Sidor som bilder

Of a relenting soul, have now avail'd;

This tale gives proof that Heaven most gently deals For, like a shadow, he was pass'd away

With such, in their affliction. Ellen's fate, From Ellen's thoughts; had perish'd to her mind Her tender spirit, and her contrite heart, For all concerns of fear, or hope, or love,

Call to my mind dark hints which I have heard Save only those which to their common shame, Of one who died within this vale, by doom And to his moral being appertain'd:

Heavier, as his offence was heavier far. Hope from that quarter would, I know, have Where, sir, I pray you, where are laid the bones brought

Of Wilfred Armathwaite ?” The vicar answerd, A heavenly comfort: there she recognised “ In that green nook, close by the churchyard wa)', An unrelaxing bond, a mutual need:

Beneath yon hawthorn, planted by myself There, and, as seem'd, there only. She had built, In memory and for warning, and in sign Her fond maternal heart had built, a nest

Of sweetness where dire anguish had been known, In blindness all too near the river's edge ;

Of reconcilement after deep offence, That work a summer flood with hasty swell There doth he rest. No theme his fate supplies Had swept away; and now her spirit long’d For the smooth glozings of th’indulgent world; For its last flight to heaven's security.

Nor need the windings of his devious course The bodily frame was wasted day by day; Be here retraced; enough that, by mishap Meanwhile, relinquishing all other cares,

And venial error, robb’d of competence, Her mind she strictly tutor’d to find peace And her obsequious shadow, peace of mind, And pleasure in endurance. Much she thought, He craved a substitute in troubled joy ; And much she read; and brooded feelingly Against his conscience rose in arms, and, braving Upon her own unworthiness. To me,

Divine displeasure, broke the marriage vow. As to a spiritual comforter and friend,

That which he had been weak enough to do Her heart she open'd; and no pains were spared Was misery in remembrance ; he was stung, To mitigate, as gently as I could,

Stung by his inward thoughts, and by the smiles The sting of self-reproach, with healing words. Of wife and children stung to agony. Meek saint! through patience glorified on earth! Wretched at home, he gain'd no peace abroad; In whom, as by her lonely hearth she sate, Ranged through the mountains, slept upon the earth, The ghastly face of cold decay put on

Ask'd comfort of the open air, and found A sun-like beauty, and appear'd divine !

No quiet in the darkness of the night, May I not mention—that, within those walls, No pleasure in the beauty of the day. In due observance of her pious wish,

His flock he slighted: his paternal fields The congregation join'd with me in prayer Became a clog to him, whose spirit wish'd For her soul's good ? Nor was that office vain. To fly, but whither! And this gracious church, Much did she suffer: but, if any friend,

That wears a look so full of peace and hope Beholding her condition, at the sight

And love, benignant mother of the vale, Gave way to words of pity or complaint,

How fair amid her brood of cottages ! She still'd them with a prompt reproof, and said, She was to him a sickness and reproach. “He who afflicts me knows what I can bear; Much to the last remain'd unknown: but this And, when I fail, and can endure no more, Is sure, that through remorse and grief he died ; Will mercifully take me to himself.'

Though pitied among men, absolved by God, So, through the cloud of death, her spirit pass'd He could not find forgiveness in himself; Into that pure and unknown world of love

Nor could endure the weight of his own shame. Where injury cannot come:-and here is laid

“ Here rests a mother. But from her I turn, The mortal body by her infant's side.”

And from her grave. Behold-upon that ridge, The vicar ceased ; and downcast looks made That, stretching boldly from the mountain side, known

Carries into the centre of the vale That each had listen’d with his inmost heart. Its rocks and woods—the cottage where she dwelt For me, th' emotion scarcely was less strong And where yet dwells her faithful partner, left Or less benign than that which I had felt

(Full eight years past) the solitary prop When, seated near my venerable friend,

Of many helpless children. I begin Beneath those shady elms, from him I heard With words that might be prelude to a tale The story that retraced the slow decline

Of sorrow and dejection ; but I feel Of Margaret sinking on the lonely heath,

No sadness, when I think of what mine eyes With the neglected house to which she clung. See daily in that happy family. I noted that the solitary's cheek

