Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE ALTERED RIVER, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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THE ALTERED RIVER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thou lovely river, thou art now
Last Line: And when have dreams not flown?
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Rivers


Thou lovely river, thou art now
As fair as fair can be,
Pale flowers wreathe upon thy brow,
The rose bends over thee.
Only the morning sun hath leave
To turn thy waves to light,
Cool shade the willow branches weave
When noon becomes too bright.
The lilies are the only boats
Upon thy diamond plain,
The swan alone in silence floats
Around thy charm'd domain.
The moss bank's fresh embroiderie,
With fairie favours starr'd,
Seems made the summer haunt to be
Of melancholy bard.
Fair as thou art, thou wilt be food
For many a thought of pain;
For who can gaze upon thy flood,
Nor wish it to remain
The same pure and unsullied thing
Where heaven's face is as clear
Mirror'd in thy blue wandering
As heaven's face can be here.
Flowers fling their sweet bonds on thy breast,
The willows woo thy stay,
In vain,—thy waters may not rest,
Their course must be away.
In yon wide world, what wilt thou find?
What all find—toil and care:
Your flowers you have left behind
Far other weight to bear.
The heavy bridge confines your stream,
Through which the barges toil,
Smoke has shut out the sun's glad beam,
Thy waves have caught the soil.
On—on—though weariness it be,
By shoal and barrier cross'd,
Till thou hast reach'd the mighty sea,
And there art wholly lost.
Bend thou, young poet, o'er the stream—
Such fate will be thine own;
Thy lute's hope is a morning dream,
And when have dreams not flown?





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