Peace poems/ page 2 of 319 /
BY yon Castle wa’, at the close of the day,
I heard a man sing, tho’ his head it was grey:
And as he was singing, the tears doon came,—
There’ll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.
And is this--Yarrow?--This the streamOf which my fancy cherished,So faithfully, a waking dream?An image that hath perished!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 flowsWith uncontrolled meanderings;Nor have these eyes by greener hillsBeen soothed, in all my wanderings
Thus far, O Friend! have we, though leaving muchUnvisited, endeavour'd to retraceMy life through its first years, and measured backThe way I travell'd when I first beganTo love the woods and fields; the passion yetWas in its birth, sustain'd, as might befal,By nourishment that came unsought, for still,From week to week, from month to month, we liv'dA round of tumult: duly were our gamesProlong'd in summer till the day-light fail'd;No chair remain'd before the doors, the benchAnd threshold steps were empty; fast asleepThe Labourer, and the old Man who had sate,A later lingerer, yet the revelryContinued, and the loud uproar: at last,When all the ground was dark, and the huge cloudsWere edged with twinkling stars, to bed we went,With weary joints, and with a beating mind
--Was it for thisThat one, the fairest of all Rivers, lov'dTo blend his murmurs with my Nurse's song,And from his alder shades and rocky falls,And from his fords and shallows, sent a voiceThat flow'd along my dreams? For this, didst Thou,O Derwent! travelling over the green PlainsNear my 'sweet Birthplace', didst thou, beauteous StreamMake ceaseless music through the night and dayWhich with its steady cadence, temperingOur human waywardness, compos'd my thoughtsTo more than infant softness, giving me,Among the fretful dwellings of mankind,A knowledge, a dim earnest, of the calmThat Nature breathes among the hills and groves
Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!For mighty were the auxiliars which then stoodUpon our side, we who were strong in love!Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,In which the meagre, stale, forbidding waysOf custom, law, and statute, took at onceThe attraction of a country in romance!When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,When most intent on making of herselfA prime Enchantress--to assist the workWhich then was going forward in her name!Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,The beauty wore of promise, that which sets(As at some moment might not be unfeltAmong the bowers of paradise itself )The budding rose above the rose full blown
I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:I saw thee every day; and all the whileThy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.