Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

Ju undecaying beauty were preserved;

If to the opposite extreme they sank. Mute register, to him, of time and place,

How would you pity Her who yonder rests; And various fluctuations in the breast;

llim, farther off; the Pair, who here are laid; To her, a monument of faithful Love

But, above all, that mixture of Earth's Mould Conquered, and in tranquillity retained!

Whiom sight of this green Hilelok to my mind

Recalls!-He lived not till his locks were nipped « Close to his destined habitation lies

By seasonable frost of age; nor died One who achieved a humbler victory,

Before his temples, prematurely forced Though marvellous in its kind. A Place there is To mix the manly brown with silver grey, High in these mountains, that allured a Band

Gave obvious instance of the sad effect Of keen Adventurers to unite their pains

Produced, when thoughtless Folly hath usurped Jo search of precious orc: who tried, were foiled The natural crown that sage Experience wears. And all desisted, all, save him alone.

--Gay, volatile, ingenious, quick to learn, He, taking counsel of his own clear thoughts,

And prompt to exhibit all that be possessed And trusting only to bis own wcak hands,

Or could perform; a zealous actor-hired Urged unremittingly the stubborn work,

Into the troop of mirth, a soldier-sworo Unscconded, uncountenanced; then, as uime

Into the lists of giddy enterprisePassed on, while still his lonely efforts found

Such was be; yet, as if withiin his frame No recompense, derided; and, at length,

Two several souls alternately had lodged, By many pitied, as insane of mind;

Two sets of manners could the Youth put on; Ty others dreaded as the luckless Thrall

And, fraught with antics as the lodian bird Of subterranean Spirits feeding hope

That writies and chalters in her wiry cage, By various mockery of sight and sound;

Was graceful, when it pleased bim, smooth and still llope, after hope, encouraged and destroyed.

As the mute Swan that toats adown the stream, ---But when the Lord of seasons had matured

Or, on the waters of the unruffled Jake, The fruits of earth through space of twice ten years, Avchors her placid beauty. Not a Leaf, The mountain's entrails offered to his view

That flutters ou the bongh, more light than lle; And trembliug grasp the long-deferred reward. And not a Flower, that droops in the green shade, Not with more transport did Columbus greet

More winuingly reserved! If ye inquire A world, his rich discovery! But our Swain,

How such consummate elegance was bred A very Nero till his point was gained,

Amid these wilds, this answer may suffice, Proved all unable to support the weight

"T was Nature's will; who sometimes undertakes, Of prosperous fortune. On the fields he looked

For the reproof of human vanity,
With an unsettled liberty of thought,

Art to outstrip in her peculiar walk.
Of schemes and wishes; in the daylight walked Hence, for this Favourite, lavishly endowed
Giddy and restless; ever and anon

With personal gifts, and bright instinctive wit,
Quaffed in his gratitude immoderate cups ;

While both, en bellishing cach other, stood And truly might be said to die of joy!

Yet farther recommended by the charm He vanished; but couspicuous to this day

Of fine demeanour, and by dance and song,
The Path remains that linked luis Cottage-door

And skill in letters, cvery fancy shaped
To the Mine's mouth; a long, and slanting track, Fair expectations; nor, when to the World's
Upon the rugged mountain's stony side,

Capacious field forth went the Adventurer, there
Worn by his daily visits to and from

Were he and his attainments overlooked, The darksome centre of a constant hope.

Or scantily rewarded; but all hopes, This Vestige, neither force of beating rain,

Cherished for him, he suffered to depart, Nor the vicissitudes of frost and thaw

Like blighted buds; or clouds that mimicked land Shall cause to fade, till ages pass away;

Before the Sailor's eye; or diamond drops And it is named, in memory of the event,

That sparkling decked the morning grass; or anght The Path OF PERSEVERANCE.»

That was attractive--and hath ceased to be!

Thiou, from whom - Yet, when this Prodigal returued, the rites
Man has his strengeb,» exclaimed the Wanderer, « oh! Of joyful greeting were on him bestowed,
Do Thou direct it!-to the Virtuous grant

Who, by bumiliation undeterred,
The penetrative eye which can perceive

Songht for his weariness a place of rest In this blind world the guiding vein of hope,

Within his father's gates.- Whence came lle!-clotbed That, like this Labourer, such may dig their way, In tattered garb, from hovels where abides * Unshaken, unseduced, unterritied;'

Necessity, the stationary Host Grant to the Wise his firmness of resolve!»

