John Bradford

1706 - 1785

Bright Stream

DIDST thou but know how soon, bright stream,
Thy charms thou must forego,
And be no more the poet's theme,
So fast thou wouldst not flow,
Bright stream—
So fast thou wouldst not flow.

But linger where green willows wave,
And wild bees boom along ;
Where birds their glossy plumage lave, I
And fill the air with song, .
Bright stream—
And fill the air with song.

No waves, save those of brooks and rills,
From glens where woodbines twine,
And vales begirt with wooded hills,
Have conie to thix with thine,
Bright stream—
Have come to mix with thine.

But soon dark, slow, and turbid streams.
That through Iarge cities glide.
Will veil thy brightest pebbles' gleams.
Arid all thy beauties hide,
Bright stream—
And all thy beauties hide.

By stately streets and lordly homes
Thy waters soon will flow,
Where art and science rear their domes.
In grand and glorious show,
Bright stream—
In grand and glorious show.

But homesteads calm, in valleys deep,
Anear the village fane,
Or cottage homes on hillsides steep,
Thou'lt never see again,
Bright stream—
Thoult never see again.

Thou'lt hear the sound of merry bells
From towers and steeples high,
And catch the roaring noise that swells
From crowded streets hard by,
Bright stream—
From crowded streets hard by.

But no glad bleat of fresh-penned flocks,
No lowing of sleek kine,
Depastured near the sunlit rocks,
Will ever more be thine,
Bright stream—
Will ever more be thine.

Past docks, and wharves, and stores thoult glide
Where costly goods abound.
Where cargoes come with every tide,
And shipwrights' hammers sound.
Bright stream—
And shipwrights' hammers sound.

But though thy broad expanded breast
I May bear boat, barque, and barge,
No bird near thee will weave its nest,
No wild flowers gem thy marge.
Bright stream—
No wild flowers gem thy marge.

At midnight's lone, remorseful time,
Some poor misguided girl,
Who, in her happy maiden prime,
Oft watch'd thy bright waves' whirl.
Bright stream—
Oft watch'd thy bright waves' whirl ;

All weary of a life of sin.
Without a home or friend.
May seek thy waves, and plunge therein,
Her life of shame to end,
Bright stream—
Her life of shame to end.

By warning buoys, that roll and dip,
Thy final course will be,
Where many a lofty-masted ship
Sails to the open sea.
Bright stream—
Sails to the open sea.

But thou wilt lose the teams and ploughs
That all thy rich fields grace,
And glass no more the alder-boughs
That o'er thee interlace.
Bright stream—
That o'er thee interlace.

I've been the way that thou must go,—
Seen much that thou must see,—
And, knowing all of life I know,
I can but pity thee.
Bright stream—
I can but pity thee.

For, having left hill, wood, and plain-
All scenes of calm content—
Thou can'st no more come back again
To where life's morn was spent,
Bright stream—
To where lifers morn was spent.
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