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Past softly, leading in the Boy; and, while from They please him best who labour most to do in
From floor to roof all round his eyes the Child with wonder cast,
Pleasure on pleasure crowded in, each livelier than the last.
So let us strive to live, and to our Spirits will be given
Such wings as, when' our Saviour calls, shall bear us up to heaven."
For, deftly framed within the trunk, the sanctuary The Boy no answer made by words, but, so earnest showed, was his look, By light of lamp and precious stones, that glimmered Sleep fled, and with it fled the dream-recorded in here, there glowed, this book,
Shrine, Altar, Image, Offerings hung in sign of Lest all that passed should melt away in silence gratitude; from my mind, Sight that inspired accordant thoughts; and speech As visions still more bright have done, and left no
Leave that thought; and here be uttered
Prayer that Grace divine may raise
Her humane courageous spirit
Up to heaven, thro' peaceful ways.
POEMS FOUNDED ON THE AFFECTIONS.
"THESE Tourists, heaven preserve us! needs must
A profitable life: some glance along,
Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air,
And they were butterflies to wheel about
Long as the summer lasted: some, as wise,
Perched on the forehead of a jutting crag,
Pencil in hand and book upon the knee,
Will look and scribble, scribble on and look,
Until a man might travel twelve stout miles,
Or reap an acre of his neighbour's corn.
But, for that moping Son of Idleness,
Why can he tarry yonder ?--In our church-yard
Is neither epitaph nor monument,
Tombstone nor name-only the turf we tread
And a few natural graves."
To Jane, his wife,
Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale.
It was a July evening; and he sate
Upon the long stone-seat beneath the eaves
Of his old cottage, as it chanced, that day,
Employed in winter's work. Upon the stone
His wife sate near him, teasing matted wool,
While, from the twin cards toothed with glittering
He fed the spindle of his youngest child,
Who, in the open air, with due accord
Of busy hands and back-and-forward steps,
Her large round wheel was turning. Towards the field
In which the Parish Chapel stood alone,
Girt round with a bare ring of mossy wall,
While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent
Many a long look of wonder: and at last,
Risen from his seat, beside the snow-white ridge
Of carded wool which the old man had piled
He laid his implements with gentle care,
Each in the other locked; and, down the path
That from his cottage to the church-yard led,
He took his way, impatient to accost
The Stranger, whom he saw still lingering there.
'Twas one well known to him in former days, A Shepherd-lad; who ere his sixteenth year
Had left that calling, tempted to entrust
His expectations to the fickle winds
And perilous waters; with the mariners
A fellow-mariner;-and so had fared
Through twenty seasons; but he had been reared
Among the mountains, and he in his heart
Was half a shepherd on the stormy seas.
Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard
The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds
Of caves and trees:-and, when the regular wind
Between the tropics filled the steady sail,
And blew with the same breath through days and weeks,
Lengthening invisibly its weary line
Along the cloudless Main, he, in those hours
Of tiresome indolence, would often hang
Over the vessel's side, and gaze and gaze;
And, while the broad blue wave and sparkling foam
Flashed round him images and hues that wrought
In union with the employment of his heart,
He, thus by feverish passion overcome,
Even with the organs of his bodily eye,
Below him, in the bosom of the deep,
Saw mountains; saw the forms of sheep that grazed
On verdant hills-with dwellings among trees,
And shepherds clad in the same country grey
Which he himself had worn*.
And now, at last,
From perils manifold, with some small wealth
Acquired by traffic 'mid the Indian Isles,
To his paternal home he is returned,
With a determined purpose to resume
The life he had lived there; both for the sake
Of many darling pleasures, and the love
Which to an only brother he has borne
In all his hardships, since that happy time
When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two
Were brother-shepherds on their native hills.
-They were the last of all their race: and now,
When Leonard had approached his home, his heart
Failed in him; and, not venturing to enquire
Tidings of one so long and dearly loved,
* This description of the Calonture is sketched from an imperfect recollection of an admirable one in prose, by Mr. Gilbert, author of the Hurricane.
He to the solitary church-yard turned;
That, as he knew in what particular spot
His family were laid, he thence might learn
If still his Brother lived, or to the file
Another grave was added.-He had found
Another grave,-near which a full half-hour
He had remained; but, as he gazed, there grew
Such a confusion in his memory,
That he began to doubt; and even to hope
That he had seen this heap of turf before,—
That it was not another grave; but one
He had forgotten. He had lost his path,
As up the vale, that afternoon, he walked
Through fields which once had been well known to
And oh what joy this recollection now
Sent to his heart! he lifted up his eyes,
And, looking round, imagined that he saw
Strange alteration wrought on every side
Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks,
And everlasting hills themselves were changed.
By this the Priest, who down the field had come, Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate Stopped short,-and thence, at leisure, limb by limb Perused him with a gay complacency. Ay, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself, "Tis one of those who needs must leave the path Of the world's business to go wild alone: His arms have a perpetual holiday; The happy man will creep about the fields, Following his fancies by the hour, to bring Tears down his cheek, or solitary smiles Into his face, until the setting sun Write fool upon his forehead.-Planted thus Beneath a shed that over-arched the gate Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appeared The good Man might have communed with himself, But that the Stranger, who had left the grave, Approached; he recognised the Priest at once, And, after greetings interchanged, and given By Leonard to the Vicar as to one
Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued.
