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The wain stood ready, at our cottage-door,
Thoughtfully freighted with a various store;
And long or ere the uprising of the sun
O'er dew-dainped dust our journey was begun,
A needful journey, under favouring skies,
Through peopled vales; yet something in the guise
Of those old patriarchs when from well to well
They roamed through waste where now the tented
Say first, to whom did we the charge confide, Who promptly undertook the wain to guide Up many a sharply-twining road and down, And over many a wide hill's craggy crown, Through the quick turns of many a hollow nook, And the rough bed of many an unbridged brook? A blooming lass-who in her better hand
Bore a light switch her sceptre of command
When, yet a slender girl, she often led,
Skilful and bold, the horse and burthened sled*
From the peat-yielding moss on Gowdar's head.
What could go wrong with such a charioteer
For goods and chattels, or those infants dear,
A pair who smilingly sate side by side,
Our hope confirming that the salt-sea tide,
Whose free embraces we were bound to seek,
Would their lost strength restore and freshen the pale
Such hope did either parent entertain Pacing behind along the silent lane.
Blithe hopes and happy musings soon took flight,
For lo! an uncouth melancholy sight,
On a green bank a creature stood forlorn
Just half protruded to the light of morn,
Its hinder part concealed by hedge-row thorn.
The figure called to mind a beast of prey
Stript of its frightful powers by slow decay,
And, though no longer upon rapine bent,
Dim memory keeping of its old intent.
We started, looked again with anxious eyes,
And in that griesly object recognise
The Curate's dog-his long-tried friend, for they,
As well we knew, together had grown grey.
The master died, his drooping servant's grief
Found at the widow's feet some sad relief;
Yet still he lived in pining discontent,
Sadness which no indulgence could prevent;
Hence whole day wanderings, broken nightly sleeps
And lonesome watch that out of doors he keeps;
Not oftentimes, I trust, as we, poor brute!
Espied him on his legs sustained, blank, mute,
And of all visible motion destitute,
Unscared by thronging fancies of strange hue
That haunted us in spite of what we knew.
Even now I sometimes think of him as lost
In second-sight appearances, or crost
By spectral shapes of guilt, or to the ground,
On which he stood, by spells unnatural bound,
Like a gaunt shaggy porter forced to wait
In days of old romance at Archimago's gate.
* A local word for Sledge.
Advancing summer, Nature's law fulfilled, The choristers in every grove had stilled; But we, we lacked not music of our own, For lightsome Fanny had thus early thrown, Mid the gay prattle of those infant tongues, Some notes prelusive, from the round of songs With which, more zealous than the liveliest bird That in wild Arden's brakes was ever heard, Her work and her work's partners she can cheer, The whole day long, and all days of the year.
Thus gladdened from our own dear vale we pass And soon approach Diana's looking-glass!
To Loughrigg-tarn, round, clear, and bright as heaven,
Such name Italian fancy would have given,
Ere on its banks the few grey cabins rose
That yet disturb not its concealed repose
More than the feeblest wind that idly blows.
Ah, Beaumont! when an opening in the road
Stopped me at once by charm of what it showed,
The encircling region vividly exprest
Within the mirror's depth, a world at rest –
Sky streaked with purple, grove and craggy bield,t
And the smooth green of many a pendent field,
And, quieted and soothed, a torrent small,
A little daring would-be waterfall,
One chimney smoking and its azure wreath,
Associate all in the calm pool beneath,
With here and there a faint imperfect gleam
Of water-lilics veiled in misty steam
What wonder at this hour of stillness deep,
A shadowy link 'tween wakefulness and sleep,
When Nature's self, amid such blending seems
To render visible her own soft dreams,
If, mixed with what appeared of rock, lawn, wood,
Fondly embosomed in the tranquil flood,
A glimpse I caught of that abode, by thee
Designed to rise in humble privacy,
A lowly dwelling, here to be outspread,
Like a small hamlet, with its bashful head
Half hid in native trees. Alas 'tis not,
Nor ever was; I sighed, and left the spot
Unconscious of its own untoward lot,
And thought in silence, with regret too keen,
Of unexperienced joys that might have been;
So that the very heaving of his breath
Seemed stopt, though by some other power than death. Of neighbourhood and intermingling arts,
Long as we gazed upon the form and face,
And golden summer days uniting cheerful hearts.
A mild domestic pity kept its place,
† A word common in the country, signifying shelter, a in Scotland.
Not far we travelled ere a shout of glee, Startling us all, dispersed my reverie; Such shout as many a sportive echo meeting Oft-times from Alpine chalets sends a greeting. Whence the blithe hail? behold a peasant stand On high, a kerchief waving in her hand! Not unexpectant that by early day Our little band would thrid this mountain way, Before her cottage on the bright hill side She hath advanced with hope to be descried. Right gladly answering signals we displayed, Moving along a tract of morning shade, And vocal wishes sent off like good will To our kind friend high on the sunny hill Luminous region, fair as if the pri:ne Were tempting all astir to look aloft or climb; Only the centre of the shining cot With door left open makes a gloomy spot, Emblem of those dark corners sometimes found Within the happiest breast on earthly ground.
