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The thunder's greeting : :-nor have Nature's laws
A fall of voice,
young for any profitable task. So moved he like a Shadow that perform d
Substantial service. Mark me now, and learn For what reward! The Moon her monthly round Nath not completed since our Dame, the Queen of this one cottage and this lonely dale, Into my little sanctuary rushdVoice to a rueful treble humanized, And features in deplorable dismay.I treat the matter lightly, but, alas! It is most serions: persevering rain Had fallen in torrents; all the mountain tops Were hidden, and black vapours coursed their sides, This had I seen and saw; but, till she spake, Was wholly ignorant that my ancient Friend, Who at her bidding, early and alone, Uad clomb aloft to delve the moorland turf For winter fuel, to his noontide meal Return'd not, and now, haply, on the Heights Lay at the mercy of this raging storm. «Inhuman!»-said I, « was an Old Man's life Not worth the trouble of a thought!--alas! This notice comes too late.» With joy I saw Her Pusband enter-from a distant Vale. We sallied forth together; found the tools Which the neglected Veteran had droppid, But through all quarters look'd for him in vain. We shouted--but no answer! Darkness fell Without remission of the blast or shower, And fears for our own safety drove us home. I, who weep little, did, I will confess, The moment I was seated here alone, Honour my little Cell with some few tears Which anger and resentment could not dry. All right the storm endured; and, soon as help Had been collected from the neighbouring Vale, With morning we renew'd our quest: the wind Was fallen, the rain abated, but the hills Lay shrouded in impenetrable mist; And long and hopelessly we sought in vain. Till, chancing on that lofty ridge to pass A heap of ruin, almost without walls, And wholly without roof, (the bleach'd remains Of a small Chapel, where, iu ancient time, The Peasants of these lonely valleys used To meet for worship on that central height) We there espied the Object of our search, Lying full three parts buried among tufts Of heath-plant, under and above him strewn, To baftle, as he might, the watery storm: And there we found him breathing peaceably, Soug as a child that hides itself in sport Mid a green hay-cock in a sunny field. We spake—he made reply, but would not stir At our entreaty; less from want of power Than apprehension and bewildering thoughts. So was he lifted gently from the ground, And with their freight the Shepherds homeward moved Through the dull mist, I following-when a step, A single step, that freed me from the skirts Of the blind vapour, opeu'd to my view Glory beyond all glory ever seen ily waking sense or by the dreaming soul! The Appearance, instantaneously disclosed, Was of a mighty City-boldly say A wilderness of building, sinking far And self-withdrawn into a wood'rous depth l'ar sinking into splendour-without eml!
BOOK III. .
Images in the Valley-Another Recess in it entered and
described—Wanderer's sensations--Solitary's excited by the same objects-Contrast between these-Despondency of the Solitary gently reproved-Conversation exhibiting the Solitary's past and present opinions and feelings, till he enters upon his own History at length—His domestic felicity-aftlictions -dejection-roused by the French Revolution-Disappointment and disgust-Voyage to America-disappointment and disgust pursue bim-his returuHis languor and depression of mind, from want of faith in the great truths of Religion, and want of confidence in the virtue of Mankind.
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
vapours had receded, taking there
DESPONDENCY. A HUMMING Bee-a little tinkling RillA pair of Falcons, wheeling on the wing, In clamorous agitation, round the crest Of a tall rock, their airy Citadel By each and all of these ibe pensive ear Was greeted, in the silence that ensued, When through the Cottage-threshold we had passid, And, deep within that lonesome Valley, stood Once more, beneath the concave of a blue And cloudless sky. -Anon ! exclaim'd our Host, Triumphantly dispersing with the taunt The shade of discontent which on his brow llad gather'd, — « Ye have left my cell, - but see How Nature hems you in with friendly arms! And by her help ye are my Prisoners still. But which way shall I lead you ?—how cootrive, Jo Spot so parsimoniously endow'd, That the brief hours, which yet remain, may reap Some recompense of knowledge or delight ?» So saying, round he look'd as if perplex'd ; And, to remove those doubts, my grey-hair'd Friend Said-« Shall we take this pathway for our guide ?Upward il winds, as if, in summer heats, Its line had first been fashion'd by the tlock A place of refuge seeking at the root Of yon black Yew-tree; whose protruded boughs Darken the silver bosom of the crag, From which she draws her meagre sustenance. There in commodious shelter may we rest. Or let us trace this Streamlet to its source; Feebly it tinkles with an earthy sound, And a few steps may bring us to the spot Where, haply, crown'd with flowerets and green herbs, The mountain lofapt to the sun comes forth, Like human Life from darkness.»—A quick cura Through a strait passage of encumber'd ground, Proved that such hope was vain :-for now we stood Shut out from prospect of the open Vale, And saw the water, that composed this Rill, Descending, disembodied, and diffused O'er the smooth surface of an ample Crag, Lofty, and steep, and naked as a Tower. All further progress bere was barrd; -- And wlu, Thought I, if master of a vacant hour, llere would not linger, willingly detain'd ?
