"The Meuse" [poem]
THE sky was clear, the morn was gay
In promise of a cloudless day.
Fresh flew the breeze, with whose light wing
Aspen and oak were quivering:
From flowʼret dank it dashed the dew,—
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The harebell bent its blossom blue,—
And from the Meuse the mist‐wreaths 1 grey
That morning breeze had swept away,
Showing such scenes as well might seem
The fairy vision of a dream. 2
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For changing still, and still as fair
Rock, wave, and wood were mingled there;
Peak over peak, fantastic ever,
The lofty crags deep chasms sever:
And, grey and gaunt, their lichened head
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Rose sheerly from the riverʼs bed, 3
Whose mantling wave, in foamy sheet,
Their stern, projecting bases beat;
And, lashed to fury in his pride,
In circling whirlpools swept the tide,
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As threatening, on some future day,
Those mighty rocks to tear away,—
What though their front should seem to be
A barrier, to eternity! 4
And on its side, the cliffs between,
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Were mazy forests ever seen,
That the tall cliffʼs steep flanks so grey
Were clothed in mantle green and gay.
Long time along that dell so deep,
Beside the riverʼs bed, we sweep;
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So steep the mighty crests inclined,
None other pathway you might find;
Till the tall cliffʼs gigantic grace
To undulating hills gave place,
And vineyards clothe the bending brow,
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ʼStead of the clinging copsewood now.