On Leaving A Place Of Residence

A poem by William Lisle Bowles

If I could bid thee, pleasant shade, farewell
Without a sigh, amidst whose circling bowers
My stripling prime was passed, and happiest hours,
Dead were I to the sympathies that swell
The human breast! These woods, that whispering wave,
My father reared and nursed, now to the grave
Gone down; he loved their peaceful shades, and said,
Perhaps, as here he mused: Live, laurels green;
Ye pines that shade the solitary scene,
Live blooming and rejoice! When I am dead
My son shall guard you, and amid your bowers,
Like me, find shelter from life's beating showers.
These thoughts, my father, every spot endear;
And whilst I think, with self-accusing pain,
A stranger shall possess the loved domain,
In each low wind I seem thy voice to hear.
But these are shadows of the shaping brain
That now my heart, alas! can ill sustain:
We must forget, the world is wide, the abode
Of peace may still be found, nor hard the road.
It boots not, so, to every chance resigned,
Where'er the spot, we bear the unaltered mind.
Yet, oh! poor cottage, and thou sylvan shade,
Remember, ere I left your coverts green,
Where in my youth I mused, in childhood played,
I gazed, I paused, I dropped a tear unseen,
That bitter from the font of memory fell,
Thinking on him who reared you; now, farewell!

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