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The quiet lake, the balmy air,
The hill, the stream, the tower, the tree,
Are they still such as once they were,

Or is the dreary change in me?
“Alas, the warp'd and broken board,
How can it bear the painter's dye?
The harp of strain'd and useless chord,
How to the minstrel's skill reply?
To aching eye each landscape lowers,
To feverish pulse each gale blows chill,
And Araby's or Eden's bowers
Were barren as this moorland hill."

This poem shows how subjective was Scott's view of nature, and he seems in it to completely refute Ruskin's argument in his own verse.

That nature is not always sad to the poets we see in Wordsworth's beautiful poem about the daffodils, and the delight the recollection of them gave him:

"I wander'd lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

“I wan-
der'd lonely
as a cloud.”

“The waves beside them danc'd, but they

Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company!
I gaz'd — and gaz'd — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.
“For oft when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.”

“To Daffodils.” R. Herrick.

But these same flowers suggested a sadder train of thought to Herrick:

“Fair Daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.

Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day

Has run
But to the even-song;
And having pray'd together, we
Will go with you along.
“We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you, or anything.

We die,
As your hours do, and dry

Away
Like to the Summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew

Ne'er to be found again.”

Tennyson in this well-known passage shows how the same scene can be full of happiness or despairing sorrow, in accordance with the feelings of the lover: “Many an evening on the moorland

“Locksley

Hall.”
did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses

with the fulness of the Spring.
Many an evening by the waters

did we watch the stately ships, And our spirits rushed together

at the touching of the lips.
O my cousin, shallow hearted!

O my Amy, mine no more!
O the dreary, dreary moorland!

O the barren, barren shore!” And again in one of the most perfect of his short pieces he tells of a scene recalling to memory the friend he had loved and lost. How fine is the effect of the constant repetition of the words “All along the valley”! It seems to unite the present and the past, and to give a permanence and reality to the poet's dream and make it a living thing: “All along the valley, stream that flashest white, “In the Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night, Valley of All along the valley where thy waters flow,

Cauteretz." I walk'd with one I loved, two and thirty years ago.

All along the valley while I walked to-day,
The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;
For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed,
Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,
And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,
The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.”

And the general effect of nature on the poetic temperament seems undoubtedly to be a sad one. Thus Tennyson writes:

“Tears, idle tears, ...
Rise in the heart and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”

“The

Princess."

And Burns sings:
“Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye blume sae fair,
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu'o' care!

“Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird,

That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o' the happy days
When my fause love was true.
“Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird,

That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,

And wist na o'my fate."
And again in the poem “To a Mountain
Daisy":

“There in thy scanty mantle clad,

Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies!
“E'en thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,

That fate is thine, no distant date;
Stern ruin's ploughshare drives elate

Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight

Shall be thy doom.”

Similarly the old ballad tells how

“Thy braes were bonnie, Yarrow stream,
When first on them I met my lover,
Thy braes how dreary, Yarrow stream,
When now thy waves his body cover!
For ever now, O Yarrow stream,
Thou art to me a stream of sorrow,
For never on thy banks shall I
Behold my love, the flower of Yarrow."

“The
Braes of
Yarrow.
J. Logan.

And Rossetti writes, in his intense vision of human grief: “Her seem'd she scarce had been a day

“The One of God's choristers;

Blessed
The wonder was not yet quite gone

Damozel.”
From that still look of hers;
Albeit to them she left, her day
Had counted as ten years.

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