Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
An Excursion to the Mountains (from The Village Patriarch)
By Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)
COME, Father of the Hamlet! grasp again
Thy stern ash plant, cut when the woods were young;
Come, let us leave the plough-subjected plain,
And rise, with freshened hearts, and nerves restrung,
Into the azure dome, that, haply, hung        5
O’er thoughtful power, ere suffering had begun.
Flowers peep, trees bud, boughs tremble, rivers run;
The redwing saith, it is a glorious morn.
Blue are thy Heavens, thou Highest! and thy sun
Shines without cloud, all fire. How sweetly, borne        10
On wings of morning o’er the leafless thorn,
The tiny wren’s small twitter warbles near!
How swiftly flashes in the stream the trout!
Woodbine! our father’s ever-watchful ear
Knows, by thy rustle, that thy leaves are out.        15
The trailing bramble hath not yet a sprout;
Yet harshly to the wind the wanton prates,
Not with thy smooth lisp, woodbine of the fields!
Thou future treasure of the bee, that waits
Gladly on thee, spring’s harbinger! when yields        20
All bounteous earth her odorous flowers, and builds
The nightingale, in beauty’s fairest land.
Five rivers, like the fingers of a hand,
Flung from black mountains, mingle, and are one
Where sweetest valleys quit the wild and grand,        25
And eldest forests, o’er the silvan Don,
Bid their immortal brother journey on,
A stately pilgrim, watched by all the hills.
Say, shall we wander where, through warriors’ graves,
The infant Yewden, mountain-cradled, trills        30
Her doric notes? Or, where the Locksley raves
Of broil and battle, and the rocks and caves
Dream yet of ancient days? Or, where the sky
Darkens o’er Rivilin, the clear and cold,
That throws his blue length, like a snake, from high?        35
Or, where deep azure brightens into gold
O’er Sheaf, that mourns in Eden? Or, where rolled
On tawny sands, through regions passion-wild,
And groves of love, in jealous beauty dark,
Complains the Porter, Nature’s thwarted child,        40
Born in the waste, like headlong Wiming? Hark!
The poised hawk calls thee, Village Patriarch!
He calls thee to his mountains! Up, away!
Up, up, to Stanedge! higher still ascend,
Till kindred rivers, from the summit grey,        45
To distant seas their course in beauty bend,
And, like the lives of human millions, blend
Disparted waves in one immensity!

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