On Swift Joining Avon Near Rugby

Silent and modest Brook! who dippest here
Thy foot in Avon as if childish fear
Witheld thee for a moment, wend along;
Go, follow'd by my song,
Sung in such easy numbers as they use
Who turn in fondness to the Tuscan Muse,
And such as often have flow'd down on me
From my own Fiesole.
I watch thy placid smile, nor need to say
That Tasso wove one looser lay,
And Milton took it up to dry the tear
Dropping on Lycidas's bier.
In youth how often at thy side I wander'd!
What golden hours, hours numberless, were squander'd
Among thy sedges, while sometimes
I meditated native rhymes,
And sometimes stumbled upon Latian feet;
Then, where soft mole-built seat
Invited me, I noted down
What must full surely win the crown,
But first impatiently vain efforts made
On broken pencil with a broken blade.
Anon, of lighter heart, I threw
My hat where circling plover flew,
And once I shouted til, instead of plover,
There sprang up half a damsel, half a lover.
I would not twice be barbarous; on I went . .
And two heads sank amid the pillowing bent.
Pardon me, gentle Stream, if rhyme
Holds up these records in the face of Time:
Among the falling leaves some birds yet sing,
And Autumn hath his butterflies like Spring.
Thou canst not turn thee back, thou canst not see
Reflected what hath ceast to be:
Haply thou little knowest why
I check this levity, and sigh.
Thou never knewest her whose radiant morn
Lighted my path to Love; she bore thy name,
She whom no Grace was tardy to adorn,
Whom one low voice pleas'd more than louder fame:
She now is past my praises: from her urn
To thine, with reverence due, I turn.
O silver-braided Swift! no victim ever
Was sacrificed to thee,
Nor hast thou carried to that sacred River
Vases of myrrh, nor hast thou run to see
A band of Maenads toss their timbrels high
Mid io-evohes to their Deity.
But holy ashes have bestrewn thy stream
Under the mingled gleam
Of swords and torches, and the chaunt of Rome,
When Wiclif's lowly tomb
Thro its thick briars was burst
By frantic priests accurst;
For he had enter'd and laid bare the lies
That pave the labyrinth of their mysteries.
We part . . but one more look!
Silent and modest Brook!
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