, they took their secret way.
Yon bosky dingle, still the rustics name;
"T was there the blushing maid confess'd her flame.
Down yon green lane they oft were seen to hie,
When evening slumber'd on the western sky.
"That blasted yew, that mouldering walnut bare,
Each bears mementoes of the fated pair.
One eve, when Autumn loaded every breeze
With the fallen honors of the mourning trees,
The maiden waited at the accustom'd bower,
And waited long beyond the appointed hour,
Yet Bateman came not;—o'er the woodland drear,
IIowling portentous, did the winds career;
And bleak and dismal on the leafless woods,
The sitful rains rush'd down in sullen floods;
The night was dark; as, now and then, the gale
Paused for a moment, Margaret listen'd, pale;
But through the covert, to her anxious ear,
No rustling footstep spoke her lover near.
Strange fears now fill'd her breast,-she knew not
She sigh'd, and Bateman's name was in each sigh.
She hears a noise-'tis he, he comes at last;-
Alas!.'t was but the gale which hurried past:
But now she hears a quickening footstep sound,
Lightly it comes, and nearer does it bound;
T is Bateman's self—he springs into her arms,
T is he that clasps, and chides her vain alarms.
“Yet why this silence —I have waited long
And the cold storm has yell'd the trees among.
And, now thou'rt here, my fears are fled—yet speak,
Why does the salt tear moisten on thy cheek?
Say, what is wrong '"—Now, through a parting
The pale moon peer'd from her tempestuous shroud,
And Bateman's face was seen —'t was deadly white,
And sorrow seem'd to sicken in his sight.
“Oh, speak, my love!" again the maid conjured;
“Why is thy heart in sullen woe immured "
He raised his head, and thrice essay'd to tell,
Thrice from his lips the unfinish'd accents fell;
When thus, at last, reluctantly he broke
His boding silence, and the maid bespoke:
“Grieve not, my love, but ere the morn advance
I on these fields must cast my parting glance.
For three long years, by cruel fate's command,
I go to languish in a foreign land.
Oh, Margaret! omens dire have met my view,
Say, when far distant, wilt thou bear me true
Should honors tempt thee, and should riches see,
Wouldst thou forget thine ardent vows to me,
And, on the silken couch of wealth reclined,
Banish thy faithful Bateman from thy mind?”
He offer'd wealth, and all the joys of life,
And the weak maid became another's wife'
Six guilty months had mark'd the false one's crime,
When Bateman hail'd once more his native clime.
Sure of her constancy, elate he came,
The lovely partner of his soul to claim :
Light was his heart, as up the well-known way .
He bent his steps—and all his thoughts were gay.
Oh! who can paint his agonizing throes,
When on his ear the fatal news arose !
Chill'd with amazement, senseless with the blow,
He stood a marble monument of woe;
Till, call'd to all the horrors of despair,
He smote his brow, and tore his horrent hair;
Then rush'd impetuous from the dreadful spot,
And sought those scenes (by memory ne'er forgot),
Those scenes, the witness of their growing flame,
And now like witnesses of Margaret's shame.
"T was night—he sought the river's lonely shore,
And traced again their former wanderings o'er.
Now on the bank in silent grief he stood,
And gazed intently on the stealing flood,
Death in his mien and madness in his eye,
He watch'd the waters as they murmur'd by:
Bade the base murderess triumph o'er his grave—
Prepared to plunge into the whelming wave.
Yet still he stood irresolutely bent,
Religion sternly stay’d his rash intent.
He knelt.—Cool play'd upon his cheek the wind,
And fann'd the fever of his maddening mind.
The willows waved, the stream it sweetly swept,
The paly moonbeam on its surface slept,
And all was peace,—he felt the general calm
O'er his rack'd bosom shed a genial balm;
When casting far behind his streaming eye,
He saw the Grove—in fancy saw her lie,
His Margaret, lull'd in Germain's' arms to rest,
And all the demon rose within his breast.
Convulsive now, he clench'd his trembling hand,
Cast his dark eye once more upon the land,
Then, at one spring, he spurn'd the yielding bank,
And in the calm deceitful current sank.
Sad, on the solitude of night, the sound,
As in the stream he plunged, was heard around:
Then all was still—the wave was rough no more,
The river swept as sweetly as besore;
The willows waved, the moonbeams shone serene,
And peace returning brooded o'er the scene.
Now, see upon the perjured fair one hang
Remorse's glooms and never-ceasing pang.
Full well she knew, repentant now too late,
She soon must bow beneath the stroke of fate.
But, for the babe she bore beneath her breast,
The offended God prolong'd her life unblest.
But fast the fleeting moments roll'd away,
And near, and nearer, drew the dreaded day;
That day, soredoom'd to give her child the light,
And hurl its mother to the shades of night.
The hour arrived, and from the wretched wife
The guiltless baby struggled into life.—
As night drew on, around her bed, a band
Of friends and kindred kindly took their stand;
1 Germain is the traditionary name of her husband.
In holy prayer they pass'd the creeping time,
Intent to expiate her awful crime.
Their prayers were fruitless-As the midnight came,
A heavy sleep oppress'd each weary frame.
In vain they strove against the o'erwhelming load,
Some power unseen their drowsy lids bestrode.
They slept, till in the blushing eastern sky
The blooming Morning oped her dewy eye;
Then waking wide they sought the ravish'd bed,
But, lo! the hapless Margaret was fled;
And never more the weeping train were doom'd
To view the false one, in the deeps entomb'd.
The neighboring rustics told, that in the night
They heard such screams as froze them with affright,
And many an infant, at its j breast,
Started, dismay’d, from its unthinking rest.
And even now, upon the heath forlorn,
They show the path down which the fair was borne
By the fell demons, to the yawning wave,
Her own, and murder'd lover's, mutual grave.
Such is the tale, so sad, to memory dear,
Which oft in youth has charm'd my listening ear:
That tale, which bade me find redoubled sweets
In the drear silence of these dark retreats;
And even now, with melancholy power,
Adds a new pleasure to the lonely hour.
"Mid all the charms by magic Nature given
To this wild spot, this sublunary heaven,
With double joy enthusiast Fancy leans
On the attendant legend of the scenes.
This sheds a fairy lustre on the floods,
And breathes a mellower gloom upon the woods;
This, as the distant cataract swells around,
Gives a romantic cadence to the sound ;
This, and the deep'ning glen, the alley green,
The silver stream, with sedgy tufts between,
The massy rock, the wood-encompass'd leas,
The broom-clad islands, and the nodding trees,
The lengthening vista, and the present gloom,
The verdant pathway breathing waste perfume:
These are thy charms: the joys which these impart
Bind thee, blest Clision! close around my heart.
Dear Native Grove! where'er my devious track,
To thee will Memory kead the wanderer back.
Whether in Arno's polish'd vales I stray,
Or where “Oswego's swamps" obstruct the day;
Or wander lone, where, wildering and wide,
The tumbling torrent laves St. Gothard's side;
Or by old Tejo’s classic margent muse,
“Or stand entranced with Pyrennean views;
Still, still to thee, where'er my footsteps roam,
My heart shall point, and lead the wanderer home.
When Splendor offers, and when same incites,
I'll pause, and think of all thy dear delights,
Reject the boon, and, wearied with the change,
Renounce the wish which first induced to range;
Turn to these scenes, these well-known scenes once
Trace once again old Trent's romantic shore,
And, tired with worlds, and all their busy ways,
Here waste the little remnant of my days.
But, if the Fates should this last wish deny,
And doom me on some foreign shore to die;