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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

II. Descriptive and Narrative


(Childe Harold, Canto iv. Stanzas 66, 67.)

BUT thou, Clitumnus! in the sweetest wave

Of the most living crystal that was e’er

The haunt of river nymph, to gaze and lave

Her limbs where nothing hid them, thou dost rear

Thy grassy banks whereon the milk-white steer

Grazes; the purest god of gentle waters!

And most serene of aspect, and most clear;

Surely that stream was unprofaned by slaughters—

A mirror and a bath for Beauty’s youngest daughters!

And on thy happy shore a Temple still,

Of small and delicate proportion, keeps,

Upon a mild declivity of hill,

Its memory of thee; beneath it sweeps

Thy current’s calmness; oft from out it leaps

The finny darter with the glittering scales,

Who dwells and revels in thy glassy deeps;

While, chance, some scatter’d water-lily sails

Down where the shallower wave still tells its bubbling tales.