The Flitting (IV)

Strange scenes mere shadows are to me,
Vague impersonifying things;
I love with my old haunts to be
By quiet woods and gravel springs,
Where little pebbles wear as smooth
As hermits' beads by gentle floods,
Whose noises do my spirits soothe
And warm them into singing moods.

Here every tree is strange to me,
All foreign things where'er I go,
There's none where boyhood made a swee
Or clambered up to rob a crow.
No hollow tree or woodland bower
Well known when joy was beating high,
Where beauty ran to shun a shower
And love took pains to keep her dry.

And laid the sheaf upon the ground
To keep her from the dripping grass,
And ran for stooks and set them round
Till scarce a drop of rain could pass
Through; where the maidens they reclined
And sung sweet ballads now forgot,
Which brought sweet memories to the mind,
But here no memory knows them not.

There have I sat by many a tree
And leaned o'er many a rural stile,
And conned my thoughts as joys to me,
Naught heeding who might frown or smile.
'Twas nature's beauty that inspired
My heart with raptures not its own,
And she's a fame that never tires;
How could I feel myself alone?


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