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Her lawful offspring in Man's art; and Time, Pleased with your triumphs o'er his brother Space, Accepts from your bold hands the proffered crown Of hope, and smiles on you with cheer sublime.
LOWTHER! in thy majestic pile are seen
Cathedral pomp and grace, in apt accord
With the baronial castle's sterner mien;
Union significant of God adored,
And charters won and guarded by the sword
Of ancient honour; whence that goodly state
Of Polity which wise men venerate,
And will maintain, if God his help afford.
Hourly the democratic torrent swells;
For airy promises and hopes suborned
The strength of backward-looking thoughts is scorned.
Fall if ye must, ye Towers and Pinnacles,
With what ye symbolise, authentic Story
Will say, Ye disappeared with England's Glory!
TO THE EARL OF LONSDALE.*
"Magistratus indicat virum."
LONSDALE! it were unworthy of a Guest, Whose heart with gratitude to thee inclines, If he should speak, by fancy touched, of signs On thy abode harmoniously imprest,
Yet be unmoved with wishes to attest
How in thy mind and moral frame agree
Fortitude and that christian Charity
Which, filling, consecrates the human breast.
And if the Motto on thy 'scutcheon teach
With truth, "The Magistracy shows the ManN;"
That searching test thy public course has stood;
As will be owned alike by bad and good,
Soon as the measuring of life's little span
Shall place thy virtues out of Envy's reach.
This sonnet was written immediately after certain trials which took place at the Cumberland Assizes, when the Earl of Lonsdale, in consequence of repeated and long continued attacks upon his character, through the local press, had thought it right to prosecute the conductors and proprietors of three several journals. A verdict of libel was given in one case; and in the others, the prosecutions were withdrawn, upon the individuals retracting and disavowing the charges, expressing regret that they had been made, and promising to abstain from the like in future.
TO CORDELIA M
NOT in the mines beyond the western main,
You tell me, Delia! was the metal sought,
Which a fine skill, of Indian growth, has wrought
Into this flexible yet faithful Chain;
Nor is it silver of romantic Spain
You say, but from Helvellyn's depths was brought
Our own domestic mountain. Thing and thought
Mix strangely; trifles light, and partly vain,
Can prop, as you have learnt, our nobler being:
Yes, Lady, while about your neck is wound
(Your casual glance oft meeting) this bright cord,
What witchery, for pure gifts of inward seeing,
Lurks in it, Memory's Helper, Fancy's Lord,
For precious tremblings in your bosom found!
Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the Traveller lies,
Which he forbears again to look upon;
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone.
If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse;
With Thought and Love companions of our way,
Whate'er the senses take or may refuse,
The Mind's internal Heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.
IN A STEAM-BOAT OFF ST. BEES' HEADS, ON THE COAST OF CUMBERLAND.
St. Bees' Heads, anciently called the Cliff of Baruth, are a conspicuous sea-mark for all vessels sailing in the N. E. parts of the Irish Sea. In a Bay, one side of which is formed by the southern headland, stands the village of St. Bees; a place distinguished, from very early times, for its religious and scholastic foundations.
"St. Bees," say Nicholson and Burns, "had its name from Bega, an holy woman from Ireland, who is said to have founded here, about the year of our Lord 650, a small monastery, where afterwards a church was built in memory of her.
"The aforesaid religious house, being destroyed by the Danes, was restored by William de Meschiens, son of Ranulph, and brother of Ranulph de Meschiens, first Earl of Cumberland after the Conquest; and made a cell of a prior and six Bene dictine monks to the Abbey of St. Mary at York."
Several traditions of miracles, connected with the foundation of the first of these religious houses, survive among the people of the neighbourhood; one of which is alluded to in the following Stanzas; and another, of a somewhat bolder and more peculiar character, has furnished the subject of a spirited poem by the Rev. R. Parkinson, M. A., late Divinity Lecturer of St. Bees' College, and now Fellow of the Collegiate Church of Manchester.
After the dissolution of the monasteries, Archbishop Grindal
founded a free school at St. Bees, from which the counties of
Cumberland and Westmoreland have derived great benefit; and recently, under the patronage of the Earl of Lonsdale, a college has been established there for the education of ministers for the English Church. The old Conventual Church has been repaired under the superintendence of the Rev. Dr. Ainger, the Head of the College; and is well worthy of being visited by any strangers who might be led to the neighbourhood of this celebrated spot.