Bright garland form they for the pensive brow Confess’d the power of nature. Pleased though sad, of their undrooping father's widowhood. More pleased than sad, the gray-hair'd wanderer | Those six fair daughters, budding yet-not one, sate;

Not one of all the band, a full-blown flower! Thanks to his pure imaginative soul

Deprest, and desolate of soul, as once Capacious and serene, his blameless life,

That father was, and fill'd with anxious fear, His knowledge, wisdom, love of truth, and love Now, by experience taught, he stands assured, Of human kind! He was it who first broke That God, who takes away, yet takes not half The pensive silence, saying, “ Blest are they Of what he seems to take ; or gives it back, Whose sorrow rather is to suffer wrong

Not to our prayer, but far beyond our prayer ; Than to do wrong, although themselves have err’d. He gives it—the boon produce of a soil



Which our endeavours have refused to till,

mentations over misdirected applause. Instance of less And hope hath never water'd. The abode,

exalted excellence in a deaf man. Elevated character Whose grateful owner can attest these truths,

of a blind man. Reflection upon blindness. InterrupiE’en were the object nearer to our sight,

ed by a peasant who passes; his animal cheerfulness

and careless vivacity. He occasions a digression on Would seem in no distinction to surpass

the fall of beautiful and interesting trees. A female The rudest habitations. Ye might think

infant's grave. Joy at her birth. Sorrow at her departThat it had sprung self-raised from earth, or grown

A youthsul peasant; his patriotic enthusiasm, disOut of the living rock, to be adorn'd

linguished qualities, and untimely death. Exultation By nature only ; but, if thither led,

of the wanderer, as a patriot, in this picture. Solitary,

how affected. Monument of a knight. Traditions Ye would discover, then, a studious work

concerning him. Peroration of the wanderer on the Of many fancies, prompting many hands.

transitoriness of things, and the revolutions of society. Brought from the woods, the honeysuckle twines Hints at his own past calling. Thanks the pastor. Around the porch, and seems, in that trim place, A plant no longer wild: the cultured rose

WHILE thus from theme to theme the historian There blossoms, strong in health, and will be soon passid, Roof high; the wild pink crowns the garden wall, The words he utter'l, and the scene that lay And with the flowers are intermingled stones Before our eyes, awakend in my mind Sparry and bright, rough scatterings of the hills. Vivid remembrance of those long-past hours, These ornaments, that fade not with the year, When, in the hollow of some shadowy vale, A hardy girl continues to provide ;

(What time the splendour of the setting sun
Who, mounting fearlessly the rocky heights Lay beautiful on Snowdon's sovereign brow,
Her father's prompt attendant, does for him On Cader Idris, or huge Penmapmaur,)
All that a boy could do, but with delight

A wandering youth, I listen'd with delight
More keen, and prouder daring: yet hath she To pastoral melody or warlike air,
Within the garden, like the rest, a bed

Drawn from the chords of th' ancient British harp
For her own lowers and favourite herbs—a space, By some accomplished master, while he sate
By sacred charter, holden for her use.

Amid the quiet of the green recess, These, and whatever else the garden bears And there did inexhaustibly dispense Of fruit or flower, permission ask'd or not, An interchange of soft or solemn tunes, I freely gather; and my leisure draws

Tender or blithe; now, as the varying mood A not unfrequent pastime from the sight

Of his own spirit urged, -now, as a voice
Of the bees murmuring round their shelter'd hives From youth or maiden, or some honour'd chief
In that enclosure; while the mountain rill, Of his compatriot villagers (that hung
That sparkling thrids the rocks, attunes his voice Around him, drinking in the impassion'd notes
To the pure course of human life, which there Of the time-hallow'd minstrelsy) required
Flows on in solitude. But, when the gloom For their heart's ease or pleasure. Strains of power
Of night is falling round my steps, then most Were they, to seize and occupy the sense ;
This dwelling charms me: often I stop short, But to a higher mark than song can reach
(Who could refrain ?) and feed by stealth my sight Rose this pure eloquence. And, when the stream
With prospect of the company within,

Which overflow'd the soul was pass'd away,
Laid open through the blazing window. There A consciousness remaind that it had left
I see the eldest daughter at her wheel

