Honour and gain may ne'er be mine,
'Tis not for these I live ;
I ask but what the free sunshine
And liberty can give,
To wander out from men afar,
Where solitary waters are.
In mountain-cradled valleys, where
The sun sets sooner than elsewhere,
And gorse and heather clothe the sides,
And silence in the rocks resides ;
Save where the hidden water cool
Softly falls into the pool,
Or from some far sheep-cote rings
The tune that all the country sings.
Where pale primrose, with watching wet,
The wild rose and the violet
Open to salute the day,
With strife and envy far away.
The single pass at either gate
With rocks and cataracts is strait,
And set with stones so sharp and thin,
Hardly could they enter in :
While heavenward 'twixt each craggy wall
Towers the falcon over all,
Like an armed sentinel
Set over an enchanted dell.
There let me live, there let me die,
Far from the vulgar noise
Of cities, and from vanity,
And the laborious toys
Wherewith men strive to while away
Their brief but heavy-footed day.
Where Ellee and where Isole meet,
Where Blavet stays his shining feet,
Where truant Scorff in summer flies,
And rosy trout in Aven rise,
And April Odet, heard from far,
Thunders into Stan ga la;
Or lone Branilis' fane looks down
O'er bilberry, moss, and heather brown,
Where Elez near the old monks' home
Lingers e'er he falls in foam ;—
There let me live, for surely there
Peace may be found if anywhere ;
And peace is all that may be mine,
For happiness I sought
In love, in wisdom, and in wine,
But found it not in aught ;
I found it not, nor any have
Who seek it on this side the grave.
And ye who say that otherwhere,
In worlds as beautiful and fair,
When all this shifting scene is past,
It may be, must be, found at last
By those who 'gainst injustice stood,
The brave, the gentle, and the good ;
Where youth and beauty grow not old,
And true love never waxeth cold,
Nor error's mists deform the air,
And neither death nor change is there.
I know not if my ear is slow,
Or heart is dull with years,
Your words seem uttered long ago
To childhood's hopes and fears—
An echo falling faint and far
To men who lost in deserts are.