Village Minstrel (excerpt)

[Image: 'Dark Ditch' -- Carry Akroyd]

Swamps of wild rush-beds and sloughs' squashy traces,
Grounds of rough fallows with thistle and weed.
Flats and low valleys of kingcups and daisies,
Sweetest of subjects are ye for my reed:
Ye commons left free in the rude rags of nature,
Ye brown heaths beclothed in furze as ye be,
My wild eye in rapture adores every feature,
Ye are dear as this heart in my bosom to me.

O native endearments! I would not forsake ye,
I would not forsake ye for sweetest of scenes:
For sweetest of gardens that Nature could make me
I would not forsake ye, dear valleys and greens:
Though Nature ne'er dropped ye a cloud-resting mountain,
Nor waterfalls tumble their music so free,
Had Nature denied ye a bush, tree, or fountain,
Ye still had been loved as an Eden by me.

And long, my dear valleys, long, long may ye flourish,
Though rush-beds and thistles make most of your pride!
May showers never fail the green's daisies to nourish,
Nor suns dry the fountain that rills by its side!
Your skies may be gloomy, and misty your mornings,
Your flat swampy valleys unwholesome may be,
Still, refuse of Nature, without her adornings
Ye are dear as this heart in my bosom to me.

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