Deposited upon the silent shore
Spinning amain, as if to overtake

Of memory, images and precious thoughts, The never-halting time; or, in her turn,

That shall not die, and cannot be destroy'd. Teaching some novice of the sisterhood

“ These grassy heaps lie amicably close,” That skill in this or other household work, Said I,“ like surges heaving in the wind Which, from her father's honour'd hand, herself Upon the surface of a mountain pool'; While she was yet a little one, had learn’d. Whence comes it then, that yonder we behold Mild man! he is not gay, but they are gay ; Five graves, and only five, that rise together And the whole house seems fill'd with gayety. Unsociably sequester’d, and encroaching Thrice happy, then, the mother may be deem'd, On the smooth playground of the village school ?” The wife, from whose consolatory grave

The vicar answered : “ No disdainful pride I turn'd, that ye in mind might witness where In them who rest beneath, nor any course And how, her spirit yet survives on earth.” Of strange or tragic accident, hath help'd

To place those hillocks in that lonely guise.

Once more look forth, and follow with your sight BOOK VII.

The length of road that from yon mountain's base

Through bare enclosures stretches, till its line THE CHURCHYARD AMONG THE MOUNTAINS. Is lost within a little tuft of trees;

Then reappearing in a moment, quits

The cultured fields, and up the beathy waste, ARGUMENT.

Mounts, as you see, in mazes serpentine,
Impression of these narratives upon the author's mind. Towards an easy outlet of the vale.

Pastor invited to give account of certain graves that lie That little shady spot, that sylvan tuft,
apart. Clergyman and his family. Fortunate influence
of change of situation. Activity in extreme old age. By which the road is bidden, also hides
Another clergyman, a character of resolute virtue. La. A cottage from our view,-though I discern


(Ye scarcely can) amid its sheltering trees

To cheat the sadness of a rainy day;
The smokeless chimney-top. All unembower'd Hands apt for all ingenious arts and games;
And naked stood that lonely parsonage

A generous spirit, and a body strong (For such in truth it is, and appertains

To cope with stoutest champions of the bowl ; To a small chapel in the vale beyond)

Had earn'd for him sure welcome, and the rights When hither came its last inhabitant.

Of a prized visitant, in the jolly hall
“ Rough and forbidding were the choicest roads Of country squire; or at the statelier board
By which our northern wilds could then be cross'd; Of duke or earl, from scenes of courtly pomp
And into most of these secluded vales

Withdrawn, to while away the summer hours Was no access for wain, heavy or light.

In condescension among rural guests. So, at his dwelling-place the priest arrived,

“ With these high comrades he had revellid long, With store of household goods, in panniers slung,

Frolick'd industriously, a simple clerk,
On sturdy horses graced with jingling bells, By hopes of coming patronage beguiled
And on the back of more ignoble beast ;

Till the heart sicken'd. So each loftier aim
That, with like burden of effects most prized Abandoning, and all his showy friends,
Or easiest carried, closed the motley train. For a life's stay, though slender yet assured,
Young was I then, a schoolboy of eight years ; He turn'd to this secluded chapelry,
But still, methinks, I see them as they pass'd That had been offered to his doubtful choice
In order, drawing toward their wish'd-for home. By an unthought-of patron. Bleak and bare
Rock'd by the motion of a trusty ass,

They found the cottage, their allotted home ; Two ruddy children hung, a well-poised freight, Naked without, and rude within ; a spot Each in his basket nodding drowsily;

With which the scantily provided cure Their bonnets, I remember, wreathed with flowers, Not long had been endowed: and far remote Which told it was the pleasant month of June; The chapel stood, divided from that house And, close behind, the comely matron rode, By an unpeopled tract of mountain waste. A woman of soft speech and gracious smile, Yet cause was none, whate'er regret might hang And with a lady's mien. From far they came, On bis own mind, to quarrel with the choice E’en from Northumbrian hills; yet theirs had been Or the necessity that fx'd him here: A merry journey, rich in pastime, cheerd

Apart from old temptations, and constrain'd By music, prank, and laughter-stirring jest; To punctual labour in his sacred charge. And freak put on, and arch word dropp'd, to swell See him a constant preacher to the poor ! The cloud of fancy and uncouth surmise

And visiting, though not with saintly zeal, That gather'd round the slowly-moving train. Yet when need was, with no reluctant will, * Whence do they come ? and with what errand The sick in body, or distrest in mind; charged ?