The form of stanza in the following Piece, and something in the style of versification, are adopted from the "St. Monica," a poem of much beauty upon a monastic subject, by Charlotte Smith; a lady to whom English verse is under greater obligations than are likely to be either acknowledged or remembered. She wrote little, and that little unambitiously, but with true feeling for nature.
Ir Life were slumber on a bed of down,
Toil unimposed, vicissitude unknown,
Sad were our lot: no Hunter of the Hare
Exults like him whose javelin from the lair
Has roused the Lion; no one plucks the Rose,
Whose proffered beauty in safe shelter blows
'Mid a trim garden's summer luxuries,
With joy like his who climbs on hands and knees,
For some rare Plant, yon Headland of St. Bees.
This independence upon oar and sail,
This new indifference to breeze or gale,
This straight-lined progress, furrowing a flat lea,
And regular as if locked in certainty,
Depress the hours. Up, Spirit of the Storm!
That Courage may find something to perform;
That Fortitude, whose blood disdains to freeze
At Danger's bidding, may confront the seas,
Firm as the towering Headlands of St. Bees.
Dread Cliff of Baruth! that wild wish may sleep,
Bold as if Men and Creatures of the Deep
Breathed the same element: too many wrecks
Have struck thy sides, too many ghastly decks
Hast thou looked down upon, that such a thought
Should here be welcome, and in verse enwrought:
With thy stern aspect better far agrees
Utterance of thanks that we have past with ease,
As millions thus shall do, the Headlands of St. Bees.
Yet, while each useful Art augments her store,
What boots the gain if Nature should lose more?
And Wisdom, that once held a Christian place
In Man's intelligence sublimed by grace?
When Bega sought of yore the Cumbrian Coast,
Tempestuous winds her holy errand crossed ;
As high and higher heaved the billows, faith
Grew with them, mightier than the powers of death.
She knelt in prayer-the waves their wrath appease;
And, from her vow well weighed in Heaven's decrees,
Rose, where she touched the strand, the Chauntry of
of heart were they, bloody of hand," Who in these Wilds then struggled for command: The strong were merciless, without hope the weak; Till this bright Stranger came, fair as Day-break, And as a Cresset true that darts its length Of beamy lustre from a tower of strength; Guiding the Mariner through troubled seas, And cheering oft his peaceful reveries, Like the fixed Light that crowns yon headland of
To aid the Votaries, miracles believed
Wrought in men's minds, like miracles achieved;
So piety took root; and Song might tell
What humanizing Virtues round her Cell
Sprang up, and spread their fragrance wide around;
How savage bosoms melted at the sound
Of gospel-truth enchained in harmonics
Wafted o'er waves, or creeping through close trees,
From her religious Mansion of St. Bees.
When her sweet Voice, that instrument of love,
Was glorified, and took its place, above
The silent stars, among the angelic Quire,
Her Chauntry blazed with sacrilegious fire,
And perished utterly; but her good deeds
Had sown the spot that witnessed them with seeds
Which lay in earth expectant, till a breeze
With quickening impulse answered their mute pleas,
And lo! a statelier Pile, the Abbey of St. Bees.
There were the naked clothed, the hungry fed
And Charity, extended to the Dead,
Her intercessions made for the soul's rest
Of tardy Penitents: or for the best
Among the good (when love might else have slept,
Sickened, or died) in pious memory kept.
Thanks to the austere and simple Devotees,
Who, to that service bound by venial fees,
Kept watch before the Altars of St. Bees.
Were not, in sooth, their Requiems sacred ties*
Woven out of passion's sharpest agonies,
Subdued, composed, and formalized by art,
To fix a wiser sorrow in the heart?
The prayer for them whose hour was past away
Said to the Living, profit while ye may!
A little part, and that the worst, he sees
Who thinks that priestly cunning holds the keys
That best unlock the secrets of St. Bees.
Conscience, the timid being's inmost light,
Hope of the dawn and solace of the night,
Cheers these Recluses with a steady ray
In many an hour when judgment goes astray.
Ah! scorn not hastily their rule who try
Earth to despise, and flesh to mortify;
Consume with zeal, in winged ecstasies
Of prayer and praise forget their rosaries,
Nor hear the loudest surges of St. Becs.
