Clifden, In Cunnemara
Here the vast daughters of the eastward tide,
Heaved from the bosoms of the' Atlantic deep,
Lay down the burthen of their mighty forms,
Like some diviner natures of our kind,
Weary with gathered power, and sure to find
Only at once destruction and repose.
Yet no aerial cliff with harsh repulse
Confronts the roving buttresses of sea;
But on the gentle slant of yielding shores
The wande'rers of a world, intent on rest,
Impress their massive substances, break down
The' uneven slope by measureless degrees,
Wear out the line in thousand rugged shapes,
Detacht, dissolving, and peninsular,
Now closed within broad circle, like a lake,
Now narrow as a river far inland:
Thence rose the name whose very utterance
Is as an echo of the distant main,
The name of Cunnemara,--land of bays.
I stood among those waters and low hills,
Within the circuit of a goodly town,
Furnisht with mart and port and church and school,
Meet for the duteous work of social man
And all the uses of commodious life:
While round me circulated, free and wide,
A shifting crowd of almost giant shapes,
Creatures of busy blood and glorious eyes
Andalusìan, (as beseems the race),
Moulds of magnificent humanity.
Then was I told that twenty years before,
Or less, this spot, thus gay and populous,
Was one unmitigated solitude,
And all this outer wonder brought about
By the mere act of one industrious man!
Thus rolls amain the large material world,
Impelled and energised by human will.
Accord not him alone the Hero's name,
Who weaves the complicate historic woof,
Out of the rough disorder of mankind,
Fashioning nations to his own proud law:
Nor him alone the Poet's, who creates,
In his own chamber and exclusive spirit,
A universe of beauty, undisturbed
But by serene and sister sympathies.
For He who in one unremitting chain
Of solemn purpose solders link to link
Of active day and meditative night,
And with unquive'ring heart and hand can meet
Ever distress, ever impediment,
And wring from out a world of checks and flaws
Some palpable and most perspicuous whole
Of realised design and change imprest,
Shall be enrolled among heroic souls,
Though small the scope and slow the growth of deed.
He too, whose care has made some arid soil
Alive with waters of humane delight,
That shall in merry channels gambol on,
Or rest in depths of happy consciousness,--
Has planted and defended in the wild
Some garden of affection, a safe place
For daily love to grow in, and when ripe
To shed sweet seeds, that in their turn will feed
The winds of life with odours, shall be writ
Poet,--Creator, in that book of worth,
Which Nature treasures for the eye of Heaven.
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