The Pass of Kirkstone.


Within the mind strong fancies work,1
A deep delight the bosom thrills,2
Oft as I pass along the fork3
Of these fraternal hills :4
Where, save the rugged road, we find5
No appanage of human kind ;6
Nor hint of man, if stone or rock7
Seem not his handy-work to mock8
By something cognizably shaped ;9
Mockery—or model—roughly hewn,10
And left as if by earthquake strewn,11
Or from the Flood escaped :—12
Altars for Druid service fit ;13
(But where no fire was ever lit,14
Unless the glow-worm to the skies15
Thence offer nightly sacrifice ;)16
Wrinkled Egyptian monument ;17
Green moss-grown tower ; or hoary tent ;18
Tents of a camp that never shall be raised :19
On which four thousand years have gazed !20


Ye plowshares sparkling on the slopes !21
Ye snow-white lambs that trip22
Imprison’d mid the formal props23
Of restless ownership !24
Ye trees that may to-morrow fall,25
To feed the insatiate Prodigal !26
Lawns, houses, chattels, groves, and fields,27
All that the fertile valley shields ;28
Wages of folly—baits of crime,—29
Of life’s uneasy game the stake,—30
Playthings that keep the eyes awake31
Of drowsy, dotard Time ;—32
O care! O guilt !— O vales and plains,33
Here, mid his own unvexed domains,34
A Genius dwells, that can subdue35
At once all memory of You,—36
Most potent when mists veil the sky,37
Mists that distort and magnify ;38
While the coarse rushes, to the sweeping
Sigh forth their ancient melodies !40


List to those shriller notes !— that march41
Perchance was on the blast,42
When through this Height’s inverted arch43
Rome’s earliest legion passed !44
—They saw, adventurously impell’d,45
And older eyes than theirs beheld,46
This block—and yon whose Church-like
Gives to the savage Pass its name.48
Aspiring Road ! that loy’st to hide49
Thy daring in a vapoury bourn,50
Not seldom may the hour return51
When thou shalt be my guide ;52
And I (as often we find cause,53
When life is at a weary pause,54
And we have panted up the hill55
Of duty with reluctant will) 56
Be thankful, even though tired and faint,57
For the rich bounties of Constraint ;58
Whence oft invigorating transports flow59
That Choice lacked courage to bestow !60


My soul was grateful for delight61
That wore a threatening brow ;62
A veil is lifted—can she slight63
The scene that opens now ?64
Though habitation none appear,65
The greenness tells, man must be there ;66
The shelter—that the perspective 67
Is of the clime in which we live ;68
Where Toil pursues his daily round ;69
Where Pity sheds sweet tears, and Love,70
In woodbine bower or birchen grove,71
Inflicts his tender wound.72
—Who comes not hither ne’er shall know73
How beautiful the world below ;74
Nor can he guess how lightly leaps75
The brook adown the rocky steeps.76
Farewell thou desolate Domain !77
Hope, pointing to the cultur’d Plain,78
Carols like a shepherd boy ;79
And who is she ?— can that be Joy ? 80
Who, with a sun-beam for her guide,81
Smoothly skims the meadows wide ;82
While Faith, from yonder opening cloud83
To hill and vale proclaims aloud,84
“Whate’er the weak may dread, the wicked
Thy lot, O man, is good, thy portion fair !”86