Imágenes de páginas

Rich cream, and snow-white eggs fresh from the nest,
With amber honey from the mountain's breast;
Strawberries from lane or woodland, offering wild
Of children's industry, in hillocks piled;
Cakes for the nonce, and butter fit to lie
Upon a lordly dish; frank hospitality
Where simple art with bounteous nature vied,
And cottage comfort shunned not seemly pride.

Kind Hostess! Handmaid also of the feast,
If thou be lovelier than the kindling East,
Words by thy presence unrestrained may speak
Of a perpetual dawn from brow and cheek
Instinct with light whose sweetest promise lies,
Never retiring, in thy large dark eyes,
Dark but to every gentle feeling true,

As if their lustre flowed from ether's purest blue.

Let me not ask what tears may have been wept
By those bright eyes, what weary vigils kept,
Beside that hearth what sighs may have been heaved
For wounds inflicted, nor what toil relieved

By fortitude and patience, and the grace
Of heaven in pity visiting the place.
Not unadvisedly those secret springs

I leave unsearched: enough that memory clings,
Here as elsewhere, to notices that make
Their own significance for hearts awake
To rural incidents, whose genial powers
Filled with delight three summer morning hours.

More could my pen report of grave or gay That through our gipsy travel cheered the way;

But, bursting forth above the waves, the Sun
Laughs at my pains, and seems to say, "Be done."
Yet, Beaumont, thou wilt not, I trust, reprove
This humble offering made by Truth to Love,
Nor chide the Muse that stooped to break a spell
Which might have else been on me yet:-



[blocks in formation]

Soon did the Almighty Giver of all rest

Take those dear young Ones to a fearless nest;
And in Death's arms has long reposed the Friend
For whom this simple Register was penned.
Thanks to the moth that spared it for our eyes;
And Strangers even the slighted Scroll may prize,
Moved by the touch of kindred sympathies.
For save the calm, repentance sheds o'er strife
Raised by remembrances of misused life,

The light from past endeavours purely willed
And by heaven's favour happily fulfilled;
Save hope that we, yet bound to Earth, may share

The joys of the Departed-what so fair

As blameless pleasure, not without some tears,
Reviewed through Love's transparent veil of years ?*

* LOUGHRIGG TARN, alluded to in the foregoing Epistle, resembles, though much smaller in compass, the Lake Nemi, or Speculum Dianæ as it is often called, not only in its clear waters and circular form, and the beauty immediately surrounding it, but also as being overlooked by the eminence of Langdale Pikes as Lake Nemi is by that of Monte Calvo. Since this Epistle was written Loughrigg Tarn has lost much of its beauty by the felling of many natural clumps of wood, relics of the old forest, particularly upon the

The mighty tumult of the House of Keys;

The Isle of Man has a constitution of its own, independent of the Imperial Parliament. The House of twenty-four Keys is the popular assembly, corresponding to the British House of Commons; the Lieutenant-Governor and Council constitute the upper House. All legislative measures must be first considered and passed by both branches, and afterwards transmitted to the English Sovereign for the Royal Assent before becoming law.

Mona from our Abode is daily seen,

But with a wilderness of waves between ;

In a letter written from Bootle to Sir George Beaumont on the 28th August 1811, Wordsworth says:

"This is like most others, a bleak and treeless coast, but abounding in corn fields, and with a noble beach, which is delightful either for walking or riding. The Isle of Man is right opposite our window; and though in this unsettled weather often invisible, its appearance has afforded us great amusement. One afternoon above the whole length of it was stretched a body of clouds, shaped and coloured like a magnificent grove in winter, when whitened with snow and illuminated by the morning sun, which, having melted the snow in part, has intermingled black masses among the brightness. The whole sky was scattered over with fleecy dark clouds, such as any sunshiny day produces, and which were changing their shapes and positions every moment. But this line of clouds immovably attached to the island, and manifestly took their shape from the influence of its mountains. There appeared to be just span enough of sky to allow the hand to slide between the top Snâfell, the highest peak in the island, and the base of this glorious forest, in which little change was noticeable for more than the space of half an hour."

