William Bell Scott

(1811-1890 / Scotland)

Nature - Poem by William Bell Scott


From home did then the infant come
When it came here?
Do we return unto that home
Beyond the day we disappear?
Then this fair Earth is but the place
Where goal to goal
We run a race,
And Nature, dame with sun-browned face,
Is but step-mother to the soul.

Step-mother, dear full-breasted queen!
When the true mother hides unseen,
The naked suckling to thy heart
Thou pressest: never would he part
Could he but remain, I ween!


On a rock limpet-crusted, one still day
We sat; the sun upon the white sea shone;
Ripples like living arrows came right on
From rock to rock; a mist harmoniously
United earth and heaven in silvery-grey.
I said, there's nought to wish for more; but she,
The loved one, my companion, smiled at me;
Yet she too by the charm was borne away.

Alas, this charm was broken by my deed;—
I strike the limpets off to see them fall,
And by strange instinct drawn from far, crabs speed
Along the water floor, crabs all astir,
To tear the limpets from their shells! A pall
Was lowered 'tween Nature and our faith in her.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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