And, by his salutary change, compellid Belong they to the fortune-telling tribe

To rise from timely sleep, and meet the day Who pitch their tents beneath the green-wood tree? With no engagement, in his thoughts, more proud Or are they strollers, furnish’d to enact

Or splendid than his garden could afford, Fair Rosamond, and the Children of the Wood, His fields, or mountains by the heath-cock ranged, And, by that whisker'd tabby's aid, set forth Or the wild brooks; from which he now return'd The lucky venture of sage Whittington,

Contented to partake the quiet meal When the next village bears the show announced of his own board, where sate his gentle mate By blast of trumpet ?' Plenteous was the growth And three fair children, plentifully fed Of such conjectures, overheard, or seen

Though simply, from their little household farm ; On many a staring countenance portray'd

With acceptable treat of fish or fow]
Of boor or burgher, as they march'd along. By nature yielded to his practised hand-
And more than once their steadiness of face To help the small but certain comings-in
Was put to proof, and exercise supplied

Of that spare benefice. Yet not the less
To their inventive humour, by stern looks, Theirs was a hospitable board, and theirs
And questions in authoritative tone,

A charitable door. So days and years From some staid guardian of the public peace, Pass'd on; the inside of that rugged house Checking the sober steed on which he rode, Was trimm'd and brighten'd by the matron's care, In his suspicious wisdom: oftener still,

And gradually enrich'd with things of price,
By notice indirect, or blunt demand

Which might be lack'd for use or ornament.
From traveller halting in his own despite, What though no soft and costly sofa there
A simple curiosity to ease;

Insidiously stretch'd out its lazy length,
Of which adventures, that beguiled and cheer'd And no vain mirror glitter'd on the walls,
Their grave migration, the good pair would tell, Yet were the windows of the low abode
With undiminish'd glee, in hoary age.

By shutters weather-fended, which at once “A priest he was by function; but his course Repell’d the storm and deadend its loud roar. From his youth up, and high as manhood's noon, There snow-white curtains hung in decent folds; (The hour of life to which he then was brought,) Tough moss, and long-enduring mountain plants, Had been irregular, I might say, wild;

That creep along the ground with sinuous trail, By books unsteadied, by his pastoral care

Were nicely braided, and composed a work Too little check’d. An active, ardent mind; Like Indian mats, that with appropriate grace A fancy pregnant with resource and scheme Lay at the threshold and the inner doors ;

And a fair carpet, woven of homespun wool, And the lone privileged house left empty-swept But tinctured daintily with florid hues,

As by a plague: yet no rapacious plague For seemliness and warmth, on festal days, Had been among them ; all was gentle death, Cover'd the smooth blue slabs of mountain stone One after one, with intervals of peace. With which the parlour floor, in simplest guise A happy consummation ! an accord Of pastoral homesteads, had been long inlaid. Sweet, perfect-to be wish'd for! save that here These pleasing works the housewife's skill pro- Was something which to mortal sense might sound duced :

Like harshness,-that the old gray-headed sire, Meanwhile the unsedentary master's hand

The oldest, he was taken last,-survived Was busier with his task-to rid, to plant,

When the meek partner of his age, his son, To rear for food, for shelter, and delight;

His daughter, and that late and high-prized gift, A thriving covert! And when wishes, form’d His little smiling grandchild, were no more. In youth, and sanction’d by the riper mind,

“« All gone, all vanish'd! he deprived and bare, Restored me to my native valley, here

How will he face the remnant of his life? To end my days; well pleased was I to see What will become of him?' we said, and mused The once bare cottage, on the mountain side, In sad conjectures— Shall we meet him now Screen'd from assault of every bitter blast; Haunting with rod and line the craggy brooks? While the dark shadows of the summer leaves Or shall we overhear him, as we pass, Danced in the breeze, upon its mossy roof. Striving to entertain the lonely hours Time, which had thus afforded willing help With music ?' (for he had not ceased 10 touch To beautify with nature's fairest growth

The harp or viol which himself had framed, This rustic tenement, had gently shed,

For their sweet purposes, with perfect skill.) Upon its master's frame, a wintry grace;

• What titles will he keep? will he remain The comeliness of unenfeebled age.

