The Mountain Walk

By and Unknown Irish Poet

From the haunts of busy life,

Homes of care, and paths of strife,

Up the breezy mountain way,

’Mid the upper fields of day,

Let me wander, far and lonely,

Without guide, save nature only;

And still ever as I go, Lose all thought of things below,

Cast all sorrow to the wind,

While the low vales sink behind:

Fetterless and spirit free

As the merry mountain bee.

Like a spirit, thought and eye

Buoyant between earth and sky,

There to bask in free pure light

On the joyous mountain height;

Dallying with the breeze and shower,

Claiming kin with every flower,

Catching iris dreams that glance

On the breath of circumstance.

Changing with the changeful scene—

Solemn, sombre, gay, serene:

As each change fresh wonders bring,

Weaving thought from every thing.

Oft let shadowy hollows fall,

And grey cliffs’ embattled wall

Crown the gloom with hoary height,

Where the raven wheels his flight.

Or green vale unfolding soft,

In the lonesome crags aloft

Shut the far down world from view.

There, long up ether’s darkening blue,

The eye may gaze for worlds unseen,

In the skyey void serene,

And weave visions strange and fair,

Of the starry empires there—

Spirits changeless, pure, and bright,

In their glorious vales of light;

Till some wild note break the spell

From sequester’d rural dell

Where the mountain goatherds dwell:

So to break the wild fond dream,

And to man bring down the theme;

For all earthly things impart

Thoughts of Man to human heart.

Then from towery crag on high,

If far city win the eye,

Glittering through the misty air,

’Twere a prospect meet and fair

For the lone sequestered gaze

O’er its wide uncertain maze,

Then to muse on wealth and fame,

And on every specious name

That gilds the dross of earth below,

Till, from reflection, wisdom grow.

Wisdom:—not that sense which cleaveth

To the world where all deceiveth;

Not grave prudence, hard, yet hollow—

In the beaten round to follow

Lengthened aims, in life’s short day,

While the ages glide away:

—But that moral, old and sage,

Said and sung in every age;

Old as man—yet ever new,

Heard by all, and known to few;

Murmur of Being’s wave, that still,

Unheeded as the babbling rill,

In the world’s noise, makes music only

’Midst the hush of deserts lonely.

Last, from o’er the seaward steep,

Let me view the spacious deep,

While the billows break and flow

In the caverned gloom below.

There let cloud and sunbeam flee

O’er the sunned and shadowy sea—

Light and dark in fleeting strife,

Like the vanities of life;

So to dream of joy and woe,

Imaged in the gliding show,

As they come, and as they fly,

To the verge of sea and sky;

So our joys and sorrows flee,

Onward to eternity.

Then away in spirit wrought

By the voluntary thought,

Where the heath is freshly springing,

Where the sky-borne lark is clinging

On mid air with lively song,

Which the echoing cliffs prolong;

O’er wild steep and dreamy hollow,

On, still onward let me follow.

While the airy morn is bright,

While rich noon is at its height,

Till eve falls with sober grey,

Freely let me roam away.

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