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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR IN SCOTLAND, 1803

I. DEPARTURE FROM THE VALE OF GRASMERE

AUGUST 1803

          THE gentlest Shade that walked Elysian plains
          Might sometimes covet dissoluble chains;
          Even for the tenants of the zone that lies
          Beyond the stars, celestial Paradise,
          Methinks 'twould heighten joy, to overleap
          At will the crystal battlements, and peep
          Into some other region, though less fair,
          To see how things are made and managed there.
          Change for the worse might please, incursion bold
          Into the tracts of darkness and of cold;                    10
          O'er Limbo lake with aery flight to steer,
          And on the verge of Chaos hang in fear.
          Such animation often do I find,
          Power in my breast, wings growing in my mind,
          Then, when some rock or hill is overpast,
          Perhance without one look behind me cast.
          Some barrier with which Nature, from the birth
          Of things, has fenced this fairest spot on earth.
          O pleasant transit, Grasmere! to resign
          Such happy fields, abodes so calm as thine;                 20
          Not like an outcast with himself at strife;
          The slave of business, time, or care for life,
          But moved by choice; or, if constrained in part,
          Yet still with Nature's freedom at the heart;--
          To cull contentment upon wildest shores,
          And luxuries extract from bleakest moors;
          With prompt embrace all beauty to enfold,
          And having rights in all that we behold.
          --Then why these lingering steps?--A bright adieu,
          For a brief absence, proves that love is true;              30
          Ne'er can the way be irksome or forlorn
          That winds into itself for sweet return.


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