« AnteriorContinuar »
Which all acknowledged. The dark winter night, With eloquence, and such authentic power,
Abash'd, and tender pity overawed.”
“A noble, and, to unreflecting minds, Announcing immortality and joy
A marvellous spectacle,” the wanderer said, To the assembled spirits of the just,
“ Beings like these present! But proof abounds From imperfection and decay secure.
Upon the earth that faculties which seem
And to the mind among her powers of sense
But for remoter purposes of love
“At length, when sixty years and five were told, How, likewise, under sufferance divine, A slow disease insensibly consumed
Darkness is banish'd from the realms of death, The powers of nature; and a few short steps By man's imperishable spirit quell'd. Of friends and kindred bore him from his home Unto the men who see not as we see, (Yon cottage shaded by the woody crags)
Futurity was thought, in ancient times, To the profounder stillness of the grave.
To be laid open, and they prophesied. Nor was his funeral denied the grace
And know we not that from the blind have flow'd Of many tears, virtuous and thoughtful grief; The highest, holiest raptures of the lyre ; Heart sorrow rendered sweet by gratitude. And wisdom married to immortal verse ?" And now that monumental stone preserves
Among the humbler worthies, at our feet His name, and unambitiously relates
Living insensible to human praise, How long, and by what kindly outward aids, Love, or regret, whose lineaments would next And in what pure contentedness of mind, Have been portray'd, I guess not; but it chanced The sad privation was by him endured.
That, near the quiet churchyard where we sate, And yon tall pine tree, whose composing sound A team of horses, with a ponderous freight Was wasted on the good man's living ear, Pressing behind, adown a rugged slope, Hath now its own peculiar sanctity ;
Whose sharp descent confounded their array And, at the touch of every wandering breeze, Came at that moment, ringing noisily. Murmurs, not idly, o'er his peaceful grave.
Here," said the pastor, “ do we muse, and “ Soul-cheering light, most bountiful of things! mourn Guide of our way, mysterious comforter ! The waste of death: and lo! the giant oak Whose sacred influence, spread through earth and Stretch'd on his bier, that massy timber wain; heaven,
Nor fail to note the man who guides the team.” We all too thanklessly participate,
He was a peasant of the lowest class :
Within his cheek, as light within a cloud;
And he returned our greeting with a smile. What terror doth it strike into the mind
When he had pass'd, the solitary spake : To think of one who cannot see, advancing “ A man he seems of cheerful yesterdays Toward some precipice's airy brink !
And confident to-morrows; with a face But, timely warnd, he would have stay'd his steps, Not worldly-minded, for it bears too much Protected, say enlighten'd, by his ear,
Of nature's impress-gayety and health, And on the very edge of vacancy
Freedom and hope ; but keen withal, and shrewd. Not more endanger'd than a man whose eye His gestures note; and hark! his tones of voice Beholds the gulf beneath. No floweret blooms Are all vivacious as his mien and looks." Throughout the lofty range of these rough hills, The pastor answered: “You have read him well. Or in the woods, that could from him conceal Year after year is added to bis store Its birthplace; none whose figure did not live With silent increase ; summers, winters-past, Upon his touch. The bowels of the earth Past or to come; yea, boldly might I say, Enrich'd with knowledge his industrious mind; Ten summers and ten winters of a space The ocean paid him tribute from the stores That lies beyond life's ordinary bounds, Lodged in her bosom ; and, by science led, Upon his sprightly vigour cannot fix His genius mounted to the plains of heaven. The obligation of an anxious mind, Methinks I see him ; how his eyeballs roll’d A pride in having, or a fear to lose ; Beneath his ample brow, in darkness pair’d, Possess'd like outskirts of some large domain, But each instinct with spirit; and the frame By any one more thought of than by him Of the whole countenance alive with thought, Who holds the land in fee, its careless lord ! Fancy, and understanding; while the voice Yet is the creature rational, endow'd Discoursed of natural or moral truth
With foresight; hears, too, every Sabbath-day,
The Christian promise with attentive ear; Felt to the centre of that heavenly calm
With which by nature every mother's soul
Is stricken, in the moment when her throes Though of the kind which beasts and birds present Are ended, and her ears have heard the cry In grove or pasture—cheerfulness of soul,
Which tells her that a living child is born, From trepidation and repining free.