Of vagrant Poverty; from rifted barns

Where no one dwells but the wide-stariog Owl « That prayer were not superfluous,» said the Priest, And the Owl's Prey; from these bare Haunts, to w halı « Amid the noblest relics, proudest Dust,

He had descended from the proud Saloon, That Westminster, for Critain's glory, holds,

lle came, the Ghost of beauty and of health, Within the bosom of her awful Pile,

The Wreck of gaiety! But soon revived Ambitiously collected. Yet the sigh,

Ja strength, in power refitted, he renewed Which wafts that prayer to Heaven, is due to all, Ilis suit to Fortune; and she smiled again Wherever laid, who living fe!l below

'pon a fickle Ingratc. Thrice he rose, Their virtue's humbler mark; a sigh of pain

Thrice sank as willingly. For He, whose nerves

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Were used to thrill with pleasure, while his voice
Softly accompanied the luneful harp,
By the nice finger of fair Ladies, touched
In glittering Ilalls, was able to derive
Not less enjoyment from an abject choice.
Who bappier for the moment—who more blithe
Than this fallen Spirit? in those dreary Holds
His Talents lending to exalt the freaks
Of merry-making Beggars,-now, provoked
To laugbter multiplied in louder peals
By his malicious wil; then, all enchained
With mute astonishment, themselves to see
In their own arts outdone, their famc eclipsed,
As by the very presence of the Fiend
Who dictates and inspires illusive feats,
For koavish purposes! The City, too,

With shame I speak it) to her guilty bowers
Allured him, sunk so low jo self-respect
As there to linger, there to eat his bread,
Hired Minstrel of voluptuous blandishment;
Charming the air with skill of hand or voice,
Listen who would, be wrought upon who might,
Sincerely wretched llearts, or falsely gay.
-Such the too frequent tenor of his boast
In ears that relished the report;- but all
Was from bis Parents happily concealed;
Who saw enough for blame and pitying love,
They also were permitted to receive
Vis last, repentapi breath ; and closed his eyes,
No more to open on that irksome world
Where he had long existed in the state
Of a young Fowl beneath one Mother batched,
Thougla from another sprung-of different kiud:
Where he had lived, and could not cease to live,
Distracted in propensity; content
With neither element of good or ill;
And yet in both rejoicing; man unblest;
Of contradictions infinite the slave,
Till his deliverance, when Mercy made him
One with llimself, and one with them who sleep. »

In place from outward molestation free,
Helps to joternal ease. Of many such
Could I discourse; but as their stay was brief,
So their departure only left behind
Fancies, and loose conjectures. Other trace
Survives, for worthy mention, of a Pair
Who, from the pressure of their several fates,
Meeting as Strangers, in a petty Town
Whose blue roofs ornament a distant reacha
Of this far-winding Vale, remained as Friends
True to their choice; and gave their bones in trust
To this loved Cemetery, here to lodge
With unescutcheoned privacy interred
Far from the family-vault. - A Chieftain One
Ky right of birth; within whose spotless breast
The fire of ancient Caledonia burned.
lle, with the foremost whose iinpatience hailed
The Sluart, landing to resume, by force
Of arms, the crown which Bigotry had lost,
Aroused his clan; and, fighting at their bead,
With his brave sword endeavoured to prevent
Culloden's fatal overthrow.-Escapeel
From that disastrous rout, to foreign shores
Ue fled; and when the lenient hand of Time
Those troubles had appeased, he sought and gained,
For his obscured condition, an obscure
Retreat, within this book of Englislı ground.
- The Other, born in Britain's southern tract,
llad fixed his milder loyalıy, and placed
llis geniler sentiments of love and hate,
There, where they placed them who in conscience przed
The new succession, as a line of kings
Whose oath had virtue to protect the Land
against the dire assaults of l'apacy
And arbitrary Rule. But launch thy Bark
On the distempered flood of public life,
And cause for most rare triumph will be thine
If, spite of keenest eye and sicadiest hand,
The Stream, that bears thee forward, prove vot, soon
Or late, a perilous Master. De, who oft,
Under the battlements and stately trees
That round his Mansion east a sober gloom,
Had moralized on this, and other truths
Of kindred import, pleased and satisfied,
Was forced to vent his wisdom with a sigha
Ileaved from the heart in fortune's bitterness,
When he had crushed a plentiful estate
By ruinous Contest, to obtain a Seat
In Britain's Sepate. Fruitless was the attemp:
And while the uproar of that desperate strife
Continued yet to vibrate on his ear,
The vanquished Whig, beneath a borrowed name,
(For the mere sound and echo of his own
Haunted him with sensations of disgust
That he was glad to lose) slunk from the World
To the deep shade of these untravelled Wilds;
lo which the Scottish Laird had long possessed
An undisturbed Abode.--Here, then, they met,
Two doughty Champions; flaming Jacobite
And sullen Hanoverian! You might thivk
That losses and vexations, less severe
Than those which they had severally sustained,
Would have inclined each to abate bis zeal
For his ungrateful canse: no.--I have I eard
My reverend Father tell that, mid the calm
Of that small Town encounterwg thus, they filled,

