Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

--Knowledge, methinks, in these disordered times,
BOOK V.

Should be allowed a privilege to have
Her Anchorites, like Piety of old;

Men, who, from faction sacred, and unstained
ARGUMENT.

By war, might, if so minded, turn aside
Farewell to the Valley—Reflections-Sight of a large Uncensured, and subsist, a scattered few

and populous Vale-Solitary consents to go forward Living to God and Nature, and content -Vale described - The Pastor's Dwelling, and some

With that communion. Consecrated be account of him – The Churchyard - Church and The Spots where such abide! But happier still Monuments — The Solitary musing, and where- The Man, whom, furthermore, a hope attends Roused - In the Church-yard the Solitary commu- | That meditation and research may guide

Ilis nicates the thoughts which had recently passed

privacy to principles and powers through his mind — Lofty tone of the Wanderer's Discovered or invented; or set forth, discourse of yesterday adverted to-Rite of Baptism, Through his acquaintance with the ways of truth,

In lucid order; so that, when his course and the professions accompanying it, contrasted with the real state of human life-Inconsistency of the Is run, some faithful Eulogist may say, best men-Acknowledgment that practice falls far He sought not praise, and praise did overlook below the injunctions of duty as existing in the Alis unobtrusive merit; but his life, mind-General complaint of a falling-off in the Sweet to himself, was exercised in good value of life after the time of youth-Outward ap

That shall survive his name and memory. pearances of content and happiness in degree illusive — Pastor approaches -- Appeal made to liim - His Acknowledgments of gratitude sincere answer—Wanderer in sympathy with him-Sugges- Accompanied these musings;-fervent thanks tion that the least ambitious Inquirers may be most For my own peaceful lot and happy choice; free from error-The Pastor is desired to give some

A choice that from the passions of the world
Portraits of the living or dead from his own obser-Withdrew, and fixed me in a still retreat,
vation of life among these Mountains-and for what Sheltered, but not to social duties lost,
purpose — Pastor consents-Mountain cottage--Ex- Secluded, but not buried; and with song
cellent qualities of its Inhabitants-Solitary expresses Cheering my days, and with industrious thouglas,
his pleasure; but denies the praise of virtue to worth with ever-welcome company of books,
of this kind- Feelings of the Priest before he enters By virtuous friendship's soul-sustaining aid,
upon his account of Persons interred in the Church And with the blessings of domestic love.
yard-Graves of unbaptized Infants—What sensa-
tions they excite- Funeral and sepulchral Observan Thus occupied in mind I paced along,
ces, whence-Ecclesiastical Establishments, wce Following tbe rugged road, by sledge or wheel
derived-Profession of Belief in the doctrine of lm- Worn in the moorland, till I overtook
mortality

My two Associates, in the morning suushine
Halting together on a rocky knoll,

From which the road descended rapidly
THE PASTOR.

To the green meadows of another Vale.
Farewell, deep Valley, with thy one rude House,
And its small lot of life-supporting fields,

Here did our pensive Host put forth his hand
And guardian rocks! - Farewell, attractive Seat! In sign of farewell. « Nay,» the Old Man said,
To the still iotlux of the morning light

« The fragrant Air its coolness still retains; Open, and day's pure cheerfulness, but veiled The Herds and Flocks are yet abroad to crop From human observation, as if yet

The dewy grass; you cannot leave us now, Primeval Forests wrapped thee round with dark We must not part at this inviting lour.» Impenetrable shade; once more farewell,

Ne yielded, though reluctant; for his Mind Majestic Circuit, beautiful Abyss,

lastinctively disposed hiin to retire By Nature destined from the birth of things

To his own Covert; as a billow, beaved
For quietness profound !

Upon the beach, rolls back into the Sea.
Upon the side

-So we descend; and winding round a rock
Of that brown Slope, the outlet of the Vale,

Attain a point that shewed the Valley-stretclicd Lingering behind my Comrades, thus I breathed In length before us; and, not distant far, A parting tribute to a spot that seemed

Upon a rising ground a grey Church-lower, Like the fixed centre of a troubled World.

