Littell's Living Age/Volume 139/Issue 1798/Leith Hill


["Hereabouts is a thing remarkable, though but little
taken notice of, — I mean that goodly prospect from
the top of Leith Hill. . . . The like, I think, is not
to be found in any part of England, or perhaps
Europe besides; and the reason why it is not more
observed is partly its lying quite out of any road,
and partly its rising so gently, and making so little
show till one is got to the very top of it." —
Camden's Britannia.]

Yes, — thirty years ago
Last Easter Day, two striplings topped thy height
Leaping and singing, turned, in hushed delight
Gazed on the marvellous landscape spread below.

Twenty-four years ago,
Three sauntering friends slowly strolled up: there sat
Long summer hours of jest and tale and chat, —
The shimmering view in sunshine all aglow!

A dozen years ago,
Again I climbed thy side: this time, alack!
With wife, and eldest-born apickaback, —
How the young rascal made me sweat and blow!

I, a few weeks ago
Toilsomely scale thy steep one autumn day,
And land and sky look misty, sad, and grey, —
Or is the mist in me? I am changed so!

Old friends of long ago,
Buffeted, scattered, world-worn and way-sore;
Or, won that hill where Moses stood of yore, —
A goodlier prospect than this world can show!

But the great view below,
These counties stretching to the far-off sea,
With chessboard field, toy farm, and pigmy tree,
Are what old Camden saw, three hundred years ago.