« Tis strange » observed the Solitary, « strange It seems, and scarcely less than pitiful, That in a land where Charity provides For all that can no longer feed themselves, A Man like this should chuse to bring his shame To the parental door; and with his sighs lofect the air which he had freely breathed lo happy infancy. He could not pine, Through lack of converse; no, he must have found Abundant exercise for thought and speech In his dividual Being, self-reviewed, Self-catrehised, self-punished.--Some there are Who, drawing near their final Home, and much And daily longing that the same were reached, Would rather shun than seek the fellowship Of kindred mould. --Such haply here are laid ?»

« Yes,» said the Priest, « the Genius of our Hills, " ho seems, by these stupendous barriers cast Round his Domain, desirous not alone To keep his own, but also to exclude All other progeny, doth sometimes lure, Even by this studied depth of privacy, The unhappy Alien hoping to obtain Concealment, or seduced by wish to find

Daily, its Bowling-green with harmless strife ; | To feel for those, among our fellow-men,
Plagued with uncharitable thoughts the Church; Who, offering no obeisance to the world,
And vexed the Market-place. But in the breasts Are yet made desperate by '100 quick a sense
Of these Opponents gradually was wrought,

Of constant infelicity' - cut off
With little change of general sentiment,

From peace

like Exiles on some barren rock, Such change towards each other, that their days Their life's appointed prison; not more free By choice were spent in constant fellowship;

Than Sentinels, between two armies, set, And if, at times, they fretted with the yoke,

With nothing better, in the chill night air, Those very bickeriogs made them love it morc. 'Than their own thoughts to comfort them.-Say why

That ancient story of Prometheus chained! « A favourite boundary to their lengthened walks The Vulture—the inexhaustible repast This Church-yard was. And, whether they had come Drawn from his vitals? Say what meant the woes Treading their path in sympathy and linked

By Tantalus egtailed upon his race, In social converse, or by some short space

And the dark sorrows of the line of Thebes ? Discrectly parted to preserve the peace,

Fictions in form, but in their substance truths, One Spirit seldom failed to extend its sway

Tremendous truths ! familiar to the men Over both minds, when they a while had marked Of Jong-past times; nor obsolete in ours. The visible quiet of this holy ground,

-Exchange the Shepherd's frock of native grey And breathed its soothing air;—the Spirit of hope For robes with regal purple tinged; convert And saintly magnanimity; that, spurning

The crook into a sceptre;-give the pomp The field of selfish difference and dispute,

Of circumstance, and here the tragic Muse And every care which transitory tbings,

Shall find ape subjects for her highest art. Earth, and the kingdoms of the eartb, create,

- Amid the groves, beneath the shadowy hills, Doth, by a rapture of forgetfulness,

The generations are prepared; the pangs,
Preclude forgiveness, from the praise debarred, The internal pangs are ready; the dread strife
Which else the Christian Virtue might have claimed. Of poor humanity's afflicted will

- There live who yet remember here to have seen Struggling in vain with ruthless destiny.»
Their courtly Figures, -seated on the stump
Of an old Yew, their favourite resting place.

