Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CAMBRIA; AN ODE, by LUCY AIKEN



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CAMBRIA; AN ODE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O cambria! Ere in misty blue
Last Line: And charm the painter's eye with tints of soft decay.
Alternate Author Name(s): Aikin, Lucy
Subject(s): Wales; Welshmen; Welshwomen


O CAMBRIA! ere in misty blue
(With tardy foot and lingering eye)
Thy poet-land I dimly view,
Its summits fading into sky;
Warm from the heart receive one parting song,
And bid thy echoing vales the votive strain prolong!
I love thy mountains, giant forms!
Darkly clad in gathering storms;
While sweeps around their caverns black,
Half cloud, half rain, the fleeting rack:
I love thy rocks, down whose steep side
With foaming dizzying crash
Thunders the torrent's tan-brown tide,
The roaring whirlwinds dash.
With toiling step I love to climb
Thy wave-beat cliffs' tempestuous height,
And view, with terror-mixt delight,
The ocean scene sublime;
Dim distant isles in ambient ether seen,
And stormy peaks, and deep-retiring bays,
Foam-crested breakers, and the boundless green
Streakt by the transient sun's swift-glancing rays.
'Mid clouds and crags, dark pools, and mountains drear,
The wild wood's silence and the billows' roll,
Great Nature rules, and claims with brow austere
The shuddering homage of the inmost soul.
The vagrant goat well-pleased I mark
Percht scornful on the giddy brink,
While panting dogs affrighted shrink,
And bay beneath with idle bark:
Ragged of fleece the straggling flock
Bounding over the turfy rock;
The nimble herd of sparkling eye,
With black-tipt horns overarching high,
Their fetlocks bathing in the lucid stream
Where softened suns thro' pendent birches gleam:
The stately heron that sweeps in flagging flight
The lonely rock-bound lake, the cormorant black
Poised on the ridgy wave, and piercing the dun rack
The falcon pouncing from his airy height.
But livelier pleasure heaves my breast,
And tears my softening eyes bedew,
As scenes by smiling Labour drest,
And Man's creative hand, I view.
The mountain oak, no longer doomed
In the deep pathless glen entombed
His sturdy strength to waste,
Obedient to the shipwright's art,
Here launches for the crowded mart
With gaudy streamers graced.
Dragged up with toil, the searching plough
Furrows the mountain's rugged brow;
The mealy root with purple flower
There fattens in the misty shower.
The lonely shepherd of the heath-clad hill
Views the new harvest with paternal joy
As infant hands the ample basket fill;
And buxom Plenty smiles, no longer coy;
Plinlimmon wild the peaceful triumph sounds,
And Snowdon, king of crags, the jocund strain, rebounds.
No longer now the labouring swain
Of sweeping floods and scanty soil,
Inclement skies, and unrewarded toil,
Shall, pincht by hopeless penury, complain.
On the life-deserted wild,
Thro' the rocks in ruin piled,
Science darts her piercing ray;
Bursts kind Nature's secret store, --
Leafy slate or ponderous ore, --
And vindicates her sway.
Ye too, proud torrents! with unbridled force
Leaping your mad innavigable course
'Mid rocks and clefts and gulfs profound;
Ye too Man's conquering prowess feel,
Subdued to whirl the giddy wheel
In white unvarying round.
Not always thus, to works of peace
By patriot wisdom planned,
The labourer lent his willing hand,
And reaped the rich increase:
Mark yon tower's embattled wall,
Proud, yet nodding to its fall;
Proud work of many a wretched thrall!
Edward! on thy parted soul
Heavy sit the murderous guilt
Of Cambrian blood in battle spilt!
Heavier still the unnumbered sighs
Of Cambria's vanquisht bands,
As slow, beneath their forced reluctant hands,
They saw thy castles rise!
But not the warrior's blasting breath,
But not the conqueror's scythed arm,
Can spread eternal death;
Far refuged from the loud alarm,
Gentle Peace with healing hand
Returns: obedient to her whisper bland
Her own attendant Arts are seen,
And Time the furrows smooths of Desolation's plough.
See, on stern Denbigh's towered brow,
The bowler's smooth and level green
Overlook, 'mid ruin-heaps forlorn,
Fair Clwyd's tranquil vale, one sea of waving corn!
By proud Caernarvon's wave-beat wall
The light skiff shelters from the squall;
And Harlech rent by many a storm,
And graceful Conway's mouldering form,
Serve but to prompt the poet's moral lay,
And charm the painter's eye with tints of soft decay.





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