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Of dainties,-oaten bread, curd, cheese, and cream. Upon the laws of public charity.
The housewife, tempted by such slender gains
Open'd, as she before had done for me, Faintly reflected in a lingering stream;
Her doors t'admit this homeless pensioner ; Nor lack'd, for more delight on that warm day, The portion gave of course but wholesome fare Our table, small parade of garden fruits,
Which appetite required—a blind, dull nook And whortleberries from the mountain side. Such as she had the kennel of his rest! The child, who long ere this had stillid his sobs This, in itself not ill, would yet have been Was now a help to his late comforter,
Ill borne in earlier life, but his was now And moved, a willing page, as he was bid, The still contentedness of seventy years. Ministering to our need.
Calm did he sit beneath the wide-spread tree In genial mood,
of his old age; and yet less calm and meek. While at our pastoral banquet thus we sate Willingly meek or venerably calm, Fronting the window of that little cell,
Than slow and torpid ; paying in this wise I could not, ever and anon, forbear
A penalty, if penalty it were, To glance an upward look on two huge peaks, For spendthrift feats, excesses of his prime. That from some other vale peer'd into this. I loved the old man, for I pitied him! “ Those lusty twins,” exclaim'd our host, “ if here A task it was, I own, to hold discourse It were your lot to dwell, would soon become With one so slow in gathering up his thoughts, Your prized companions.—Many are the notes But he was a cheap pleasure to my eyes ; Which, in his tuneful course, the wind draws forth Mild, inoffensive, ready in his way, From rocks, woods, caverns, heaths, and dashing And helpful to his utmost power: and there shores;
Our housewife knew full well what she possess'd! And well those lofty brethren bear their part He was her vassal of all labour, tillid In the wild concert-chiefly when the storm Fler garden, from the pasture fetch'd her kine; Rides high; then all the upper air they fill And, one among the orderly array With roaring sound, that ceases not to flow, Of haymakers, beneath the burning sun Like smoke, along the level of the blast,
Maintain'd his place: or heedfully pursued In mighty current; theirs, too, is the song
His course, on errands bound, to other vales, Of stream and headlong flood that seldom fails; Leading sometimes an inexperienced child, And, in the grim and breathless hour of noon, Too young for any profitable task. Methinks that I have heard them echo back So moved he like a shadow that perform'd The thunder's greeting :-nor have nature's laws Substantial service. Mark me now, and learn Left them ungisted with a power to yield
For what reward! The moon her monthly round Music of finer tone; a harmony,
Hath not completed since our dame, the queen So do I call it, though it be the hand
Of this one cottage and this lonely dale,
It is most serious: persevering rain
Had fall’n in torrents; all the mountain tops At the calm close of summer's longest day, Were hidden, and black vapours coursed their sides; Rests his substantial orb;-between those heights This had I seen, and saw; but, till she spake, And on the top of either pinnacle,
Was wholly ignorant that my ancient friend, More keenly than elsewhere in night's blue vault, Who at her bidding, early and alone, Sparkle the stars, as of their station proud.
Had clomb aloft to delve the moorland turf Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man For winter fuel, to his noontide meal Than the mute agents stirring there :-alone Return'd not, and now, haply, on the heights Here do I sit and watch."
Lay at the mercy of this raging storm.
A fall of voice, • Inhuman !!--said I,' was an old man's life Regretted like the nightingale's last note,
Not worth the trouble of a thought ?-alas? Had scarcely closed this high-wrought rhapsody, This notice comes too late.' With joy I saw Ere with inviting smile the wanderer said, Her husband enter-from a distant vale. “Now for the tale with which you threaten'd us !” We sallied forth together; found the tools “ In truth the threat escaped me unawares; 'Which the neglected veteran had dropp’d, Should the tale tire you, let this challenge stand But through all quarters look'd for him in vain. For my excuse. Dissever'd from mankind, We shouted—but no answer! Darkness fell As to your eyes and thoughts we must have seem'd Without remission of the blast or shower, When ye look'd down upon us from the crag, And fears for our own safety drove us home. Islanders of a stormy mountain sea.
