On Entering Switzerland

William Lisle Bowles

Languid, and sad, and slow, from day to day
  I journey on, yet pensive turn to view,
  Where the rich landscape gleams with softer hue,
The streams, and vales, and hills, that steal away.
So fares it with the children of the earth:
  For when life's goodly prospect opens round,
  Their spirits burn to tread that fairy ground,
Where every vale sounds to the pipe of mirth.
But them, alas! the dream of youth beguiles,
  And soon a longing look, like me, they cast
  Back on the mountains of the morning past:
Yet Hope still beckons us, and beckoning smiles,
And to a brighter world her view extends,
When earth's long darkness on her path descends.

It was not the Swiss landscape that William Lisle Bowles found sad. He was a bit depressed during this journey in 1788. His fiancee's parents had broken off his engagement and he had taken the trip to get over it.

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