To the River Otter
Is both a sonnet, and an ode to home ('Dear native Brook'), a 'vision of childhood' that nature, or memory of nature, in the form of a beguiling river, has triggered. The river's 'bedded sand' that is 'veined with various dyes' seems to work as a personification of, or metaphor for, the human eye, a union of river and eye that revels in the 'bright transference', the kernel of the poem's meaning. The striking line and a half midway through the poem '...that mine eyes/I never shut amid the sunny ray'...offers the reader a clear understanding of what the poet feels about the bliss of childhood reminiscence in a trance-like state, but also what it feels like to be a part of the 'sunny ray' which could be God, Pantheism, or life force? The 'crossing plank' the journey through memory, (that inner eye?), the stone that's skimmed along the river the eyelid, perhaps, the leaps of the skimming stone a series of blinks over 'the breast', or the cornea, of the river until the gaze of the poet and the gaze of the river become one, fixed on, or transfixed by, the 'sunny ray', the eye of the river (from flowing watery surface to river bed ) and the poet's eye (perhaps weeping - 'with all their tints the waters rise'' -), unified in the remembered stone and 'sweet scenes of childhood'.