Rich prospect left behind of stream and vale, And mountain-tops, a barren ridge we scale; Descend and reach, in Yewdale's depths, a plain With haycocks studded, striped with yellowing grainAn area level as a lake and spread
Under a rock too steep for man to tread,
Where sheltered from the north and bleak north-west
Aloft the raven hangs a visible nest,
Fearless of all assaults that would her brood molest.
Hot sunbeams fill the steaming vale; but hark,
At our approach a jealous watch-dog's bark,
Noise that brings forth no liveried page of state,
But the whole household, that our coming wait.
With young and old warm greetings we exchange,
And jocund smiles, and toward the lowly grange
Press forward by the teasing dogs unscared.
Entering, we find the morning meal prepared:
So down we sit, though not till each had cast
Pleased looks around the delicate repast
Rich cream, and snow-white eggs fresh from the nest,
With amber honey from the mountain's breast;
Strawberries from lane or woodland, offering wild
Of children's industry, in hillocks piled;
Cakes for the nonce, and butter fit to lie
Upon a lordly dish; frank hospitality
Where simple art with bounteous nature vied,
And cottage comfort shunned not seemly pride.
Kind Hostess! Handmaid also of the feast. If thou be lovelier than the kindling east, Words by thy presence unrestrained may speak Of a perpetual dawn from brow and cheek Instinct with light whose sweetest promise lies, Never retiring, in thy large dark eyes,
Dark but to every gentle feeling true,
As if their lustre flowed from ether's purest blue
Let me not ask what tears may have been wept By those bright eyes, what weary vigils kept, Beside that hearth what sighs may have been heaved For wounds inflicted, nor what toil relieved
By fortitude and patience, and the grace
Of heaven in pity visiting the place.
Not unadvisedly those secret springs
I leave unsearched: enough that memory clings,
Here as elsewhere, to notices that make
Their own significance for hearts awake,
To rural incidents, whose genial powers
Filled with delight three summer morning hours.
More could my pen report of grave or gay That through our gipsy travel cheered the way; But, bursting forth above the waves, the sun Laughs at my pains, and seems to say, "Be done." Yet, Beaumont, thou wilt not, I trust, reprove This humble offering made by Truth to Love, Nor chide the muse that stooped to break a spell Which might have else been on me yet:—
UPON PERUSING THE FOREGOING EPISTLE THIRTY YEARS AFTER ITS COMPOSITION.
Soon did the Almighty giver of all rest
Take those dear young ones to a fearless nest;
And in Death's arms has long reposed the friend
For whom this simple register was penned.
Thanks to the moth that spared it for our eyes;
And strangers even the slighted scroll may prize,
Moved by the touch of kindred sympathies.
For-save the calm, repentance sheds o'er strife
Raised by remembrances of misused life,
The light from past endeavours purely willed
And by Heaven's favour happily fulfilled;
Save hope that we, yet bound to earth, may
The joys of the departed what so fair
As blameless pleasure, not without some tears,
Reviewed through Love's transparent veil of years?
Note.-LOUGHRIGG TARN, alluded to in the foregoing Epistle, resembles, though much smaller in compass, the Lake Nemi, or Speculum Diana as it is often called, not only in its clear waters and circular form, and the beauty immediately surrounding it, but also as being overlooked by the eminence of Langdale Pikes as Lake Nemi is by that of Monte Calvo. Since this Epistle was written Loughrigg Tarn has lost much of its beauty by the felling of many natural clumps of wood, relics of the old forest, particularly upon the farm called "The Oaks," from the abundance of that tree which grew there.
It is to be regretted, upon public grounds, that Sir George Beaumont did not carry into effect his intention of constructing here a Summer Retreat in the style I have described; as his taste would have set an example how
buildings, with all the accommodations modern society requires, might be introduced even into the most secluded parts of this country without injuring their native character. The design was not abandoned from failure of inclination on his part, but in consequence of local untowardness which need not be particularised.
PREFIXED TO THE VOLUME ENTITLED "POEMS CHIEFLY OF EARLY AND LATE YEARS."
In desultory walk through orchard grounds,
Or some deep chestnut grove, oft have I paused
The while a Thrush, urged rather than restrained
By gusts of vernal storm, attuned his song
To his own genial instincts; and was heard
(Though not without some plaintive tones between)
To utter, above showers of blossom swept
From tossing boughs, the promise of a calm,
Which the unsheltered traveller might receive
With thankful spirit. The descant, and the wind
That seemed to play with it in love or scorn,
Encouraged and endeared the strain of words
That haply flowed from me, by fits of silence
Impelled to livelier pace. But now, my Book!
