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THE LARGEST OF A HEAP LYING NEAR A DESERTED QUARRY, UPON ONE OF THE ISLANDS AT RYDAL
- STRANGER! this hillock of mis-shapen stones
- Is not a Ruin spared or made by time,
- Nor, as perchance thou rashly deem'st, the Cairn
- Of some old British Chief: 'tis nothing more
- Than the rude embryo of a little Dome
- Or Pleasure-house, once destined to be built
- Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle.
- But, as it chanced, Sir William having learned
- That from the shore a full-grown man might wade,
- And make himself a freeman of this spot
- At any hour he chose, the prudent Knight
- Desisted, and the quarry and the mound
- Are monuments of his unfinished task.
- The block on which these lines are traced, perhaps,
- Was once selected as the corner-stone
- Of that intended Pile, which would have been
- Some quaint odd plaything of elaborate skill,
- So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush,
- And other little builders who dwell here,
- Had wondered at the work. But blame him not,
- For old Sir William was a gentle Knight,
- Bled in this vale, to which he appertained
- With all his ancestry. Then peace to him,
- And for the outrage which he had devised
- Entire forgiveness!--But if thou art one
- On fire with thy impatience to become
- An inmate of these mountains,--if, disturbed
- By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn
- Out of the quiet rock the elements
- Of thy trim Mansion destined soon to blaze
- In snow-white splendour,--think again; and, taught
- By old Sir William and his quarry, leave
- Thy fragments to the bramble and the rose;
- There let the vernal slow-worm sun himself,
- And let the redbreast hop from stone to stone.
- William Wordsworth
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