Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838 / England)
The Country Retreat
OH lone and lovely solitude,
Washed by the sounding sea;
Nature was in a poet's mood,
When she created thee.
How pleasant in the hour of noon
To wander through the shade;
The soft and golden shade which June
Flings o'er thy inland glade:
The wild rose like a wreath above,
The ash-tree's fairy keys,
The aspen trembling, as if love
Were whispered by the breeze;
These, or the beech's darker bough,
For canopy o'er head,
While moss and fragile flowers below
An elfin pillow spread.
Here one might dream the hours away,
As if the world had not
Or grief, or care, or disarray,
To darken human lot.
Yet 'tis not here that I would dwell,
Though fair the place may be,
The summer's favourite citadel:—
A busier scene for me!
I love to see the human face
Reflect the human mind,
To watch in every crowded place
Their opposites combined.
There's more for thought in one brief hour
In yonder busy street,
Than all that ever leaf or flower
Taught in their green retreat.
Industry, intellect, and skill
Appear in all their pride,
The glorious force of human will
Triumphs on every side.
Yet touched with meekness, for on all
Is set the sign and seal
Of sorrow, suffering, and thrall,
Which none but own and feel;
The hearse that passes with its dead,
The homeless beggar's prayer,
Speak words of warning, and of dread,
To every passer there.
Aye beautiful the dreaming brought
By valleys and green fields;
But deeper feeling, higher thought,
Is what the city yields.
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