Fair Mead Lodge Poem by Joanna Baillie

Fair Mead Lodge



HAIL , Fair Mead! hail, my forest glade!
Thou green isle, girt around with shade!
Woods, where of old with hound and horn
The Norman hunter woke the morn:
Where yet along the grassy lawn
At dim of eve, and grey of dawn,
The deer his silent way pursues,
And prints his hoofs in treacherous dews:-
And thou, my lone and little lake,
Where the stag loves his thirst to slake,
When summer on the gilded stream,
Darts the broad sun-shine's noon-day beam!
Hail, peaceful Lodge! my summer-seat,
A wild, sequestered, lone retreat,
Oer-shadow'd by a Druid oak
That whilome felt the woodman's stroke,
Then, as disdainful of the blow,
Drove its gnarl'd roots more deep below,
And proudlier to the tempest spread,
An ampler girt, a broader head.
There, underneath its brow that rears
The burden of a thousand years,
Beneath the arms whose branch of yore
The quiver of the Norman bore,
And heard the twanging of the yew
When Harold's shaft like lightning flew;
I trace the spots in grove and glade,
Where in wild woods my childhood stray'd,
When the full moon at magic hour
Shot thro' the leaves a spangled show'r,
That show'd upon the dewy blade
Fresh rings that fairy feet betray'd
Are these the haunts where stray'd the child,
Thro' thorny brakes and thickets wild?
How chang'd the scene! With fond delay,
The woodman, lingering on his way,
Asks the cold soil, and clay-bound earth,
What magic hand has chang'd its birth,
Or art-if art-in that recess
Has tam'd the forest wilderness?
Mary! thy hand hath touch'd that place,
And o'er it cast an added grace;
And where wild nature spread the wood,
And o'er the darken'd solitude,
The beech, the oak, the horn-beam sprung,
And hollies spir'd the thorns among,
Thy touch hath clear'd th' ungenial shade,
And gladden'd with new suns the glade.
Th' acacia, laurel, cypress, thine,
And bow'rs that breathe of eglantine.
It was thy hand that rear'd my grove,
And lin'd with moss the seat I love,
Entic'd the ivy-twine that weaves
O'er the thatch'd roof its glossy leaves;
Shap'd each gay plot that decks the scene,
And wound my walk their flow'rs between:
There, from Italia's fragrant shore,
Gay shrubs to deck my dwelling bore;
There bade the myrtle scent the gale,
With sweets that breath'd on Arno's vale;
Woo'd gentlest Zephyrs to awake
The flow'rs that glow'd o'er Como's lake,
And Britain's boldest suns illume
The Pæstan rose's double bloom.--
Sweet is it in such haunts to dwell,
And bid life's troublous scenes farewell,
Nursing in peaceful solitude
High visions that the world exclude!
If yet one spot-one resting place-
Where Peace may build on earth her bow'r,
And in its hallow'd haunt retrace
A dream of Eden's blissful hour,
'Tis in that sole, that sacred spot,
Where innocence and woman dwell;
'Tis in that heart, which wavering not,
Believes what God has deign'd to tell;
And anchoring its hope above,
Passes o'er earth in simple love.
Such, Mary! thy unsully'd heart,
And such the spot, where'er thou art.-

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