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L. But Thou, exulting and abounding river ! Making thy waves a blessing as they flow Through banks whose beauty would endure for ever Could man but leave thy bright creation so, Nor its fair promise from the surface mow With the sharp scythe of conflict,—then to see Thy valley of sweet waters, were to know
Earth paved like Heaven; and to seem sạch to me Even now what wants thy stream ?—that it should
A thousand battles have assail'd thy banks,
But these and half their fame have pass'd away,
And Slaughter heap'd on high his weltering ranks ;
Their very graves are gone, and what are they?
Thy tide wash'd down the blood of yesterday,
And all was stainless, and on thy clear stream
Glass'd with its dancing light the sunny ray;
But o'er the blacken'd memory's blighting dream Thy waves would vainly roll, all sweeping as they seem.
LII. Thus Harold inly said, and pass'd along, Yet not insensibly to all which here Awoke the jocund birds to early song In glens which might have made even exile dear: Though on his brow were graven lines austere, And tranquil sternness which had ta’en the place Of feelings fierier far but less severe,
Joy was not always absent from his face, But o'er it in such scenes would steal with transient
Nor was all love shut from him, though his days
Of passion had consumed themselves to dust.
It is in vain that we would coldly gaze
On such as smile upon us; the heart must
Leap kindly back to kindness, though disgust
Hath wean'd it from all worldlings: thus he felt,
For there was soft remembrance, and sweet trust
In one fond breast, to which his own would melt, And in its tenderer hour on that his bosom dwelt.
And he had learn’d to love, I know not why,
For this in such as him seems strange of mood,
The helpless looks of blooming infancy,
Even in its earliest nurture; what subdued,
To change like this, a mind so far imbued
With scorn of man, it little boots to know;
But thus it was; and though in solitude
Small power the nipp'd affections have to grow,
In him this glow'd when all beside had ceased to glow.
And there was one soft breast, as hath been said,
Which unto his was bound by stronger ties
Than the church links withal; and, though unwed,
That love was pure, and, far above disguise,
Had stood the test of mortal enmities
Still undivided, and cemented more
By peril, dreaded most in female
eyes ; But this was firm, and from a foreign shore Well to that heart might his these absent greetings pour!
The castled crag of Drachenfels (11)
Frowns o'er the wide and winding Rhine,
Whose breast of waters broadly swells
Between the banks which bear the vine,
And hills all rich with blossom'd trees,
And fields which promise corn and wine,
And scatter'd cities crowning these,
Whose far white walls along them shine,
Have strew'd a scene, which I should see
With double joy wert thou with me!
And peasant girls, with deep blue eyes,
And hands which offer early flowers,
Walk smiling o'er this paradise;
Above, the frequent feudal towers
Through green leaves lift their walls of gray,
And many a rock which steeply lours,
And noble arch in proud decay,
Look o'er this vale of vintage-bowers;
But one thing want these banks of Rhine,
Thy gentle hand to clasp in mine !
3. I send the lilies given to me; Though long before thy hand they touch, I know that they must wither'd be, But yet reject them not as such; For I have cherish'd them as dear, Because they yet may meet thine eye, And guide thy soul to mine even here, When thou behold’st them drooping nigh, And know'st them gather'd by the Rhine, And offer'd from my heart to thine!
The river nobly foams and flows,
The charm of this enchanted ground,
And all its thousand turns disclose
Some fresher beauty varying round;
The haughtiest breast its wish might bound
Through life to dwell delighted here;
Nor could on earth a spot be found
To nature and to me so dear,
Could thy dear eyes in following mine
Still sweeten more these banks of Rhine!