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-Fly also, Muse! and from the dell
Mount to the ridge of Nathdale' Fell;
Thence, look thou forth o'er wood and lawn
Hoar with the frost-like dews of dawn;
Across yon meadowy bottom look
Where close fogs hide their parent brook;
And see, beyond that hamlet small,
The ruined towers of Threlkeld-hall,
Lurling in a double shade,
By trees and lingering twilight made!
There, at Blencathra's rugged feet,
Sir Launcelot gave a safe retreat
To noble Clifford; from annoy
Concealed the persecuted Boy,
Well pleased in rustic garb to feed
His flock, and pipe on Shepherd's reed;
Among this multitude of hills,
Crags, woodlands, water-falls, and rills;
Which soon the morning shall enfold,
From east to west, in ample vest
Of massy gloom and radiance bold.
The mists, that o'er the Streamlet's bed Hung low, begin to rise and spread; Even while I speak, their skirts of gray Are smitten by a silver ray,
And lo!-up Castrigg's naked steep
(Where, smoothly urged, the vapours sweep
Along and scatter and divide,
Like fleecy clouds self-multiplied)
The stately Waggon is ascending,
With faithful Benjamin attending,
Apparent now beside his team -
Now lost amid a glittering steam. —
And with him goes his Sailor Friend,
By this time near their journey's end,
And, after their high-minded riot,
Sickening into thoughtful quiet;
As if the morning's pleasant hour
Had for their joys a killing power.
They are drooping, weak, and dull; But the horses stretch and pull; With increasing vigour climb, Eager to repair lost time; Whether, by their own desert, Knowing there is cause for shame, They are labouring to avert At least a portion of the blame, Which full surely will alight Upon his head, whom, in despite Of all his faults, they love the best; Whether for him they are distrest; Or, by length of fasting roused, Are impatient to be housed; Up against the hill they strainTugging at the iron chainTugging al with might and main
Last and foremost, every horse
To the utmost of his force!
And the smoke and respiration
Rising like an exhalation,
Blends with the mista moving shroud,
To forman undissolving cloud;
Which, with slant ray, the merry sun
Takes delight to play upon.
Never Venus or Apollo,
Pleased a favourite chief to follow
Through accidents of peace or war,
In a time of peril threw,
Round the object of his care,
Veil of such celestial hue;
Interposed so bright a screen
Him and his enemies between!
Alas! what boots it? - who can hide
When the malicious Fates are bent
On working out an ill intent?
Can destiny be turned aside?
No sad progress of my story!
Benjamin, this outward glory
Cannot shield thee from thy Master.
Who from Keswick has pricked forth,
Sour and surly as the north;
And, in fear of some disaster,
Comes to give what help he may,
Or to hear what thou canst say;
If, as needs he must forebode,
Thou hast loitered on the road!
His doubts-his fears may now take flight
The wished-for object is in sight;
Yet, trust the Muse, it rather hath
Stirred him up to livelier wrath;
Which he stifles, moody man!
With all the patience that he can;
To the end that, at your meeting,
He may give thee decent greeting.
There he is-resolved to stop,
Till the Waggon gains the top;
But stop he cannot-must advance:
Him Benjamin, with lucky glance,
Espies and instantly is ready,
Self-collected, poised, and steady;
And, to be the better seen,
Issues from his radiant shroud,
From his close-attending cloud,
With careless air and open mien.
Erect his port, and firm his going;
So struts yon Cock that now is crowing:
And the morning light in grace
Strikes upon his lifted face,
Hurrying the pallid hue away
That might his trespasses betray.
But what can all avail to clear him,
Or what need of explanation,
Parley or interrogation?
For the Master sees, alas!
That unhappy Figure near him,
Limping o'er the dewy grass,
Where the road it fringes, sweet,
Soft and cool to way worn feet;
And, O indignity! an Ass,
By his noble Mastiff's side,
Tethered to the Waggon's tail;
And the Ship, in all her pride,
Foll wing after in full sail!
Not to speak of Babe and Mother,
Who, contented with each other,
And snug as birds in leafy arbour,
Find, within. a blessed harbour!
A hoard of grievances unsealed;
All past forgiveness it repealed;
And thus, and through distempered blood
On both sides, Benjamin the good,
The patient, and the tender-hearted,
Was from his Team and Waggon parted:
When duty of that day was o'er,
Laid down his whip-and served no more. -
Nor could the Waggon long survive
Which Benjamin had ceased to drive:
It lingered on; - Guide after Guide
Ambitiously the office tried;
But each unmanageable hill
Called for his patience and his skill;-
And sure it is, that through this night,
And what the morning brought to light,
Two losses had we to sustain,
We lost both WAGGONER and WAIN!
I sing of these it makes my bliss!
Nor is it I who play the part,
But a shy spirit in my heart,
That comes and goes - will sometimes leap
From hiding-places ten years deep;
Or haunts me with familiar face-
Returning, like a ghost unlaid,
Until the debt I owe be paid.
Forgive me, then; for I had been
On friendly terms with this Machine.
