Alaric Alexander Watts

(1797-1864 / England)

On Revisiting A Scene Of Early Life - Poem by Alaric Alexander Watts

It is the same clear dazzling scene,
Perhaps the grass is scarce as green;
Perhaps the river's troubled voice,
Does not so plainly say ‘Rejoice.’ ~ W. B. PROCTER.

Sweet pastoral Vale! when hope was young,
And life looked green and bright as thou,
Ere this world's toils or cares had flung
A shade of sadness on my brow,—
A loiterer in thy sylvan bowers,
I whiled away uncounted hours,
And by thine own sequestered stream,
Poured forth in song love's first, wild dream!
Bright River, as it lapsed along
In glory on its winding way,
Like Youth's first hopes, rejoicing, strong,
And full of heaven's own hues as they,—
I little thought that storms would fling
Their shadows o'er so fair a thing;
Or that my course would ever be
Less calm than then it seemed to me.
I came when wintry winds were high,
And storms were hurtling in the air;
Thy river rushed a torrent by,
Thy skies were dim, thy trees were bare;
And that lone ruin erst that rose
An emblem of thy charmed repose,
Seemed struggling with the fitful blast,
Like some gaunt spectre of the Past.
A change was in my aching breast,
As dark as that I found in thee;
Thoughts, as thy waves impetuous, pressed
O'er my sad soul tumultuously,
As gazing on that altered scene,
I thought of what we both had been:
I see thee calm and fair once more;
When will my stormier day be o'er?
And thou art now a fairy dream
To stir the source of sweetest tears;
Thy sun-touched fane, and sparkling stream,
My beacon-lights to other years:
Oh, might my world-worn spirit close
Its weary pinions in repose,
I would not ask more perfect bliss
Than such a resting-place as this!

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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