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Images in the Valley.-Another Recess in it entered and described.-Wanderer's sensations.-Solitary's excited by the same objects. -Contrast between these.-Despondency of the Solitary gently reproved. -Conversation exhibiting the Solitary's past and present opinions and feelings, till he enters upon his own History at length.-His domestic felicity.— Afflictions.-Dejection.-Roused by the French Revolution.-Disappointment and disgust.-Voyage to America. --Disappointment and disgust pursue him. -His return. His languor and depression of mind, from want of faith in the great truths of Religion, and want of confidence in the virtue of Mankind.
A HUMMING BEE-a little tinkling rill—
A pair of falcons wheeling on the wing,
In clamorous agitation, round the crest
Of a tall rock, their airy citadel—
By each and all of these the pensive ear
Was greeted, in the silence that ensued,
When through the cottage-threshold we had
And, deep within that lonesome valley, stood
Once more beneath the conclave of a blue
And cloudless sky.-Anon exclaimed our Host,
Triumphantly dispersing with the taunt
The shade of discontent which on his brow
Had gathered," Ye have left my cell,-but
How Nature hems you in with friendly arms!
And by her help ye are my prisoners still.
But which way shall I lead you?—how contrive,
In spot so parsimoniously endowed,
That the brief hours, which yet remain, may reap
Some recompense of knowledge or delight?" So saying, round he looked, as if perplexed; 20 And, to remove those doubts, my grey-haired Friend
Said "Shall we take this pathway for our guide ?
Upward it winds, as if, in summer heats,
Its line had first been fashioned by the flock
Seeking a place of refuge at the root
Of yon black Yew-tree, whose protruded boughs
Darken the silver bosom of the crag,
From which she draws her meagre sustenance.
There in commodious shelter may we rest.
Or let us trace this streamlet to its source; 30
Feebly it tinkles with an earthy sound,
And a few steps may bring us to the spot
Where, haply, crowned with flowerets and green
The mountain infant to the sun comes forth,
Like human life from darkness."-A quick
Through a strait passage of encumbered ground, Proved that such hope was vain :—for now we stood
Shut out from prospect of the open vale,
And saw the water, that composed this rill,
Descending, disembodied, and diffused
O'er the smooth surface of an ample crag,
Lofty, and steep, and naked as a tower.
All further progress here was barred;-And
Thought I, if master of a vacant hour,
Here would not linger, willingly detained? 45
Whether to such wild objects he were led
When copious rains have magnified the stream
Into a loud and white-robed waterfall,
Or introduced at this more quiet time.
Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground, The hidden nook discovered to our view A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay Right at the foot of that moist precipice, A stranded ship, with keel upturned, that rests
Fearless of winds and waves. Three several
Stood near, of smaller size, and not unlike
To monumental pillars: and, from these
Some little space disjoined, a pair were seen,
That with united shoulders bore aloft
A fragment, like an altar, flat and smooth: 60
Barren the tablet, yet thereon appeared
A tall and shining holly, that had found
A hospitable chink, and stood upright,
As if inserted by some human hand
In mockery, to wither in the sun,
Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
The first that entered. But no breeze did now
Find entrance;-high or low appeared no trace
Of motion, save the water that descended,
Diffused adown that barrier of steep rock,
And softly creeping, like a breath of air,
Such as is sometimes seen, and hardly seen,
To brush the still breast of a crystal lake.
Behold a cabinet for sages built, Which kings might envy!"-Praise to this effect
Broke from the happy old Man's reverend lip;
Who to the Solitary turned, and said,
"In sooth, with love's familiar privilege,
You have decried the wealth which is your own.
Among these rocks and stones, methinks, I see
More than the heedless impress that belongs 81
To lonely nature's casual work: they bear
A semblance strange of power intelligent,
And of design not wholly worn away.
Boldest of plants that ever faced the wind, 85
How gracefully that slender shrub looks forth
From its fantastic birth-place! And I own,
Some shadowy intimations haunt me here,