Anna Seward


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For one short week I leave, with anxious heart,
Source of my filial cares, the Full of Days,
Lur'd by the promise of Harmonic Art
To breathe her Handel's soul-exalting lays.
Pensive I trace the Derwent's amber wave,
Foaming through umbrag'd banks, or view it lave
The soft, romantic vallies, high o'er-peer'd
By hills and rocks, in savage grandeur rear'd.
Not two short miles from thee, can I refrain
Thy haunts, my native EYAM, long unseen?--
Thou and thy lov'd inhabitants, again
Shall meet my transient gaze.--Thy rocky screen,
Thy airy cliffs I mount; and seek thy shade,
Thy roofs, that brow the steep, romantic glade;
But, while on me the eyes of Friendship glow,
Swell my pain'd sighs, my tears spontaneous flow.

In scenes paternal, not beheld through years,
Nor view'd, till now, but by a Father's side,
Well might the tender, tributary tears,
From keen regrets of duteous fondness glide!
Its pastor, to this human-flock no more
Shall the long flight of future days restore!
Distant he droops,--and that once gladdening eye
Now languid gleams, e'en when his friends are nigh.

Through this known walk, where weedy gravel lies,
Rough, and unsightly;--by the long, coarse grass
Of the once smooth, and vivid green, with sighs
To the deserted Rectory I pass;--
Stray through the darken'd chambers' naked bound,
Where childhood's earliest, liveliest bliss I found;
How chang'd, since erst, the lightsome walls beneath,
The social joys did their warm comforts breathe!

Ere yet I go, who may return no more,
That sacred pile, 'mid yonder shadowy trees,
Let me revisit!--Ancient, massy door,
Thou gratest hoarse!--my vital spirits freeze,
Passing the vacant pulpit, to the space
Where humble rails the decent altar grace,
And where my infant sister's ashes sleep,
Whose loss I left the childish sport to weep.

Now the low beams, with paper garlands hung,
In memory of some village youth, or maid,
Draw the soft tear, from thrill'd remembrance sprung,
How oft my childhood mark'd that tribute paid.
The gloves, suspended by the garland's side,
White as its snowy flowers, with ribbons tied;--
Dear Village, long these wreaths funereal spread,
Simple memorials of thy early dead!

But O! thou bland, and silent pulpit!--thou,
That with a Father's precepts, just, and bland,
Did'st win my ear, as reason's strength'ning glow
Show'd their full value, now thou seem'st to stand
Before my sad, suffus'd, and trembling gaze,
The dreariest relic of departed days.
Of eloquence paternal, nervous, clear,
Dim Apparition thou--and bitter is my tear!

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Anna Seward