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Express the image of a better time,
More wise desires, and simpler manners ;-nurse
My Heart in genuine freedom :-all pure thoughts
Be with me ;-so shall thy unfailing love
Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end!”
A summer forenoon.-The Author reaches a ruined Cottage upon a Common, and there meets with a revered Friend, the Wanderer, of whose education and course of life he gives an account. The Wanderer, while resting under the shade of the Trees that surround the Cottage, relates the History of its last Inhabitant.
'Twas summer, and the sun had mounted high: Southward the landscape indistinctly glared Through a pale steam; but all the northern downs,
In clearest air ascending, showed far off
A surface dappled o'er with shadows flung
From brooding clouds; shadows that lay in
Determined and unmoved, with steady beams
Of bright and pleasant sunshine interposed;
To him most pleasant who on soft cool moss
Extends his careless limbs along the front
Of some huge cave, whose rocky ceiling casts
A twilight of its own, an ample shade,
Where the wren warbles, while the dreaming
Half conscious of the soothing melody,
With side-long eye looks out upon the scene, 15
By power of that impending covert, thrown
To finer distance. Mine was at that hour
Far other lot, yet with good hope that soon
Under a shade as grateful I should find
Rest, and be welcomed there to livelier joy.
Across a bare wide Common I was toiling
With languid steps that by the slippery turf
Were baffled; nor could my weak arm disperse
The host of insects gathering round my face,
And ever with me as I paced along.
Upon that open moorland stood a grove, The wished-for port to which my course was bound.
Thither I came, and there, amid the gloom
Spread by a brotherhood of lofty elms,
Appeared a roofless Hut; four naked walls 30
That stared upon each other!--I looked round,
And to my wish and to my hope espied
The Friend I sought; a Man of reverend age,
But stout and hale, for travel unimpaired.
There was he seen upon the cottage-bench, 35
Recumbent in the shade, as if asleep;
An iron-pointed staff lay at his side.
Him had I marked the day before-alone And stationed in the public way, with face Turned toward the sun then setting, while that staff
Afforded, to the figure of the man
Detained for contemplation or repose,
Graceful support; his countenance as he stood
Was hidden from my view, and he remained
Unrecognised; but, stricken by the sight,
With slackened footsteps I advanced, and soon
A glad congratulation we exchanged
At such unthought-of meeting.—For the night
We parted, nothing willingly; and now
He by appointment waited for me here,
Under the covert of these clustering elms.
We were tried Friends: amid a pleasant vale, In the antique market-village where was passed My school-time, an apartment he had owned, To which at intervals the Wanderer drew, And found a kind of home or harbour there. He loved me; from a swarm of rosy boys Singled out me, as he in sport would say,