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To whom belongs this valley fair,
That sleeps beneath the filmy air,

Even like a living thing?
Silent as infant at the breast,
Save a still sound that speaks of rest,

That streamlet's murmuring !
The heavens appear to love this vale ;
Here clouds with scarce-seen motion sail,

Or mid the silence lie!
By that blue arch, this beauteous earth
Mid evening's hour of dewy mirth,

Seems bound unto the sky.

Oh that this lovely vale were mine!
Then, from glad youth to calm decline,

My years would gently glide ;
Hope would rejoice in endless dreams,
And memory's ost-returning gleams

By peace be sanctified.
There would unto my soul be given,
From presence of that gracious Heaven,

A piety sublime !
And thoughts would come of mystic mood,
To make in this deep solitude

Eternity of Time!

And did I ask to whom belong'd
This vale? I feel that I have wrong'd

Nature's most gracious soul !
She spreads her glories o'er the earth,
And all her children, from their birth,

Are joint heirs of the whole !

Yea, long as Nature's humblest child
Hath kept her temple undefiled

By sinful sacrifice,
Earth's fairest scenes are all his own;
He is a monarch, and His throne

Is built amid the skies!


With laughter swimming in thine eye,
That told youth's heartfeli revelry!
And motion changeful as the wing
Of swallow waken'd by the spring ;
With accents blithe as voice of May,
Chanting glad Nature's roundelay;
Circled by joy like planet bright
That smiles mid wreaths of dewy light;
Thy image such, in former time,
When thou, just entering on thy prime,
And woman's sense in thee combined
Gently with childhood's simplest mind,
First taught'st my sighing soul to move
With hope towards the heaven of love!
Now years have given my Mary's face
A thoughtful and a quiet grace;
Though happy still, yet chance distress
Hath left a pensive loveliness!
Fancy hath tamed her fairy gleams,
And thy heart broods o'er homeborn dreams!
Thy smiles, slow-kindling now and mild,
Shower blessings on a darling child;
Thy motion slow, and soft thy tread,
As if round thy hush'd infant's bed!
And when thou speak’st, thy melting tone,
That tells thy heart is all my own,
Sounds sweeter, from the lapse of years,
With the wife's love, the mother's fears !

By thy glad youth and tranquil prime
Assured, I smile at hoary Time!
For thou art doom'd in age to know
The calm that wisdom steals from wo;
The holy pride of high intent,
The glory of a life well spent.
When earth's affections nearly o’er,
With Peace behind, and Faith before,
Thou render'st up again to God,
Untarnish'd by its frail abode,
Thy lustrous soul; then harp and hymn,
From bands of sister seraphim,
Asleep will lay thee, till thine eye
Open in immortality!



Oh! my love's like the steadfast sun,
Or streams that deepen as they run;
Not hoary hairs, nor forty years,
Nor moments between sighs and fears ;
Nor nights of thought, nor days of pain,
Nor dreams of glory dream'd in vain ;
Nor mirth, nor sweetest song which flows
To sober joys and soften woes,
Can make my heart or fancy:flee
One moment, my sweet wife, from thee.
Even while I muse, I see thee sit
In maiden bloom and matron wit;
Fair, gentle as when first I sued
You seem, but of sedater mood :
Yet my heart leaps as fond for thee
As when, beneath Arbigland tree,
We stay'd and woo'd, and thought the moon
Set on the sea an hour too soon;

Or linger'd mid the falling dew,
When looks were fond and words were few.

Though I see smiling at thy feet
Five sons and one fair daughter sweet;
And time, and care, and birth-time woes
Have dimm'd thine eye and touched thy rose:
To thee, and thoughts of thee, belong
All that charnis me of tale or song;
When words come down like dews unsought,
With gleams of deep enthusiast thought;
And fancy in her heaven flies free,
They come, my love, they come from thee.

Oh, when more thought we gave of old
To silver than some give to gold,
'Twas sweet to sit and ponder o'er
What things should deck our humble bower!
"Twas sweet to pull, in hope, with thee,
The golden fruit from fortune's tree;
And sweeter still to choose and twine
A garland for these locks of thine ;
A song-wreath which might grace my Jean,
While rivers flow and woods are green.

At times there come, as come there ought,
Grave moments of sedater thought;
When fortune frowns, nor lends our night
One gleam of her inconstant light;
And hope, that decks the peasant's bower,
Shines like the rainbow through the shower:
Oh then I see, while seated nigh,
A mother's heart shine in thine eye;
And proud resolve, and purpose meek,
Speak of thee more than words can speak:
I think the wedded wife of mine
The best of all that's not divine !



With blackest moss the flower-plots

Were thickly crusted, one and all; The rusted nails fell from the knots

That held the peach to the garden-wall. The broken sheds looked sad and strange,

Unlisted was the clinking latch,

Weeded and worn the ancient thatch Upon the lonely moated grange.

She only said, “My life is dreary,

He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead !"

Her tears fell with the dews at even,

Her tears fell ere the dews were dried ; She could not look on the sweet heaven,

Either at morn or eventide. After the flitting of the bats,

When thickest dark did trance the sky,

She drew her casement curtain by, And glanced athwart the glooming flats.

She only said, “The night is dreary,

He cometh not,” she said ;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!"

Upon the middle of the night,

Waking, she heard the nightfowl crow: The cock sung out an hour ere light;

From the dark fen the oxen's low Came to her : without hope of change,

In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,

Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn About the lonely moated grange.

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