Oh fairest of the rural maids!
Thy birth was in the forest shades;
Green boughs, and glimpses of the sky,
Were all that met thy infant eye.
It is the spot I came to seek,--
My fathers' ancient burial-place
Ere from these vales, ashamed and weak,
Withdrew our wasted race.
Lament who will, in fruitless tears,
The speed with which our moments fly;
I sigh not over vanished years,
But watch the years that hasten by.
How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
I've watched too late; the morn is near;
One look at God's broad silent sky!
Oh, hopes and wishes vainly dear,
Stay, rivulet, nor haste to leave
The lovely vale that lies around thee.
Why wouldst thou be a sea at eve,
When breezes are soft and skies are fair,
I steal an hour from study and care,
And hie me away to the woodland scene,
These are the gardens of the Desert, these
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
For which the speech of England has no name--
'Tis sweet, in the green Spring,
To gaze upon the wakening fields around;
Birds in the thicket sing,
Beneath the waning moon I walk at night,
And muse on human life--for all around
Are dim uncertain shapes that cheat the sight,