I, who weep little, did I will confess, We are not so ;-perpetually we touch
The moment I was seated here alone, Upon the vulgar ordinance of the world,
Honour my little cell with some few tears And he, whom this our cottage hath to-day Which anger and resentment could not dry. Relinquish'd, lived dependent for his bread All night the storm endured; and soon as help
Had been collected from the neighbouring vale, Below me was the earth; this little vale
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the reveal'd abode
Swell'd in my breast.— I have been dead,' I cried, A heap of ruin, almost without walls,
• And now I live! 0! wherefore do I live?" And wholly without roof, (the bleach'd remains And with that pang I pray'd to be no more! Of a small chapel, where, in ancient time,
But I forget our charge, as utterly The peasants of these lonely valleys used
I then forgot him :-there I stood and gazed ; To meet for worship on that central height)- The apparition faded not away, We there espied the object of our search,
And I descended. Having reach'd the house, Lying full three parts buried among tufts
I found its rescued inmate safely lodged,
Beside a genial fire; that seem'd to spread
Great show of joy the housewife made, and truly 'Mid a green haycock in a sunny field.
Was glad to find her conscience set at ease; We spake he made reply, but would not stir And not less glad, for sake of her good name, At our entreaty; less from want of power That the poor sufferer had escaped with life. Than apprehension and bewildering thoughts. But, though he seem'd at first to have received So was he lifted gently from the ground,
No harm, and uncomplaining as before And with their freight the shepherds homeward | Went through his usual tasks, a silent change moved
Soon show'd itself; he linger'd three short weeks; Through the dull mist, I following-when a step, And from the cottage hath been borne to-day. A single step, that freed me from the skirts
“So ends my dolorous tale, and glad I am Of the blind vapour, opend to my view
That it is ended.” At these words he turn'dGlory beyond all glory ever seen
And, with blithe air of open fellowship, By waking sense or by the dreaming soul! Brought from the cupboard wine and stouter cheer, Th’appearance, instantaneously disclosed, Like one who would be merry. Seeing this, Was of a mighty city-boldly say
My gray-hair'd friend said courteously—“Nay, Day, A wilderness of building, sinking far
You have regaled us as a hermit ought; And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
Now let us forth into the sun !"--Our host Far sinking into splendour-without end!
Rose, though reluctantly, and forth we went. Fabric it scem'd of diamond and of gold, With alabaster domes, and silver spires. And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Images in the valley. Another recess in it entered and
described. Wanderer's sensations. Solitary's excited! By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
by the same objects. Contrast hetween these. Des. Upon the dark materials of the storm
pondency of the solitary gently reproved. ConverseNow pacified; on them, and on the coves
tion exhibiting the solitary's past and present opinions And mountain steeps and summits, whereunto and feelings, till he enters upon his own history al The vapours had receded, taking there
length. His domestic felicity. Afflictions. Dejection
Roused by the French revolution. Disappointment Their station under a cerulean sky.
and disgust. Voyage to America. Disappointment and 0, 'twas an unimaginable sight!
disgust pursue him. His return His languor and Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and emerald
depression of mind, from want of faith in the great turf.
truths of religion, and want of confidence in the virtue Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky,
of mankind. Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed, A HUMMING beema little tinkling rillMolten together, and composing thus,
A pair of falcons, wheeling on the wing, Each lost in each, that marvellous array
In clamorous agitation, round the crest Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Of a tall rock, their airy citadelFantastic pomp of structure without name, By each and all of these the pensive ear In fleecy folds voluminous inwrapp'd.
Was greeted, in the silence that ensued, Right in the midst, where interspace appear'd When through the cottage threshold we had pass'd, Of open court, an object like a throne
And, deep within that lonesome valley stood Beneath a shining canopy of state
Once more, beneath the concave of a blue Stood fix'd ; and fix'd resemblances were seen And cloudless sky. Anon! exclaim'd our host To implements of ordinary use,
Triumphantly dispersing with the taunt But vast in size, in substance glorified ;
The shade of discontent which on his brow Such as by Hebrew prophets were beheld
Had gather'd, _“Ye have left my cell,—but see In vision-forms uncouth of mightiest power How nature hems you in with friendly arms ! For admiration and mysterious awe.