And she lies conscious, in a blissful rest, How many scrupulous worshippers fall down That the dread storm is weather'd by them both. Upon their knees, and daily homage pay
“ The father-bim at this unlook'd-for gift Less worthy, less religious even, than his ! A bolder transport seizes. From the side
“ This qualified respect, the old man's due, Of his bright hearth, and from his open door, Is paid without reluctance; but in truth”
Day after day the gladness is diffused (Said the good vicar with a fond half-smile) To all that come, and almost all that pass; “ I feel at times a motion of despite
Invited, summond, to partake the cheer Towards one, whose bold contrivances and skill, Spread on the never-empty board, and drink As you have seen, bear such conspicuous part Health and good wishes to his new-born girl, In works of havoc ; taking from these vales, From cups replenish’d by his joyous hand. One after one, their proudest ornaments.
Those seven fair brothers variously were moved Full oft his doings leave me to deplore
Each by the thoughts best suited to his years Tall ash tree, sown by winds, by vapours nursed, But most of all and with most thankful mind In the dry crannies of the pendant rocks; The hoary grandsire felt himself enrich'd; Light birch, alost upon the horizon's edge, A happiness that ebb’d not, but remaind A veil of glory for th' ascending moon;
To fill the total measure of the soul ! And oak whose roots by noontide dew were damp'd, From the low tenement, his own abode, And on whose forehead inaccessible
Whither, as to a little private cell, The raven lodged in safety. Many a ship
He had withdrawn from bustle, care, and noise, Launch'd into Morecamb Bay, to him hath owed To spend the Sabbath of old age in peace, Her strong knee-timbers, and the mast that bears Once every day he duteously repair'd The loftiest of her pendants. He, from park To rock the cradle of the slumbering babe: Or forest, fetch'd the enormous axletree
For in that female infant's name he heard That whirls (how slow itself!) ten thousand spindles: The silent name of his departed wife; And the vast engine labouring in the mine, Heart-stirring music ! hourly heard that name; Content with meaner prowess, must have lack'd Full blest he was,
* Another Margaret Green,' The trunk and body of its marvellous strength, Oft did he say, 'was come to Gold-rill side.' If his undaunted enterprise had failid
Oh! pang unthought of, as the precious boon Among the mountain coves.
Itself had been unlook'd for ; oh! dire stroke
Yon household fir, Of desolating anguish for them all! A guardian planted to fence off the blast.
Just as the child could totter on the floor, But towering high the roof above, as if
And, by some friendly finger's help upstay'd, Its humble destination were forgot;
Range round the garden walk, while she perchance That sycamore, which annually holds
Was catching at some novelty of spring, Within its shade, as in a stately tent
Ground-flower, or glossy insect from its cell On all sides open to the fanning breeze,
Drawn by the sunshine-at that hopeful season A grave assemblage, seated while they shear The winds of March, smiting insidiously, The fleece-encumber'd flock; the joyful elm, Raised in the tender passage of the throat Around whose trunk the maidens dance in May; Viewless obstruction; whence, all unforewarn'd, And the lord's oak, -would plead their several | The household lost their pride and soul's delight. rights
But time hath power to soften all regrets, In vain, if he were master of their fate:
And prayer and thought can bring to worst distress His sentence to the axe would doom them all. Due resignation. Therefore, though some tears But, green in age and lusty as he is,
Fail not to spring from either parent's eye
Oft as they hear of sorrow like their own,
In what may now be call’d a peaceful grave.
“On a bright day, the brightest of the year, This keen destroyer in his turn must fall.
These mountains echo'd with an unknown sound, “ Now from the living pass we once again ; A volley, thrice repeated o'er the corse From age,” the priest continued, “turn your Let down into the hollow of that grave, thoughts;
Whose shelving sides are red with naked mould. From age, that often unlamented drops,
Ye rains of April, duly wet this earth!
Nor so the valley shall forget her loss.
2 R 2
May creep (I wish that they would softly creep) And yet a modest comrade, led them forth
From their shy solitude, to face the world
With a gay confidence and seemly pride; The ridge itself may sink into the breast
Measuring the soil beneath their bappy feet, Of earth, the great abyss, and be no more; Like youths released from labour, and yet bound Yet shall not thy remembrance leave our hearts, To most laborious service, though to them Thy image disappear!