Whose battlements were screened by tufted trees. And now, pursuing leisurely my way,

And, lowrds a crystal Mere, that lay beyond How vain, thought I, it is by change of place

Among sleep hills and woods embosomed, flowed To seek that comfort which the mind denies;

A copious Stream with boldly-winding course; Yet trial and temptation oft are shunned

llere traceable, there hidden-there again Wisely; and by such tenure do we hold

To sight restored, and glittering in the Sun. Frail Life's possessions, that even they whose fate On the Stream's bank, and every where, appeared Yields no peculiar reason of complaint

Fair Dwellings, single, or in social knots; Might, by the promise that is here, be won

Some scattered o'er the level, others perched To steal from active duties, and embrace

On the hill sides, a cheerful quiet scene, Obscurity, and calm forgetfulness.

Now in its morning purity arrayed.

As, mid some happy Valley of the Alps,»

Was occupied by oaken benches, ranged Said I, « once happy, ere tyrannic Power,

In seemly rows; the chancel only shewed Wantonly breaking in upon the Swiss,

Some inoffensive marks of earthly state Destroyed their unoffending Commonwealth, And vain distinction. A capacious pew A popular equality reigns here,

Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined; Save for one House of State beneath whose roof And marble Monuments were here displayed A rural Lord might dwell.»

« No feudal pomp,"

Thronging the walls; and on the tloor beneath Replied our Friend, a Chronicler who stood

Sepulchral stones appeared, with emb

ms graven Where'er he moved upon familiar ground,

And fool-worn epitaphs, and some with small Nor feudal power is there; but there abides, And shining effigies of brass inlaid. Jo his allotted Home, a genuine Priest,

–The tribute by these various records claimed, The Shepherd of his Flock; or, as a King

Without reluctance did we pay; and read Is styled, when most affectionately praised,

The ordinary chronicle of birth, The Father of his People. Such is he;

Office, alliance, and promotion--all And rich and poor, and young and old, rejoice Ending in dust; of upriglat Magistrates, L’nder his spiritual sway. He bath vouchsa fed Grave Doctors strenuous for the Mother Church, To me some portion of a kind regard ;

And uncorrupted Senators, alike And something also of his inner mind

To King and People true. A brazen plate, Hath be imparted – but I speak of him

Not easily deciphered, told of One As he is known to all. The calm delights

Whose course of earthly bonour was begun Of unambitious piety be chose,

Jo quality of page among the Train And learning's solid digoity; though born

Of the eighth Henry, when he crossed the seas of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends. His royal state to shew, and prove his strength Hither, in prime of manlood, he withdrew

In tournament, upon the fields of France. From academic bowers. He loved the spot,

Another Tablet registered the death, Who does not love his native soil? he prized

And praised the gallant bearing, of a Knight The ancient rural character, composed

Tried in the sea-fights of the second Charles. Of simple manners, feelings unsuppressed

Near this brave Koight his father lay entombed; | And undisguised, and strong and serious thought; And, to the silent language giving voice, A character reflected in himself,

I read, -how in his manhood's earlier day With such embellishment as well beseems

He, mid the aftlictions of intestine War His rank and sacred function. This deep vale

And rightful Government subverted, found Wiods far in reaches hidden from our eyes,

One only solace--that he had espoused And one a lurreted manorial Hall

A virtuous Lady tenderly beloved Adorus, in which the good Man's Ancestors

For her benign perfections; and yet more Have dwelt through ages-Patrons of this Cure. Endeared to him, for this, that in her state To them, and to his own judicious pains,

Of wedlock richly crowned with Heaven's regard, The Vicar's Dwelling, and the whole Domain,

She with a numerous Issue filled his llouse, Oves that presiding aspect which might well

Who throve, like Plants, uninjured by the Storm Attract your notice; statelier than could else

That laid their Country waste. No need to speak Have been bestowed, through course of common chauce, of less particular notices assigned On an unwealthy mountain Benetice.»

To Youth or Maiden gone before their time,

And Matrons and unwedded Sisters old ; This said, oft halling we pursued our way;

Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed Sor reached the Village Church-yard till the sun, In modest panegyric. « These dim lines, Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen What would they tell ?» said I,-- but, from the task Above the summits of the highest hills,

Of puzzling out that faded Narrative, And round our path darted oppressive beams.