And by her help ye are my prisoners still
But which way shall I lead you ? how contrive, More than the heedless impress that belongs
To lonely nature's casual work; they bear
Some shadowy intimations haunt me here, Its line had first been fashion'd by the flock That in these shows a chronicle survives A place of refuge seeking at the root
Of purposes akin to those of man, Of yon black yew tree; whose protruded boughs But wrought with mightier arm than now prevails. Darken the silver bosom of the crag,
Voiceless the stream descends into the gulf From which she draws her meagre sustenance. With timid lapse ; and lo! while in this strait There in commodious shelter may we rest.
I stand—the chasm of sky above my head Or let us trace this streamlet to his source ;
Is heaven's profoundest azure; no domain Feebly it tinkles with an earthly sound,
For fickle, shortlived clouds to occupy, And a few steps may bring us to the spot
Or to pass through, but rather an abyss Where, haply, crownd with flowerets and green In which the everlasting stars abide; herbs,
And whose soft gloom, and boundless depth, might The mountain infant to the sun comes forth,
To list thee high above the misty air
From academic groves, that have for thee
Been planted, hither come and find a lodge Lofty, and steep, and naked as a tower.
To which thou mayst resort for holier peace,All further progress here was barr'd. And who, From whose calm centre thou, through height or Thought I, if master of a vacant hour,
depth, Here would not linger, willingly detain'd ? Mayst penetrate, wherever truth shall lead; Whether to such wild, objects he were led
Measuring through all degrees, until the scale When copious rains have magnified the stream Of time and conscious nature disappear, Into a loud and white-robed waterfall,
Lost in unsearchable eternity!" Or introduced at this more quiet time.
A pause ensued; and with minuter care Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground,
We scann'd the various features of the scene : The hidden nook discover'd to our view
And soon the tenant of that lonely vale A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay
With courteous voice thus spakeRight at the foot of that moist precipice,
* I should have grieved A stranded ship, with keel upturn'd,—that rests Hereafter, not escaping self-reproach, Fearless of winds and waves. Three several stones If from my poor retirement ye had gone Stood near, of smaller size, and not unlike Leaving this nook unvisited : but, in sooth, To monumental pillars ; and from these
Your unexpected presence had so roused Some little space disjoin'd, a pair were seen, My spirits, that they were bent on enterprise ; That with united shoulders bore aloft
And, like an ardent hunter, I forgot, A fragment, like an altar, flat and smooth; Or, shall I say?-disdaind the game that lurks Barren the tablet, yet thereon appear'd
At my own door. The shapes before our eyes, A tall and shining holly, that had found
And their arrangement, doubtless must be deem'd A hospitable chink, and stood upright,
The sport of nature, aided by blind chance As if inserted by some human hand
Rudely to mock the works of toiling man. In mockery, to wither in the sun,
And hence, this upright shaft of unhewn stone, Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
From fancy, willing to set off her stores The first that enter'd. But no breeze did now By sounding titles, hath acquired the name Find entrance ; high or low appear'd no trace Of Pompey's pillar ; that I gravely style Of motion, save the water that descended, My Theban obelisk ; and, there, behold Diffused adown that barrier of steep rock,
A Druid cromlech thus I entertain
The antiquarian humour, and am pleased
But if the spirit be oppress'd by sense
And her blind helper, chance, do then suffice “ In sooth, with love's familiar privilege,
To quicken, and to aggravate-to feed You have decried the wealth which is your own. Pity and scorn, and melancholy pride, Among these rocks and stones, methinks, I see Not less than that huge pile (from some abyss
mortal power unquestionably sprung)
“ If, such as now he is, he might remain ! bose hoary diadem of pendent rocks
Ah! what avails imagination high sonfines the shrill-voiced whirlwind, round and Or question deep? what profits all that earth, round
Or heaven's blue vault, is suffer'd to put forth Eddying within its vast circumference,
Of impulse or allurement, for the soul On Sarum's naked plain ; than pyramid
To quit the beaten track of life, and soar Of Egypt, unsubverted, undissolved ;
