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Catherine Maria Fanshawe (1765-1834)

Fragment in Imitation of Wordsworth


              1There is a river clear and fair,
              2  'Tis neither broad nor narrow;
              3It winds a little here and there --
              4It winds about like any hare;
              5And then it takes as straight a course
              6As on the turnpike road a horse,
              7  Or through the air an arrow.
              8The trees that grow upon the shore,
              9Have grown a hundred years or more;
            10  So long there is no knowing.
            11Old Daniel Dobson does not know
            12When first those trees began to grow;
            13But still they grew, and grew, and grew,
            14As if they'd nothing else to do,
            15  But ever to be growing.

            16The impulses of air and sky
            17Have reared their stately stems so high,
            18  And clothed their boughs with green;
            19Their leaves the dews of evening quaff, --
            20  And when the wind blows loud and keen,
            21I've seen the jolly timbers laugh,
            22  And shake their sides with merry glee --
            23  Wagging their heads in mockery.

            24Fix'd are their feet in solid earth,
            25  Where winds can never blow;
            26But visitings of deeper birth
            27  Have reached their roots below.
            28For they have gained the river's brink,
            29And of the living waters drink.

            30There's little Will, a five years' child --
            31  He is my youngest boy;
            32To look on eyes so fair and wild,
            33  It is a very joy: --
            34He hath conversed with sun and shower,
            35And dwelt with every idle flower,
            36  As fresh and gay as them.
            37He loiters with the briar rose, --
            38The blue-belles are his play-fellows,
            39  That dance upon their slender stem.

            40And I have said, my little Will,
            41Why should not he continue still
            42  A thing of Nature's rearing?
            43A thing beyond the world's control --
            44A living vegetable soul, --
            45  No human sorrow fearing.

            46It were a blessed sight to see
            47That child become a willow tree,
            48  His brother trees among.
            49He'd be four times as tall as me,
            50  And live three times as long.


Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Parodies of the Romantic Age, 2. ed. John Strachan. London: Pickering & Chatto, 1999.
First publication date: 1865
Publication date note: William Harness, Memorials of Miss Catherine Maria Fanshawe (1865): 49-51
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/6/30

Form: irregular stanzas
Rhyme: abaaccbeefgghhf, aabcbbcb, ababcc, ababccdeed


Other poems by Catherine Maria Fanshawe