THE RIVER DUDDON
A SERIES OF SONNETS
ERE yet our course was graced with social trees
It lacked not old remains of hawthorn bowers,
Where small birds warbled to their paramours;
And, earlier still, was heard the hum of bees;
I saw them ply their harmless robberies,
And caught the fragrance which the sundry flowers,
Fed by the stream with soft perpetual showers,
Plenteously yielded to the vagrant breeze.
There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness;
The trembling eyebright showed her sapphire blue,
The thyme her purple, like the blush of Even;
And if the breath of some to no caress
Invited, forth they peeped so fair to view,
All kinds alike seemed favourites of Heaven.
10 'There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness,
The trembling eyebright showed her sapphire blue.'
These two lines are in a great measure taken from "The Beauties
of Spring, a Juvenile Poem," by the Rev. Joseph Sympson. He was a
native of Cumberland, and was educated in the vale of Grasmere,
and at Hawkshead school: his poems are little known, but they
contain passages of splendid description; and the versification of
his "Vision of Alfred" is harmonious and animated. In describing
the motions of the Sylphs that constitute the strange machinery of
his Poem, he uses the following illustrative simile:--
------"Glancing from their plumes
A changeful light the azure vault illumes.
Less varying hues beneath the Pole adorn
The streamy glories of the Boreal morn,
That wavering to and fro their radiance shed
On Bothnia's gulf with glassy ice o'erspread.
Where the lone native, as he homeward glides,
On polished sandals o'er the imprisoned tides,
And still the balance of his frame preserves,
Wheeled on alternate foot in lengthening curves,
Sees at a glance, above him and below,
Two rival heavens with equal splendour glow.
Sphered in the centre of the world he seems;
For all around with soft effulgence gleams;
Stars, moons, and meteors, ray opposed to ray,
And solemn midnight pours the blaze of day."
He was a man of ardent feeling, and his faculties of mind,
particularly his memory, were extraordinary. Brief notices of his
life ought to find a place in the History of Westmoreland.