Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames
L I N E S
WRITTEN NEAR RICHMOND, UPON THE THAMES,
How rich the wave, in front, imprest
With evening-twilight’s summer hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent path pursues!
And see how dark the backward stream! 5
A little moment past, so smiling!
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
Some other loiterer beguiling.
Such views the youthful bard allure,
But, heedless of the following gloom, 10
He deems their colours shall endure
’Till peace go with him to the tomb.
—And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow!
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet, 15
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?
Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
O Thames! that other bards may see,
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river! come to me. 20
Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
’Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.
Vain thought! yet be as now thou art, 25
That in thy waters may be seen
The image of a poet’s heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene!
Such heart did once the poet bless,
Who, pouring here a * later ditty,30
Could find no refuge from distress,
But in the milder grief of pity.
Remembrance! as we glide along,
For him suspend the dashing oar,
And pray that never child of Song 35
May know his freezing sorrows more.
How calm! how still! the only sound,
The dripping of the oar suspended!
—The evening darkness gathers round
By virtue’s holiest powers attended.40
(* Collins’s Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written, I believe, of the poems which were published during his life-time. This Ode is also alluded to in the next stanza.)