Yet none so prompt to succour and protect
The forlorn Traveller, or Sailor wrecked
On the bare coast; nor do they grudge the boon
Which staff and cockle hat and sandal shoon
Claim for the Pilgrim: and, though chidings sharp
May sometimes greet the strolling Minstrel's harp,
It is not then when, swept with sportive ease,
It charms a feast-day throng of all degrees,
Brightening the archway of revered St. Bees.
How did the Cliffs and echoing Hills rejoice
What time the Benedictine Brethren's voice,
Imploring, or commanding with meet pride,
Summoned the Chiefs to lay their feuds aside,
And under one blest ensign serve the Lord
In Palestine. Advance, indignant Sword
Flaming till thou from Paynim hands relcase
That Tomb, dread centre of all sanctities
Nursed in the quiet Abbey of St. Bees.
On, Champions, on! But mark! the passing Day
Submits her intercourse to milder sway,
With high and low whose busy thoughts from far
Follow the fortunes which they may not share.
While in Judea Fancy loves to roam,
She helps to make a Holy-land at home:
The Star of Bethlehem from its sphere invites
To sound the crystal depth of maiden rights;
And wedded life, through scriptural mysteries,
Heavenward ascends with all her charities,
Taught by the hooded Celibates of St. Bees.
These records take, and happy should I be
Were but the gift a meet return to thee
For kindnesses that never ceased to flow,
And prompt self-sacrifice to which I owe
Far more than any heart but mine can know.
RYDAL MOUNT, Feb. 14th, 1842.
THE Tour of which the following poems are very inadequate remembrances was shortened by report, too well founded, of the prevalence of cholera at Naples. To make some amends for what was reluctantly left unseen in the South of Italy, we visited the Tuscan Sanctuaries among the Apennines, and the principal Italian Lakes among the Alps. Neither of those lakes, nor of Venice, is there any notice in these Poems, chiefly because I have touched upon them elsewhere. See, in particular, "Descriptive Sketches," "Memorials o a Tour on the Continent in 1820," and a Sonnet upon the extinction of the Venetian Republic.
With golden blossoms opening at the feet
Of my own Fairfield. The glad greeting given,
Given with a voice and by a look returned
Of old companionship, Time counts not minutes
Ere, from accustomed paths, familiar fields,
The local Genius hurries me aloft,
Transported over that cloud-wooing hill,
Seat Sandal, a fond suitor of the clouds,
With dream-like smoothness, to Helvellyn's top,
There to alight upon crisp moss and range,
Obtaining ampler boon, at every step,
MUSINGS NEAR AQUAPENDENTE.
YE Apennines! with all your fertile vales
Deeply embosomed, and your winding shores
Of either sea, an Islander by birth,
A Mountaineer by habit, would resound
Your praise, in meet accordance with claims
Bestowed by Nature, or from man's great deeds
Inherited: presumptuous thought!— it fled
Like vapour, like a towering cloud, dissolved.
Not, therefore, shall my mind give way to sadness;
Yon snow-white torrent-fall, plumb down it drops
Yet ever hangs or seems to hang in air,
Lulling the leisure of that high perched town,
AQUAPENDENTE, in her lofty site
Its neighbour and its namesake - town, and flood
Forth flashing out of its own gloomy chasm
Bright sunbeams - the fresh verdure of this lawn
Strewn with grey rocks, and on the horizon's verge,
O'er intervenient waste, through glimmering haze,
Unquestionably kenned, that cone-shaped hill
With fractured summit, no indifferent sight
To travellers, from such comforts as are thine,
Bleak Radicofani! escaped with joy -
These are before me; and the varied scene
May well suffice, till noontide's sultry heat
Relax to fix and satisfy the mind
Passive yet pleased. What! with this broom in flower We stood rejoicing, as if earth were free
From sorrow, like the sky above our heads.
