A poem by Arthur Hugh Clough


From thy far sources, ’mid mountains airily climbing,
Pass to the rich lowland, thou busy sunny river;
Murmuring once, dimpling, pellucid, limpid, abundant,
Deepening now, widening, swelling, a lordly river.
Through woodlands steering, with branches waving above thee,
Through the meadows sinuous, wandering irriguous;
Towns, hamlets leaving, towns by thee, bridges across thee,
Pass to palace garden, pass to cities populous.
Murmuring once, dimpling, ’mid woodlands wandering idly,
Now with mighty vessels loaded, a mighty river.
Pass to the great waters, though tides may seem to resist thee,
Tides to resist seeming, quickly will lend thee passage,
Pass to the dark waters that roaring wait to receive thee;
Pass them thou wilt not, thou busy sunny river.

Freshwater, 1861.


Trunks the forest yielded with gums ambrosial oozing,
Boughs with apples laden beautiful, Hesperian,
Golden, odoriferous, perfume exhaling about them,
Orbs in a dark umbrage luminous and radiant;
To the palate grateful, more luscious were not in Eden,
Or in that fabled garden of Alcinoüs;
Out of a dark umbrage sounds also musical issued,
Birds their sweet transports uttering in melody
Thrushes clear piping, wood-pigeons cooing, arousing
Loudly the nightingale, loudly the sylvan echoes;
Waters transpicuous flowed under, flowed to the list’ning
Ear with a soft murmur, softly soporiferous;
Nor, with ebon locks too, there wanted, circling, attentive
Unto the sweet fluting, girls, of a swarthy shepherd;
Over a sunny level their flocks are lazily feeding,
They of Amor musing rest in a leafy cavern.

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