The Birth of the Severn, the Wye, and Rhyddol

A Nereid once from Neptune ran;
A Mountain-Giant was her man;
They ask'd no banns, they fear'd no shame;
Plinlimmon was the Giant's name:
His bed, a mountain's desert cave,
Three pledges of their union gave;
Their sex was hers that was the mother,
As if 'twas jealous of the other.
No sooner born, but full of play,
The little truants ran away.
The first, caressing public sight,
Made wealth and cities her delight,
Was proud of her maternal birth;
For Ocean's tribute claim'd the earth;
With many a dealer snug in trade
Had love and passions ready-made;
Itinerant from shore to shore
Prolific indications bore;
And yet a character preserv'd
By the decorum she observ'd;
But opulence the ruling aim,
And Severn was the Lady's name.
The second , fond of rural scene,
With graceful air, like Beauty's Queen,
Coquetting, but with morals chaste,
And sentimentally embrac'd,
From coarse and glaring crowds remov'd,
By gentle spirits cheer'd and lov'd,
Was never " obvious, " but " retir'd, "
And, sweetly coy, was " more desir'd: "
Her playful dress, with careless grace,
And shifted charm, improv'd her face;
Her flowing hair the Muses crown'd;
Her step was consecrated ground:
By Genius lov'd, caress'd by Fame, —
And Wye the matchless wonder's name.
A termagant, the Rhyddol next,
With manners bold, and choice perplex'd,
Pacific Beauty's love disdain'd,
In fury shone, in terrors reign'd.
Wild as a colt, or pamper'd horse,
And bounding with a tiger's force,
In rocks and caves that shunn'd the light,
Or tumbling from the mountain's height,
She leap'd, or flew, as quick as thought,
And, though pursued, was never caught;
Refus'd the Lover's gentle sway,
And swept with scorn her thundering way;
Unless, to wanton mischief prone,
She made some heedless Nymph her own,
And wore the counterfeited smile,
The mask of unsuspected guile: —
'Twas thus two Naiads were deceiv'd;
Their open arms her gifts receiv'd;
But soon were in a torrent lost,
On stormy Neptune's bosom tost,
And, borne upon a car, half-dead,
The menaced victims of his bed.
Ensnar'd, and as a captive seiz'd,
The Istwith , by her frolics pleas'd,
With shouts of joy was borne away,
The amorous Ocean's helpless prey:
Caught by the same alluring bait,
The lovely Monach shar'd her fate.
Ill-fated Istwith! dear to Love,
In Hafod's grot, or pathless grove!
By Hafod's glowing Muse inspir'd,
Its Lord and Priest thy charms admir'd.
In many a cave by him pursued,
With taste entranc'd, with hope renew'd,
The Rhyddol binds thee to her chain,
And mountain-shrieks are heard in vain.
Yet such is Beauty's vary'd power,
That not alone her polish'd bower,
But features wild, and manners rude,
With her attractions are endued:
We pant for charms, to errors blind,
Catch at the form, and veil the mind.
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