Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
W. Wordsworth
 
CCLVIII. Yarrow Visited
September 1814
 
AND is this Yarrow?—this the stream 
  Of which my fancy cherish'd 
So faithfully a waking dream, 
  An image that hath perish'd? 
Oh that some minstrel's harp were near         5
  To utter notes of gladness, 
And chase this silence from the air, 
  That fills my heart with sadness! 
  
Yet why?—a silvery current flows 
  With uncontroll'd meanderings;  10
Nor have these eyes by greener hills 
  Been soothed, in all my wanderings. 
And, through her depths, Saint Mary's Lake 
  Is visibly delighted; 
For not a feature of those hills  15
  Is in the mirror slighted. 
  
A blue sky bends o'er Yarrow Vale, 
  Save where that pearly whiteness 
Is round the rising sun diffused, 
  A tender hazy brightness;  20
Mild dawn of promise! that excludes 
  All profitless dejection, 
Though not unwilling here to admit 
  A pensive recollection. 
  
Where was it that the famous Flower  25
  Of Yarrow Vale lay bleeding? 
His bed perchance was yon smooth mound 
  On which the herd is feeding; 
And haply from this crystal pool, 
  Now peaceful as the morning,  30
The Water-wraith ascended thrice 
  And gave his doleful warning. 
  
Delicious is the lay that sings 
  The haunts of happy lovers, 
The path that leads them to the grove,  35
  The leafy grove that covers: 
And pity sanctifies the verse 
  That paints, by strength of sorrow, 
The unconquerable strength of love;— 
  Bear witness, rueful Yarrow!  40
  
But thou that didst appear so fair 
  To fond imagination, 
Dost rival in the light of day 
  Her delicate creation: 
Meek loveliness is round thee spread,  45
  A softness still and holy— 
The grace of forest charms decay'd, 
  And pastoral melancholy. 
  
That region left, the vale unfolds 
  Rich groves of lofty stature,  50
With Yarrow winding through the pomp 
  Of cultivated nature; 
And rising from those lofty groves 
  Behold a ruin hoary, 
The shatter'd front of Newark's towers,  55
  Renown'd in Border story. 
  
Fair scenes for childhood's opening bloom, 
  For sportive youth to stray in, 
For manhood to enjoy his strength, 
  And age to wear away in!  60
Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss, 
  A covert for protection 
Of studious ease and generous cares, 
  And every chaste affection. 
  
How sweet on this autumnal day  65
  The wild-wood fruits to gather, 
And on my true-love's forehead plant 
  A crest of blooming heather! 
And what if I enwreathed my own? 
  'Twere no offence to reason;  70
The sober hills thus deck their brows 
  To meet the wintry season. 
  
I see—but not by sight alone, 
  Loved Yarrow, have I won thee; 
A ray of Fancy still survives—  75
  Her sunshine plays upon thee! 
Thy ever-youthful waters keep 
  A course of lively pleasure; 
And gladsome notes my lips can breathe 
  Accordant to the measure.  80
  
The vapours linger round the heights, 
  They melt, and soon must vanish; 
One hour is theirs, nor more is mine— 
  Sad thought! which I would banish, 
But that I know, where'er I go,  85
  Thy genuine image, Yarrow! 
Will dwell with me, to heighten joy, 
  And cheer my mind in sorrow. 
 
 
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