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THE AVON (a feeder of the Annan.)
AVON-a precious, an immortal name!
Yet is it one that other Rivulets bear
Like this unheard-of, and their channels wear
Like this contented, though unknown to Fame:
For great and sacred is the modest claim
Of streams to Nature's love, where'er they flow;
And ne'er did genius slight them, as they go,
Tree, flower, and green herb, feeding without blame.
But Praise can waste her voice on work of tears,
Anguish, and death; full oft where innocent blood
Has mixed its current with the limpid flood,
Her heaven-offending trophies Glory rears;
Never for like distinction may the good
Shrink from thy name, pure Rill, with unpleased ears!
SUGGESTED BY A VIEW FROM AN EMINENCE IN INGLEWOOD FOREST.
THE forest huge of ancient Caledon
Is but a name, nor more is Inglewood,
That swept from hill to hill, from flood to flood:
On her last thorn the nightly Moon has shone;
Yet still, though unappropriate Wild be none,
Fair parks spread wide where Adam Bell might deign
With Clym o' the Clough, were they alive again,
To kill for merry feast their venison.
Nor wants the holy Abbot's gliding Shade
His Church with monumental wreck bestrown;
The feudal Warrior-chief, a Ghost unlaid,
Hath still his Castle, though a Skeleton,
That he may watch by night, and lessons con
Of Power that perishes, and Rights that fade.
HART'S-HORN TREE, NEAR PENRITHI. HERE stood an Oak, that long had borne affixed To his huge trunk, or, with more subtle art, Among its withering topmost branches mixed, The palmy antlers of a hunted Ilart, Whom the dog Hercules pursued his part Each desperately sustaining, till at last Both sank and died, the life-veins of the chased And chaser bursting here with one dire smart. Mutual the Victory, mutual the Defeat! High was the trophy hung with pitiless pride; Say, rather, with that generous sympathy That wants not, even in rudest breasts, a seat; And, for this feeling's sake, let no one chide Verse that would guard thy memory, Hart's-horn
On the road-side between Penrith and Appleby, there stands a pillar with the following inscription:
"This pillar was erected, in the year 1656, by Anne Countess Dowager of Pembroke, &c. for a memorial of her last parting with her pious mother, Margaret Countess Dowager of Cumberland, on the 2d of April, 1616; in memory whereof she hath left an annuity of 47. to be distributed to the poor of the parish of Brougham, every 2d day of April for ever, upon the stone table placed hard by. Laus Deo!"
WHILE the Poor gather round, till the end of time
May this bright flower of Charity display
Its bloom, unfolding at the appointed day;
Flower than the loveliest of the vernal prime
Lovelier transplanted from heaven's purest clime!
"Charity never faileth:" on that creed,
More than on written testament or deed,
The pious Lady built with hope sublime.
Alms on this stone to be dealt out, for ever!
"Laus Deo!" Many a Stranger passing by
Has with that parting mixed a filial sigh,
Blest its humane Memorial's fond endeavour;
And, fastening on those lines an eye tear-glazed,
Has ended, though no Clerk, with "God be praised!"
(FROM THE ROMAN STATION AT OLD PENRITH
How profitless the relics that we cull,
Troubling the last holds of ambitious Rome,
Unless they chasten fancies that presume
Too high, or idle agitations lull!
Of the world's flatteries if the brain be full,
To have no seat for thought were better doom,
Like this old helmet, or the eyeless skull
Of him who gloried in its nodding plume.
Heaven out of view, our wishes what are they?
Our fond regrets, insatiate in their grasp?
The Sage's theory? the Poet's lay?
Mere Fibula without a robe to clasp;
Obsolete lamps, whose light no time recalls;
Urns without ashes, tearless lacrymals!
No more: the end is sudden and abrupt,
Abrupt as without preconceived design
Was the beginning, yet the several Lays
Have moved in order, to each other bound
By a continuous and acknowledged tie
Though 'unapparent, like those Shapes distinct
That yet survive ensculptured on the walls
Of Palace, or of Temple, 'mid the wreck
Of famed Persepolis; each following each,
As might beseem a stately embassy,
In set array; these bearing in their hands
Ensign of civil power, weapon of war,
Or gift, to be presented at the Throne
Of the Great King; and others, as they go
In priestly vest, with holy offerings charged,
Or leading victims drest for sacrifice.
Nor will the Muse condemn, or treat with scorn
Our ministration, humble but sincere,
That from a threshold loved by every Muse
Its impulse took that sorrow-stricken door,
Whence, as a current from its fountain-head,
Our thoughts have issued, and our feelings flowed,
Receiving, willingly or not, fresh strength.
