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Why throw away a needful day
To go in search of Yarrow ?
" What's Yarrow but a river bare
That glides the dark hills under ?
There are a thousand such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder.'
-Strange words they seem'd of slight and scorn ;
My true love sigh'd for sorrow,
And look'd me in the face, to think
I thus could speak of Yarrow !
O green,' said I, “are Yarrow's holms,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing !
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
But we will leave it growing.
O’er hilly path and open strath
We'll wander Scotland thorough;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the dale of Yarrow.
'Let beeves and home-bred kine partake
The sweets of Burn-mill meadow;
The swan on still Saint Mary's Lake
Float double, swan and shadow !
We will not see them; will not go
Today, nor yet tomorrow;
Enough if in our hearts we know
There's such a place as Yarrow.
• Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown ;
It must, or we shall rue it:
We have a vision of our own,
Ah! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past,
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow!
For when we're there, although 'tis fair,
'Twill be another Yarrow !
'If care with freezing years should come
And wandering seem but folly, -
Should we be loth to stir from home,
And yet be melancholy;
Should life be dull, and spirits low,
'Twill soothe us in our sorrow
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny Holins of Yarrow !!
September, 1814 And is this Yarrow ?- This the Stream Of which my fancy cherish'd So faithfully, a waking dream, An image that hath perish'd ? O that some minstrel's harp were near To utter notes of gladness And chase this silence from the air, That fills my heart with sadness! Yet why ?--a silvery current flows With uncontrollid meanderings ; Nor have these eyes by greener hills Been soothed, in all my wanderings. And, through her depths, Saint Mary's Lake Is visibly delighted; For not a feature of those hills Is in the mirror slighted. A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow Vale, Save where that pearly whiteness Is round the rising sun diffused, A tender hazy brightness; Mild dawn of promise! that excludes All profitless dejection; Though not unwilling here to admit A pensive recollection. Where was it that the famous Flower Of Yarrow Vale lay bleeding ? His bed perchance was yon smooth mound On which the herd is feeding :
And haply from this crystal pool Now peaceful as the morning, The water-Wraith ascended thrice, And gave his doleful warning. Delicious is the Lay that sings The haunts of happy lovers, The path that leads them to the grove, The leafy grove that covers : And pity sanctifies the verse That paints, by strength of sorrow, The unconquerable strength of love ; Bear witness, rueful Yarrow ! But thou that didst appear so fair To fond imagination Dost rival in the light of day Her delicate creation : Meek loveliness is round thee spread, A softness still and holy : The grace of forest charms decay'd, And pastoral melancholy. That region left, the vale unfolds Rich groves of lofty stature, With Yarrow winding through the pomp Of cultivated Nature; And rising from those lofty groves Behold a ruin hoary, The shatter'd front of Newark's Towers, Renown'd in Border story. Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom, For sportive youth to stray in, For manhood to enjoy his strength, And age to wear away in! Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss, A covert for protection Of studious ease and generous cares, And every chaste affection! How sweet on this autumnal day The wild-wood fruits to gather,
And on my true-love's forehead plant
A crest of blooming heather !
And what if I enwreathed my own?
'Twere no offence to reason;
The sober hills thus deck their brows
To meet the wintry season.
I see—but not by sight alone
Loved Yarrow, have I won thee;
A ray of Fancy still survives-
Her sunshine plays upon thee !
Thy ever-youthful waters keep
A course of lively pleasure ;
And gladsome notes my lips can breathe
Accordant to the measure.
The vapours linger round the heights,
They melt, and soon must vanish;
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine-
Sad thought! which I would banish,
But that I know, where'er I go,
Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
Will dwell with me, to heighten joy
And cheer my mind in sorrow.
Best and Brightest, come away,
Fairer far than this fair day,
Which, like thee, to those in sorrow
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow
To the rough year just awake
In its cradle on the brake.
The brightest hour of unborn Spring
Through the winter wandering,
Found, it seems, the halcyon morn
To hoar February born ;
Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,
It kiss'd the forehead of the earth,
And smiled upon the silent sea,
And bade the frozen streams be free,
And waked to music all their fountains,
And breathed upon the frozen mountains,
And like a prophetess of May
Strew'd flowers upon the barren way,
Making the wintry world appear
Like one on whom thou smilest, Dear.
Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music, lest it should not find
An echo in another's mind,
While the touch of Nature's art
Harmonizes heart to heart.
Radiant Sister of the Day
Awake! arise! and come away!
To the wild woods and the plains,
To the pools where winter rains
Image all their roof of leaves,
Where the pine its garland weaves
Of sapless green, and ivy dun,
Round stems that never kiss the sun,
Where the lawns and pastures be
And the sandhills of the sea,
Where the melting hoar-frost wets
The daisy-star that never sets,
And wind-flowers and violets
Which yet join not scent to hue
Crown the pale year weak and new;
When the night is left behind
In the deep east, dim and blind,
And the blue noon is over us,
And the multitudinous
Billows murmur at our feet,
Where the earth and ocean meet,
And all things seem only one
In the universal Sun.
P. B. Shelley