With whisper soft my venerable Friend

Called me; and, looking down the darksome aisle, As chanced, the Portals of the sacred Pile

I saw the Tenant of the lonely Vale Stood open, and we entered. On my frame,

Standing apart; with curved arm reclined At such transition from the fervid air,

Ou the baptismal Font; his pallid face A grateful coolness fell, that seemed to strike

Upturned, as if his mind were rape, or lost The heart, in concert with that temperate awe

In some abstraction ;-gracefully he stood, And natural reverence, which the Place inspired. The semblance bearing of a sculptured Form Not raised in nice proportions was the Pile,

That leans upon a monumental Urn | But large and massy; for duration built;

la
peace,

from morn to night, from year to year. | With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld; By naked rafters intricately crossed,

Him from that posture did the Sexton rouse; Like leatless underboughs, mid some thick grove,

Who entered, humming carelessly a tune, All withered by the depth of shade above.

Continuation haply of the notes | Admonitory Texts inscribed the walls,

That had beguiled the work from which he came, Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed,

With spade and matlock o'er his shoulder hung, Each also crowned with winged heads-a pair

To be deposited, for future need, Of rudely-painted Cherubim. The floor

In their appointed place. The pale Recluse Of nave and aisle, in unpretending cuise,

Withdrew; and straight we followed, — to a spot

38

Where sun and shade were intermixed; for there Here interposing fervently I said,
A broad Oak, stretching forth its leafy arms

« Rites which attest that Man by nature lies From an adjoining pasture, overhung

Bedded for good and evil in a gulf
Small space of that green church-yard with a light Fearfully low; nor will your judgment scorn
And pleasant awning. On the moss-grown wall Those services, whereby attempt is made
My ancient Friend and I together took

To lift the Creature tow'rd that emioence
Our seats; and thus the Solitary spake,

On which, now fallen, erew bile in majesty Standing before us. « Did you note the mien

He stood; or if not so, whose top serene
Of that self-solaced, easy-hearted Churl,

At least he feels 't is given him to descry;
Death's Hirelioç, who scoops out lais Neighbour's grave, Not without aspirations, evermore
Or wraps an old Acquaintance up in clay,

Returning, and injunctions from within
As unconcerned as when he plants a tree?

Doubt to cast off and weariness, in trust I was abruptly summoned by his voice

That what the Soul perceives, if glory lost, From some affecting images and thoughts,

May be, through pains and persevering hope, And from the company of serious words.

Recovered; or, if hitherto unknown, Much, yesterday, was said in glowing phrase

Lies within reaclı, and one day shall be gained.» Of our sublime dependencies, and hopes For future states of Being; and the wings

« I blame themi not,» be calmly answered—eno; Of speculation, joyfully outspread,

The outward ritual and established forms Hovered above our destiny on earth :

With which Communities of Men invest But stoop, and place the prospect of the soul

These inward feelings, and the aspiring rows In sober contrast with reality,

To which the lips give public utterance And Mao's substantial life. If this mute eartlı

Are both a natural process; and by me Of what it holds could speak, and every grave

Shall pass uncensured; though the issue prove, Were as a volume, shut, yet capable

Bringing from age to age its owo reproach, Of yielding its contents to eye and ear,

Incongruous, impotent, and blank. — But, oh! We should recoil, stricken with sorrow and shame, If to be weak is to be wretched-miserable, To see disclosed, by such dread proof, how ill

As the lost Angel by a human voice That which is done accords with wbat is known Hath mournfully pronounced, then, in my mind, To reason, and by conscience is enjoined;

Far better not to move at all than move How idly, how perversely, Life's whole course,

By impulse sent from such illusive Power, To this conclusion, deviates from the line,

That finds and cannot fasten down; that grasps Or of the end stops short, proposed to all

And is rejoiced, and loses while it grasps; At her aspiring outset. Mark the Babe

That lempts, emboldens-doth a while sustain, Not long accustomed to this breathing world;

