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THIS LIME-TREE BOWER MY PRISON.
In the June of 1797, some long-expected Friends paid a visit to the Author's Cottage; and on the morning of their arrival, he met with an accident, which disabled him from walking during the whole time of their stay. One Evening, when they had left him for a few hours, he composed the following lines in the GardenBower.
WELL, they are gone, and here must I remain,
My Friends, whom I may never meet again,
And only speckled by the mid-day Sun;
Where its slim trunk the Ash from rock to rock
Flings arching like a Bridge;-that branchless Ash,
Unsunn'd and damp, whose few poor yellow leaves
Now, my Friends emerge
Beneath the wide wide Heaven—and view again
The many-steepled track magnificent
Of hilly fields and meadows, and the sea,
With some fair bark, perhaps, whose Sails light up
Of purple shadow! Yes! they wander on
* Of long lank Weeds.] The Asplenium Scolopendrium, called in some countries the Adder's Tongue, in others the Hart's Tongue: but Withering gives the Adder's Tongue as the trivial name of the Ophioglossum only.
With sad yet patient soul, through evil and pain
Behind the western ridge, thou glorious Sun!
Shine in the slant beams of the sinking orb
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad
As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,
The shadow of the leaf and stem above
Dappling its sunshine! And that Walnut-tree
Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass
Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know
No Plot so narrow, be but Nature there,
While thou stood'st gazing; or when all was still,
*Flew creeking o'er thy head, and had a charm For thee, my gentle-hearted Charles, to whom No Sound is dissonant which tells of Life.
* Flew creeking.]
Some months after I had written this line, it gave me pleasure to observe that Bartram had observed the same circumstance of the Savanna Crane. "When these Birds move their wings in flight, their strokes are slow, moderate and regular; and even when at a considerable distance or high above us, we plainly hear the quill-feathers; their shafts and webs upon one another creek as the joints or working of a vessel in a tempestuous sea."