In the Fenwick note, Wordsworth tells us that this Epistle was written in 1804; and by referring to the Note prefixed to the first poem in the Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803, (see Vol. II.

farm called "The Oaks," from the abundance of that tree which grew there.

It is to be regretted, upon public grounds, that Sir George Beaumont did not carry into effect his intention of constructing here a Summer Retreat in the style I have described; as his taste would have set an example how buildings, with all the accommodations modern society requires, might be introduced even into the most secluded parts of this country without injuring their native character. The design was not abandoned from failure of inclination on his part, but in consequence of local untowardnesses which need not be particularized.

p. 326), it will be seen that the lines entitled "Departure from the Vale of Grasmere, August 1803," beginning

The gentlest Shade that walked Elysian plains,

were "not actually written for the occasion, but transplanted from my 'Epistle to Sir George Beaumont.'"

It does not follow from this, however, that the lines belong to the year 1803 or 1804; because they were not published along with the earlier Memorials of the Scotch Tour, but appeared for the first time in the edition of 1827. It is certain that Wordsworth travelled down with his household from the Grasmere Parsonage to Bootle in August 1811 -mainly to get some sea-air for his invalid children-and that he lived there for some time during the autumn of that year. He may have also gone down to the south-west coast of Cumberland in 1804, and then written a part of the poem ; but we have no direct evidence of this; and I rather think that the mention of the year 1804 to Miss Fenwick is just another instance in which Wordsworth's memory failed him while dictating these memoranda. If the poem was not written at different times, but was composed as a whole in 1811, we may partly account for the date he gave to Miss Fenwick, when we remember that in the year 1827 he transferred a part of it (viz., the introduction) to these Memorials of the Scotch Tour of 1803.

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.

Their route would be from Grasmere by Red Bank, over by High Close to Elter Water, by Colwith into Yewdale, on to Waterhead; then probably, from Coniston over Walna Scar, into Duddondale, and thence to Bootle.

Like a gaunt shaggy Porter forced to wait In days of old romance at Archimago's gate. See Spencer's Faëry Queen, Book I. canto i. st. 8.

The liveliest bird

That in wild Arden's brakes was ever heard.

Compare As you like it, act ii. sc. 5.

And soon approached Diana's Looking-glass!

To Loughrigg-tarn, &c.

See the note appended by Wordsworth to the sequel to this poem.

A glimpse I caught of that Abode, by Thee
Designed to rise in humble privacy.

He imagines the house which Sir George Beaumont intended to build at Loughrigg Tarn, but which he never erected, to be really built by

his friend, very much as in the sonnet named "Anticipation, October 1803," he supposes England to have been invaded, and the battle fought in which "the Invaders were laid low."

Behold a Peasant stand

On high, a kerchief waving in her hand!

See the Fenwick note preceding the poem.

A barren ridge we scale;

Descend and reach, in Yewdale's depths, a plain.

They went up Little Langdale, I think, past the Tarn to Fell Foot, and crossed over the ridge of Tilberthwaite, into Yewdale by the copper mines.

Under a rock too steep for man to tread,

Where sheltered from the north and bleak north-west

Aloft the Raven hangs a visible nest,

Fearless of all assaults that would her brood molest.

There is a Raven crag in Yewdale, evidently the one referred to in this passage, and also in the passage in the First Book of the The Prelude (see Vol. III. p. 141), beginning

Oh! when I have hung

Above the raven's nest, by knots of grass

And half-inch fissures in the slippery rock
But ill sustained, &c.

Toward the lowly Grange

Press forward,

To Waterhead at the top of Coniston Lake.

In connection with Loughrigg Tarn, compare the note to the poem beginning

So fair, so sweet, withal so sensitive,

and also the Biographical Sketch of Professor Archer Butler, prefixed to his Sermons, Vol. I.-ED.



[blocks in formation]

[This was written when we dwelt in the Parsonage at Grasmere. The principal features of the picture are Bredon Hill and Cloud Hill near Coleorton. I shall never forget the happy feeling with which my heart was filled when I was impelled to compose this Sonnet. We

« AnteriorContinuar »