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Ranged through the mountains, slept upon the earth,
Asked comfort of the open air, and found
No quiet in the darkness of the night,
No pleasure in the beauty of the day.
His flocks he slighted: his paternal fields
Became a clog to him, whose spirit wished
To fly but whither! And this gracious Church,
That wears a look so full of peace and hope
And love, benignant mother of the vale,
How fair amid her brood of cottages!
She was to him a sickness and reproach.
Much to the last remained unknown: but this
Is sure, that through remorse and grief he died;
Though pitied among men, absolved by God,
He could not find forgiveness in himself;
Nor could endure the weight of his own shame.
Here rests a Mother. But from her I turn And from her grave.-Behold-upon that ridge, That, stretching boldly from the mountain side, Carries into the centre of the vale
Its rocks and woods-the Cottage where she dwelt;
And where yet dwells her faithful Partner, left
(Full eight years past) the solitary prop
Of many helpless Children. I begin
With words that might be prelude to a tale
Of sorrow and dejection; but I feel
No sadness, when I think of what mine eyes
See daily in that happy family.
-Bright garland form they for the pensive brow
Of their undrooping Father's widowhood,
Those six fair Daughters, budding yet-not one,
Not one of all the band, a full-blown flower.
Deprest, and desolate of soul, as once
That Father was, and filled with anxious fear,
Now, by experience taught, he stands assured,
That God, who takes away, yet takes not half
Of what he seems to take; or gives it back,
Not to our prayer, but far beyond our prayer;
He gives it—the boon produce of a soil
Which our endeavors have refused to till,
And hope hath never watered. The Abode,
Whose grateful owner can attest these truths,
Even were the object nearer to our sight,
Would seem in no distinction to surpass
The rudest habitations. Ye might think
That it had sprung self-raised from earth, or grown
Out of the living rock, to be adorned
By nature only; but, if thither led,
Ye would discover, then, a studious work
Of many fancies, prompting many hands.
Brought from the woods the honeysuckle twines Around the porch, and seems, in that trim place, A plant no longer wild; the cultured rose There blossoms, strong in health, and will be soon Roof-high; the wild pink crowns the garden-wall, And with the flowers are intermingled stones Sparry and bright, rough scatterings of the hills. These ornaments, that fade not with the year, A hardy Girl continues to provide; Who, mounting fearlessly the rocky heights, Her Father's prompt attendant, does for him All that a boy could do, but with delight More keen and prouder daring; yet hath she, Within the garden, like the rest, a bed
For her own flowers and favorite herbs, a space,
By sacred charter, holden for her use.
-These, and whatever else the garden bears
Of fruit or flower, permission asked or not,
I freely gather; and my leisure draws
A not unfrequent pastime from the hum
Of bees around their range of sheltered hives
Busy in that enclosure; while the rill,
That sparkling thrids the rocks, attunes his voice
To the pure course of human life which there
Flows on in solitude. But, when the gloom
Of night is falling round my steps, then most
This Dwelling charms me; often I stop short,
(Who could refrain ?) and feed by stealth my sight
With prospect of the company within,
Laid open through the blazing window :-there
I see the eldest Daughter at her wheel
Spinning amain, as if to overtake
The never-halting time; or, in her turn,
Teaching some Novice of the sisterhood
That skill in this or other household work,
Which, from her Father's honored hand, herself,
While she was yet a little-one, had learned.
Mild man! he is not gay, but they are gay;
And the whole house seems filled with gaiety.
-Thrice happy, then, the Mother may be deemed, The Wife, from whose consolatory grave
I turned, that ye in mind might witness where,
And how, her Spirit yet survives on earth !"
THE CHURCH-YARD AMONG THE