Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE DELL OF E -., by ALFRED TENNYSON

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THE DELL OF E -., by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There was a long, low, rushy dell, emboss'd
Last Line: Spread out beneath the sun their glorious canopy!
Alternate Author Name(s): Tennyson, Lord Alfred; Tennyson, 1st Baron; Tennyson Of Aldworth And Farringford, Baron

THERE was a long, low, rushy dell, emboss'd
With knolls of grass and clumps of copsewood green;
Mid-way a wandering burn the valley cross'd,
And streak'd with silvery line the wood-land scene;
High hills on either side to heaven upsprung,
Y-clad with groves of undulating pine,
Upon whose heads the hoary vapours hung,
And far -- far off the heights were seen to shine
In clear relief against the sapphire sky,
And many a blue stream wander'd thro' the shade
Of those dark groves that clomb the mountains high,
And glistening 'neath each lone entangled glade,
At length with brawling accent loudly fell
Within the limpid brook that wound along the dell.

How pleasant was the ever-varying light
Beneath that emerald coverture of boughs!
How often, at th' approach of dewy night,
Have those tall pine-trees heard the lover's vows!
How many a name was carv'd upon the trunk
Of each old hollow willow-tree, that stoop'd
To lave its branches in the brook, and drunk
Its freshening dew! How many a cypress droop'd
From those fair banks, where bloom'd the earliest flowers,
Which the young year from her abounding horn
Scatters profuse within her secret bowers!
What rapturous gales from that wild dell were borne!
And, floating on the rich spring breezes, flung
Their incense o'er that wave on whose bright banks they sprung!

Long years had past, and there again I came,
But man's rude hand had sorely scath'd the dell;
And though the cloud-capped mountains, still the same,
Uprear'd each heaven-invading pinnacle;
Yet were the charms of that lone valley fled,
And the grey - winding of the stream was gone;
The brook, once murmuring o'er its pebbly bed,
Now deeply -- straightly -- noiselessly went on.
Slow turn'd the sluggish wheel beneath its force,
Where clattering mills disturb'd the solitude:
Where was the prattling of its former course?
Its shelving, sedgy sides y-crown'd with wood?
The willow trunks were fell'd, the names eras'd
From one broad shattered pine, which still its station grac'd.

Remnant of all its brethren, there it stood,
Braving the storms that swept the cliffs above,
Where once, throughout th' impenetrable wood,
Were heard the plainings of the pensive dove.
But man had bid th' eternal forests bow
That bloom'd upon the earth-imbedded base
Of the strong mountain, and perchance they now
Upon the billows were the dwelling-place
Of their destroyers, and bore terror round
The trembling earth: -- ah! lovelier, had they still
Whisper'd unto the breezes with low sound,
And greenly flourish'd on their native hill,
And flinging their proud arms in state on high,
Spread out beneath the sun their glorious canopy!

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