From kindred sources; while around us sighed
(Life's three first seasons having passed away)
Leaf-scattering winds, and hoar-frost sprinklings fell,
Foretaste of winter, on the moorland heights;
And every day brought with it tidings new
Of rash change, ominous for the public weal.
Hence, if dejection have too oft encroached
Upon that sweet and tender melancholy
Which may itself be cherished and caressed
More than enough, a fault so natural,
Even with the young, the hopeful, or the gay,
For prompt forgiveness will not sue in vain.
IF to Tradition faith be due,
And echoes from old verse speak true,
Ere the meek Saint, Columba, bore
Glad tidings to Iona's shore,
No common light of nature blessed
The mountain region of the west,
A land where gentle manners ruled
O'er men in dauntless virtues schooled,
That raised, for centuries, a bar
Impervious to the tide of war;
Yet peaceful Arts did entrance gain
Where haughty Force had striven in vain;
And, 'mid the works of skilful hands,
By wanderers brought from foreign lands
And various climes, was not unknown
The clasp that fixed the Roman Gown;
The Fibula, whose shape, I ween,
Still in the Highland Broach is seen,*
*The exact resemblance which the old Broach (still in use, though rarely met with, among the Highlanders) bears to the Roman Fibula, must strike every one, and concurs with the plaid and kilt to recall to mind the communication which the ancient Romans had with this remote country. How much the Broach is sometimes prized by persons in humble stations may be gathered from an occurrence mentioned to me by a female friend She had had an opportunity of benefiting a poor old
The silver Broach of massy frame,
Worn at the breast of some grave Dame
On road or path, or at the door
Of fern-thatched Hut on heathy moor:
But delicate of yore its mould,
And the material finest gold;
As might beseem the fairest Fair,
Whether she graced a royal chair,
Or shed, within a vaulted Hall,
No fancied lustre on the wall
Where shields of mighty Heroes hung,
While Fingal heard what Ossian sung.
The heroic age expired it slept
Deep in its tomb:- the bramble crept
O'er Fingal's hearth; the grassy sod
Grew on the floors his Sons had trod:
Malvina where art thou? Their state
The noblest-born must abdicate,
The fairest, while with fire and sword
Come spoilers-horde impelling horde,
Must walk the sorrowing mountains, drest
By ruder hands in homelier vest.
Yet still the female bosom lent,
And loved to borrow, ornament;
Still was its inner world a place
Reached by the dews of heavenly grace;
Still Pity to this last retreat
Clove fondly; to his favourite seat
Love wound his way by soft approach,
Beneath a massier Highland Broach.
When alternations came of rage
Yet fiercer, in a darker age;
And feuds, where, clan encountering clan,
The weaker perished to a man;
For maid and mother, when despair
Might else have triumphed, baffling prayer,
One small possession lacked not power,
Provided in a calmer hour,
To meet such need as might befall-
Roof, raiment, bread, or burial:
For woman, even of tears bereft,
The hidden silver Broach was left.
As generations come and go,
Their arts, their customs, ebb and flow;
Fate, fortune, sweep strong powers away,
And feeble, of themselves, decay;
What poor abodes the heir-loom hide,
In which the castle once took pride!
woman in her own hut, who, wishing to make a return, said to her daughter, in Erse, in a tone of plaintive earnestness, "I would give any thing I have, but I hope she does not wish for my Broach!" and, uttering these words, she put her hand upon the Brouch which fastened her kerchief, and which, she ima gined, had attracted the eye of her benefactress.
Tokens, once kept as boasted wealth,
If saved at all, are saved by stealth.
Lo! ships from seas by nature barred,
Mount along ways by man prepared;
And in far-stretching vales, whose streams
Seek other seas, their canvas gleams.
Lo! busy towns spring up, on coasts
Thronged yesterday by airy ghosts;
Soon, like a lingering star forlorn
Among the novelties of morn,
While young delights on old encroach,
Will vanish the last Highland Broach.
COMPOSED OR SUGGESTED DURING A TOUR IN SCOTLAND,
IN THE SUMMER OF 1833.
ADIEU, Rydalian Laurels! that have grown
And spread as if ye knew that days might come
When ye would shelter in a happy home,
On this fair Mount, a Poet of your own,
One who ne'er ventured for a Delphic crown
To sue the God; but, haunting your green shade
All seasons through, is humbly pleased to braid
Ground-flowers, beneath your guardianship, self-sown.
Farewell! no Minstrels now with Harp new-strung
For summer wandering quit their household bowers;
Yet not for this wants Poesy a tongue
To cheer the Itinerant on whom she pours
Her spirit, while he crosses lonely moors,
Or musing sits forsaken halls among.
