* This Poem was written August 1788, on a journey through Derbyshire, to a music-meeting at Sheffield. The Author's Father was Rector of EYAM, an extensive Village, that runs along a mountainous terrace, in one of the highest parts of the Peak. She was born there, and there passed the first seven years of her life, visiting the Place often with her Father in future periods. The middle part of this Village is built on the edge of a deep Dell, which has very picturesque, and beautiful features.
1 FOR one short week I leave, with anxious heart,
2 Source of my filial cares, the FULL OF DAYS;
3 Lur'd by the promise of harmonic Art
4 To breathe her Handel's soul-exalting lays.
5 Pensive I trace the Derwent's amber wave†
† Amber wave. From the peculiar nature of the clay on the mountains, from which it descends, the River Derwent has a yellow tint, that well becomes the dark foliage on its banks, and the perpetual foam produced by a narrow, and rocky channel.,
6 Foaming thro' sylvan banks, or view it lave
7 The soft romantic vallies, high o'er-peer'd
8 By hills, and rocks, in savage grandeur rear'd
9 Not two short miles from thee, — can I refrain
10 Thy haunts, my native EYAM, long unseen?
11 Thou, and thy lov'd Inhabitants again
12 Shall meet my transient gaze. — Thy rocky screen,[Page 38]
13 Thy airy cliffs I mount; and seek thy shade,
14 Thy roofs, that brow the steep, romantic glade;
15 But, while on me the eyes of Friendship glow,
16 Swell my pain'd sighs, my tears spontaneous flow.
17 In Scenes paternal, not beheld thro' years,
18 Nor view'd, till now, but by a Father's side,
19 Well might the tender tributary tears,
20 From keen regrets of duteous fondness, glide.
21 Its Pastor, to this Human-Flock no more
22 Shall the long flight of future days restore;
23 Distant he droops — and that once-gladdening eye
24 Now languid gleams, e'en when his Friends are nigh.
25 Thro' this known walk, where weedy gravel lies,
26 Rough, and unsightly; — by the long coarse grass
27 Of the once smooth, and vivid Green, with sighs,
28 To the deserted Rectory I pass; —
29 Stray thro' the darken'd chambers naked bound,
30 Where Childhood's earliest, liveliest bliss I found.
31 How chang'd, since erst, the lightsome walls beneath,
32 The social joys did their warm comforts breathe!
33 Ere yet I go, who may return no more,
34 That sacred Pile, 'mid yonder shadowy trees,
35 Let me revisit! — ancient, massy door,
36 Thou gratest hoarse! — my vital spirits freeze
37 Passing the vacant Pulpit to the space
38 Where humble rails the decent Altar grace,
39 And where my infant sister's ashes sleep,
40 Whose loss I left the childish sport to weep.
[Page 40] 41 *
* The ancient custom of hanging a garland of white roses, made of writing-paper, and a pair of white gloves, over the pew of the unmarried Villagers, who die in the flower of their age, is observed to this day, in the Village of EYAM, and in most other Villages, and little Towns in the Peak.Now the low beams, with paper garlands hung,
42 In memory of some village Youth, or Maid,
43 Draw the soft tear, from thrill'd remembrance sprung,
44 How oft my childhood mark'd that tribute paid.
45 The gloves suspended by the garland's side,
46 White as its snowy flowers, with ribbands tied;
47 Dear Village! long these wreaths funereal spread,
48 Simple memorials of thy early Dead!
49 But, O! thou blank, and silent Pulpit! — thou
50 That with a Father's precepts, just, and bland,
51 Did'st win my ear, as Reason's strengthening glow
52 Show'd their full value — now thou seem'st to stand
53 Before my sad, suffus'd, and trembling gaze,
54 The dreariest relic of departed days;
55 Of eloquence paternal, nervous, clear,
56 DIM APPARTITION THOU, — and bitter is my tear.