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The social rights of man breathe purer
THE formal World relaxes her cold chain
TO SIR GEORGE HOWLAND BEAUMONT, BART.
FROM THE SOUTH-WEST COAST OF CUMBERLAND.-1811.
(This poem, opened when first written, with a paragraph that has
been transferred as an introduction to the first series of my Scotch Memorials. The journey, of which the first part is here described, was from Grasmere to Bootle on the south-west coast of Cumberland, the whole among mountain roads through a beautiful country, and we had fine weather. The verses end with our breakfast at the head of Yewdale in a yeoman's house, which, like all the other property in that sequestered vale, has passed or is passing into the hands of Mr. James Marshall of Monk Coniston,-in Mr. Knott's, the late owner's, time called Waterhead. Our hostess married a Mr. Oldfield, a lieutenant in the Navy : they lived together for some time at Hacket, where she still resides as his widow. It was in front of that house, on the mountain side, near which stood the peasant who, while we were passing at a distance, saluted us, waving a kerchief in her hand as described in the poem. (This matron and her husband were then residing at the Hacket. The
house and its inmates are referred to in the fifth book of the “Excursion,” in the passage beginning,
“ You behold,
With stony barrenness, a shining speck.”—J. C.) The dog which we met with soon after our starting belonged to Mr. Rowlandson, who for forty years was curate of Grasmere in place of the rector who lived to extreme old age in a state of insanity. Of this Mr. R. much might be said both with reference to his character, and the way in which he was regarded by his parishioners. He was a man of a robust frame,
had a firm voice and authoritative manner, of strong natural talents, of which he was himself conscious, for he has been heard to say (it grieves me to add) with an oath-"If I had been brought up at college I should have been a bishop Two vices used to struggle in him for mastery, avarice and the love of strong drink : but avarice, as is common in like cases, always got the better of its opponent; for, though he was often intoxicated, it was never I believe at his own expense. As has been said of one in a more exalted station, he would take any given quantity. I have heard a story of him which is worth the telling. One summer's morning, our Grasmele curate, after a night's carouse in the vale of Langdale, on his return home, baving reached a point near which the whole of the vale of Grasmere might be seen with the lake immediately below him, stepped aside and sat down on the turf. After looking for some time at the landscape, then in the perfectior of its morning beauty, he exclaimed—“Good God, that I should have led so long such a life in such a place !"_This un doubt was deeply felt by him at the time, but I am not authorised to say that any noticeable amendment followed. Penuriousness strengthened upon him as his body grew feebler
He had purchased property and kept some land in his own hands, but he could not find in his heart to lay out the necessary hire for labourers at the proper season, and consequently he has often been seen in half-dotage working his hay in the month of November by moonlight, a melancholy sight which I myself have witnessed. Notwithstanding all that has been said, this man, on account of his talents and superior education, was looked up to by his parishioners, who without a single exception lived at that time (and most of them upon their own small inheritances) in a state of republican equality, a condition favorable to the growth of kindly feelings among them, and in a striking degree exclusive to temptations to gross vice and scandalous behaviour. As a pastor their curate did little or nothing for them; but what could more strikingly set forth the efficacy of the Church of England through its Ordinances and Liturgy than that, in spite of the unworthiness of the minister, his church was regularly attended ; and, though there was not much appearance in his flock of what might be called animated piety, intoxication was rare, and dissolute morals unknown. With the Bible they were for the most part well acquainted ; and, as was strikingly shown when they were under affliction, must have been supported and comforted by habitual belief in those truths wbich it is the aim of the Church to inculcate.---Loughrigg Tarn. This beautiful pool and the surrounding scene are minutely de. scribed in my little Book on the Lakes. Sir G. H. Beauinont,
in the earlier part of his life, was induced, by his love of nature
Epistle," the tragedy of the “Borderers,” &c., would most likely have been confined to manuscript.]
Far from our home by Grasmere's quiet Lake,
— This Dwelling's Inmate more than three weeks'space