Poems (Wordsworth, 1815)/Volume 2/Upon a stone on the side of Black Comb

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Written with a Slate-pencil, on a Stone, on the Side of the Mountain of Black Comb.



Stay, bold Adventurer; rest awhile thy limbs
On this commodious Seat! for much remains
Of hard ascent before thou reach the top
Of this huge Eminence,——from blackness named,
And, to far-travelled storms of sea and land,
A favourite spot of tournament and war!
But thee may no such boisterous visitants
Molest; may gentle breezes fan thy brow;
And neither cloud conceal, nor misty air
Bedim, the grand terraqueous spectacle,
From centre to circumference, unveiled!
Know, if thou grudge not to prolong thy rest,
That, on the summit whither thou art bound,
A geographic Labourer pitched his tent,
With books supplied and instruments of art,
To measure height and distance; lonely task,
Week after week pursued!—To him was given
Full many a glimpse (but sparingly bestowed
On timid man) of Nature's processes
Upon the exalted hills. He made report
That once, while there he plied his studious work
Within that canvass Dwelling, suddenly
The many-coloured map before his eyes
Became invisible: for all around
Had darkness fallen—unthreatened, unproclaimed—
As if the golden day itself had been
Extinguished in a moment; total gloom,
In which he sate alone with unclosed eyes
Upon the blinded mountain's silent top!

Black Comb stands at the southern extremity of Cumberland: its base covers a much greater extent of ground than any other Mountain in these parts; and, from its situation, the summit commands a more extensive view than any other point in Britain. See page 305, Vol. I.