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A Voice-devoted to the love whose seeds
RYDAL MOUNT, March 26, 1842.
TO A CHILD.
WRITTEN IN HER ALBUM.
SMALL service is true service while it lasts :
not one: The Daisy, by the shadow that it casts, Protects the lingering dew-drop from the Sun.
WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM OF THE COUNTESS OF
LONSDALE. NOVEMBER 5, 1834.
LADY! a Pen (perhaps with thy regard,
still this hand,
shower, Yet are by nature careless of the sun Whether he shine on them or not; and some, 15 Where'er he moves along the unclouded sky, Turn a broad front full on his flattering beams : Others do rather from their notice shrink, Loving the dewy shade,-a humble band, Modest and sweet, a progeny of earth, Congenial with thy mind and character, High-born Augusta!
Witness Towers, and Groves ! And Thou, wild Stream, that giv'st the
honoured name Of Lowther to this ancient Line, bear witness From thy most secret haunts; and ye Parterres,
Which She is pleased and proud to call her
own, Witness how oft upon my noble Friend Mute offerings, tribute from an inward sense Of admiration and respectful love, Have waited-till the affections could no more Endure that silence, and broke out in song, Snatches of music taken
and dropt Like those self-solacing, those under, notes 33 Trilled by the redbreast, when autumnal leaves Are thin upon the bough. Mine, only mine, The pleasure was, and no one heard the praise, Checked, in the moment of its issue, checked And reprehended, by a fancied blush From the pure qualities that called it forth.
Thus Virtue lives debarred from Virtue's
meed; Thus, Lady, is retiredness a veil That, while it only spreads a softening charm O'er features looked at by discerning eyes, Hides half their beauty from the common
gaze; And thus, even on the exposed and breezy bill Of lofty station, female goodness walks, When side by side with lunar gentleness, As in a cloister. Yet the grateful Poor (Such the immunities of low estate, Plain Nature's enviable privilege,
50 Her sacred recompense for many wants) Open their hearts before Thee, pouring out All that they think and feel, with tears of
joy: And benedictions not unheard in heaven: And friend in the ear of friend, where speech is free
55 To follow truth, is eloquent as they
Then let the Book receive in these prompt
lines A just memorial; and thine eyes consent To read that they, who mark thy course, behold A life declining with the golden light Of summer, in the season of sere leaves; See cheerfulness undamped by stealing Time; See studied kindness flow with easy stream, Illustrated with inborn courtesy ; And an habitual disregard of self
65 Balanced by vigilance for others' weal.
And shall the Verse not tell of lighter gifts With these ennobling attributes conjoined And blended, in peculiar harmony, By Youth's surviving spirit?' What agile
A nymph-like liberty, in nymph-like form, Beheld with wonder; whether floor or path Thou tread; or sweep-borne on the managed
steedFleet as the shadows, over down or field, Driven by strong winds at play among the
Yet one word more-one farewell word-a
wish Which came, but it has passed into a prayerThat, as thy sun in brightness is declining, Somat an hour yet distant for their sakes Whose tender love, here faltering on the way Of a diviner love, will be forgivenSo may it set in peace, to rise again For everlasting glory won by faith.
Among the dwellers in the silent fields
5 Whom, since her birth on bleak Northumbria's
coast, Known unto few but prized as far as known, A single Act endears to high and low Through the whole land-to Manlood, moved
in spite Of the world's freezing cares--to generous
Youth To Infancy, that lisps her praise--to Age Whose eye reflects it, glistening through a tear Of tremulous admiration. Such true fame Awaits her now; but, verily, good deeds Do no imperishable record find
15 Save in the rolls of heaven, where hers may
live A theme for angels, when they celebrate The high-souled virtues which forgetful earth Has witnessed. Oh! that winds and waves
could speak Of things which their united power called forth From the pure depths of her humanity! A Maiden gentle, yet, at duty's call, Firm and unflinching, as the Lighthouse reared On the Island-rock, her lonely dwelling-place; Or like the invincible Rock itself that braves, Age after age, the hostile elements, As when it guarded holy Cuthbert's cell.