LINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING
Actually composed while I was sitting by the side of the brook
that runs down from the Comb, in which stands the village of
Alford, through the grounds of Alfoxden. It was a chosen resort of
mine. The brook fell down a sloping rock so as to make a waterfall
considerable for that country, and across the pool below had
fallen a tree, an ash if I rightly remember, from which rose
perpendicularly, boughs in search of the light intercepted by the
deep shade above. The boughs bore leaves of green that for want of
sunshine had faded into almost lily-white; and from the underside
of this natural sylvan bridge depended long and beautiful tresses
of ivy which waved gently in the breeze that might poetically
speaking be called the breath of the waterfall. This motion varied
of course in proportion to the power of water in the brook. When,
with dear friends, I revisited this spot, after an interval of
more than forty years, this interesting feature of the scene was
gone. To the owner of the place I could not but regret that the
beauty of this retired part of the grounds had not tempted him to
make it more accessible by a path, not broad or obtrusive, but
sufficient for persons who love such scenes to creep along without
I HEARD a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?