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No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.
As unexpected as a serpent comes.
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms; This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath For the fiend's glowing hoof—to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.
Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it ;
Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,
Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
Now for a better country. Vain presage !
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank Soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank,
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage-
No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.
And more than that—a furlong on—why, there !
Or brake, not wheel—that harrow fit to reel
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.
XXV Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood, Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with ; (so a fool finds mirth, Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood Changes and off he goes !) within a rood
Bog, clay, and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.
Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil 's
Broke into moss or substances like boils; Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.
Nought in the distance but the evening, nought
To point my footstep further ! At the thought,
That brushed my cap-perchance the guide I sought.
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains—with such name to grace Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view. How thus they had surprised me,-solve it, you !
How to get from them was no clearer case.
Of mischief happened to me, God knows when
In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then,
As when a trap shuts-you 're inside the den.
XXX Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place ! those two hills on the right,
Couched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight, While, to the left, a tall scalped mountain ... Dunce, Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.
Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft :
“Now stab and end the creature-to the heft !"
· Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers my peers,—
Lost, lost ! one moment knelled the woe of years.
There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture ! in a sheet of flame I saw them and I knew them all. And yet Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew“ Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."
A GRAMMARIAN'S FUNERAL.
SHORTLY AFTER THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING IN EUROPE.
LET us begin and carry up this corpse,
Each in its tether
Cared-for till cock-crow :
Look out if yonder be not day again
Rimming the rock-row !
Chafes in the censer.
Seek we sepulture
Crowded with culture !
Clouds overcome it ;
Circling its summit.
Wait ye the warning ?
"He's for the morning.
'Ware the beholders ! This is our master, famous, calm and dead,
Borne on our shoulders.
Sleep, crop and herd ! sleep, darkling thorpe and croft
Safe from the weather !
Lyric Apollo !
Winter would follow ?
Cramped and diminished,
“My dance is finished ?" No, that 's the world's way; (keep the mountain-side,