But when, from out their viewless bed,
Like vapours, years have rolled and spread;
And this poor verse, and worthier lays,
Shall yield no light of love or praise,
Then, by the spade, or cleaving plough,
Or torrent from the mountain's brow,
Or whirlwind, reckless what his might
Entombs, or forces into light,
Blind Chance, a volunteer ally,
That oft befriends Antiquity,
And clears Oblivion from reproach,
May render back the Highland Broach.
Having been prevented by the lateness of the season, in 1831, | And pleasure-grounds where Taste, refined Co-mate from visiting Staffa and Iona, the author made these the princi- Of Truth and Beauty, strives to imitate, pal objects of a short tour in the summer of 1833, of which the Far as she may, primeval Nature's style. following series of sonnets is a Memorial. The course pursued was down the Cumberland river Derwent, and to Whitehaven; Fair land! by Time's parental love made free, thence (by the Isle of Man, where a few days were past) up the By social Order's watchful arms embraced, Frith of Clyde to Greenock, then to Oban, Staffa, Jona; and With unexampled union meet in thee, back towards England, by Loch Awe, Inverary, Loch Goil-head,
Greenock, and through parts of Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, and
Dumfries-shire to Carlisle, and thence up the river Eden, and
homewards by Ullswater.
For eye and mind, the present and the past;
With golden prospect for futurity,
If what is rightly reverenced may last.
WHY should the Enthusiast, journeying through this
Repine as if his hour were come too late?
Not unprotected in her mouldering state,
Antiquity salutes him with a smile,
'Mid fruitful fields that ring with jocund toil,
TO THE RIVER GRETA, NEAR KESWICK.
GRETA, what fearful listening! when huge stones
Rumble along thy bed, block after block:
Or, whirling with reiterated shock
Combat, while darkness aggravates the groans:
But if thou (like Cocytus* from the moans
Heard on his rueful margin) thence wert named
The Mourner, thy true nature was defamed,
And the habitual murmur that atones
For thy worst rage, forgotten. Oft as Spring
Decks, on thy sinuous banks, her thousand thrones,
Seats of glad instinct and love's carolling,
The concert, for the happy, then may vie
With liveliest peals of birth-day harmony:
To a grieved heart, the notes are benisons.
TO THE RIVER DERWENT.
AMONG the mountains were we nursed, loved stream!
Thou near the Eagle's nest within brief sail,
I, of his bold wing floating on the gale,
Where thy deep voice could lull me! Faint the beam
Of human life when first allowed to gleam
On mortal notice. Glory of the Vale,
Such thy meek outset, with a crown, though frail,
Kept in perpetual verdure by the steam
Of thy soft breath!- Less vivid wreath entwined
Nemman victor's brow; less bright was worn,
Meed of some Roman chief in triumph borne
With captives chained; and shedding from his car
The sunset splendours of a finished war
Upon the proud enslavers of mankind !'
NUN'S WELL, BRIGHAM.
THE cattle crowding round this beverage clear
To slake their thirst, with reckless hoofs have trod
The encircling turf into a barren clod;
Through which the waters creep, then disappear,
Born to be lost in Derwent flowing near;
Yet, o'er the brink, and round the limestone-cell
Of the pure spring (they call it the "Nun's well,"
Name that first struck by chance my startled ear)
A tender Spirit broods- the pensive Shade
Of ritual honours to this Fountain paid
By hooded Votariest with saintly cheer;
Albeit oft the Virgin-mother mild
Looked down with pity upon eyes beguiled
IN SIGHT OF THE TOWN OF COCKERMOUTH.
(WHERE THE AUTHOR WAS BORN, AND HIS FATHER'S REMAINS Into the shedding of “too soft a tear."
A POINT of life between my Parents' dust,
And yours, my buried Little-ones! am I;
And to those graves looking habitually
In kindred quiet I repose my trust.
Death to the innocent is more than just,
And, to the sinner, mercifully bent;
So may I hope, if truly I repent
And meekly bear the ills which bear I must:
And You, my Offspring! that do still remain,
Yet may outstrip me in the appointed race,
If e'er, through fault of mine, in mutual pain
We breathed together for a moment's space,
The wrong, by love provoked, let love arraign,
And only love keep in your hearts a place.
* See Note.
+ This sonnet has already appeared in several editions of the author's poems; but he is tempted to ceprint it in this place, as natural introduction to the two that follow it.
