Summer Studies. III.

A poem by James Barron Hope

That solitary cloud grows dark and wide,
While distant thunder rumbles in the air,
A fitful ripple breaks the river's tide -
The lazy cattle are no longer there,
But homeward come in long procession slow,
With many a bleat and many a plaintive low.

Darker and wider-spreading o'er the west
Advancing clouds, each in fantastic form,
And mirror'd turrets on the river's breast
Tell in advance the coming of a storm -
Closer and brighter glares the lightning's flash
And louder, nearer, sounds the thunder's crash.

The air of evening is intensely hot,
The breeze feels heated as it fans my brows -
Now sullen rain-drops patter down like shot -
Strike in the grass, or rattle 'mid the boughs.
A sultry lull: and then a gust again,
And now I see the thick-advancing rain.

It fairly hisses as it comes along,
And where it strikes bounds up again in spray
As if 'twere dancing to the fitful song
Made by the trees, which twist themselves and sway
In contest with the wind which rises fast,
Until the breeze becomes a furious blast.

And now, the sudden, fitful storm has fled,
The clouds lie pil'd up in the splendid west,
In massive shadow tipp'd with purplish red,
Crimson or gold. The scene is one of rest;
And on the bosom of yon still lagoon
I see the crescent of the pallid moon.

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