Far as she finds a yielding element Or Syria's marble ruins towering high
In past or future ; far as she can go Above the sandy desert, in the light
Through time or space ; if neither in the one, Of sun or moon,- forgive me, if I say
Nor in the other region, nor in aught That an appearance which hath raised your minds That fancy, dreaming o'er the map of things, To an exalted pitch (the self-same cause
Hath placed beyond these penetrable bounds, Different effect producing) is for me
Words of assurance can be heard ; if nowhere Fraught rather with depression than delight, A habitation, for consummate good, Though shame it were, could I not look around, Nor for progressive virtue, by the search By the reflection of your pleasure, pleased. Can be attain'd,-a better sanctuary Yet happier in my judgment, e'en than you From doubt and sorrow, than the senseless grave ?? With your bright transports fairly may be deem'd, “ Is this,” the gray-hair'd wanderer mildly said, The wandering herbalist, -who, clear alike “ The voice, which we so lately overheard, From vain, and, that worse evil, vexing thoughts, To that same child addressing tenderly Casts, if he ever chance to enter here,
The consolations of a hopeful mind? Upon these uncouth forms a slight regard His body is at rest, his soul in heaven.' Of transitory interest, and peeps round
These were your words; and, verily, methinks For some rare floweret of the hills, or plant Wisdom is ofttimes nearer when we stoop Of craggy fountain ; what he hopes for wins, Than when we soar.” Or learns, at least, that 'tis not to be won:
The other, not displeased, Then, keen and eager, as a fine-nosed hound Promptly replied—“My notion is the same. By soul-engrossing instinct driven along
And I, without reluctance, could decline Through wood or open field, the harmless man All act of inquisition whence we rise, Departs, intent upon his onward quest!
And what, when breath hath ceased, we may be Nor is that fellow wanderer, so deem I, Less to be envied, (you may trace him oft Here are we, in a bright and breathing worldBy scars which his activity has left
Our origin, what matters it? In lack Beside our roads and pathways, though, thank Hea- of worthier explanation, say at once ven!
With the American (a thought which suits This covert nook reports not of his hand,) The place where now we stand) that certain men He who with pocket hammer smites the edge Leapt out together from a rocky cave; Of luckless rock or prominent stone, disguised And these were the first parents of mankind : In weather stains or crusted o'er by nature
a different image be recall'd With her first growths-detaching by the stroke By the warm sunshine, and the jocund voice A chip or splinter-to resolve his doubts;
Of insects—chirping out their careless lives And, with that ready answer satisfied,
On these soft beds of thyme-besprinkled turf, The substance classes by some barbarous name, Choose, with the gay Athenian, a conceit And hurries on ; or from the fragments picks As sound—blithe race! whose mantles were beHis specimen, if haply intervein'd
deck'd With sparkling mineral, or should crystal cube With golden grasshoppers, in sign that they Lurk in its cells—and thinks himself enrich'd, Had sprung, like those bright creatures, from the Wealthier, and doubtless wiser, than before !
soil Intrusted safely each to his pursuit,
Whereon their endless generations dwelt. Earnest alike, let both from hill to hill
But stop these theoretic fancies jar Range ; if it please them, speed from clime to clime; On serious minds: then, as the Hindoos draw The mind is full-no pain is in their sport.” Their holy Ganges from a skyey fount,
“ Then,” said I, interposing, “one is near, E'en so deduce the stream of human life Who cannot but possess in your esteem
From seats of power divine ; and hope, or trust, Place worthier still of envy. May I name, That our existence winds her stately course Without offence, that fair-faced cottage boy? Beneath the sun, like Ganges, to make part Dame nature's pupil of the lowest form,
Of a living ocean ; or, to sink ingulf'd, Youngest apprentice in the school of art!
Like Niger in impenetrable sands Him, as we enter'd from the open glen,
And utter darkness: thought which may be faced, You might have noticed busily engaged,
Though comfortless! Not of myself I speak;
In me, a meekly bending spirit-sooth'd
For calm subjection to acknowledged law; “ Far happiest," answer'd the desponding man, Pleased to have been, contented not to be.
