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DURING the Summer of 1807, I visited, for the first time, the beautiful country that surrounds Bolton Priory, in Yorkshire; and the Poem of the WHITE DOE, founded upon a tradition connected with that place, was composed at the close of the same year.


IN trellised shed with clustering roses gay,
And, MARY! oft beside our blazing fire,
When years of wedded life were as a day
Whose current answers to the heart's desire,
Did we together read in Spenser's Lay
How Una, sad of soul,-in sad attire,
The gentle Una, of celestial birth,

To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the earth.

Ah, then, Beloved! pleasing was the smart,

And the tear precious in compassion shed

For her, who, pierced by sorrow's thrilling dart,
Did meekly bear the pang unmerited;


Meek as that emblem of her lowly heart,

The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,

And faithful, loyal in her innocence,

Like the brave Lion slain in her defence.

Notes could we hear as of a faery shell

Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught;

Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,

And all its finer inspiration caught;

Till, in the bosom of our rustic Cell,

We by a lamentable change were taught

That "bliss with mortal Man may not abide":

How nearly joy and sorrow are allied!

For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,

For us the voice of melody was mute.

-But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow
And give the timid herbage leave to shoot,
Heaven's breathing influence failed not to bestow
A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit,
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content
From blossoms wild of fancies innocent.

It soothed us, it beguiled us, then, to hear
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell;
And griefs whose aery motion comes not near
The pangs that tempt the Spirit to rebel:
Then, with mild Una in her sober cheer,
High over hill and low adown the dell
Again we wandered, willing to partake

All that she suffered for her dear Lord's sake.

Then, too, this Song of mine once more could please,
Where anguish, strange as dreams of restless sleep,
Is tempered and allayed by sympathies

Aloft ascending, and descending deep,

Even to the inferior Kinds; whom forest-trees
Protect from beating sunbeams, and the sweep
Of the sharp winds; -fair Creatures!

to whom Heaven

A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.

This tragic Story cheered us; for it speaks
Of female patience winning firm repose;
And, of the recompense that conscience seeks,
A bright, encouraging example shows;

Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest breaks,
Needful amid life's ordinary woes;-

Hence, not for them unfitted who would bless

A happy hour with holier happiness.

He serves the Muses erringly and ill,
Whose aim is pleasure light and fugitive:

O that my mind were equal to fulfil


The comprehensive mandate which they give, —
Vain aspiration of an earnest will!

Yet in this moral Strain a power may live,
Beloved Wife! such solace to impart

As it hath yielded to thy tender heart.

April 20, 1815.

"Action is transitory, The motion of a muscle,

a step, a blow,

this way or that,

'Tis done; and in the after-vacancy

We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,

And has the nature of infinity.

Yet through that darkness (infinite though it seem
And irremovable) gracious openings lie,

By which the soul-with patient steps of thought

Now toiling, wafted now on wings of prayer

May pass in hope, and, though from mortal bonds

Yet undelivered, rise with sure ascent

Even to the fountain-head of peace divine."


"They that deny a God, destroy Man's nobility: for certainly Man is of kinn to the Beast by his Body; and if he be not of kinn to God by his Spirit, he is a base ignoble Creature. It destroys likewise Magnanimity, and the raising of humane Nature: for take an example of a Dogg, and mark what a generosity and courage he will put on, when he finds himself maintained by a Man, who to him is instead of a God, or Melior Natura. Which courage is manifestly such, as that Creature without that confidence of a better Nature than his own could never attain. So Man, when he resteth and assureth himself upon Divine protection and favour, gathereth a force and faith which human Nature in itself could not obtain." LORD BACON.


FROM Bolton's old monastic tower
The bells ring loud with gladsome power;
The sun shines bright; the fields are gay
With people in their best array

Of stole and doublet, hood and scarf,
Along the banks of crystal Wharf,
Through the Vale retired and lowly,
Trooping to that summons holy.
And, up among the moorlands, see
What sprinklings of blithe company!
Of lasses and of shepherd grooms,
That down the steep hills force their way,
Like cattle through the budding brooms;

Path, or no path, what care they?
And thus in joyous mood they hie
To Bolton's mouldering Priory.

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