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That skimmed the surface of the dead calm lake
Suddenly halting now—a lifeless stand!
And starting off again with freak as sudden,
In all its sportive wanderings all the while
Making report of an invisible breeze
That was its wings, its chariot, and its horse,
Its very playmate, and its moving soul.
And often, trifling with a privilege
Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now, And now the other, to point out, perchance To pluck, some flower or water-weed, too fair Either to be divided from the place On which it grew, or to be left alone To its own beauty. Many such there are, Fair Ferns and Flowers, and chiefly that tall Fern So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named;Plant lovelier in its own retired abode On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side Of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere Sole-sitting by the shores of old Romance. —So fared we that sweet morning : from the fields, Meanwhile, a noise was heard, the busy mirth Of Reapers, Men and Women, Boys and Girls. Delighted much to listen to those sounds,
And, in the fashion which I have described,
Too weak to labour in the harvest field,
The Man was using his best skill to gain
A pittance from the dead unfeeling lake
That knew not of his wants. I will not say
What thoughts immediately were ours, nor how
The happy idleness of that sweet morn,
With all its lovely images, was changed
To serious musing and to self-reproach.
Nor did we fail to see within ourselves
What need there is to be reserved in speech,
And temper all our thoughts with charity.
—Therefore, unwilling to forget that day,
My Friend, Myself, and She who then received
The same admonishment, have called the place
By a memorial name, uncouth indeed
As e'er by Mariner was given to Bay
Or Foreland on a new-discovered coast;
And Point Rash-judgment is the Name it bears.
Our walk was far among the ancient trees; There was no road, nor any wood-man's path;But the thick umbrage, checking the wild growth Of weed and sapling, on the soft green turf Beneath the branches of itself had made A track, which brought us to a slip of lawn, And a small bed of water in the woods. All round this pool both flocks and herds might drink On its firm margin, even as from a Well, Or some Stone-bason which the Herdsman's hand Had shaped for their refreshment; nor did sun Or wind from any quarter ever come, But as a blessing, to this calm recess, This glade of water and this one green field. The spot was made by Nature for herself. The travellers know it not, and 'twill remain
VOL. ii. T
Unknown to them: but it is beautiful;