Haunts of my youth ! Scenes of fond day dreams, I behold ye yet! Where 'twas so pleasant by the northern slopes, To climb the winding sheep-path, aided oft By scattered thorns whose spiny branches bore Small woolly tufts, spoils of the fragrant lamb, There seeking shelter from the noonday sun ; And pleasant, seated on the short soft turf, To look beneath upon the hollow way, While heavily upward moved the labouring wain, And stalking slowly by, the sturdy hind, To ease his panting team, stopped with a stone The grating wheel.
Advancing higher still, The prospect widens, and the village church But little o'er the lowly roofs around Rears its grey belfry, and its simple vane ; Those lowly roofs of thatch are half concealed By the rude arms of trees, lovely, in spring ; When on each bough the rosy-tinctured bloom Sits thick, and promises autumnal plenty. For even those orchards round the Norman farms, Which, as their owners mark the promised fruit, Console them ; for the vineyards of the South Surpass not these.
Where woods of ash and beech, And partial copses fringe the green hill foot, The upland shepherd rears his modest home ; There wanders by a little nameless stream, That from the hill wells forth, bright now and clear, Or after rain with chalky mixture grey, But still refreshing in its shallow course The cottage garden, most for use designed,