Skiddaw, upon thy heights the sun shines bright,
But only for a moment: then gives place
Unto a playful cloud which on thy brow
Sports wantonly,—then floats away in air,—
Throwing its shadow on thy towering height;
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And, darkening for a moment thy green side,
But adds unto its beauty, as it makes
The sun more bright when it again appears.
Thus a in the morning on thy brow those clouds
Rest as upon a couch, and give vain b scope
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For fancyʼs play. And airy fortresses,
And towers, and battlements, and all appear
Chasing the others off, and in their turn
Are chasèd by the others. c
 Skiddaw came, d

Noble, and grand, and beauteous, clothed with green,
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And yet but scantily and in some parts. e
A bare, terrific cliff precipitous
Descends, with only here and there a root,
A straggler, pushing forth its branches stiff. f
Skiddaw, majestic! Giant Natureʼs work!
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Those giant works of Art, 1 with thee compared,
Sink into nothing; all that Art can do
Is nothing beside thee. The touch of man
Raised pigmy mountains, but gigantic tombs.
The touch of Nature raised the mountainʼs brow,
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But made no tombs at all; save where the snow
(The fleecy locks of winter) falls around
And forms a white tomb for the careless swain g
Who wanders far from home, and meets his death
Amidst the cold of winter. h
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