Though,» said the Priest in answer, « these be terms But, as the Remnant of the long-lived Tree

Which a divine philosophy rejects, Was disappearing by a swift decay,

We, whose established and unfailing trust They, will joint care, determined to erect,

Js in controlling Providence, admit Opon its site, a Dial, that might stand

That, through all stations, human life abounds For public use preserved, and thus survive

With mysteries ;-for, if Faith were left untried, As their own private monument; for this

llow could the might, that lurks within her, thea Was the particular spot, in which they wished, Be shewn ? her glorious excellence--that ranks (And Heaven was pleased to accomplish the desire) Among the first of Powers and Virtues-proved? That, undivided, their Remains should lie.

Our system is not fashioned to preclude So, where the mouldered Tree had stood, was raised

That sympathy which you for others ask; You Structure, framing, with the ascent of steps And I could tell, not travelling for my theme That to the decorated Pillar lead,

Beyond these humble graves, of grievous crimes A work of art more sumptuous than might seem Aod strange disasters; but I pass them by, To suit this place; yet built in no proud scorn Loth to disturb what Heaven hath hushed in peace. Of rustic homeliness ; they only aimed

-Still less, far less, am I inclined to treat To ensure for it respectful guardianship.

Of Man degraded in his Maker's sight Around the margin of the Plate, whiereon

By the deformities of brutish vice : The Shadow falls to note the stealthy hours,

For, in such Portraits, though a vulgar face
Winds an inscriptive Legend».—At these words And a coarse outside of repulsive life
Thither we turned; and, gathered, as we read,

And unaffecting manners might at once
The appropriate sense, in Latin numbers couched, - Be recognized by all »-« Ah! do not think,»
Time flies; it is his melancholy task

The Wanderer somewhat eagerly exclaimed,
To bring, and bear away, delusive hopes,

« Wish could be ours that you, for such poor gain, And re-produce the troubles he destroys.

(Gain shall I call it?-gain of what?-for whom !) But, while his blindness thus is occupied,

Should breathe a word tending to violate Discerning Mortal! do thou serve the will

Your own pure spirit. Not a step we look for Of Time's eternal Master, and that peace

In slight of that forbearance and reserve
Which the World wants, shall be for Thee confirmed.» which common human-heartedness inspires,

And mortal ignorance and frailly claim,
« Smooth verse, inspired by no unlettered Muse, » Upon this sacred ground, if nowhere else.»
Exclaimed the Sceptic, « and the strain of thought
Accords with Nature's language;-the soft voice

« True, » said the Solitary, « be it far
OF
yon white torrent falling down the rocks

From us to infringe the laws of charity. Speaks, less distinctly, to the same effect.

Let judgment here in mercy be pronounced: If, then, their blended influence be not lost

This, self-respecting Nature prompts, and this Upon our hearts, not wholly lost, I grant,

Wisdom enjoins; but, if the thing we seek Even upon mine, the more are we required

Be genuine knowledge, bear we then in mind

How, from his lofty throne, the Sun can fling

Than brotherly forgiveness may attend : | Colours as bright on exhalations bred

To such will we restrict our notice; else By weedy pool or pestilential swamp,

Better my tongue were mute. And

yet

there are, As by the rivulet sparkling where it runs,

I feel, good reasons why we should not leave Or the pellucid Lake. »

Wholly untraced a more forbidding way. «Small risk,» said I,

For strength to persevere and to support, Of such illusion do we here incur;

And energy to conquer and repel;Templation here is none to exceed the truth;

These eleinents of virtue, that declare No evidence appears that they who rest

The pative grandeur of the human Soul, Within this ground, were covetous of praise,

Are oft-times not unprofitably shewn | Or of remembrance even, deserved or not.

In the perverseness of a selfish course : Green is the Church-yard, beautiful and green; Truth every day exemplified, no less Ridge rising rently by the side of ridge :

Io the grey cottage by the murmuring stream A heaving surface-almost wholly free

Than in fantastic Conqueror's roving camp, From interruption of sepulchral stones,

Or 'mid the factious Senate, unappalled And mantled o'er with aboriginal turf

While merciless proscription ebbs and flows. And everlasting flowers. These Dalesmen trust -There,» said the Vicar, pointing as he spake, The lingering gleam of their departed Lives

« A Woman rests in peace; surpassed by few To oral records and the silent heart;

In power of mind, and eloquent discourse. Depository faithful, and more kind

Tall was her stature; her complexion dark | Than fondest Epitaphs : for, if that fail,

And saturnine: her head not raised to hold What boots the sculptured Tomb ? and who can blame, Converse with Heaven, nor yet deprest tow'rds earth, Who rather would not envy, men that feel

But in projection carried, as she walked This mutual confidence; if, from such source,

For ever musing. Sunken were her eyes; The practice flow,--if thence, or from a deep Wrinkled and furrowed with habitual thought And general humility in death?