« So ends my dolorous Tale, and glad I am That it is ended.n At these words he turn'dAnd, with blithe air of
open fellowship, Brought from the Cupboard wine and stouter cheer, Like one who would be merry. Seeing this, My grry-hair'd Fricod said courteously—« Nay, pay, You have regaled us as a llermit ought; Now Ict us forth into the sun!» Our Host Rose, though reluctantly, and forth we went
Whether to such wild objects he were led
Measuring through all degrees, until the scale
Lost in unsearchable Eternity!»
A pause ensued; and with minuter care Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground,
We scann'd the various features of the scene : The hidden nook discover'd to our view
And soon the Tenant of that lonely Vale A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay
With courteous voice thus spakeRight at the foot of that moist precipice,
«I should have grieved A stranded Ship, with keel upturn'd, -that rests Hereafter, not escaping self-reproach, Fearless of winds and waves. Three several Stones If from my poor Retirement ye had gone Stood dear, of smaller size, and not unlike
Leaving this Nook unvisited : but, in sooth, To monumental pillars : and, from these
Your unexpected presence had so roused Some little space disjoin'd, a pair were seen,
My spirits, that they were bent on enterprise; That with united shoulders bore aloft
And, like an ardent Hunter, I forgot, A Fragment, like an Altar, flat and smooth;
Or, shall I say?-disdain d, the game that lurks Barren the tablet, yet thereon appear'd
At my own door. The shapes before our eyes, A tall and shining Holly, that had found
And their arrangement, doubtless must be deem'd A hospitable chink, and stood upright,
The sport of Nature, aided by blind Chance, As if inserted by some human hand
Rudely to mock the works of toiling Man. In mockery, to wither in the sun,
And hence, this upright Shaft of unhewn stone, Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
From Fancy, willing to set off her stores
By sounding Titles, hath acquired the name
My Theban Obelisk; and, there, behold
A druid Cromlech!- thus I entertain And softly creeping, like a breath of air,
The antiquarian humour, and am pleased Such as is sometimes seen, and hardly seen,
To skim along the surfaces of things, To brush the still breast of a crystal Lake.
Beguiling harmlessly the listless hours.
But, if the spirit be oppressd by sense « Behold a Cabinet for Sages built,
Of instability, revolt, decay, Which Kings might envy!»—Praise to this effect And change, and emptiness, these freaks of Nature Broke from the happy Old Mau's reverend lip; And her blind helper Chance, do then suffice Who to the Solitary turn'd, and said,
To quicken, and to aggravate-to feed «In sooth, with love's familiar privilege,
Pity and scorn, and melancholy pride, You have decried the wealth which is your own.
Not less than that huge Pile (from some abyss Among these Rocks and Stones, methinks, I see Of mortal power unquestionably sprung) More than the heedless impress that belongs
Whose hoary Diadem of pendant rocks To lonely Nature's casual work : they bear
Confines the shrill-voiced whirlwind, round and round A semblance strange of power intelligent,
Eddying within its vast circumference, And of design not wholly worn away.
On Sarum's naked plain;-than Pyramid Boldest of plants that ever faced the wind,
Of Egypt, unsubverted, undissolved; How gracefully that slender Shrub looks forth Or Syria's marble Ruias lowering high From its fantastic birth-place! And I own,
Above the sandy Desert, in the light Some shadowy intimations haunt me here,
Of sun or moon.-Forgive me, if I say That in these shows a chronicle survives
That an appearance, which hath raised your minds Of purposes akin to those of Man,
To an exalted pitch, (the self-same cause But wrought with mightier arm than now prevails.
Different effect producing) is for me -Voiceless the stream descends into the gulf
Fraught rather with depression than delight, With timid lapse ;-and lo! while in this Strait Though shame it were, could I not look around, I stand the chasm of sky above my head
By the reflection of your pleasure, pleased. Is heaven's profoundest azure; Do domain
Yet happier, in my judgment, even than you For fickle, short-lived clouds to occupy,
With your bright transports fairly may be deemd, Or to pass through, but rather an Abyss
The wandering Herbalist,—who, clear alike
From vain, and, that worse evil, vexing thoughts,
Upon these uncouth Forms a slight regard
For some rare Floweret of the hills, or Plant To lift thee high above the misty air,
Of craggy fountain; what he hopes for wins, And turbulence of murmuring cities vast;
Or learns, at least, that 't is not to be won : From academic groves, that have for thee
Then, keen and eager, as a fine-nosed Hound Been planted, hither come and find a Lodge
By soul engrossing instinct drives along
Through wood or open field, the harmless Man
Nor is that Fellow-wanderer, so deem I,
Less to be envied (you may trace him oft
And what, when breath hath ceased, we may become. By scars which his activity has left
Here are we, in a bright and breathing World-
Of worthier explanation, say at once
With the American (a thought which suits
Leapt out together from a rocky Cave;
Or, if a different image be recalled
By the warm sunshine, and the jocund voice The substance classes by some barbarous name, Of insects-chirping out their careless lives And hurries on; or from the fragments picks
On these soft beds of thyme-besprinkled turf, His specimen, if haply intervein'd
Chuse, with the gay Athenian, a conceit With sparkling mineral, or should crystal cube
As sound-bliche race! whose mantles were bedecked Lurk in its cells-and tbinks himself enrich'd,
With golden Grasshoppers, in sign that they Wealibier, and doubtless wiser, than before!
Had sprung, like those bright creatures, from the soil Intrusted safely-each to his pursuit
Whereon their endless generations dwelt.
But stop!- these theoretic fancies jar
Their holy Ganges from a skiey fount,
Even so deduce the Stream of human Life Then,» said I, interposing; «One is near,
From seats of power divine; and hope, or trust, Who cannot but possess in your esteem
That our Existence winds her stately course Place worthier still of envy. May I name,
Beneath the Sun, like Ganges, to make part Without offence, that fair-faced Cottage-boy?
Of a living Ocean; or, to sink engulfed Dame Nature's Pupil of the lowest Form,
Like Niger, in impenetrable sands Youngest Apprentice in the School of Art!
And utter darkness: thought which may be faced, llim, as we enter'd from the open Glen,
Though comfortless! - Not of myself I speak; You might have noticed, busily engaged,
Such acquiescence neither doth imply, lleart, soul, and hands,-in mending the defects In me, a meekly-bending spirit—soothed Left in the fabric of a leaky dam,
By natural piety; nor a lofty mind,
By philosophic discipline prepared
Pleased to have been, contented not to be.
Such palms I boast not;-no! to me, who find, « Far happiest,» answer'd the desponding Man, Reviewing my past way, much to condemn, « If, such as pow he is, he might remain !
Little to praise, and nothing to regret Ah! what avails Imagination high
(Save some remembrances of dream-like joys Or Question deep? what profits all that Earth,
That scarcely seem to have belonged to me) Or Heaven's blue Vault, is suffered to put forth If I must take my choice between the pair Of impulse or allurement, for the Soul
That rule alternately the weary hours, To quit the beaten track of life, and soar
Night is than day more acceptable;-sleep Far as she finds a yielding element
Doth, in my estimate of good, appear In past or future; far as she can go
A better state than waking; death than sleep : Through time or space; if neither in the one,
Feelingly sweet is stillness after storm,
Thoughi under covert of the wormy ground !
« Yet be it said, in justice to myself, Words of assurance can be heard; if nowhere
That in more genial times, when I was free A habitation, for consummate good,
To explore the destiny of human kind, Nor for progressive virtue, by the search
(Not as an intellectual game pursued Ciu be attain'd, a better sanctuary
With curious subtiliy, from wish to cheat From doubt and sorrow, than the senseless grave!» Irksome sensations; but by love of truth
Urged on, or haply by intense delight u Is this,» the grey-bair'd Wanderer mildly said, In feeding thought, wherever thought could feed.) « The voice, which we so lately overheard,
I did not rank with those (too dull or nice, To that same Child, addressing tenderly
For to my judgment such they then appeared, The Coosolations of a hopeful mind ?
Or too aspiring, thankless at the bese) *Alis body is al rest, his soul in heaven.'
Who, in this frame of human life, perceive These were your words; and, verily, mcthinks
an object whereunto their souls are tied Wisdom is oft-times nearer when we stoop
In discontented wedlock; nor did e'er, Thao when we soar.»
From me, those dark impervious shades, that hang The Other, not displeased, Cpon the region whither we are bound, Prompily replied.—« My votion is the same.
Exclude a power to enjoy the vital beams And I, without reluctance, could decline
Of present sunshine.- Deities that float All acl cf ioquisition whepce we rise,
On wings, angelic Spirits, I could muse
O'er what from eldest time we have been told
- Blow winds of Autumu!-let your chilling breath
For their own sakes, as mortal life's chief good,
« What other yearning was the master sie Of the monastic Brotherhood; upon Rock Aerial, or in green secluded Vale, One after one, collected from afar, An undissolving Fellowship?–What but this, The universal instinct of repose, The longing for confirmed tranquillity, Joward and outward ; humble, yet sublime:The life where hope and memory are as ope; Earth quiet and unchanged; the buman Soul Consistent in self-rule; and heaven revealed To meditation, in that quietness! Such was their scheme:-thrice happy he who gainal The end proposed! And, -though the same were missed By multitudes, perhaps obtained by none, They, for the attempt, and for the paios employed, Do, in my present censure, stand redeemed From the unqualified disdain, that once Would have been cast upon them, by my Voice Delivering its decisions from the seat Of forward Youth:-that scruples not to solve Doubts, and determine questions, by the rules Of inexperienced judgment, ever prone To overweening faith; and is intlamed, By courage, to demand from real life The test of act and suffering-to provoke Hostility, how dreadful when it comes, Whether aftliction be the foe, or guilt!
Loth to forsake the spot, and still more loth To be diverted froin our present theme, I said, « My thoughts agreeing, Sir, with yours, Would push this censure farther ;-for, if smiles Of scornful pity be the just reward Of Poesy, thus courteously employed In framing models to improve the scheme Of Man's existence, and recast the world, Why should not grave Philosophy be styled, Herself, a Dreamer of a kindred stock, A Dreamer yet more spiritless and dull? Yes, shall the fine immunities shc boasts Establish sounder titles of esteem For Her, who (all too timid and reserved For onset, for resistance too incrt, Too weak for suffering, and for bope too tame) Placed among flowery gardens, curtained round With world-excluding groves, the Brotherhood Of soft Epicureaus, taught-if they The ends of being would secure, and win The crown of wisdom-to yield up their souls To a voluptuous unconcern, preferring Tranquillity to all things. Or is She,» I cried, « more worthy of regard, the Power, Who, for the sake of sterner quiet, closed The Stoic's heart against the vain approach Of admiration, and all sense of joy?»
His Countenance cave potice that my
zcal Accorded little with his present mind; I ceased, and he resumed.---- Ah! gentle Sir, Slight, if you will, the means; but spare to slight The end of those, who did, by system, rank, As the prime object of a wise Man's aim, Security from shock of accident, Release from fear; and cherished peaceful days
« A Child of earth, I rested, in that stage Of my past course to which these thoughts advert, Upon earth's native energies; forgetting That mine was a condition which required Nor energy, nor fortitude--a calm Without vicissitude; which, if tbe like Had been presented to my view elsewhere, I might have even beeu tempted to despise. But that which was serene was also bright;