Musician, gardener, builder, mechanist, But how could I say, gently? for he still

A planter, and a rearer from the seed ?
Retain'd a flashing eye, a burning palm,

A man of hope and forward looking mind
A stirring foot, a head which beat at nights E'en to the last ! Such was he, unsubdued.
Upon its pillow with a thousand schemes.

But Heaven was gracious : yet a little while,
Few likings had he droppid, few pleasures lost; And this survivor, with his cheerful throng
Generous and charitable, prompt to serve ;

Of open schemes, and all his inward hoard
And still his harsher passions kept their hold, Of unsunn'd griefs, too many and too keen,
Anger and indignation : still he loved

Was overcome by unexpected sleep,
The sound of titled names, and talk'd in glee In one blest moment. Like a shadow thrown
Of long past banquetings with high-born friends : Softly and lightly from a passing cloud,
Then, from those lulling fits of vain delight Death fell upon him, while reclined he lay
Uproused by recollected injury, rail'd

For noontide solace on the summer grass,
At their false ways disdainfully, -and oft

The warm lap of his mother earth : and so, In bitterness, and with a threatening eye

Their lenient term of separation past,
Of fire, incensed beneath its hoary brow.

That family (whose graves you there behold)
These transports, with staid looks of pure good will By yet a higher privilege once more
And with soft smile, his consort would reprove. Were gather'd to each other.”
She far behind him in the race of years,

Calm of mind
Yet keeping her first mildness, was advanced And silence waited on these closing words ;
Far nearer, in the habit of her soul,

Until the wanderer (whether moved by fear To that still region whither all are bound.

Lest in those passages of life were some Him might we liken to the setting sun

That might have touch'd the sick heart of his friend As seen not seldom on some gusty day,

Too nearly, or intent to reinforce Struggling and bold, and shining from the west His own firm spirit in degree deprest With an inconstant and unmellow'd light; By tender sorrow for our mortal state) She was a soft attendant cloud, that hung

Thus silence broke: “Behold a thoughtless man As if with wish to veil the restless orb;

From vice and premature decay preserved From which it did itself imbibe a ray

By useful habits, to a fitter soil Of pleasing lustre. But no more of this;

Transplanted ere too late. The hermit, lodged I better love to sprinkle on the sod

In the untrodden desert, tells his beads,
That now divides the pair, or rather say

With each repeating its allotted prayer,
That still unites them, praises, like heaven's dew, And thus divides and thus relieves the time;
Without reserve descending upon both.

Smooth task, with his compared, whose mind could “ Our very first in eminence of years

string, This old man stood, the patriarch of the vale ! Not scantily, bright minutes on the thread And, to his unmolested mansion, death

A keen domestic anguish,—and beguile
Had never come, through space of forty years; Of solitude, unchosen, unprofess'd;
Sparing both old and young in that abode.

Till gentlest death released him. Far from us
Suddenly then they disappeard: not twice Be the desire-too curiously to ask
Had summer scorch'd the fields : not twice had fall’n How much of this is but the blind result
On those high peaks, the first autumnal snow, Of cordial spirits and vital temperament,
Before the greedy visiting was closed,

And what to higher powers is justly due.


But you, sir, know that in a neighbouring vale Hamlet, and town; and piety survive
A priest abides before whose life such doubts Upon the lips of men in hall or bower;
Fall to the ground: whose gifts of nature lie Not for reproof, but high and warm delight,
Retired from notice, lost in attributes

And grave encouragement, by song inspired.
Of reason, honourably effaced by debts

Vain thought! but wherefore murmur or repine ? Which her poor treasure house is content to owe, The memory of the just survives in heaven : And conquest over her dominion gain'd,

And, without sorrow, will this ground receive To which her frowardness must needs submit. That venerable clay. Meanwhile the best In this one man is shown a temperance-proof Of what it holds confines us to degrees Against all trials ; industry severe

In excellence less difficult to reach, And constant as the motion of the day ;

And milder worth: nor peed we travel far Stern self-denial round him spread, with shade From those to whom our last regards were paid, That might be deem'd forbidding, did not there

For such example. All generous feelings flourish and rejoice ;

Almost at the root Forbearance, charity in deed and thought,

Of that tall pine, the shadow of whose bare And resolution competent to take

And slender stem, while here I sit at eve, Out of the bosom of simplicity

Oft stretches towards like a long straight path All that her holy customs recommend,

Traced faintly in the greensward ; there, beneath And the best ages of the world prescribe.

