To the Reverend Cuthbert Southey

C UTHBERT ! whose father first in all our land
Sate in calm judgment on poetic peer,
Whom hatred never, friendship seldom, warpt . .
Agen I read his page and hear his voice;
I heard it ere I knew it, ere I saw
Who uttered it, each then to each unknown.
Twelve years had past, when upon Avon's cliff,
Hard-by his birthplace, first our hands were joined;
After three more he visited my home.
Along Lantony's ruined ailes we walkt
And woods then pathless, over verdant hill
And ruddy mountain, and aside the stream
Of sparkling Hondy.
Just at close of day
There by the comet's light we saw the fox
Rush from the alders, nor relax in speed
Until he trod the pathway of his sires
Under the hoary crag of Comioy.
Then both were happy.
War had paus'd: the Loire
Invited me. Again burst forth fierce War.
I minded not his fury: there I staid,
Sole of my countrymen, and foes abstain'd
(Tho' sore and bleeding) from my house alone.
But female fear impelld me past the Alps,
Where, loveliest of all lakes, the Lario sleeps
Under the walls of Como.
There he came
Again to see me; there again our walks
We recommenced . . less happy than before.
Grief had swept over him; days darkened round:
Bellagio, Valintelvi, smiled in vain,
And Monterosa from Helvetia far
Advanced to meet us, mild in majesty
Above the glittering crests of giant sons
Stationed around . . . in vain too, all in vain.
Perhaps the hour may come when others, taught
By him to read, may read my page aright
And find what lies within it; time enough
Is there before us in the world of thought.
The favor I may need I scorn to ask.
What sovran is there able to reprieve,
How then to grant, the life of the condemned
By Justice, where the Muses take their seat?
Never was I impatient to receive
What any man could give me: when a friend
Gave me my due, I took it, and no more . .
Serenely glad because that friend was pleased.
I seek not many, many seek not me.
If there are few now seated at my board,
I pull no children's hair because they munch
Gilt gingerbread, the figured and the sweet,
Or wallow in the innocence of whey;
Give me wild-boar, the buck's broad haunch give me ,
And wine that time has mellowed, even as time
Mellows the warrior hermit in his cell.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.