We are not all that perish.- -I remember,
(For many years ago I passed this road)
There was a foot-way all along the fields
By the brook-side-'tis gone--and that dark cleft!
To me it does not seem to wear the face
Which then it had !
Nay, Sir, for aught I know,
That chasm is much the same-
But, surely, yonder-
Priest. Ay, there, indeed, your memory is a friend
That does not play you false.-On that tall pike
(It is the loneliest place of all these hills)
There were two springs which bubbled side by
As if they had been made that they might be
Companions for each other: the huge crag
Was rent with lightning—one hath disappeared;
The other, left behind, is flowing still.
For accidents and changes such as these,
We want not store of them ;-a water-spout
Will bring down half a mountain; what a feast
For folks that wander up and down like you,
To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff
One roaring cataract! a sharp May-storm
Will come with loads of January snow,
And in one night send twenty score of sheep
To feed the ravens ; or a shepherd dies
By some untoward death among the rocks:
The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge;
A wood is felled :-and then for our own homes!
A child is born or christened, a field ploughed,
A daughter sent to service, a web spun,
The old house-clock is decked with a new face;
And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates
To chronicle the time, we all have here
A pair of diaries,—one serving, Sir,
For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side-
Yours was a stranger's judgment: for historians,
Commend me to these valleys!
Leonard. You live, Sir, in these dales, a quiet Here's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass,
Your years make up one peaceful family;
And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come And welcome gone, they are so like each other, They cannot be remembered? Scarce a funeral Comes to this church-yard once in eighteen months; And yet, some changes must take place among you: And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks, Can trace the finger of mortality,
And see, that with our threescore years and ten
Cross-bones nor skull,-type of our earthly state Nor emblem of our hopes: the dead man's home Is but a fellow to that pasture-field.
Priest. Why, there, Sir, is a thought that's new
The stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread
If every English church-yard were like ours;
Yet your conclusion wanders from the truth:
We have no need of names and epitaphs;
We talk about the dead by our fire-sides.
And then, for our immortal part! we want
No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale :
The thought of death sits easy on the man
Who has been born and dies among the mountains.
Leonard. Your Dalesmen, then, do in each other's
Possess a kind of second life: no doubt
You, Sir, could help me to the history
Of half these graves?
For eight-score winters past,
With what I've witnessed, and with what I've
Perhaps I might; and, on a winter-evening,
If you were seated at my chimney's nook,
By turning o'er these hillocks one by one,
We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round;
Yet all in the broad highway of the world.
Now there's a grave-your foot is half upon it,
It looks just like the rest; and yet that man
"Tis a common case. We'll take another: who is he that lies Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves? It touches on that piece of native rock Left in the church-yard wall.
Priest. That's Walter Ewbank. He had as white a head and fresh a cheek As ever were produced by youth and age Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore. Through five long generations had the heart Of Walter's forefathers o'erflowed the bounds Of their inheritance, that single cottage— You see it yonder ! and those few green fields. They toiled and wrought, and still, from sire to
Each struggled, and each yielded as before
A little yet a little,-and old Walter,
They left to him the family heart, and land
With other burthens than the crop it bore.
Year after year the old man still kept up
A cheerful mind,—and buffeted with bond,
Interest, and mortgages; at last he sank,
And went into his grave before his time.
Poor Walter whether it was care that spurred him
God only knows, but to the very last
He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale :
His pace was never that of an old man :
I almost see him tripping down the path
With his two grandsons after him :-but you,
Unless our Landlord be your host to-night,
Have far to travel, and on these rough paths
Even in the longest day of midsummer-
Leonard. But those two Orphans !
Orphans !-Such they wereYet not while Walter lived :-for, though their parents
Lay buried side by side as now they lie,
The old man was a father to the boys,
Two fathers in one father: and if tears,
Shed when he talked of them where they were not,
And hauntings from the infirmity of love,
Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart,
This old Man, in the day of his old age,
Was half a mother to them.-If you weep, Sir,
To hear a stranger talking about strangers,
Heaven bless you when you are among your
Ay-you may turn that way-it is a grave
Which will bear looking at.
They loved this good old Man ?-
They did-and truly:
But that was what we almost overlooked,
They were such darlings of each other. Yes,
Though from the cradle they had lived with
The only kinsman near them, and though he
Inclined to both by reason of his age,
With a more fond, familiar, tenderness;
They, notwithstanding, had much love to spare,
And it all went into each other's hearts.
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months,
Was two years taller: 'twas a joy to see,
To hear, to meet them!-From their house the
Is distant three short miles, and in the time
Of storm and thaw, when every water-course
And unbridged stream, such as you may have
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps,
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet,
Would Leonard then, when elder boys remained
At home, go staggering through the slippery fords,
Bearing his brother on his back. I have seen him,
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks,
Ay, more than once I have seen him, mid-leg deep,
Their two books lying both on a dry stone,
Upon the hither side: and once I said,
As I remember, looking round these rocks
And hills on which we all of us were born,
That God who made the great book of the world
Would bless such piety-
It may be then-
Priest. Never did worthier lads break English
The very brightest Sunday Autumn saw With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts,