ON THE LYDFORD WATERFALL
It is a shadowy crevice of the wood,
Wild though not stern, and lonesome, but not rude;
So green and fresh with mingling boughs around,
And waving fret-work o’er the untrodden ground;
The tall dark crag, its roughness worn away,
Shines with the dashing Cataracts frothy spray;
Which like a snow-white pillar seems to tower
Far in the deep recesses of its bower;
Its hoary head among the verdure hides,
And bathes the dripping leaves that arch its sides.
Green oaks and hazels over-hanging all
The steepy edges of the Water-fall;
Till far above, their clustering arms between,
Small space of sky in narrow glimpse is seen;
And there the sun at blaze of Noon ye view,
Piercing with arrowy rays the foliage through;
That change the lucid water’s scattered face
To molten crystal in that secret place;
While from its broken column, sprinkling dews
Hang in the air, and o’er leaves diffuse.
In glittering wreathes the rapid waves alight,
And mid the darkling hollow re-unite:
Then onward tending to their native place,
Roll their soothed billows in Lyd’s embrace,
As thence composed, along the forest-lea
He journeys gaily downward to the sea;
And watery Nymphs around his footsteps pay
Their foam-light crowns, and sing the spousal lay.
Now further through that wild-wood dell advance,
Where jocund Fairies weave their moon-lit dance;
Or mid a thousand flowers their revels hold,
And elfin banquet pledge in solid gold.
Fit scene, meet haunt, around ye may decry
For spirit-things-if spirits should be nigh:-
Cool waves the sycamore its darksome shades,
And silvery aspens bend in light arcades;
The clustered oaks a greener roof extend,
And the grey ash doth with the beeches blend.
Beneath fair bloom the flowers in mingling dyes,
And water-shrubs along the margin rise;
So thick and gay, no hand of man had care
With toil or studious art to plant the, there;
But ever springing as the seasons run,
Spread their your foreheads to the nursing Sun;
In balmy showers their growing leaves unclose,
And scent each breeze that o’er the forest blows.
Such place had been in classic days of eld
By pastoral gods with sacred joy beheld;
Here ancient Pan had tuned his reed, and all
The mirthsome Dryads hailed the favourite call;
With bounding Fauns some sportive measure wove
By Lyd’s gay margin and romantic grove,
Till music echoes bade the wild rejoice,
And rugged rocks sighed back the tuneful voice.
For me, my sylvan Harp, unheedful strung,
On the witch-elm beside the Cataract hung;
Hath felt at intervals the passing breeze
Swell o’er its chords, and soften by degrees-
Still lingering,- as in timid love to ask
The wonted tribute of this spell-born task!
Where winds and waters every echo fill
With noble promptings to poetic skill;
Such as, by common ear unheard, unknown,
Inspire and charm the Poet’s heart alone;
Whose spirit moulded by some secret power
Yields to the unseen Genius of the bower;-
Yet as he sings, but only half reveals
The winning sense his eager bosom feels,
In wood or wild, in forest, or in glen,
Taught by the secret soul that warms him then.
Sophie Dixon – June 16 1827
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