Close at my side! She bids me fly to greet
Her sisters, soon like her to be attired
Of visual sovereignty - hills multitudinous,
(Not Apennine can boast of fairer) hills
Pride of two nations, wood and lake and plains,
And prospect right below of deep coves shaped
By skeleton arms, that from the mountain's trunk
Extended, clasp the winds, with mutual moan
Struggling for liberty, while undismayed
The shepherd struggles with them. Onward thence
And downward by the skirt of Greenside fell,
And by Glenridding-screes, and low Glencoign,
Places forsaken now, though loving still
The muses, as they loved them in the days
Of the old minstrels and the border bards. -
But here am I fast bound; and let it pass,
The simple rapture; - who that travels far
To feed his mind with watchful eyes could share
Or wish to share it? One there surely was,
"The Wizard of the North," with anxious hope
Brought to this genial climate, when disease
Preyed upon body and mind—yet not the less
Had his sunk eye kindled at those dear words
That spake of bards and minstrels; and his spirit
Had flown with mine to old Helvellyn's brow,
Where once together, in his day of strength,
Years followed years, and when upon the eve
Of his last going from Tweed-side, thought turned,
Or by another's sympathy was led,
To this bright land, Hope was for him no friend,
Knowledge no help; Imagination shaped
No promise. Still, in more than ear-deep seats,
Survives for me, and cannot but survive
The tone of voice which wedded borrowed words
To sadness not their own, when, with faint smile
Forced by intent to take from speech its edge,
He said, "When I am there, although 'tis fair,
"Twill be another Yarrow."* Prophecy
More than fulfilled, as gay Campania's shores
Soon witnessed, and the city of seven hills,
Her sparkling fountains, and her mouldering tombs;
And more than all, that Eminence which showed
Her splendours, seen, not felt, the while he stood
A few short steps (painful they were) apart
From Tasso's Convent-haven, and retired grave.
Peace to their Spirits! why should Poesy Yield to the lure of vain regret, and hover In gloom on wings with confidence outspread To move in sunshine? - Utter thanks, my Soul! Tempered with awe, and sweetened by compassion For them who in the shades of sorrow dwell, That Iso -so near the term to human life Appointed by man's common heritage, Frail as the frailest, one withal (if that Deserve a thought) but little known to fame — Am free to rove where Nature's loveliest looks, Art's noblest relics, history's rich bequests, Failed to reanimate and but feebly cheered The whole world's Darling-free to rove at will O'er high and low, and if requiring rest, Rest from enjoyment only.
Thanks poured forth For what thus far bath blessed my wanderings, thanks Fervent but humble as the lips can breathe Where gladness seems a duty let me guard Those seeds of expectation which the fruit Already gathered in this favoured Land Enfolds within its core. The faith be mine, That He who guides and governs all, approves When gratitude, though disciplined to look Beyond these transient spheres, doth wear a crown Of earthly hope put on with trembling hand; Nor is least pleased, we trust, when goldeu beams, Reflected through the mists of age, from hours Of innocent delight, remote or recent, Shoot but a little way 't is all they canInto the doubtful future. Who would keep Power must resolve to cleave to it through life, Else it deserts him, surely as he lives. Saints would not grieve nor guardian angels frown If one while tossed, as was my lot to be,
In a frail bark urged by two slender oars
These words were quoted to me from "Yarrow Unvisited," by Sir Walter Scott, when I visited him at Abbotsford, a day or two before his departure for Italy: and the affecting condition in which he was when he looked upon Rome from the Janicular Mount, was reported to me by a lady who had the honour of conducting him thither.
[See also Mr. Lockhart's interesting and pathetic account of the interview of Scott and Wordsworth, in the "Life of Sir Walter Scott." Chap. lxxx., Vol. X., p. 104, &c. -H. R.J
Between Powers that aim
Higher to lift their lofty heads, impelled
By no profane ambition, Powers that thrive
By conflict, and their opposites, that trust
In lowliness-a mid-way tract there lies
Of thoughtful sentiment for every mind
Pregnant with good. Young, middle-aged, and oid,
From century on to century, must have known
The emotion nay, more fitly were it said -
The blest tranquillity that sunk so deep
Into my spirit, when I paced, enclosed
In Pisa's Campo Santo, the smooth floor
Of its Arcades paved with sepulchral slabs,
And through each window's open fret-work looked
O'er the blank area of sacred earth
Fetched from Mount Calvary, or haply delved
In precincts nearer to the Saviour's tomb,
By hands of men, humble as brave, who fought
For its deliverance - -a capacious field
That to descendants of the dead it holds
And to all living mute memento breathes,
More touching far than aught which on the walls
Is pictured, or their epitaphs can speak,
Of the changed City's long departed power,
Glory, and wealth, which, perilous as they are,
Here did not kill, but nourished, Piety.
And, high above that length of cloistral roof,
Peering in air and backed by azure sky,
To kindred contemplations ministers
The Baptistery's dome, and that which swells
From the Cathedral pile; and with the twain
Conjoined in prospect mutable or fixed
(As hurry on in eagerness the feet,
Or pause) the summit of the Leaning-tower.