Upon Eckington Bridge, River Avon
O pastoral heart of England! like a psalm
Of green days telling with a quiet beat-
O wave into the sunset flowing calm!
O tirèd lark descending on the wheat!
Lies it all peace beyond the western fold
Where now the lingering shepherd sees his star
Rise upon Malvern? Paints an Age of Gold
Yon cloud with prophecies of linkèd ease-
Lulling this Land, with hills drawn up like knees,
To drowse beside her implements of war?
Man shall outlast his battles. They have swept
Avon from Naseby Field to Savern Ham;
And Evesham's dedicated stones have stepp'd
Down to the dust with Montfort's oriflamme.
Nor the red tear nor the reflected tower
Abides; but yet these elegant grooves remain,
Worn in the sandstone parapet hour by hour
By labouring bargemen where they shifted ropes;
E'en so shall men turn back from violent hopes
To Adam's cheer, and toil with spade again.
Ay, and his mother Nature, to whose lap
Like a repentant child at length he hies,
Nor in the whirlwind or the thunder-clap
Proclaims her more tremendous mysteries:
But when in winter's grave, bereft of light,
With still, small voice divinelier whispering
-Lifting the green head of the aconite,
Feeding with sap of hope the hazel-shoot-
She feels God's finger active at the root,
Turns in her sleep, and murmurs of the Spring.
'Tis pretty to be in Ballinderry,
'Tis pretty to be in Ballindoon,
But 'tis prettier far in County Kerry
Coortin' under the bran' new moon,
'Twas there by the bosom of blue Killarney
They came by the hundther' a-coortin' me;
Sure I was the one to give back their blarney,
An' merry was I to be fancy-free.
But niver a step in the lot was lighter,
An' divvle a boulder among the bhoys,
Than Phelim O'Shea, me dynamither,
Me illigant arthist in clock-work toys.
'Twas all for love he would bring his figgers
Of iminent statesmen, in toy machines,
An' hould me hand as he pulled the thriggers
An' scattered the thraytors to smithereens.
An' to see the Queen in her Crystial Pallus
Fly up to the roof, an' the windeys broke!
And all with divvle a trace of malus,—
But he was the bhoy that enjoyed his joke!
Then O, but his cheek would flush, an' 'Bridget,'
He 'd say, 'Will yez love me?' But I 'd be coy
And answer him, 'Arrah now, dear, don't fidget!'
Though at heart I loved him, me arthist bhoy!
One night we stood by the Kenmare river,
An' 'Bridget, creina, now whist,' said he,
'I'll be goin' to-night, an' may be for iver;
Open your arms at the last to me.'
'Twas there by the banks of the Kenmare river
He took in his hands me white, white face,
An' we kissed our first an' our last for iver—
For Phelim O'Shea is disparsed in space.
'Twas pretty to be by blue Killarney,
'Twas pretty to hear the linnets's call,
But whist! for I cannot attind their blarney,
Nor whistle in answer at all, at all.
For the voice that he swore 'ud out-call the linnet's
Is cracked intoirely, and out of chune,
Since the clock-work missed it by thirteen minutes
An' scattered me Phelim around the moon,