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Poem by Richard Monckton Milnes


The Subterranean River, At Cong


A pleasant mean of joy and wonder fills
The trave'ller's mind, beside this secret stream,
That flows from lake to lake beneath the hills,
And penetrates their slumber like a dream.

Untrackt by sound or sight it wends its way,
Save where this well--like cave descending far,
Through ivy curtains, lets the' uncertain day
Fall on the current and its couch of spar.

A slippe'ry stair will lead you to the brink,
There cast your torch athwart the gleaming tide,
And while you watch the motions of the link
That marries the great waters on each side,--

Think of our common life that glides a span
In partial light dark birth and death between,--
Think of the treasures of the heart of man
That once float by us and are no more seen.

Or, for more cheerful mood, let local fame
Recount, how in old time, the faery sprite,
Finvara, or some such melodious name,
Fashioned this channel for her own delight;

And here, distrest at these unloyal days,
Maskt in a milk--white fish, still sports along,
And altogether leaves the moonlight rays
For the cool shadow of her Caves of Cong.



Richard Monckton Milnes


Richard Monckton Milnes's other poems:
  1. Switzerland and Italy
  2. To the Moon of the South
  3. London Churches
  4. Valentia
  5. Sir Walter Scott at the Tomb of the Stuarts in St Peter's


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