Such palms I boast not; no! to me, who find, In framing models to improve the scheme
Why should not grave philosophy be styled
Yes, shall the fine immunities she boasts
Establish sounder titles of esteem Night is than day more acceptable ; sleep
For her, who (all too timid and reserved Doth, in my estimate of good, appear
For onset, for resistance too inert, A better state than waking; death than sleep: Too weak for suffering, and for hope too tame) Feelingly sweet is stillness after storm,
Placed among flowery gardens, curtain'd round Though under covert of the wormy ground ! With world-excluding groves, the brotherhood “ Yet be it said, in justice to myself,
Of soft epicureans, taught-if they
The crown of wisdom-to yield up their souls (Not as an intellectual game pursued
To a voluptuous unconcern, preferring With curious subtilty, from wish to cheat
Tranquillity to all things. Or is she," Irksome sensations ; but by love of truth
I cried,“ more worthy of regard, the power, Urged on, or haply by intense delight
Who, for the sake of sterner quiet, closed In feeding thought, wherever thought could feed,)
The stoic's heart against the vain approach I did not rank with those (too dull or nice, Of admiration, and all sense of joy?” For to my judgment such they then appear'd, His countenance gave notice that my zeal Or too aspiring, thankless at the best)
Accorded little with his present mind; Who, in this frame of human life, perceive I ceased, and he resumed. “Ah! gentle sir, An object whereunto their souls are tied
Slight, if you will, the means : but spare to slight In discontented wedlock ; nor did e'er,
The end of those, who did, by system, rank, From me, those dark, impervious shades, that hang As the prime object of a wise man's aim, Upon the region whither we are bound,
Security from shock of accident, Exclude a power to enjoy the vital beams, Release from fear; and cherishid peaceful days Of present sunshine. Deities that float
For their own sakes, as mortal life's chief good, On wings, angelic spirits, I could muse
And only reasonable felicity. O'er what from eldest time we have been told What motive drew, what impulse, I would ask, Of your bright forms and glorious faculties, Through a long course of later ages, drove And with the imagination be content.
The hermit to his cell in forest wide ; Not wishing more ; repining not to tread
Or what detain'd him, till his closing eyes The little sinuous path of earthly care,
Took their last farewell of the sun and stars, By flowers embellish'd, and by springs refresh'd. Fast anchor'd in the desert? Not alone · Blow winds of autumn !-let your chilling breath Dread of the persecuting sword-remorse. Take the live herbage from the mead, and strip Wrongs unredress’d, or insults unavenged The shady forest of its green attire,
And unavengeable, defeated pride, And let the bursting clouds to fury rouse
Prosperity subverted, maddening want, The gentle brooks! Your desolating sway,' Friendship betray'd, affection unreturn'd, Thus I exclaim'd, 'no sadness sheds on me, Love with despair, or grief in agony ; And no disorder in your rage I find.
Not always from intolerable pangs What dignity, what beauty, in this change He fled ; but, compass'd round by pleasure, sigh'd From mild to angry, and from sad to gay,
For independent happiness : craving peace, Alternate and revolving ! How benign,
The central feeling of all happiness, How rich in animation and delight,
Not as a refuge from distress or pain, How bountiful these elements—compared
A breathing-time, vacation, or a truce, With aught, as more desirable and fair
But for its absolute self; a life of peace, Devised by fancy for the golden age ;
Stability without regret or fear; Or the perpetual warbling that prevails
That hath been, is, and shall be evermore! In Arcady, beneath unalter'd skies,
Such the reward he sought; and wore out life, Through the long year in constant quiet bound, There, where on few external things his heart Night hush'd as night, and day serene as day!' Was set, and those his own; or, if not his, But why this tedious record ? Age, we know, Subsisting under nature's steadfast law. Is garrulous ; and solitude is apt
“ What other yearning was the master tie T'anticipate the privilege of age.
of the monastic brotherhood, upon rock From far ye come ; and surely with a hope Aërial, or in green secluded vale, Of better entertainment-let us hence !"
One after one, collected from afar
The universal instinct of repose,
The life where hope and memory are as one ; Of poesy, thus courteously employ'd
Earth quiet and unchanged; the human soul