A Reverie

I saw a neat white cottage by a rill,
A limpid rill, that wound along a glade,
Curling and flashing to the sun; a shade
Of willows brooded over it; a hill,
Not distant, heaved its fresh green slope, and smiled
With daisies and with dandelions; oft
I wandered through such meadows when a child,
And loved the turf below, the sky aloft,
So softly green, so clearly, purely blue;
And as the mild wind, breathing odors, flew
Serenely through the grass tufts, and the crown
Of dandelions filled the fields with down,
Or some gay butterfly, on velvet wing,
Flitted around me, in the hearty glee
Of youth just bursting out of infancy,
And nerved with all the buoyancy of Spring;
Wild as the courser, when he bounds away,
And gives his graceful limbs their freest play,
And perks his ears, and waves his flowing tail,
His broad mane proudly heaving on the gale,
Now stops, now, with keen neigh and flashing eye,
Leaps like the winds, and scours and gallops by, —
So, in the bloom of early life I flew,
Where'er the insect roved, the feather blew,
For ever cheated, and for ever still
The creature of a wild and reckless will,
Pursuing after bees and flowers anew.
I saw that neat white cottage, and I thought
That was the shelter I so long had sought,
And there with one companion I might rest
My weary head on humble Quiet's breast;
And see the Year come forth, and dress her bowers,
And o'er the lattice weave her veil of flowers;
And now, in playful wandering down the stream,
Follow its mazy bend, and in a dream
Of holy musing, on its banks of thyme
Reposing, listen to its simple chime,
Through glossy pebbles, over pearly shells;
And, stealing through the sunny meadow, cull
And crown our tresses with the lilies' bells,
And with geraniums fill our bosoms full;
And then return, and seated by the door,
The scarlet woodbine flaunting over head,
Recount our gathered stores of Nature o'er,
From flower to flower by sweet enchantment led;
And then go back to ages past, and dwell
With Contemplation in her holy cell;
And, turning o'er the treasures of the mind,
Talk with the great, the witty, the refined,
And kindle with the ardent; smile and laugh
With Butler and Cervantes; deeply quaff
Rich streams of inspiration from the fount
That flowed on Zion and Aonia's mount;
Hang on the tender tale with melting eye,
Hour after hour unnoticed stealing by;
Or with the patriot rising, feel the swell
Of indignation heaving in the breast,
And weeping go to Marathon and dwell
On barrows, where the brave unhonored rest; —
And from the kindled altar take the coal,
That fires the lip, and animates the soul,
And, mounting upwards on a seraph's wing,
Break from this feeble tenement of clay,
And, wrapt in reveries of glory, spring,
Singing and soaring, to eternal day.
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