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In a Wood on the Side of the River Dart,


Tell me, thou grotto! o'er whose brow are seenProjecting plumes, and shades of deep'ning green,—While not a sound disturbs thy stony hall,While all thy dewy drops forget to fall,—Why canst thou not thy soothing charms impart,And shed thy quiet o'er this beating heart?Tell me, thou richly-painted river! tell,That on thy mirror'd plane dost mimic wellEach pendent tree and every distant hill,Tipp'd with red lustre, beauteous, bright, and still,—

Can I not, gazing on thy tranquil tide,Shed ev'ry grief upon thy rocky side?Or must I rove thy margin, calm and clear,The only agitated object near?Oh! tell me, too, thou babbling cold cascade!Whose waters, falling thro' successive shade,Unspangled by the brightness of the sky,Awake each echo to a soft reply,—Say, canst thou not my bosom-grief befriend,And bid one drop upon my heart descend?When all thy songsters soothe themselves to sleep.Ah! must these aching eyes for ever weep?And must their frequent waters, like thine own,Drop, idly drop, on unimpressive stone?Or, when my beauteous fair shall deign to graceThe humid foliage of thy mossy base,Canst thou not tell how many a rock belowImpedes to kiss thy waters as they flow?In her mind canst thou not the feeling rearTo stop, or thus caress, each genuine tear?

Teach her, oh! teach her, then, thou cold cascade!Pour all thy lessons for the lovely maid!And thou, bless'd grotto! let thy silence proveHer mute consenting answer to my love!And thou, bright river! as thou roll'st along,Bear on thy wand'ring wave a lover's song!Strong as thy current, as thy waters pure,Teach her to feel the passion I endure!


—manibus date lilia plenis: Purpureos spargam flores.

Aeneid, lib. vi.

Tho' no funereal grandeur swell my song,Nor genius, eagle-plum'd, the strain prolong,—Tho' Grief and Nature here alone combineTo weep, my William! o'er a fate like thine,—Yet thy fond pray'r, still ling'ring on my ear,Shall force its way thro' many a gushing tear:The Muse, that saw thy op'ning beauties spread,That lov'd thee living, shall lament thee dead!Ye graceful Virtues! while the note I breathe,Of sweetest flow'rs entwine a fun'ral wreath,—Of virgin flow'rs, and place them round his tomb,To bud, like him, and perish in their bloom!Ah! when these eyes saw thee serenely waitThe last long separating stroke of Fate,—When round thy bed a kindred weeping trainCall'd on thy voice to greet them, but in vain,—When o'er thy lips we watch'd thy fault'ring breath—When louder grief proclaim'd th'approach of death,—Thro' ev'ry vein an icy horror chill'd,Colder than marble ev'ry bosom thrill'd.Unsettled still, tho' exercis'd to grieve,Scarce would my mind the alter'd sight believe;Familiar scenes a transient calm inspire,Poor flutt'ring Fancy fann'd the vain desire,'Till with sad proof thy wasted relics rise,And restless Nature pours uncall'd-for sighs....