In him, while he was wont to trace
Our roads, through many a long year's space,
A living Almanack had we;
We had a speaking Diary,
That, in this uneventful place,
Gave to the days a mark and name
By which we knew them when they came.
- Yes, I, and all. about me here, Through all the changes of the year,
Had seen him through the mountains go,
In pomp of mist or pomp of snow,
Majestically huge and slow:
Or, with milder grace adorning
The Landscape of a summer's morning;
While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain
The moving image to detain;
And mighty Fairfield, with a chime
Of echoes, to his march kept time;
When little other business stirred,
And little other sound was heard;
In that delicious hour of balm,
Stillness, solitude, and calm,
While yet the Valley is arrayed,
On this side with a sober shade;
On that is prodigally bright-
Crag, lawn, and wood-with rosy light.
But most of all, thou lordly Wain!
I wish to have thee here again,
When windows flap and chimney roars,
And all is dismal out of doors;
And, sitting by my fire, I see
Eight sorry Carts, no less a train!
Unworthy Successors of thee,
Come straggling through the wind and raia.
And oft, as they passed slowly on,
Beneath my window one by one-
See, perched upon the naked height,
The summit of a cumbrous freight,
A single Traveller and there
Another then perhaps a Pair
The lame, the sickly, and the old;
Men, Women, heartless with the cold;
And Babes in wet and starveling plight;
Which once, be weather as it might,
Had still a nest within a nest,
Thy shelter and their mother's breast!
Then most of all, then far the most,
Do I regret what we have lost;
Am grieved for that unhappy sin Which robbed us of good Benjamin;
•To the Daisy.'
This poem, and two others to the same Flower, were written in the year 1802; which is mentioned, because in some of the ideas, though not in the manner in which those ideas are connected, and likewise even in some of the expressions, there is a resemblance to passages in a Poem (lately published) of Mr. Montgomery's, entitled, a Field Flower. This being said, Mr. Montgomery will not think any apology due to him; I cannot, however, help addressing him in the words of the Father of English Poets.
"Though it happe me to rehersin
That ye han in your freshe songis saied,
Forberith me, and beth not ill apaied,
Sith that ye se I doe it in the honour
Of Love, and eke in service of the Flour."
'The Seven Sisters.'
The Story of this Poem is from the German of FREDERICA Brun.
'The buzzing Dor-hawk round and round, is wheeling,-'
When the Poem was first written the note of the bird was thus described:
And of his stately Charge, which none
Could keep alive when he was gone!
ROCK OF NAMES! Light is the strain, but not unjust To Thee and thy memorial-trust That once seemed only to express Love that was love in idleness; Tokens, as year hath followed year How changed, alas, in character! For they were graven on thy smooth breast By hands of those my soul loved best; Meek women, men as true and brave As ever went to a hopeful grave: Their hands and mine, when side by side With kindred zeal and mutual pride, We worked until the Initials took Shapes that defied a scornful look.— Long as for us a genial feeling Survives, or one in need of healing, The power, dear Rock, around thee cast, Thy monumental power, shall last For me and mine! O thought of pain, That would impair it or profane! Take all in kindness then, as said With a staid heart but playful head; And fail not Thou, loved Rock! to keep Thy charge when we are laid asleep.'
POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION.
THERE was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye Cliffs
And islands of Winander! - many a time,
At evening, when the earliest stars began
Tc move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him. And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call, with quivering peals,
And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild
Of mirth and jocund din! And, when it chanced
That pauses of deep silence mocked his skill,
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.
This Boy was taken from his Mates, and died In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old. Fair is the spot, most beautiful the Vale Where he was born: the grassy Church-yard hangs Upon a slope above the village-school;
And, through that Church-yard when my way has led
At evening, I believe, that oftentimes
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies!
ON HER FIRST ASCENT TO THE SUMMIT OF HELVELLYN.
INMATE of a mountain Dwelling,
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed, From the watch-towers of Helvellyn; Awed, delighted, and amazed!
While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear,
That seems to fill the whole air's space, As loud far off as near.
Though babbling only, to the Vale, Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No Bird but an invisible Thing,
A voice, a mystery;
The same whom in my School-boy days I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seck thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love; Still longed for, never seen.
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!
THE sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture close, Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon, Which through that veil is indistinctly seen, A dull, contracted circle, yielding light So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls, Checkering the ground- from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up—the clouds are split
Asunder, — and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives; - how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not! the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent; - still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; -and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
"Let me be allowed the aid of verse to describe the evolu tions which these visitants sometimes perform, on a fine day towards the close of winter."-Extract from the Author's Book on the Lakes.
MARK how the feathered tenants of the flood, With grace of motion that might scarcely seem Inferior to angelical, prolong
Their curious pastime! shaping in mid air
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops)
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain; — but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upward and downward, progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight.- - "T is done-
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased;
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending; they approach—I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound
Past in a moment — and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes;
They tempt the water, or the gleaning ice,
To show them a fair image; -'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain,
Painted more soft and fair as they descend
Almost to touch; then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!