Was her broad forehead; like the brow of One Nor should I much condemn it, if it spring

Whose visual nerve shrinks from a painful glare From disregard of Time's destructive power,

Of overpowering light.-Wbile yet a Child, As only capable to prey on things

She, 'mid the humble Flowerets of the vale, Of earıh, and human nature's mortal part.

Towered like the imperial Thistle, not unfurnished Yel-in less simple districts, where we see

With its appropriate grace, yet rather seeking Stone lift its forehead cmulous of stone

To be admired, than coveted and loved. In courting notice, and the ground all paved

Even at that age, she ruled as sovereigo Queen With commendations of departed worth;

Mid her Companions; else their simple sports, Reading, where'er we turn, of innocent lives,

Waoting all relish for her strenuous mind, Of each domestic charity fulfilled,

Uad crossed her, only to be shunned with scoro. And sufferings meekly borne-1, for my part,

--Oh! pang of sorrowful regret for those
Though with the silence pleased that here prevails, Whom, io their youth, sweet study has enthralled,
Among those fair recitals also range,

That they have lived for harsher servitude,
Soothed by the natural spirit which they breathe. Whether in soul, in body, or estate!
And, in the centre of a world whose soil

Such doom was hers; yet nothing could subdue ! Is rank with all unkindness, compasseid round

Her keen desire of knowledge; nor efface With such Memorials, I have sometimes felt

Those brighter images—by books impressed That I was no momentary happiness

Upon her memory; faithfully as stars To have one Enclosure where the voice that speaks That occupy their places,-and, though oft la envy or detraction is not heard;

lidden by clouds, and oft bedimmed by haze, Which malice may not enter; where the traces

Are not to be extinguished, or impaired.
Of evil inclinations are unknown;
Where love and pity tenderly unite

« Two passions, both degenerate, for they both With resignation ; and no jarring tone

Began in honour, gradually obtained Intrudes, the peaceful concert to disturb

Rule over her, and vexed her daily life; Of amity and gratitude.»

An uprelenting, avaricious thrift; « Thus sanctioned,»

And a strange thraldom of maternal love, The Pastor said, “I willingly confine

That held her spirit, in its own despite, My narratives to subjects that excite

Bound—by vexation, and regret, and scorn, Feelings with these accordant; love, esteem,

Constrained forgiveness, and relenting vows, And admiration; lifting up a veil,

And tears, in pride suppressed, in shaine concealedA sunbeam introducing among hearts

To a poor dissolute Son, her only Child. | Retired and covert; so that ye shall have

– Her wedded days had opened with mishap, Clear images before your gladdened eyes

Whence dire dependence. --- What could she perform Of Nature's unambitious underwood,

To shake the burthen off? Ah! there was felt And flowers that prosper in the shade. And when Indigoantly, the weakness of her sex. I speak of such among my flock as swerved

She mused --resolved, adhered to her resolve; Or fell, those only will I single out

The hand grew slack in alms-giving, the heart Upon whose lapse, or error, something more Closed by degrees to charity; heaven's blessing

Not seeking from that source, she placed her trust Speaks for itself;-an Infant there doth rest,
In ceaseless pains and parsimonious care,

The sheltering Hillock is the Mother's grave. Which yot, and sternly hoarded each day's gain. If mild discourse, and manners that conferred

A natural dignity on humblest rank; « Thus all was re-established, and a pile

If gladsome spirits, and benignant looks, Constructed, that sufficed for every end,

That for a face not beautiful did more Save the contentment of the Builder's mind;

Than beauty for the fairest face can do; A Mind by nature indisposed to aught

And if religious tenderness of heart, So placid, so inactive, as content;

Grieving for sin, and penitential tears A Mind intolerant of lasting peace,

Shed when the clouds had gathered and distained And cherishing the pang wlich it deplored.

The spotless ether of a maiden life; Dread life of conflict! wliich I oft compared

If these may make a hallowed spot of earth To the agitation of a brook that runs

More holy in the sight of God or Man; Down rocky mountains-buried now and lost

Then, o'er that mould, a sanctity shall brood, In silent pools, and now in eddies chained,

Till the stars sicken at the day of doom.
But never to be charmed to gentleness;
Its best attainment fits of such repose

« Ah! what a warning for a thoughtless Man. As timid eyes might shrink from fathoming.

Could field or grove, or any spot of earth,

Shew to his eye an image of the pangs « A sudden illness seized her in the strength

Which it hath witnessed; render back an ecbo Of life's autumnal season.-Shall I tell

Of the sad steps by which it liath been trod! How on her bed of death the Matron lay,

There, by her innocent Baby's precious grave, To Providence submissive, so she thought;

Yea, doubtless, on the turf that roofs her own, But fretted, vexed, and wrought upon-almost The Mother oft was seen to stand, or kneel To anger, by the malady, that griped

In the broad day, a weeping Magdalene, ller prostrate frame with unrelaxing power,

Now she is not; the swelling turf reports
As the fierce Eagle fastens on the Lamb?

Of the fresh shower, but of poor Ellen's tears
She prayed, she moaned-her Husband's Sister watched Is silent; nor is any vestige left
Her dreary pillow, waited on her needs;

Of the path worn by mournful tread of Her
And
yet the

very
sound of that kind foot

Who, at her heari's light bidding, once had moved
Was anguisha to lier ears! -—'And must she rule,' In virgin fearlessness, with step that seemed
This was the dying Woman heard to say

Caught from the pressure of elastic turf In bitterness, and must she rule and reign,

Upon the mountains gemined with morning dew, Sole Mistress of this house, when I am gone?

In the prime hour of sweetest scents and airs. Sit by my fire-possess what I possessed

-Serious and thoughtful was her inind; and yet, Teod what I tended-calling it her own!

By reconcilement exquisite and rare, Enough;-I fear, too much.-One vernal evening, The form, port, motions of this Cottage-girl While she was yet in prime of health and strength, Were such as might have quickened and inspired I well remember, while I passed her door:

A Titian's hand, addrest to picture fortlı Musing with loitering step, and upward eye

Oread or Dryad glancing through the shade Turned tow'rds the planet Jupiter, that hung

What time the Hunter's earliest horn is heard Above the centre of the Vale, a voice

Starting the golden hills. A wide spread Elon Roused me, her voice ; it said, “That glorious Star Stands in our Valley, named TAK JOYFUL Trek; In its untroubled element will shine

From dateless usage which our Peasants hold As now it shines, when we are laid in earth,

Of giving welcome to the first of May And safe from all our sorrows.'-—She is safe,

By dances, round its trunk.-And if the sky And her uncharitable acts, I trust,

Permit, like honours, dance and song, are paid And harsh unkindnesses, are all forgiven;

To the Twelfth Night; beneath the frosty Stars Though, in this Vale, remembered with deep awe!» Or the clear Moon. The Queen of these gay sports,

If not in beauty yet in sprightly air,
Was hapless Ellen.-No one touched the ground

So deftly, and the nicest Maiden's locks
The Vicar paused ; and cow'rds a seat advanced,

Less gracefully were braided ;- but this praise, A long stone-seat, fixed in the Church-yard wall; Methiuks, would better suit another place. Part shaded by cool sycamore, and part Offering a sunny resting-place to them

« She loved, and fondly deemed herself beloved. Who seek the House of worship, while the Bells

The road is dim, the current unperceived, Yet ring with all their voices, or before

The weakness painful and most pitiful, The last bath ceased its solitary knoll.

By which a virtuous Woman, in pure youth, Under the shade we all sate down; and there

May be delivered to distress and shame. His oftice, uninvited, he resumed.

Such fate was hers.--The last time Ellen danced,

Among her Equals, round THE JOYFUL TREE, « As on a sunny bank, a tender Lamb

She bore a secret burthen; and full soon Lurks in safe shelter from the wiads of March,

Vas left to tremble for a breaking vow, -
Screened by its Parent, so that little mound

Then, to bewail a steroly-broken vow,
Lies guarded by its neighbour; the small heap Alone, withiin her widowed Mother's house.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »