Ode On A Distant Prospect Of Ever Getting To The Hills

A poem by John Kendall

After T. G.


Ye distant Hills, ye smiling glades,
In decent foliage drest,
Where green Sylvanus proudly shades
The Sirkar's haughty crest,
And ye, that in your wider reign
Like bold adventurers disdain
The limit set for common clay,
Whose luck, whose pen, whose power of song,
Distinguish from the vulgar throng
To walk the flowery way:

Ah happy Hills! Ah genial sky!
Ah Goal where all would end!
Where once, and only once, did I
Go largely on the bend;
E'en now the tales that from ye flow
A fragmentary bliss bestow,
Till, once again a doedal boy,
In dreaming dimly of the first
I seem to take a second burst,
And snatch a tearful joy.

But tell me, Jakko, dost thou see
The same old sprightly crew
Disport with unembarrassed glee,
As we were wont to do?
What youth, in brazen armour cased,
With pliant arm the yielding waist
To arduous dalliance ensnares?
Who, foremost of his peers, exalts
The labours of the devious waltz
By sitting out the squares?

Does Prudence, gentle Matron, force
On Folly in her 'teens
The value of a stalking-horse
When hunting Rank and Means?
And is the Summer Widow's mind
Aggrieved and horrified to find
That, as her male acquaintance grows,
Her female circle pass her by
With Innuendo's outraged eye,
And Virtue's injured nose?

Lo, in the Vale of Tears beneath
A grilling troop is seen
Whom Failure gnaws with rankling teeth,
While Envy turns them green.
This racks the head, that scars the pelt,
These bore beneath the ample belt,
Those in the deeper vitals burn:
Lo, Want of Leave, to fill the cup,
Hath drunken all our juices up,
And topped the whole concern.

To each his billet; some succeed,
And some are left to groan;
The latter serve their country's need,
The former serve their own.
Then let the maiden try her wing,
The youth enjoy his roomy fling,
The Single Matron dry her eyes!
As Fate is blind, and Life is short,
If Ignorance can give them sport,
'Twere folly to be wise.

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