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Undaunted, towards the imperishable heavens,
From her own lonely altar?

Do not think That good and wise ever will be allowed, Though strength decay, to breathe in such estate As shall divide them wholly from the stir Of hopeful nature. Rightly is it said That Man descends into the VALE of years; Yet have I thought that we might also speak, And not presumptuously, I trust, of Age, As of a final EMINENCE; though bare In aspect and forbidding, yet a point On which 't is not impossible to sit In awful sovereignty; a place of power, A throne that may be likened unto his, Who, in some placid day of summer, looks Down from a mountain-top,-say one of those High peaks that bound the vale where now we are. Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye, Forest and field, and hill and dale appear, With all the shapes over their surface spread: But, while the gross and visible frame of things Relinquishes its hold upon the sense, Yea almost on the Mind herself, and seems All unsubstantialized,-how loud the voice Of waters, with invigorated peal From the full river in the vale below, Ascending! For on that superior height Who sits, is disincumbered from the press Of near obstructions, and is privileged To breathe in solitude, above the host Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves

Many and idle, visits not his ear:

This he is freed from, and from thousand notes
(Not less unceasing, not less vain than these,)
By which the finer passages of sense
Are occupied; and the Soul that would incline
To listen, is prevented or deterred.

And may it not be hoped, that, placed by age In like removal, tranquil though severe,

We are not so removed for utter loss;

But for some favor, suited to our need?

What more than that the severing should confer
Fresh power to commune with the invisible world,
And hear the mighty stream of tendency
Uttering, for elevation of our thought,
A clear sonorous voice, inaudible

To the vast multitude; whose doom it is
To run the giddy round of vain delight,
Or fret and labor on the Plain below.

But, if to such sublime ascent the hopes Of Man may rise, as to a welcome close And termination of his mortal course; Them only can such hope inspire whose minds Have not been starved by absolute neglect ; Nor bodies crushed by unremitting toil; To whom kind Nature, therefore, may afford Proof of the sacred love she bears for all; Whose birthright Reason, therefore, may ensure. For me, consulting what I feel within

In times when most existence with herself

Is satisfied, I cannot but believe,
That, far as kindly Nature hath free scope

And Reason's sway predominates; even so far,
Country, society, and time itself,
That saps the individual's bodily frame,
And lays the generations low in dust,
Do, by the almighty Ruler's grace, partake
Of one maternal spirit, bringing forth
And cherishing with ever-constant love,
That tires not, nor betrays. Our life is turned
Out of her course, wherever man is made
An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool

Or implement, a passive thing employed
As a brute mean, without acknowledgment
Of common right or interest in the end;
Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt.
Say, what can follow for a rational soul
Perverted thus, but weakness in all good,
And strength in evil? Hence an after-call
For chastisement, and custody, and bonds,
And oft-times Death, avenger of the past,
And the sole guardian in whose hands we dare
Entrust the future.-Not for these sad issues
Was Man created; but to obey the law
Of life, and hope, and action. And 't is known
That when we stand upon our native soil,
Unelbowed by such objects as oppress

Our active powers, those powers themselves become
Strong to subvert our noxious qualities:
They sweep distemper from the busy day,
And make the chalice of the big round year
Kun o'er with gladness; whence the Being moves
In beauty through the world; and all who see
Bless him, rejoicing in his neighborhood."

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Then," said the Solitary, "by what force

Of language shall a feeling heart express
Her sorrow for that multitude in whom

We look for health from seeds that have been sown
In sickness, and for increase in a power
That works but by extinction? On themselves
They cannot lean, nor turn to their own hearts
To know what they must do; their wisdom is
To look into the eyes of others, thence
To be instructed what they must avoid :
Or rather, let us say, how least observed,
How with most quiet and most silent death,
With the least taint and injury to the air
The oppressor breathes, their human form divine,
And their immortal soul, may waste away."

The Sage rejoined, "I thank you—you have spared My voice the utterance of a keen regret,

A wide compassion which with you I share.
When, heretofore, I placed before your sight
A Little-one, subjected to the arts
Of modern ingenuity, and made
The senseless member of a vast machine,
Serving as doth a spindle or a wheel;
Think not, that, pitying him, I could forget
The rustic Boy, who walks the fields, untaught;
The slave of ignorance, and oft of want,
And miserable hunger. Much, too much,
Of this unhappy lot, in early youth
We both have witnessed, lot which I myself
Shared, though in mild and merciful degree:
Yet was the mind to hindrances exposed,
Through which I struggled, not without distress
And sometimes injury, like a lamb enthralled

'Mid thorns and brambles; or a bird that breaks Through a strong net, and mounts upon the wind, Though with her plumes impaired. If they whose souls

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Should open while they range the richer fields
Of merry England, are obstructed less
By indigence, their ignorance is not less,
Nor less to be deplored. For who can doubt
That tens of thousands at this day exist
Such as the boy you painted, lineal heirs
Of those who once were vassals of her soil,
Following its fortunes like the beasts or trees
Which it sustained? But no one takes delight
In this oppression; none are proud of it;
It bears no sounding name, nor ever bore;
A standing grievance, an indigenous vice
Of every country under heaven. My thoughts
Were turned to evils that are new and chosen,
A bondage lurking under shape of good,-
Arts, in themselves beneficent and kind,

But all too fondly followed and too far;—
To victims, which the merciful can see
Nor think that they are victims-turned to wrongs,
By women, who have children of their own,
Beheld without compassion, yea with praise!
I spake of mischief by the wise diffused
With gladness, thinking that the more it spreads
The healthier, the securer, we become;
Delusion which a moment may destroy !
Lastly, I mourned for those whom I had seen
Corrupted and cast down, on favored ground,
Where circumstance and nature had combined
To shelter innocence, and cherish love;

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