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Of our migration.—Ere the welcome dawn
Say first, to whom did we the charge confide, Who promptly undertook the Wain to guide Up many a sharply-twining road and down, And over many a wide hill's craggy crown, Through the quick turns of many a hollow nook, And the rough bed of many an unbridged brook ; A blooming Lass—who in her better hand Bore a light switch, her sceptre of command When, yet a slender Girl, she often led, Skilful and bold, the horse and burthened sled,* From the peat-yielding Moss on Gowdar's head. What could go wrong with such a Charioteer For goods and chattels, or those Infants dear, A Pair who smilingly sate side by side, Our hope confirming that the salt-sea tide, Whose free embraces we were bound to seek, Would their lost strength restore and freshen the pale
cheek ? Such hope did either Parent entertain Pacing behind along the silent lane.
* A local word for Sledge.
Blithe hopes and happy musings soon took flight, For lo ! an uncouth melancholy sightOn a green bank a creature stood forlorn Just half protruded to the light of morn, Its hinder part concealed by hedge-row thorn. The Figure called to mind a beast of prey Stript of its frightful powers by slow decay, And, though no longer upon rapine bent, Dim memory keeping of its old intent. We started, looked again with anxious eyes, And in that griesly object recognised The Curate's Dog—his long-tried friend, for they, As well we knew, together had grown grey. The Master died, his drooping servant's grief Found at the Widow's feet some sad relief ; 1 Yet still he lived in pining discontent, Sadness which no indulgence could prevent ; Hence whole day wanderings, broken nightly sleeps And lonesome watch that out of doors he keeps ; Not oftentimes, I trust, as we, poor brute ! Espied him on his legs sustained, blank, mute, And of all visible motion destitute, So that the very heaving of his breath Seemed stopt, though by some other power than death. Long as we gazed upon the form and face, A mild domestic pity kept its place, Unscared by thronging fancies of strange hue That haunted us in spite of what we knew.
1 Inserted in edition 1842.
Until the vale she quitted, and this door
Even now I sometimes think of him as lost
Advancing Summer, Nature's law fulfilled,
Thus gladdened from our own dear vale we pass And soon approach Diana's Looking-glass ! To Loughrigg-tarn, round clear and bright as heaven, Such name Italian fancy would have given, Ere on its banks the few
cabins rose That yet disturbed not its concealed repose More than the feeblest wind that idly blows.
Ah, Beaumont ! when an opening in the road Stopped me at once by charm of what it showed, The encircling region vividly exprest Within the mirror's depth, a world at restSky streaked with purple, grove and craggy bield, * And the smooth green of many a pendent field,
* A word common in the country, signifying shelter, as in Scotland.
And, quieted and soothed, a torrent small,
Not far we travelled ere a shout of glee,
Not unexpectant that by early day
Rich prospect left behind of stream and vale, And mountain-tops, a barren ridge we scale; Descend and reach, in Yewdale's depths, a plain With haycocks studded, striped with yellowing grainAn area level as a Lake and spread Under a rock too steep for man to tread, Where sheltered from the north and bleak north-west Aloft the Raven hangs à visible nest, Fearless of all assaults that would her brood molest. Hot sunbeams fill the steaming vale; but hark, At our approach, a jealous watch-dog's bark, Noise that brings forth no liveried Page of state, But the whole household, that our coming wait. With Young and Old warm greetings we exchange, And jocund smiles, and toward the lowly Grange Press forward by the teasing dogs unscared. Entering, we find the morning meal prepared : So down we sit, though not till each had cast Pleased looks around the delicate repast