A Landscape

by John Cunningham

John Cunningham

Now that Summer's ripen'd bloom
Frolics where the Winter frown'd,
Stretch'd upon these banks of broom,
We command the landscape round.

Nature in the prospect yields
Humble dales, and mountains bold,
Meadows, woodlands, heaths, and fields
Yellow'd o'er with waving gold.

Goats upon that frowning steep,
Fearless, with their kidlings browse;
Here a flock of snowy sheep,
There an herd of motley cows.

On the uplands, every glade
Brightens in the blaze of day,
O'er the vales, the sober shade
Softens to an evening grey.

Where the rill, by slow degrees,
Swells into a crystal pool,
Shaggy rocks and shelving trees
Shoot to keep the waters cool.

Shiver'd by a thunder-stroke,
From the mountain's misty ridge,
O'er the brook a ruin'd oak,
Near the farm-house, forms a bridge.

On her breast the sunny beam
Glitters in meridian pride;
Yonder as the virgin stream
Hastens to the restless tide: —

Where the ships by wanton gales
Wafted, o'er the green waves run,
Sweet to see their swelling sails
Whiten'd by the laughing sun!

High upon the daisied hill,
Rising from the slope of trees,
How the wings of yonder mill
Labour in the busy breeze! —

Cheerful as a summer's morn,
(Bouncing from her loaded pad)
Where the maid presents her corn,
Smirking, to the miller's lad.

O'er the green a festal throng
Gambols, in fantastic trim!
As the full cart moves along,
Hearken — 'tis their harvest hymn!

Linnets on the crowded sprays
Chorus, — and the woodlarks rise,
Soaring with a song of praise,
Till the sweet notes reach the skies.

Torrents in extended sheets
Down the cliffs, dividing, break;
'Twixt the hills the water meets,
Settling in a silver lake!

From his languid flocks, the swain,
By the sun-beams sore opprest,
Plunging on the watery plain,
Plows it with his glowing breast.

Where the mantling willows nod,
From the green bank's slopy side,
Patient, with his well-thrown rod,
Many an angler breaks the tide!

On the isles, with osiers drest,
Many a fair-plum'd halcyon breeds!
Many a wild bird hides her nest,
Cover'd in yon crackling reeds.

Fork-tail'd prattlers as they pass
To their nestlings in the rock,
Darting on the liquid glass,
Seem to kiss the mimic'd flock.

Where the stone-cross lifts its head,
Many a saint and pilgrim hoar,
Up the hill was wont to tread,
Barefoot, in the days of yore.

Guardian of a sacred well,
Arch'd beneath yon reverend shades,
Whilom, in that shatter'd cell,
Many an hermit told his beads.

Sultry mists surround the heath
Where the Gothic dome appears,
O'er the trembling groves beneath,
Tottering with a load of years.

Turn to the contrasted scene,
Where, beyond these hoary piles,
Gay, upon the rising green,
Many an attic building smiles!

Painted gardens — grots — and groves,
Intermingling shade and light!
Lengthen'd vistas, green alcoves,
Join to give the eye delight.

Hamlets — villages, and spires,
Scatter'd on the landscape lie,
Till the distant view retires,
Closing in an azure sky.




Last updated September 05, 2017