ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH (1819–61)
The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich (1848). Book IX.

As at return of tide the total weight of ocean,
Drawn by moon and sun from Labrador and Greenland,
Sets in amain, in the open space betwixt Mull and Scarba,
Heaving, swelling, spreading the might of the mighty Atlantic;
There into cranny and slit of the rocky, cavernous bottom
Settles down, and with dimples huge the smooth sea-surface
Eddies, coils, and whirls, by dangerous Corryvrechan:
Comes back, swelling and spreading, the old democratic fervour.

So in my soul of souls, through its cells and secret recesses,
Comes back, swelling and spreading, the old democratic fervour.
But as the light of day enters some populous city,
Saming away, ere it come, by the chilly day-streak signal.
High and low, the misusers of night, shaming out the gas-lamps—
All the great empty streets are flooded with broadening clearness,
Which, withal, by inscrutable simultaneous access
Permeates far and pierces to the very cellars lying in
Narrow high back-lane, and court, and alley of alleys:—
He that goes forth to his walks, while speeding to the suburb,
Sees sights only peaceful and pure; as labourers settling
Slowly to work, in their limbs the lingering sweetness of slumber;
Humble market-carts, coming in, bringing in, not only
Flower, fruit, farm-store, but sounds and sights of the country
Dwelling yet on the sense of the dreamy drivers; soon after
Half-awake servant-maids unfastening drowsy shutters
Up at the windows, or down, letting-in the air by the doorway;
School-boys, school-girls soon, with slate, portfolio, staches,
Hampered as they haste, those running, these others maidenly tripping;
Early clerk anon turning out to stroll, or it may be
Meet his sweethearts—waiting behind the garden gate there;
Merchant on his grass-plat haply bare-headed; and now by this time
Little child bringing breakfast to ‘father’ that sits on the timber
There by the scaffolding; see, she waits for the can beside him;
Meantime above purer air untarnished of new-lit fires;
So that the whole great wicked artificial civilised fabric—
All its unfinished houses, lots for sale, and railway outworks—
Seems reaccepted, resumed to Primal Nature and Beauty:—
—Such—in me, and to me, and on me the love of Elspie!

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