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THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE;
THE FATE OF THE NORTONS.
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,
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,
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
It soothed us, it beguiled us, then, to hear
All that she suffered for her dear Lord's sake.
Then, too, this Song of mine once more could please,
Aloft ascending, and descending deep,
Even to the inferior Kinds; whom forest-trees
to whom Heaven
A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.
This tragic Story cheered us; for it speaks
Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest breaks,
Hence, not for them unfitted who would bless
A happy hour with holier happiness.
He serves the Muses erringly and ill,
O that my mind were equal to fulfil
The comprehensive mandate which they give, —
Yet in this moral Strain a power may live,
As it hath yielded to thy tender heart.
RYDAL MOUNT, WESTMORELAND,
"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:
And has the nature of infinity.
Yet through that darkness (infinite though it seem
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."
THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE.
"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
Of stole and doublet, hood and scarf,
Path, or no path, what care they?