Sweet Vale of Manly! when the eye first lights
With fire more pure, beholding all thy charms—
And when the murmuring lips, compelled, proclaim
In words inaudible, but most intense,
Thy hundred beauties ; when with lingering gaze
Enchanted vision rests on every scene
By fav'ring Nature formed on plan for thee
And only thee, with skill unequalled wrought;
How many musings all with grace suffused,
Proportioned to the view, crowd on the mind!
The gently-sloping plain whereon—like robe
Of green, with mimic blossoms strewn—close set
The foliage and the flowers commingle;
The unobtrusive stream that courts the shade
Suggestive of the chain of pearl that finds
'Mid golden curls a nest wherefrom it peeps
With timid glance, as fearful lest it lose
Its pleasant home; these and unnumbered charms
Beside, in sep'rate order rise to hold.
Like bird in beauty's bower, the Fancy caged.
Upon the swelling, noisy waves intent,
That with a blustering and an awkward grace
Pay court where ocean comes to steal a glance,
I pictured thee a maiden fair, hard-wooed
By lover grey—a gallant poor in years.
But rich in gold and silver; ships that bear
From every clime their proper fruits and wares;
Spreading domains and stately mansions stored
With all the wealth of art. In the loud roar
The waves sent forth, methought I heard the tale
The lover told to win the blushing fair.
He spoke of bridal train that rich in robes.
Nor less in heartfelt joy, should lead the way.
When to the altar the bright concourse went.
By prancing steeds and glittering chariots borne.
He spoke of waiting train, of pomp, of show.
Of the high festival that frequent comes
Whereof his bride is queen ; and when his speech.
That wearied by its length and haughty sound,
Was done, the pompous lover vainly tried
To smile, and puffed his rosy cheeks that glowed
With tinge imparted by the viny juice.
Anon I gazed upon the placid bay,
That murmuring laves the circling beach that lies
In silent, sheltered solitude within,
Where the capes, closing towards the ocean swell,
Protect the lustrous harbour from the blast,
The surge, and the too frequent haze, and then
Methought I saw the same fair maiden wooed
By youthful lover, nestling at her knees.
In submiss tones, but suasive, he did speak
Of cottage home in well-cared garden set
'Mid circling trees that teem with tropic fruits;
Of walks beneath eve's azure canopy.
When silence sits amid the golden stars:
Of mutual love that grows as years decay;
Of sweet retirement from the frowns and sneers
The vulgar and the very-wise put on;
Of youth in modest happiness enjoyed;
Of age all peace, and death like to a sleep.
Disturbed with thoughts conflicting, still the maid
Blushes and droops her eyes, that yet reveal
In growing lustre that she scorns not love.
Not cruel formed, to neither will she speak
The harsh denial. Though her kindest glance
Rests on the youth, to neither speaks she aye;
But adds to their already ardent love
By each fresh charm her doubting calls to life.
So Vale of Manly! wooed by Ocean wild
That pours in homage at thy feet his waves,
And by the gentle Spirit of the Bay,
That brings the sylvan graces in his train,
To spend their skill in decking out thy bowers,
To neither dost thou yield thy blooming charms,
But well dost deem that in the privilege
Of wooing, all their love is well repaid