Mountain Streams


What time the fern puts forth its rings,
What time the early throstle sings,
I love to fly the murky town,
And tread the moorlands, bare and brown;
From greenest level of the glens,
To barest summit of the Bens,
To trace the torrents where they flow,
Serene or brawling, fierce or slow;
To linger pleased, and loiter long,
A silent listener to their song.

Farewell, ye streets! Again I'll sit
On crags to watch the shadows flit;
To list the buzzing of the bee,
Or branches waving like a sea;
To hear far off the cuckoo's note,
Or lark's clear carol high afloat,
And find a joy in every sound,
Of air, the water, or the ground;
Of fancies full, though fixing nought,
And thinking—heedless of my thought.

Farewell! and in the teeth of care
I'll breathe the buxom mountain air,
Feed vision upon dyes and hues
That from the hill-top interfuse,
White rocks, and lichens born of spray,
Dark heather tufts, and mosses grey,
Green grass, blue sky, and boulders brown,
With amber waters glistening down,
And early flowers blue, white, and pink,
That fringe with beauty all the brink.

Farewell, ye streets! Beneath an arch
Of drooping birch or feathery larch,
Or mountain ash that o'er it bends,
I'll watch some streamlet as it wends;
Some brook whose tune its course betrays,
Whose verdure dogs its hidden ways—
Verdure of trees and bloom of flowers,
And music fresher than the showers,
Soft-dripping where the tendrils twine;
And all its beauty shall be mine.

Aye, mine, to bring me joy and health,
And endless store of mental wealth—
Wealth ever given to hearts that warm
To loveliness of sound or form,
And that can see in Nature's face
A hope, a beauty, and a grace—
That in the city or the woods,
In thoroughfares or solitudes,
Can live their life at Nature's call,
Despising nothing, loving all.

Sweet streams, that over summits leap,
Or fair in rock-hewn basins sleep;
That foaming burst in bright cascades,
Or toy with cowslisps in the shades;
That shout till earth and sky grow mute,
Or tinkle lowly as a lute;
That sing a song of lusty joy,
Or murmur like a love-lorn boy,
That creep or fall, that flow or run—
I doat upon you every one.

For many a day of calm delight,
And hour of pleasure stol'n from night;
For morning freshness, joy of noon,
And beauty rising with the moon;
For health, encrimsoner of cheeks,
And wisdom gained on mountain peaks;
For inward light from Nature won,
And visions gilded by the sun;
For fancies fair, and waking dreams—
I love ye all, ye mountain streams.
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