And then betrays; accuses and inflicts One that hath barely learned to shape a smile; Remorseless punishment; aod so retreads Though yet irrational of Soul to grasp

The inevitable circle : better far With tiny fingers-10 let fall a tear;

Than tbis, to graze the herb in thoughtless peace, And, as the heavy cloud of sleep dissolves,

By foresight or remembrance, undisturbed !
To stretch his limbs, bemocking, as might seem,
The outward functions of intelligent Man;

« Philosophy! and thou more vaunted name, A grave Proficient in amusive fears

Religion ! with thy statelier retinue, Of puppetry, that from the lap declare

Faith, llope, aod Charity-from the visible world His expectations, and announce his claims

Chuse for
your Emblems whatsoe'er ye

find To that inheritance which millions rue

Of safest guidance and of firmest trust, – That they were ever born to ! In due time

The Torch, the Star, the Anchor; nor except A day of solemo ceremonial comes;

The Cross itself, at whose unconscious feet When they, who for this Minor hold in trust

The Generations of Mankind have knelt Rights that transcend the humblest heritage

Ruefully scized, and shedding bitter tears, Of mere llumanity, present their Charge,

And through that contlict seeking rest-of you, For this occasion daintily adorned,

High-titled Powers, am I constrained to ask, At the baptismal Font. And when the

pure

Mere standing, with the unvoyageable sky And consecrating element hath cleansed

In faint reflection of infinitude The original stain, the Child is there received

Stretched overhead, and at my pensive feet Into the second Ark, Christ's Church, with trust A subterraneous magazine of bones, That he, from wrath redeemed, therein shall float In whose dark vaults my own shall soon be laid, Over the billows of this troublesome world

Where are your triumphs? your dominion where! To the fair land of everlasting Life.

And in what age admitted and confirmed ? Corrupt affections, covetous desires,

- Not for a happy Land do I inquire, Are all renounced; high as the thought of man Island or Grove, that hides a blessed few Can carry virtue, virtue is professed ;

Who, with obedience willing and sincere, A dedication made, a promise given

To your serene autborities conform ; For due provision to control and guide,

But wliom, I ask, of individual Souls, And unremitting progress to ensure

Have

ус

withdrawn from Passion's crooked ways. In holiness and truth.»

Inspired, and thoroughly fortified !--- If the Heart « You cannot blame,»

Could be inspected to its inmost folds

By sight undazzled with the glare of praise,

Of the encomiums by my Friend pronounced Who shall be named-in the resplendent line

On bumble life, forbid the judging mind Of Sages, Martyrs, Confessors-the Man

To trust the smiling aspect of this fair Whom the best might of Conscience, Truth, and Hope, And noiseless Commonwealth. The simple race For one day's little compass, has preserved

Of Mountaineers (by Nature's self removed From painful and discreditable slocks

From foul temptations, and by constant care Of coutradiction, from some vague

desire

Of a good Shepherd tended as themselves Culpably cherished, or corrupt relapse

Do tend their tlocks) partake Mau's general lot To some unsanctioned fear?»

With little mitigation. They escape, « If this be so,

Perchance, quili's heavier woes; and do not feel And Man,» said I, « be in his noblest shape

The tedium of fantastic idleness; Thus pitiably infirm; then, Ile who made,

Yet life, as with the multitude, with them, And who shall judge the Creature, will forgive.

Is fashioned like an Il-constructed tale ; -Yet, in its general tenor, your complaint

That on the outset wastes its gay desires,
Is all too true; avd surely not misplaced :

Jus fair adventures, its enlivening hopes,
For, from this pregoant spot of ground, such thoughts And pleasant interests-for the sequel leaving
Rise to the notice of a serious Mind

Old things repeated with diminished grace ;
By natural exhalation. With the Dead

And all the laboured novelties at best la their repose, the Living in their mirth,

Imperfect substitutes, whose use and power Who can rellect, unmoved, upon the round

Evince the want and weakne whence they spriog. Of smooth and solemnized complacencies, By which, on Christian Lands, from age to age

While in this serious mood we held discourse, Profession mocks Performance. Earth is sick,

The reverend Pastor tow'rd the Church-yard gate And Heaven is weary, of the hollow words

