Shooter's Hill - Poem by Robert Bloomfield
Health! I seek thee;-dost thou love
The mountain top or quiet vale,
Or deign o'er humbler hills to rove
On showery June's dark south-west gale?
If so, I'll meet all blasts that blow,
With silent step, but not forlorn;
Though, goddess, at thy shrine I bow,
And woo thee each returning morn.
I seek thee where, with all his might,
The joyous bird his rapture tells,
Amidst the half-excluded light,
That gilds the fox-glove's pendant bells;
Where, cheerly up this bold hill's side
The deep'ning groves triumphant climb;
In groves Delight and Peace abide,
And Wisdom marks the lapse of time.
To hide me from the public eye,
To keep the throne of Reason clear,
Amidst fresh air to breathe or die,
I took my staff and wander'd here.
Suppressing every sigh that heaves,
And coveting no wealth but thee,
I nestle in the honied leaves,
And hug my stolen liberty.
O'er eastward uplands, gay or rude,
Along to Erith's ivied spire,
I start, with strength and hope renew'd,
And cherish life's rekindling fire.
Now measure vales with straining eyes,
Now trace the church-yard's humble names:
Or, climb brown heaths, abrupt that rise,
And overlook the winding Thames.
I love to mark the flow'ret's eye,
To rest where pebbles form my bed,
Where shapes and colours scatter'd lie
In varying millions round my head.
The soul rejoices when alone,
And feels her glorious empire free;
Sees GOD in every shining stone,
And revels in variety.
Ah me! perhaps within my sight,
Deep in the smiling dales below,
Gigantic talents, Heav'n's pure light,
And all the rays of genius glow
In some lone soul, whom no one sees
to say 'Arise,'
Or chase away the slow disease,
And Want's foul picture from his eyes.
A worthier man by far than I,
With more of industry and fire,
Shall see fair Virtue's meed pass by,
Without one spark of fame expire!
Bleed not my heart, it will be so.
The throb of care was thine full long;
Rise, like the Psalmist from his woe,
And pour abroad the joyful song.
Sweet Health, I seek thee! hither bring
Thy balm that softens human ills;
Come, on the long drawn clouds that fling
Their shadows o'er the Surry-Hills.
Yon green-topt hills, and far away
Where late as now I freedom stole,
And spent one dear delicious day
On thy wild banks, romantic
Aye, there's the scene! beyond the sweep
Of London's congregated cloud,
The dark-brow'd wood, the headlong steep,
And valley-paths without a crowd!
Here, Thames, I watch thy flowing tides,
Thy thousand sails am proud to see;
But where the
all silent glides
Dwells Peace-and Peace is wealth to me.
Of Cambrian mountains still I dream,
And mouldering vestiges of war;
By time-worn cliff or classic stream
Would rove,-but prudence holds a bar.
Conic then, O Health, I'll strive to bound
My wishes to this airy stand;
'Tis not for
to trace around
The wonders of my native land.
Yet, the loud torrent's dark retreat,
Yet Grampian hills shall Fancy give,
And, towering in her giddy scat,
Amidst her own creation live,
Live, if thou'lt urge my climbing feet,
Give strength of nerve and vigorous breath,
If not, with dauntless soul I meet
The deep solemnity of death.
This far-seen monumental tower
Records th' achievements of the brave,
And Angria's subjugated power,
Who plunder'd on the eastern wave.
I would not that such turrets rise
To point out where my bones arc laid;
Save that some wandering bard might prize
The comforts of its broad cool shade.
O Vanity! since thou'rt decreed
Companion of our lives to be,
I'll seek the moral songster's meed,
An earthly immortality;
Most vain!-O let me, from the past
Remembering what to man is given,
Lay Virtue's broad foundations fast,
Whose glorious turrets reach to Heav'n:
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