Mountain Tarn


Oh, mountain tarn, I dare to venture near
Thy grassy rim and stand amid the reeds
Knee-high, and look into thy gloomy deeps
Unstirred by aught; perhaps the faintest breeze
Skims thy dark surface; solitude is here!
Tranquillity and peace. Nothing invades
Thy calm serenity. At hand, perhaps,
Mountain sheep stumbles, and quietude flees,
And from the ground disturbed game-birds rise
And skim the lake to settle in some spot
Where stillness is and mountain sheep is not.
I bend to thee, oh tarn, again my eyes
Piercing thy depths, too deep for me to say,
Too deep for thought: and so I turn away!

(Alternative sestet)

And from thy lips thy fullness, welling o’er,
Spills in a silvery cascade a shroud
Cov’ring the naked rock. Oh, who so proud,
Can bend to thee, O tarn, and not be poor?
Who that can walk the pavements with firm tread
Will not but falter at thy visage dead?