Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Composed at Cora Linn

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Clyde, the River

Composed at Cora Linn

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

LORD of the vale! astounding flood;

The dullest leaf in this thick wood

Quakes, conscious of thy power;

The caves reply with hollow moan;

And vibrates, to its central stone,

Yon time-cemented tower!

And yet how fair the rural scene!

For thou, O Clyde, hast ever been

Beneficent as strong;

Pleased in refreshing dews to steep

The little, trembling flowers that peep

Thy shelving rocks among.

Hence all who love their country love

To look on thee, delight to rove

Where they thy voice can hear;

And to the patriot-warrior’s shade,

Lord of the vale! to heroes laid

In dust, that voice is dear!

Along thy banks, at dead of night,

Sweeps visibly the Wallace wight;

Or stands, in warlike vest,

Aloft, beneath the moon’s pale beam,

A champion worthy of the stream,

Yon gray tower’s living crest!

But clouds and envious darkness hide

A form not doubtfully descried;—

Their transient mission o’er,

O, say to what blind region flee

These shapes of awful fantasy?

To what untrodden shore?

Less than divine command they spurn;

But this we from the mountains learn,

And this the valleys show;

That never will they deign to hold

Communion where the heart is cold

To human weal and woe.

The man of abject soul in vain

Shall walk the Marathonian plain;

Or thrid the shadowy gloom

That still invests the guardian Pass,

Where stood, sublime, Leonidas

Devoted to the tomb.

And let no slave his head incline,

Or kneel, before the votive shrine

By Uri’s lake, where Tell

Leapt, from his storm-vext boat, to land,

Heaven’s instrument, for by his hand

That day the tyrant fell.