A festival of unencumber'd ease; “ The mountain ash The inner spirit keeping holyday, No eye can overlook, when 'mid a grove
Like vernal ground to sabbath sunshine lest. Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head,
“ Oft have I mark'd him at some leisure hour, Deck'd with autumnal berries, that outshine Stretch'd on the grass or seated in the shade Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have mark'd, Among his fellows, while an ample map By a brook side or solitary tarn,
Before their eyes lay carefully outspread, How she ber station doth adorn ; the pool
From which the gallant teacher would discourse, Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks Now pointing this way and now that. Here flows,' Are brighten'd round her. In his native vale Thus would he say, the Rhine, that famous stream! Such and so glorious did this youth appear ;
Eastward, the Danube toward this inland sea, A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts
A mightier river, winds from realm to realm, By his ingenuous beauty, by the gleam
And, like a serpent, shows his glittering back Of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow,
Bespotted with innumerable isles : By all the graces with which nature's hand Here reigns the Russian, there the Turk; observe Had lavishly array'd him. As old bards
His capital city! Thence, along a tract Tell in their idle songs of wandering gods, Of livelier interest to his hopes and fears Pan or Apollo, veil'd in human form;
His finger moved, distinguishing the spots Yet, like the sweet-breath'd violet of the shade, Where wide-spread conflict then most fiercely raged; Discover'd in their own despite to sense
Nor left unstigmatized those fatal fields Of mortals, (if such fables without blame
On which the sons of mighty Germany May find chance mention on this sacred ground,) Were taught a base submission. · Here behold So, through a simple rustic garb's disguise, A nobler race, the Switzers, and their land; And through th' impediment of rural cares, Vales deeper far than these of ours, huge woods In him reveal'd a scholar's genius shone;
And mountains white with everlasting snow!' And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight, And, surely, he, that spake with kindling brow, In him the spirit of a hero walk'd
Was a true patriot, hopeful as the best Our unpretending valley. How the coit
Of that young peasantry, who, in our days, Whizz'd from the stripling's arm! If touch'd by Have fought and perish'd for Helvetia’s rights,him,
Ah, not in vain Sor those who, in old time, Th’ inglorious football mounted to the pitch For work of happier issue to the side Of the lark's flight, or shaped a rainbow curve, Of Tell came trooping from a thousand huts, Aloft, in prospect of the shouting field !
When he had risen alone! No braver youth The indefatigable fox had learn'd
Descended from Judean heights, to march To dread his perseverance in the chase.
With righteous Joshua; or appear'd in arms With admiration would he lift his eyes
When grove was fell’d, and altar was cast down, To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand
And Gideon blew the trumpet, soul-inflamed, Was loath to assault the majesty he loved ; And strong in hatred of idolatry.” Else had the strongest fastnesses proved weak This spoken, from his seat the pastor rose, To guard the royal brood. The sailing glead, And moved towards the grave. Instinctively 'The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe, His steps we follow'd; and my voice exclaim'd, The sportive sea-gull dancing with the waves, “ Power to th' oppressors of the world is given, And cautious water-fowl from distant climes, A might of which they dream not. (! the curse, Fix'd at their seat, the centre of the mere, To be th' awakener of divinest thoughts, Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim. Father and Founder of exalted deeds,
“From Gallia's coast a tyrant hurld his threats ; And to whole nations bound in servile straits Our country mark'd the preparation vast
The liberal donor of capacities Of hostile forces; and she call'd, with voice More than heroic ! this to be, nor yet That fill'd her plains, that reach'd her utmost shores, Have sense of one connatural wish, nor yet And in remotest vales was heard, --To arms! Deserve the least return of human thanks; Then, for the first time, here you might have seen Winning no recompense but deadly hate The shepherd's gray to martial scarlet changed, With pity mix'd, astonishment with scorn!” That flash'd uncouthly through the woods and fields. When these involuntary words had ceased, Ten hardy striplings, all in bright attire,
The pastor said, “ So Providence is served; And graced with shining weapons, weekly march'd The forked weapon of the skies can send From this lone valley, to a central spot,
Illumination into deep, dark holds, Where, in assemblage with the flower and choice Which the mild sunbeam hath not power to pierce. Of the surrounding district, they might learn Why do ye quake, intimidated thrones? The rudiments of war; ten-hardy, strong, For, not unconscious of the mighty debt And valiant; but young Oswald, like a chief, Which to outrageous wrong the sufferer owes,
Europe, through all her habitable seats,
Tender emotions spreading from the heart Is thirsting for their overthrow, who still
To his worn cheek; or with uneasy shame Exist, as pagan temples stood of old,
For those cold humours of habitual spleen, By very horror of their impious rites
That fondly seeking in dispraise of man Preserved ; are suffer'd to extend their pride, Solace and self-excuse, had sometimes urged Like cedars on the top of Lebanon
To self-abuse a not ineloquent tongue.
