Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A poem for Su the Shepherdess and her wee bummer lamb!



Dartmoor! thou wert to me, in childhood's hour,
A wild and wondrous region. Day by day
Arose upon my youthful eye they belt
Of hills mysterious, shadowy, clasping all
The green and cheerful landscape sweetly spread
Around my home; and with a stern delight
I gazed upon thee. How often on the speech
Of the half-savage peasant have I hung,
To hear of rock-crowned heights on which the cloud
For ever rests; and wilds stupendous swept
By mightiest storms; of glen, and gorge, and cliff,
Terrific, beetling o'er the stone-strewed vale;
And giant masses, by the midnight flash
Struck from the mountain's hissing brow, and hurled
Into the foaming torrent; and of forms
That rose amid the desert, rudely shaped
By Superstition's hands when time was young;
And of the dead, the warrior dead, who sleep
Beneath the hollowed cairn! My native fields,
Though peerless, ceased to please. The flowery vale,
The breezy hill, the river and the wood,
Island, reef, headland, and the circling sea,
Associated by the sportful hand
Of Nature, in a thousand views diverse,
Or grand, or lovely, - to my roving eye
Displayed in vain their infinite of charms;
I thought on thy wild world, - to me a world, -
Mysterious Dartmoor, dimly seen, and prized
For being distant and untrod; and still
Where'er I wander'd, - still my wayward eye
Rested on thee!
In sunlight and in shade,
Repose and storm, wide waste! I since have trod
Thy hill and dale magnificent. Again
I seek thy solitudes profound, in this
Thy hour of deep tranquillity, when rests
The sunbeam on thee, and thy desert seems
To sleep in the unwonted brightness, calm,
But stern; for though the spirit of the Spring
Breathes on thee, to the charmer's whisper kind
Thou listenest not, nor ever puttest on
A robe of beauty, as the fields that bud
And blossom hear thee. Yet I love to tread
They central wastes when not a sound intrudes
Upon the ear, but rush of wing or leap
Of the hoarse waterfall. And oh, 'tis sweet
To list the music of thy torrent-streams;
For thou too hast thy minstrelsies fro him
Who from their liberal mountain-urn delights
To trace thy waters, as from source to sea
They rush tumultuous. Yet for other fields
Thy bounty flows eternal. From thy sides
Devonia's rivers flow; a thousand brooks
Roll o'er they rugged slopes; -'tis but to cheer
Yon Austral meads unrivalled, fair as aught
That bards have sung, or Fancy has conceived
'Mid all her rich imaginings: whilst thou,
The source of half their beauty, wearest still
Through centuries, upon they blasted brow,
The curse of barrenness.

Noel Thomas Carrington 1826

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