Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DERWENT; AN ODE: MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD, by JOHN CARR



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DERWENT; AN ODE: MEMORIES OF CHILDHOOD, by            
First Line: Loved stream, that meanders along
Last Line: Not a lake in the land like the sneep.
Subject(s): Childhood Memories; Childhood


LOVED stream, that meanders along
Where the steps of my infancy strayed,
When first I attuned the rude song,
That nature all artless essayed;

Though thy borders be stripped of each tree,
Where trees were indulged to decay,
Their image still pictures to me
Thy villagers gambolling gay.

Nor by Fancy shall aught be unseen
Where thy fountains flow murmuring by,
Where I mixed in the sports on the green,
Where I wept with the woe-begone eye.

'Man born unto trouble' and strife
Is but little inclined to discern
That, amidst the hard lessons of life,
He has still many harder to learn.

Hope calls; he no longer delays,
Nor sees how his way is beset,
Till at length on his happier days
Out of breath he looks back with regret.

Double ƒƒ, I remember you well,
Double ƒƒ, I alone was to blame,
When your persons, in learning to spell,
To me seemed exactly the same.

The dawning of folly or sense,
Revolutions in Latin or taw,
The pedagogue armed in defence
Of Lilly, the fountain of law;

Keen enmities lasting an hour,
Much prose and much verse out of joint,
All revive; and I triumph in power
To decide between comma and point.

Past rapine arises anew,
Not a bird can be safe in her nest;
That orchard again is in view,
Those apples were always the best.
The boy quits, enamoured of ease,
For thy cool embraces, his book;
Thy minnows, that play when they please,
O Derwent! how happy they look!

How oft, by no pity controlled,
An impaler of brandlings I've been!
How oft returned hungry and cold,
Unburthened with booty, I ween!

When thy Hyads impetuously poured
A deluge from every hill,
The dams by thy torrents devoured
The miller aghast in his mill;

Thy rage did but temper the air;
Far distant the mildew of Health,
Where Guilt vainly decorates Care,
Disdaining the gewgaws of wealth.

Fine houses, fine coaches, fine wives,
Genealogies bought by the yard!
Why forfeit the peace of your lives,
Ye wretches, for such a reward?

Far better to perish obscure,
With ignorance binding your eyes,
Than to riot on spoils of the poor,
Than be learned without being wise.

Simplicity heard in her cot
Long tales of hard winters and wars,
And still hoped to better her lot
By the change of the moon and the stars.

What feats were performed in the snow,
When the track of the hare was descried!
What joys did old Jowler bestow,
What grief, when the veteran died!

How Derwent for liberty fought,
Regardless of riches and ease!
Now liberty's not worth a groat,
And money corrupts all degrees!

Thus the sages of Derwent find out,
As the sages of Greece did before,
That Truth may be elbowed about,
And Honesty kicked out of door.

As the trout still prefers the clear stream,
As the eel still will bask in the mud,
So this is for ever the theme,
All is over and gone that was good.

For a story they stir up the fire,
Till vanquished and silenced by sleep;
No vale like their own they admire,
Not a lake in the land like the Sneep.





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