A plain blue stone, a gentle dalesman lies, Preaching, administering, in every work

From whom, in early childhood, was withdrawn Of his sublime vocation, in the walks

The precious gift of hearing. He grew up Of worldly intercourse 'twixt man and man, From year to year in loneliness of soul; And in his humble dwelling, he appears

And this deep mountain valley was to him A labourer, with moral virtue girt,

Soundless, with all its streams. The bird of dawn With spiritual graces, like a glory, crown'd.” Did never rouse this cottager from sleep

“ Doubt can be none,” the pastor said, “ for whom with startling summons: not for his delight This portraiture is sketch'd. The great, the good, The vernal cuckoo shouted; not for him The well beloved, the fortunate, the wise,

Murmur'd the labouring bee. When stormy winds These titles emperors and chiefs have borne, Were working the broad bosom of the lake Honour assumed or given: and him, the Wonderful, Into a thousand thousand sparkling waves, Our simple shepherds, speaking from the heart, Rocking the trees, or driving cloud on cloud Deservedly have styled. From his abode

Along the sharp edge of yon lofty crags, In a dependent chapelry, that lies

The agitated scene before his eye Behind yon hill, a poor and rugged wild,

Was silent as a picture: evermore Which in his soul he lovingly embraced,

Were all things silent, wheresoe'er he moved. And, having once espoused, would never quit; Yet, by the solace of his own pure thoughts Hither, ere long, that lowly, great, good man Upheld, he duteously pursued the round Will be convey'd. An unelaborate stone

Of rural labours; the steep mountain side May cover him; and by its help, perchance, Ascended with his staff and faithful dog ; A century shall hear his name pronounced, The plough he guided, and the scythe he sway'd; With images attendant on the sound :

And the ripe corn before his sickle fell Then, shall the slowly gathering twilight close Among the jocund reapers. For himself, In utter night; and of his course remain

All watchful and industrious as he was, No cognizable vestiges, no more

He wrought not; neither field nor flock he own'd: Than of this breath, which shapes itself in words No wish for wealth had place within his mind; To speak of him, and instantly dissolves,

Nor husband's love, nor father's hope or care. Noise is there not enough in doleful war,

Though born a younger brother, need was none But that the heaven-born poet must stand forth, That from the floor of his paternal home And lend the echoes of his sacred shell,

He should depart, to plant himself anew. To multiply and aggravate the din ?

And when, mature in manhood, he beheld Pangs are there not enough in hopeless love His parents laid in earth, no loss ensued And, in requited passion, all too much

Of rights to him ; but he remaind well pleased, Of turbulence, anxiety, and fear

By the pure bond of independent love But that the minstrel of the rural shade

An inmate of a second family, Must tune his pipe, insiduously to nurse

The fellow labourer and friend of him The perturbation in the suffering breast,

To whom the small inheritance had fall’n. And propagate its kind, far as he may ?

Nor deem that his mild presence was a weight Ah who (and with such rapture as befits

That press'd upon his brother's house, for books The hallow'd theme) will rise and celebrate Were ready comrades whom he could not tire,The good man's deeds and purposes; retrace Of whose society the blameless man His struggles, his discomfiture deplore,

Was never satiate. Their familiar voice, His triumphs hail, and glorify his end ?

E'en to old age, with unabated charm That virtue, like the fumes and vapory clouds Beguiled his leisure hours ; refresh'd his thoughts ; Through fancy's heat redounding in the brain, Beyond its natural elevation raised And like the soft infections of the heart,

His introverted spirit: and bestow'd By charm of measured words may spread o'er field, | Upon his life an outward dignity

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