Robert Bloomfield

Shooter’s Hill

HEALTH! I seek thee;—dost thou love
The mountain-top or quiet vale,
Or deign o’er humbler hills to rove
On showery June’s dark southwest gale?
If so, I ’ll meet all blasts that blow,
With silent step, but not forlorn;
Though, goddess, at thy shrine I bow,
And woo thee each returning morn.

I seek thee where, with all his might,
The joyous bird his rapture tells,
Amidst the half-excluded light,
That gilds the foxglove’s pendent bells;
Where cheerly up this bold hill’s side
The deepening groves triumphant climb:
In groves Delight and Peace abide,
And Wisdom marks the lapse of time.

To hide me from the public eye,
To keep the throne of reason clear,
Amidst fresh air to breathe or die,
I took my staff and wandered here.
Suppressing every sigh that heaves,
And coveting no wealth but thee,
I nestle in the honeyed leaves,
And hug my stolen liberty.

O’er eastward uplands, gay or rude,
Along to Erith’s ivied spire,
I start, with strength and hope renewed,
And cherish life’s rekindling fire.
Now measure vales with straining eyes,
Now trace the churchyard’s humble names;
Or climb brown heaths, abrupt that rise,
And overlook the winding Thames.

*        *        *        *        *

Sweet health, I seek thee! hither bring
Thy balm that softens human ills;
Come, on the long-drawn clouds that fling
Their shadows o’er the Surrey hills.
Yon green-topt hills, and far away
Where late as now I freedom stole,
And spent one dear delicious day
On thy wild banks, romantic Mole.

Ay, there ’s the scene! 1 beyond the sweep
Of London’s congregated cloud,
The dark-browed wood, the headlong steep,
And valley-paths without a crowd!
Here, Thames, I watch thy flowing tides,
Thy thousand sails am proud to see;
For where the Mole all silent glides
Dwells peace,—and peace is wealth to me!

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