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SONNETS WRITTEN AMONG THE MOUNTAIN
SCENERY OF CUMBERLAND.
Who that has ever visited this region of our British Alps, and of our British Tempè too, can fail to bear away an ineffaceable impression of its sublimity and beauty ? Yet must that impression be always imperfect. It cannot be too frequently renewed. The writer has seen it in its vernal promise, beneath the sum. mer glow, amidst its autumnal sear,—the sear of a ruddy though expiring sacrifice, -the mountains in every disposition of light, the valleys in every change of hue, -and knows not what season or hour, what reflection or aspect, are to be preferred. These lines would not have appeared, but that they had obtained the very high honour of Professor Wilson's approbation—long a sojourner among these scenes, -their eloquent rhopsodist and most musical bard. --Blackwood's Mag., Oct. 1837.
Ye Mountain Surges! Mimic Mountain Main!
How on each other do ye seem to roll !
How doth one pulse your every sweep control!
And wakes your countless outeries with its crash,
While melted into torrents on ye dash
Ye stand, like adamants, in columped piles
Or, like a warrior-guard in concave files,
Protecting Beauty shrined in these soft lakes and isles !
Ye are not one alike! In fork and fell,
With spire and dome,—ye climb your way above,
As though in emulation proud ye strove To spurn most distant each retiring dell ! Lightnings have scathed your peaks but could not quell
Your giant-mass! However fierce the storm
With plastic power it varied every form,
To call each height by its own rank and shape,
gorge should gape, A scale to try where still in richer blaze Earth shoots sublime to Heaven's blue waves her loftiest
But ye are more! The Monuments of power!
Typing the soul's best attributes of might,
Like you, most native to celestial light Which
ye reflect through day's extremest hour! And when in wreaths of haze your summits lour,
Ye speak of mystic and eternal things,
Mingling with heaven upon those solemn wings
The hills remove,-how moveless is His Throne!
His love would fill the void itself alone!
And writes it on your Tablets of unmouldering stone!
My soul swells through you ! On
live once more, Whether in flowing outline ye dispread,
Or heave on high the thunder-rifted head,-
Through all their grand and ever-varying range
Exhibited a thousand Marvels strange ! Why didst thou shake to centre, Sinai hoar ? Upon Thy terraced platform, Zion! rose
The great Jehovah's fixed and loved abode. And there where Carmel still in beauty blows
Was re-established the eternal Code ! Tabor rejoice !-0 Calvary, what throes
Are Thine! Fair Olivet, from Thee ascends our God !
Ye to me always were a life intense !
My youth disported on your cliffs at ease,
My cheek, unfurrowed then! Alushed in your breeze ;While infancy reposed ’neath your defence, Still would mine eye trace out the uplands whence
Ye left our nether earth, and then combined
With your proud barriers other worlds behind,
-Its transcendental thoughts were then its life,-
Present and past, like flow and ebb in strife, Chafed up its yearnings to their last degree !
And my heart strangely grew with feelings new and rife!
Ye are not strewn in vain! Ye have a voice,
Articulate, sonorous, often sweet,
When silvery runnels tinkle, mix, and greet :-
And the reverberating Thunder wakes,
And the deep-groaning belted Forest shakes,-
Who tunes your mighty music! Low incline
Thus pay the Adoration all divine,
Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scawfell, ye great Chieftain-Trine !
Since eye first rested on your wondrous heaps,
What looks of youth and age, of grief and joy,
Have turned toward you nor found that ye could cloy,And yet the fondest in its burial sleeps, And from its orbit the foul reptile creeps!
What awful changes roll on at your base!
Nathless the turmoil strives in vain to rase Your rock-foundations, or to bow your steeps ! For all is else inconstant,—though it seem
Firm and trustworthy, 't is the wind and cloud : And Hope is the poor offspring of a dream,
The husbandman the empty air has ploughed,The pilgrim faints o'er the false mirage-stream,
And there is only left, the bier, the grave, the shroud!
Blest trance of calm! A sabbath evening stays,
With fondling pleasure o'er thee, Mountain Sea !
Purpling each crag, illumining each tree, And on the Mere's soft banks and gentle bays, Streaming a flush of richly-pencilled rays !
O sweet among these grandeurs 't is to find
A little band of Christians disciplined,
Ah, it is not by Nature we can rise
This lovely outward world, the sinner flies
Another Temple seeks where there is Sacrifice.
SONNETS COMPOSED AT THE SEA-SIDE AND
IN VIEW OF FLAMBOROUGH HEAD.
Whate'er man images of profound and great !
Eternal Might! With energy unbound
In tide and main and ocean, Thou roll'st round!
Eternal Freshness! Breathed in every morn,
Wafting each gale which life and health hath borne ! Eternal Music! How Thy notes dilate