THE SPIRIT OF COCKERMOUTH CASTLE
THOU look'st upon me, and dost fondly think,
Poet! that, stricken as both are by years,
We, differing once so much, are now Compeers,
Prepared, when each has stood his time, to sink
Into the dust. Erewhile a sterner link
United us; when thou, in boyish play,
Entering my dungeon, didst become a prey
To soul-appalling darkness. Not a blink
Of light was there; — and thus did I, thy Tutor,
Make thy young thoughts acquainted with the grave
While thou wert chasing the wing'd butterfly
Through my green courts; or climbing, a bold suitor,
Up to the flowers whose golden progeny
Still round my shattered brow in beauty wave.
TO A FRIEND.
(ON THE BANKS OF THE DERWENT.)
PASTOR and Patriot! at whose bidding rise
These modest Walls, amid a flock that need
For one who comes to watch them and to feed
A fixed Abode, keep down presageful sighs.
Threats which the unthinking only can despise,
Perplex the Church; but be thou firm,- be true
To thy first hope, and this good work pursue,
Poor as thou art. A welcome sacrifice
Dost thou prepare, whose sign will be the smoke
Attached to the church of Brigham was formerly a chantry which held a moiety of the manor; and in the decayed parson uge some vestiges of monastic architecture are still to be seen
Of thy new hearth; and sooner shall its wreaths,
Mounting while earth her morning incense breathes,
From wandering fiends of air receive a yoke,
And straightway cease to aspire, than God disdain
This humble tribute as ill-timed or vain.
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS,
LANDING AT THE MOUTH OF THE DERWENT, WORKINGTON.*) DEAR to the Loves, and to the Graces vowed, The Queen drew back the wimple that she wore; And to the throng how touchingly she bowed That hailed her landing on the Cumbrian shore; Bright as a Star (that, from a sombre cloud Of pine-tree foliage poised in air, forth darts, When a soft summer gale at evening parts The gloom that did its loveliness enshroud) She smiled; but Time, the old Saturnian Seer, Sighed on the wing as her foot pressed the strand, With step prelusive to a long array Of woes and degradations hand in hand, Weeping captivity, and shuddering fear Stilled by the ensanguined block of Fotheringay!
IN THE CHANNEL, BETWEEN THE COAST OF CUM-
BERLAND AND THE ISLE OF MAN.
RANGING the Heights of Scawfell or Black-coom,
In his lone course the Shepherd oft will pause,
And strive to fathom the mysterious laws
By which the clouds, arrayed in light or gloom,
On Mona settle, and the shapes assume
Of all her peaks and ridges. What He draws
From sense, faith, reason, fancy, of the cause
He will take with him to the silent tomb:
Or, by his fire, a Child upon his knee,
Haply the untaught Philosopher may speak
Of the strange sight, nor hide his theory
That satisfies the simple and the meek,
Blest in their pious ignorance, though weak
with Sages undevoutly free.
"The fears and impatience of Mary were so great," says Robertson, "that she got into a fisher-boat, and with about twenty attendants landed at Workington, in Cumberland; and thence
she was conducted with many marks of respect to Carlisle." The apartment in which the Queen hud siept at Workington Hall (where she was received by Sir Henry Curwen as became her rauk and misfortunes) was long preserved, out of respect to her memory, as she had left it; and one cannot but regret that Borne necessary alterations in the mansion could not be effected without its destruction '
AT SEA, OFF THE ISLE OF MAN. BOLD words affirmed, in days when faith was strong, That no adventurer's bark had power to gain These shores if he approached them bent on wrong; For, suddenly up-conjured from the Main, Mists rose to hide the Land-that search, though long And eager, might be still pursued in vain. O Fancy, what an age was that for song! That age, when not by laws inanimate, As men believed, the waters were impelled, The air controlled, the stars their courses held, But element and orb on acts did wait
ON ENTERING DOUGLAS BAY, ISLE OF MAN.
Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori."
THE feudal Keep, the bastions of Cohorn,
Even when they rose to check or to repel
Tides of aggressive war, oft served as well
Greedy ambition, armed to treat with scorn
Just limits; but yon tower, whose smiles adorn
This perilous bay, stands clear of all offence;
Blest work it is of love and innocence,
A Tower of refuge to the else forlorn.
Spare it, ye waves, and lift the mariner,
Struggling for life, into its saving arms!
Spare, too, the human helpers! Do they stir
'Mid your fierce shock like men afraid to die?
No, their dread service nerves the heart it warms,
And they are led by noble HILLARY.†
The TOWER of REFUGE, an ornament to Douglas Bay, was erected chiefly through the humanity and zeal of Sir William Hillary; and he also was the founder of the life-boat establishment, at that place; by which, under his superintendence, and often by his exertions at the imminent hazard of his own life many seamen and passengers have bec. saved.