Had been directed; and we saw him now
Whose uncouth form was grafted on the wall, A peasant youth, so call him, for he ask'd
Or rather seem'd to have grown into the side No higher name ; in whom our country show'd, Of the rude pile; as ofttimes trunks of trees, As in a favourite son, most beautiful.
Where nature works in wild and craggy spots, In spite of vice, and misery, and disease,
Are seen incorporate with the living rock, Spread with the spreading of her wealthy arts,
To endure for aye. The vicar, taking note England, the ancient and the free, appear'd of his employment, with a courteous smile In him to stand before my swimming eyes,
Exclaim'd, “ The sagest antiquarian's eye Unconquerably virtuous and secure.
That task would foil ;" then, letting fall his voice No more of this, lest I offend his dust:
While he advanced, thus spake: “ Tradition tells Short was his life, and a brief tale remains. That, in Eliza's golden days, a knight “ One summer's day-a day of annual pomp
Came on a war-horse sumptuously attired, And solemn chase-from morn to sultry noon
And fix'd his home in this sequester'd vale. His steps had follow'd, fleetest of the feet,
'Tis left untold if here he first drew breath, The red deer, driven along its native heights Or as a stranger reach'd this deep recess, With cry of hound and horn; and, from that toil Unknowing and unknown. A pleasing thought Return'd with sinews weaken’d and relax'd, I sometimes entertain, that, haply bound This generous youth, too negligent of self,
To Scotland's court in service of his queen, Plunged-mid a gay and busy throng convened Or sent on mission to some northern chief To wash the fleeces of his father's flock
Of England's realm, this vale he might have seen, Into the chilling food.
With transient observation ; and thence caught “ Convulsions dire
An image fair, which brightening in his soul Seized him that selfsame night; and through the When joy of war and pride of chivalry space
Languish'd beneath accumulated years,
To make that paradise his chosen home
Vague thoughts are these; but, if belief may rest
From sire to son, in this obscure retreat
His sole companion, and his faithful friend,
By those untravell’d dalesmen. With less pride, They started at the tributary peal
Yet free from touch of envious discontent, Of instantaneous thunder, which announced They saw a mansion at his bidding rise, Through the still air the closing of the grave; Like a bright star amid the lowly band And distant mountains echo'd with a sound Of their rude homesteads. Here the warrior dwelt; Of lamentation never heard before !"
And, in that mansion, children of his own, The pastor ceased. My venerable friend Or kindred, gather'd round him. As a tree Victoriously upraised his clear bright eye;
That falls and disappears, the house is gone; And, when that eulogy was ended, stood
And, through improvidence or want of love Enrapt, as if his inward sense perceived
For ancient worth and honourable things, The prolongation of some still response,
The spear and shield are vanish’d, which the knight Sent by the ancient soul of this wide land, Hung in his rustic hall. One ivied arch The spirit of its mountains and its seas,
Myself have seen, a gateway, last remains Its cities, temples, fields, its awful power,
Of that foundation in domestic care Its rights and virtues-by that Deity
Raised by his hands. And now no trace is left Descending, and supporting his pure heart Of the mild-hearted champion, save this stone, With patriotic confidence and joy.
Faithless memorial! and his family name And, at the last of those memorial words,
Borne by yon clustering cottages, that sprang The pining solitary turn'd aside,
From out the ruins of his stately lodge: Whether through manly instinct to conceal These, and the name and title at full length
SIR ALFRED IRTHING, with appropriate words Like wild beasts without home! Their hour wa Accompanied, still extant, in a wreath
come ; Or posy, girding round the several fronts
But why no softening thought of gratitude, Of three clear-sounding and harmonious bells No just remembrance, scruple, or wise doubt? That in the steeple hang, his pious gift.”
