Imágenes de páginas

Divorced from good-a spirit and pulse of


A life and soul, to every mode of being
Inseparably linked. Then be assured

That least of all can ought—that ever owned 80
The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime
Which man is born to-sink, howe'er depressed,
So low as to be scorned without a sin;
Without offence to God cast out of view ;
Like the dry remnant of a garden-flower
Whose seeds are shed, or as an implement
Worn out and worthless. While from door to

This old Man creeps, the villagers in him
Behold a record which together binds
Past deeds and offices of charity,




Else unremembered, and so keeps alive
The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years,
And that half-wisdom half-experience gives,
Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets and thinly-scattered villages,
Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels

To acts of love; and habit does the work
Of reason; yet prepares that after-joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,
Doth find herself insensibly disposed

To virtue and true goodness.



Şome there are, 105
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight

And happiness, which to the end of time
Will live, and spread, and kindle: even such

[ocr errors]

In childhood, from this solitary Being,
Or from like wanderer, haply have received
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Ör the solicitudes of love can do!)

12 I

That first mild touch of sympathy and thought,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man 116
Who sits at his own door,-and, like the pear
That overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Sheltered, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred ;—all behold in him
A silent monitor, which on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters and exemptions; and, perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up 130
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.

Yet further.Many, I believe, there are Who live a life of virtuous decency,


'Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel 135
No self-reproach; who of the moral law
Established in the land where they abide
Are strict observers; and not negligent
In acts of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace!

But of the poor man ask, the abject poor; 142
Go, and demand of him, if there be here
In this cold abstinence from evil deeds,
And these inevitable charities,


Wherewith to satisfy the human soul?
No-man is dear to man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have

Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out 150
Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause,
That we have all of us one human heart.

-Such pleasure is to one kind Being known, My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week,


Duly as Friday comes, though pressed herself
By her own wants, she from her store of meal
Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door
Returning with exhilarated heart,



Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in heaven.

Then let him pass, a blessing on his head! And while in that vast solitude to which The tide of things has borne him, he appears To breathe and live but for himself alone, 165 Unblamed, uninjured, let him bear about The good which the benignant law of Heaven Has hung around him: and, while life is his, Still let him prompt the unlettered villagers To tender offices and pensive thoughts. —Then let him pass, a blessing on his head ! And, long as he can wander, let him breathe The freshness of the valleys; let his blood Struggle with frosty air and winter snows; And let the chartered wind that sweeps the heath

Beat his grey locks against his withered face. Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness Gives the last human interest to his heart.



May never HOUSE, misnamed of INDUSTRY,
Make him a captive!-for that pent-up din, 180
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air,
Be his the natural silence of old age!
Let him be free of mountain solitudes;
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds. 185
Few are his pleasures: if his eyes have now
Been doomed so long to settle upon earth
That not without some effort they behold
The countenance of the horizontal sun,
Rising or setting, let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.
And let him, where and when he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or on a grassy bank
Of highway side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gathered meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die!






'Tis not for the unfeeling, the falsely refined,
The squeamish in taste, and the narrow of

And the small critic wielding his delicate pen,
That I sing of old Adam, the pride of old men.

He dwells in the centre of London's wide


His staff is a sceptre-his grey hairs a crown; And his bright eyes look brighter, set off by the streak

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Of the unfaded rose that still blooms on his cheek.

'Mid the dews, in the sunshine of morn,-'mid

the joy

Of the fields, he collected that bloom, when a



That countenance there fashioned, which, spite of a stain

That his life hath received, to the last will remain.

A Farmer he was; and his house far and near Was the boast of the country for excellent cheer:

How oft have I heard in sweet Tilsbury Vale 15 Of the silver-rimmed horn whence he dealt his

mild ale!

Yet Adam was far as the farthest from ruin, His fields seemed to know what their Master was doing;

And turnips, and corn-land, and meadow, and lea,

All caught the infection-as generous as he. 20

Yet Adam prized little the feast and the bowl,—
The fields better suited the ease of his soul:
He strayed through the fields like an indolent

The quiet of nature was Adam's delight.

For Adam was simple in thought; and the


poor, Familiar with him, made an inn of his door: He gave them the best that he had; or, to say What less may mislead you, they took it away.

« AnteriorContinuar »