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So many incidents upon his mind
Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
Which like a book preserv'd the memory
Of the dumb animals, whom he had say’d,
Had fed or shelter'd, linking to such acts,
So grateful in themselves, the certainty
Of honorable gains; these fields, these hills
Which were his living Being, even more
Than his own Blood-what could they less?

had laid

Strong hold on his affections, were to him
A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
The pleasure which there is in life itself.

He had not pass’d his days in singleness.
He had a Wife, a comely Matron, old
Though younger than himself fulltwenty years.
She was a woman of a stirring life
Whose heart was in her house; two wheels

she had
Of antique form, this large for spinning wool,
That small for flax, and if one wheel had rest,
It was because the other was at work.
The Pair had but one Inmate in their house,
An only Child, who had been born to them
When Michael telling o'er his years began
To deem that he was old, in Shepherd's phrase,
With one foot in the grave, This only son,
With two brave, sheep-dogs tried in many a
The one of an inestimable worth,
Made all their household. I-may truly say,
That they were as a Proverb in the vale
For endless industry. When day was gone,
And from their occupations out of doors
The Son and Father were come home, even
di then
Their labour did not cease, unless when all
Turn’d to their cleanly supper-board, and there
Each with a mess of pottage and skimm'd milk,
Sate round their basket piled with oaten cakes,
And their plain home-made cheese. Yet

storm,

when their meal
Was ended, LUKE, for so the son was nam'd,
And his old Father, both betook themselves
To such convenient work, as might employ
Their hands by the fire side; perhaps to card
Wool for the House-wife's spindle, or repair
Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,
Or other implement of house or field. -

1

Down from the cieling by the chimney's edge,
Which in our ancient uncouth country style
Did with a huge projection overbrow
Large space beneath, as duly as the light
Of day grew dim, the House-wife hung a lamp;
An aged utensil, which had perform'd
Service beyond all others of its kind,
Vol. II.

O

Early at evening did it bum and late,
Surviving Comrade of encounted Hours
Which going by from year to year had found
And left the Couple neither gay perhaps
Nor chearful, yet with objects and with hopes
Living a life of eager industry, daylar
And now, when LUKE was in his eighteenth

year,
There by the light of this old lamp they sate,
Father and Son, while late into the night
The House-wife plied her own peculiar work,
Making the cottage thro' the silent hours
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies.
Not with a waste of words, but for the sake
Of pleasure, which I know that I shall give
To many living now, I of this Lamp
Speak thus minutely; for there are no few
Whose memories will bear witness to my Tale.
The Light was famous in its neighbourhood,
And was a public Symbol of the life, ks33x3
The tirrifty Pair had lived. For as it chanc'd,
Their Cottage on a plot of rising ground o
Ştoad single, with large prospect North and

South, ularnie aartallatio? High into Lasedale, up to Dunmal-Raise, And Westward to the village near the Lake: And from this constant light so regular And so far seen, the House itself by

all Who dwelt within the limits of the vale,

10

[graphic]

Both old and young, was nain'd THE EVEN :ING STAR.

Thus living on through such a length of years, The Shepherd, if he lov'd himself, must needs Have lov'd his Help-mate; but to Michael's

heart This Son of his old age was yet more dear Effect which might perhaps havebeen produc'd By that instinctive tenderness, the same Blind Spirit, which is in the blood of all; Or that a child, more than all other gifts, Brings hope with it, and forward-looking • thoughts, And stirrings of inquietude, when they By tendency of nature needs must fail. From such, and other causes, to the thoughts Of the Old Man his only son was now The dearest object that he knew on earth. Exceeding was the love he bare to him, His Heart and his Heart's joy! For oftentimes Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms, Had done him female service, not alone For dalliance and delight, as is the use Of Fathers, but with patient mind enforc'd To acts of tenderness; and he had rock'd His cradle with a woman's gentle liand.

And in a later time, ere yet the Boy
Had put on Buy's attire, did Michael love,

.

Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
To have the Young-one in his sight, when he
Had work by his own door, or when he sate
With sheep before him on his Shepherd's stoot,
Beneath that large old Qak, which near their

door
Stood, and from its enormous breadth of shade
Chosen for the Shearer's covert froin the sun,
Thence in our rustic dialect was call’d
The CLIPPING TREE, * a name which yet it

bears. There while they two-were sitting in the shade, With others round them, earnest all and blithe, Would Michael exercise his heart with looks Of fond correction and reproof bestow'd Upon the child, if he disturb'd the sheep By catching at their legs, or with his shouts Scar'd them, while they lay still beneath the

shears.

And when by Heaven's good grace the Boy

grew up A healthy lad, and carried in his cheek Two steady roses that were five years old, Then Michael from a winter coppice cut With his own hand a sapling, which he hoop'd

* Clipping is the word used in the North of England for shearing

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