Approached ; and, with a mild respectful air
Which States and Kingdoms uller when they talk Of native cordiality, our Friend
of truth and justice. Turn to private life

Advanced to greet him. With a gracious mien
And social neighbourhood; look we to ourselves; Was he received, and mutual joy prevailed.
A light of duty shines on every day

Awhile they stood in conference, and I Guess
For all; and yet how few are warmed or cheered ! That He, who now upon the mossy wall
How few who mingle with their fellow-men

Sate by my side, had vanished, if a wish
And sull remain self-governed, and apart,

Could have transferred him to his lonely House Like this our honoured Friend ; and thence acquire Within the circuit of those guardian rocks. Right to expect bis vigorous decline,

- For me, I looked upon the pair, well pleased : That promises to the end a blest old age!»

Nature had framed them both, and both were marked

By circumstance, with intermixture five « Yet, with a smile of triumph thus exclaimed Of contrast and resemblance. To an Oak The Solitary, « in the life of Man,

Hardy and grand, a weather-beaten Oak, If to the poetry of common speech

Fresh in the strength and majesty of age, Faith may be given, we see as in a glass

One might be likened : flourishing appeared, A true reflection of the circling year,

Though somewhat past the fulness of his prime, With all its seasons. Grant that Spring is there, The Other-like a stately Sycamore, In spite of many a rough untowaru blast,

That spreads, in gentler pomp, its honied shade. Hopeful and promising with buds and flowers ; Yet where is glowing Summer's long rich day,

A general greeting was exchanged; and soon
That ought to follow faithfully expressed ?

The Pastor learned that his approach had given
And mellow Autumn, charged with bounteous fruit, A welcome interruption to discourse
Where is she imaged ? in what favoured clime

Grave, and in truth too often sad. — « Is Man
Her lavish pomp, and ripe magnificence ?

A Child of hope? Do generations press -Yet, while the better part is missed, the worse On generations, without progress made ? lo Man's autumnal season is set forth

Halts the Individual, ere his hairs be grey, 1 With a resemblance not to be denied,

Perforce? Are we a Creature in whom good
And that contents him ; bowers that hear no more Preponderates, or evil Doth the Will
1
The voice of gladness, less and less supply

Acknowledge Reason's law ? A living Power
Of outward sunshine and internal warmth ;

Is Virtue, or no better than a name,
And, with this change, sharp air and falling leaves, Fleeting as health or beauty, and unsound?
Foretelling total Winter, blank and cold.

So that the only substance which remains,

(For thus the tenor of complaint bath run) « How gly the Habitations that bedeck

Among so many shadows, are the pains This fertile Valley! Not a House but seems

And penalties of miserable life, To give assurance of content within ;

Doomed to decay, and then expire in dust! Embosomed happiness, and placid love;

-Our cogitations this way have been drawn, As if the sunshine of the day were met

These are the points,» the Wanderer said, « on whicla With answering brightness in the hearts of all Our Inquest turns.-- Accord, good Sir! the light Who walk this favoured ground. But chance-regards, Of your experience, to dispel this gloom : And police forced upon iucurious cars;

By your persuasive wisdom shall the Heart These, if these only, acting in despite

That frets, or languishes, be stilled and cheered,»

[ocr errors]

« Our Nature,» said the Priest, in mild reply, A meadow carpet for the dancing hours. « Angels may weigh and fathom : they perceive, - This contrast, not unsuitable to Life, With undistempered and unclouded spirit,

Is to that other state more apposite, The object as it is ; but, for ourselves,

Death, and its two-fold aspect; wintery-one, That speculative height we may not reach.

Cold, sullen, blank, from hope and joy shut out; The good and evil are our own; and we

The other, which the ray divine hath touched, Are that which we would contemplate from far. Replete with vivid promise, bright as spring. Knowledge, for us, is difficult to gainIs difficult to gain and liard to keep

« We see, then, as we feel,» the Wanderer thus As Virtue's self; like Virtue is beset

With a complacent animation spake, With snares ; tried, tempted, subject to decay.