Benevolence is mild ; nor borrows help, “So fails, so languishes, grows dim, and dies,” Save at worst need, from bold impetuous force, The gray-hair'd wanderer pensively exclaim'd, Fitliest allied to anger and revenge. “ All that this world is proud of. From their spheres But human kind rejoices in the might The stars of human glory are cast down;
Of mutability, and airy hopes, Perish the roses and the flowers of kings," Dancing around her, hinder and disturb Princes, and emperors, and the crowns and palms Those meditations of the soul that feed Of all the mighty, wither'd and consumed ! The retrospective virtues. Festive songs Nor is power given to lowliest innocence Break from the maddend nations at the sight Long to protect her own. The man himself Of sudden overthrow; and cold neglect Departs; and soon is spent the line of those Is the sure consequence of slow decay. Who, in the bodily image, in the mind,
Even," said the wanderer, “as that courteous In heart or soul, in station or pursuit,
knight, Did most resemble him. Degrees and ranks, Bound by his vow to labour for redress Fraternities and orders-heaping high
Of all who suffer wrong, and to enact New wealth upon the burden of the old,
By sword and lance the law of gentleness, And placing trust in privilege confirm’d
(If I may venture of myself to speak, And reconfirm'd-are scoff'd at with a smile Trusting that not incongruously I blend Of greedy foretaste, from the secret stand Low things with lofty,) I too shall be doom'd Of desolation, aim'd: to slow decline
To outlive the kindly use and fair esteem These yield, and these to sudden overthrow; of the poor calling which my youth embraced Their virtue, service, happiness, and state With no unworthy prospect. But enough; Expire; and nature's pleasant robe of green, Thoughts crowd upon me, and 'twere seemlier now Humanity's appointed shroud, inwraps
To stop, and yield our gracious teacher thanks Their monuments and their memory. The vast For the pathetic records which his voice frame
Hath here delivered; words of heartfelt truth, Of social nature changes evermore
Tending to patience when affliction strikes; Her organs and her members with decay
To hope and love ; to confident repose
In God; and reverence for the dust of man."
Pastor's apprehensions that he might have detained his
auditors too long. Invitation to his house. Solitary Whence alteration, in the forms of things,
disinclined to comply, rallies the wanderer; and some Various and vast. A memorable age !
what playfully draws a comparison between his iline Which did to him assign a pensive lot
rant profession and that of the knight-errant; which To linger 'mid the last of those bright clouds,
leads to wanderer's giving an account of changes in the That, on the steady breeze of honour, sail'd
country from the manufacturing spirit. Favourable In long procession, calm and beautiful.
effects. The other side of the picture, and chiefly as it
has affected the humbler classes. Wanderer asserts He who had seen his own bright order fade,
the hollowness of all national grandeur is unsupported And its devotion gradually decline,
by moral worth; gives instances. Physical science (While war, relinquishing the lance and shield, unable to support itself. Lamentations over an excess Her temper changed, and bow'd to other laws,)
of manufacturing industry among the humbler classes
of society. Picture of a child employed in a cottopHad also witnessed, in his morn of life,
mill. Ignorance and degradation of children among That violent commotion which o’erthrew,
the agricultural population reviewed. Conversation In town, and city, and sequester'd glen,
broken off by a renewed invitation from the pastor. Altar, and cross, and church of solemn roof,
Path leading to his house. Its appearance described. And old religious house-pile after pile;
His daughter. His wife. His son (a boy) enters with And shook the tenants out into the fields,
his companion. Their happy appearance. The wan
derer, how affected by the sight of them. The " lransit gloria mundi" is finely expressed in the introduction to the foundation charters of some of the The pensive skeptic of the lonely vale ancient abbeys. Some expressions here used are taken To those acknowledgments subscribed his own, from that of the abbey of St. Mary's Furness, the transla- | With a sedate compliance, which the priest tion of which is as follows:
Fail'd not to notice, inly pleased, and said, “ Considering every day the uncertainty of life, that the “ If ye, by whom invited I commenced roses and flowers of kings, emperors, and dukes, and the These narratives of calm and humble life, crowns and palms of all the great wither and decay; and that all things, with an uninterrupted course, tend to dis- Be satisfied, 'tis well; the end is gaind; solution and death: 1 therefore," &c.
And in return for sympathy bestow'd