Charged with those lays, and others of like mood,
Or loftier pitch if higher rose the theme,
Go, single yet aspiring to be joined
With thy forerunners that through many a year
Have faithfully prepared each other's way -
Go forth upon a mission best fulfilled
When and wherever, in this changeful world,
Power hath been given to please for higher ends
Than pleasure only; gladdening to prepare
For wholesome sadness, troubling to refine,
Calming to raise; and by a sapient art
Diffused through all the mysteries of our being,
Softening the toils and pains that have not ceased
To cast their shadows on our mother earth
Since the primeval doom. Such is the grace
Which, though unsued for, fails not to descend
With heavenly inspiration; such the aim
That Reason dictates; and, as even the wish
Has virtue in it, why should hope to me
Be wanting that sometimes, where fancied ills
Harass the mind and strip from off the bowers
Of private life their natural pleasantness,
A voice-devoted to the love whose seeds
Are sown in every human breast, to beauty
Lodged within compass of the humblest sight,
To cheerful intercourse with wood and field,
And sympathy with man's substantial griefs-
Will not be heard in vain? And in those days
When unforeseen distress spreads far and wide
Ainong a people mournfully cast down,
Or into anger roused by venal words
In recklessness flung out to overturn
The judgment, and divert the general heart
The Rose of England suffers blight:
The Flower has drooped, the Isle's delight;
This day, when Granta hails her chosen Lord,
And, proud of her award,
Confiding in that Star serene,
Flower and bud together fall;
A nation's hopes lie crushed in Claremont's desolate Welcomes the consort of a happy Queen.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE PHILOLOGICAL MUSEUM.
Your letter reminding me of an expectation I some time since held out to you of allowing some specimens of my translation
from the neid to be printed in the Philological Museum, was not
very acceptable: for I had abandoned the thought of ever sending into the world any part of that experiment,—for it was nothing more,-an experiment begun for amusement, and I now think a less fortunate one than when I first named it to you. Having been displeased in
modern translations with the additions of incongruous matter, 1 began to translate with a resolve to keep clear of that fault, by adding nothing; but I became convinced that a spirited translation can scarcely be accomplished in the English language without admitting a principle of compensation. On this point, however, I do not wish to insist, and merely send the following passage, taken at random, from a wish to comply with your request.-W. W.
BUT Cytherea, studious to invent
Arts yet untried, upon new counsels bent,
Resolves that Cupid, changed in form and face
To young Ascanius, should assume his place;
Present the maddening gifts, and kindle heat
Of passion at the bosom's inmost seat.
She dreads the treacherous house, the double tongue;
She burns, she frets - by Juno's rancour stung
The calm of night is powerless to remove
These cares, and thus she speaks to wingéd Love.
O son, my strength, my power! who dost despise
(What save thyself, none dares through earth and skies,)
The giant-quelling bolts of Jove, I flee,
O son, a suppliant to thy deity!
What perils meet Eneas in his course,
How Juno's hate with unrelenting force
Pursues thy brother this to thee is known;
And oft-times hast thou made my griefs thine own.
Him now the generous Dido by soft chains
Of bland entreaty at her court detains;
Junonian hospitalities prepare
Such apt occasion that I dread a snare.
Hence, ere some hostile god can intervene
Would I, by previous wiles, inflame the queen
With passion for Æneas, such strong love
That at my beck, mine only, she shall move.
Hear, and assist, the father's mandate calls
young Ascanius to the Tyrian walls.
[*This translation is taken from "The Philological Museum," Vol. I., p. 382, Cambridge, 1832, edited by the Rev. Julius Charles Hare, now Archdeacon of Lewes. It was a contribution to that periodical, in which it ap. peared with the above prefatory note.-H. R.J
He comes, my dear delight, and costliest things
Preserv'd from fire and flood for presents brings;
Him will I take, and in close covert keep,
Mid groves Idalian, lulled to gentle sleep,
Or on Cytherea's far-sequestered steep,
That he may neither know what hope is mine,
Nor by his presence traverse the design.
Do thou, but for a single night's brief space,
Dissemble; be that boy in form and face!
And when enraptured Dido shall receive
Thee to her arms, and kisses interweave
With many a fond embrace, while joy runs high,
And goblets crown the proud festivity,
Instil thy subtle poison, and inspire
At every touch an unsuspected fire.
Love, at the word, before his mother's sight
Puts off his wings, and walks with proud delight,
Like young Iulus; but the gentlest dews
Of slumber Venus sheds, to circumfuse
The true Ascanius, steep'd in placid rest;
Then wafts him, cherished on her careful breast,
Through upper air to an Idalian glade,
Where he on soft amaracus is laid,
With breathing flowers embraced, and fragrant shade.
But Cupid following cheerily his guide
Achates, with the gifts to Carthage hied
And, as the hall he entered, there, between
The sharers of her golden couch, was seen
Reclin'd in festal pomp the Tyrian queen.
The Trojans too (Æneas at their head)
On couches lie, with purple overspread;
Meantime in canisters is heaped the bread,
Pellucid water for the hands is borne,
And napkins of smooth texture, finely shorn
Within are fifty handmaids, who prepare,
As they in order stand the dainty fare;
And fume the household deities with store
Of odorous incense; while a hundred more
Match'd with an equal number of like age,
But each of manly sex, a docile page,
Marshal the banquet, giving with due grace
To cup or viand its appointed place.
The Tyrians rushing in, an eager band,
Their painted couches seck, obedient to command.
They look with wonder on the gifts- they gaze
Upon Iulus, dazzled with the rays
That from his ardent countenance are flung,
And charmed to hear his simulating tongue,