And, in your judgment, Sir! the Mind's repose Love, admiration, fear, desire, and hate,

On evidence is not to be ensured
Blind were we without these : through these alone By act of naked Reason. Moral truth
Are capable to notice or discera

Is no mechanic structure, built by rule ;
Or to record ; we judge, but cannot be

And which, once built, retains a stedfast shape Indifferent judges. 'Spite of proudest boast,

And undisturbed proportions; but a thing Reason, best Reason, is to imperfect Man

Subject, you deem, to vital accidents ; An effort only, and a noble aim;

And, like the water-lily, lives and thrives, A crown, an attribute of sovereign power,

Whose root is fixed in stable earth, whose head Suill to be courted - never to be won !

Floats on the tossing waves. With joy sincere -Look forth, or each man dive into himself,

I re-salute these sentiments, confirmed What sees he but a Creature too perturbed,

By your authority. But how acquire That is transported to excess; that yearns,

The inward principle that gives effect Regrets, or trembles, wrongly, or too much;

To outward argument; the passive will Hopes raslıly, in disgust as rash recoils ;

Meck to admit; the active energy, Ballens on spleen, or moulders in despair ?

Strong and unbounded to cmbrace, and firm Thus truth is missed, and comprehension fails;

To keep and cherish? How shall Man unite And darkness and delusion round our path

With self-forgetting tenderness of heart Spread from disease, whose subtile injury lurks

An eartlı-despising dignity of soul ? Within the very faculty of sight.

Wise in that union, and without it blind!» « Yet for the general purposes of faith

« The way,» said I, « to court, if not obtain In Providence, for solace and support,

The ingenuous Mind, apt to be set aright; We may not doubt that who can best subject

This, in the lonely Dell discoursing, you The will to Reason's law, and strictliest live

Declared at large ; and by what exercise And act in that obedience, he shall gain

From visible nature or the inner self The clearest apprehension of those truths,

Power may be trained, and renovation brought Which unassisted reason's utmost power

To those who need the gift. But, after all, Is too infirm to reach. But-waiving this,

Is aught so certain as that man is doomed And our regards confining within bonds

To breathe beneath a vault of ignorance? Of less exalted consciousness-through which

The natural roof of that dark house in which The very multitude are free to range-

His soul is pent! How little can be knownWe safely may affirm that human life

This is the wise man's sigh ; how far we errIs either fair and tempting, a soft scene

This is the good man's not unfrequent pang! Grateful to sight, refreshing to the soul,

And they perhaps err least, the lowly Class Or a forbidding tract of cheerless vicw;

Whom a benign necessity compels Even as the same is looked at, or approached.

To follow Reason's Icast ambitious course; Thus, when in changeful April snow has fallen, Such do I mean who, unperplexed by doubt, And fields are white, if from the sullen north

And uuincited by a wish to look Your walk conduct you bitlier, ere the Sun

Into high objects farther than they may, Hath gained his noontide height, this church-yard, filled Pace to and fro, from morn till even-tide, With mounds transversely lying side by side

The narrow avenue of daily toil
From east to west, before

you
will
appear

For daily bread.»
An unillumined, blank, and dreary plain,

« Yes,» buoyantly exclaimed With more than wintery cheerlessness and floom The pale Recluse—« praise to the sturdy plough, Saddening the heart. Go forward, and look back ; And patient spade, and shepherd's simple crook, Look, from the quarter whence the Lord of light, Avd ponderous loom-resounding while it holds Of life, of love, and gladness doth dispense

Body and mind in one captivity; His beams; which, unexcluded in their fall,

And let the light mechanic tool be bailed Upon the southern side of every grave

With honour; which, encasing by the power Have gently exercised a melting power,

Of long companionship, the Artist's hand, Then will a vernal prospect greet your eye,

Cuts off that hand, with all its world of nerves, All fresh and beautiful, and green and briglit,

From a too busy commerce with the heart! Hopeful and cheerful :- vanished is the snow,

- Inglorious implements of craft and toil, Vanished or hidden; and the whole Domain,

Botlı ye that shape and build, and ye that force, To some, too lightly minded, might appear

By slow solicitation, Earth to yield

« FöregåendeFortsätt »