Hark, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood, Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave, That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured, where a gluegold-brown Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and waterblowballs, down. We are there, when we hear a shout That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover Makes dither, makes hover And the riot of a rout Of, it must be, boys from the town Bathing: it is summer’s sovereign good.
By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise He drops towards the river: unseen Sees the bevy of them, how the boys With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies huddling out, Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about.
This garland of their gambols flashes in his breast Into such a sudden zest Of summertime joys That he hies to a pool neighbouring; sees it is the best There; sweetest, freshest, shadowiest; Fairyland; silk-beech, scrolled ash, packed sycamore, wild wychelm, hornbeam fretty overstood By. Rafts and rafts of flake-leaves light, dealt so, painted on the air, Hang as still as hawk or hawkmoth, as the stars or as the angels there, Like the thing that never knew the earth, never off roots Rose. Here he feasts: lovely all is! No more: off with—down he dings His bleachиd both and woolwoven wear: Careless these in coloured wisp All lie tumbled-to; then with loop-locks Forward falling, forehead frowning, lips crisp Over finger-teasing task, his twiny boots Fast he opens, last he offwrings Till walk the world he can with bare his feet And come where lies a coffer, burly all of blocks Built of chancequarriиd, selfquainиd rocks And the water warbles over into, filleted with glassy grassy quicksilvery shivиs and shoots And with heavenfallen freshness down from moorland still brims, Dark or daylight on and on. Here he will then, here he will the fleet Flinty kindcold element let break across his limbs Long. Where we leave him, froliclavish while he looks about him, laughs, swims. Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean I should be wronging longer leaving it to float Upon this only gambolling and echoing-of-earth note— What is … the delightful dene? Wedlock. What the water? Spousal love. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends Into fairy trees, wild flowers, wood ferns Rankиd round the bower . . . . . . . .