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Already hast survived that great decay;

That transformation through the wide earth felt,
And by all nations. In that Being's sight
From whom the race of human kind proceed,
A thousand years are but as yesterday;
And one day's narrow circuit is to Him
Not less capacious than a thousand years.

But what is time? What outward glory? Neither

A measure is of Thee, whose claims extend

Through "heaven's eternal year."-Yet hail to thee
Frail, feeble monthling!-by that name, methinks,
Thy scanty breathing-time is portioned out

Not idly. Hadst thou been of Indian birth,
Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves,
And rudely canopied by leafy boughs,
Or to the churlish elements exposed

On the blank plains,-the coldness of the night,
Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face
Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned,
Would, with imperious admonition, then
Have scored thine age, and punctually timed
Thine infant history, on the minds of those

Who might have wandered with thee.-Mother's love,
Nor less than mother's love in other breasts,

Will, among us warm clad and warmly housed,

Do for thee what the finger of the heavens

Doth all too often harshly execute

For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds
Where fancy hath small liberty to graco
The affections, to exalt them or refine;
And the maternal sympathy itself,
Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie
Of naked instinct, wound about the heart.
Happier, far happier is thy lot and ours!
Even now-to solemnize thy helpless state.
And to enliven in the mind's regard
Thy passive beauty-parallels have risen,
Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect,
Within the region of a father's thoughts,
Thee and thy mate and sister of the sky.
And first; thy sinless progress, through a world
By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed,
Apt likeness bears to hers through gathered clouds
Moving untouched in silver purity,

And cheering oft-times their reluctant gloom.
Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain:
But thou, how leisurely thou fill'st thy horn
With brightness-leaving her to post along,
And range about-disquieted in change,
And still impatient of the shape she wears.
Once up, once down the hill, one journey, babe,
That will suffice thee; and it seems that now
Thou hast foreknowledge that such task is thine
Thou travell'st so contentedly, and sleep'st

In such a headless peace. Alas! full soon
Hath this conception, grateful to behold,
Changed countenance, like an object sullied o'er
By breathing mist; and thine appears to be
A mournful labour, while to her is given
Hope-and a renovation without end.

-That smile forbids the thought;-for on thy face
Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn,

To shoot and circulate ;-smiles have there been seen,-
Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports

The feeble motions of thy life, and cheers

Thy loneliness ;-or shall those smiles be called
Feelers of love,-put forth as if to explore
This untried world, and to prepare thy way
Through a strait passage intricate and dim?
Such are they, and the same are tokens, signs,
Which, when the appointed season hath arrived,
Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt;
And reason's godlike power be proud to own.


THERE was a boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
And islands of Winander!-many a time,
At evening, when the earliest stars began
To move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,

Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,

That they might answer him.-And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call,-with quivering peals,
And long haloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled; concourse wild

Of mirth and jocund din! And, when it chanced
That pauses of deep silence mocked his skill,
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice

Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,

Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.

This boy was taken from his mates, and died.

In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Fair are the woods, and beauteous is the spot,
The vale where he was born: the churchyard hangs
Upon a slope above the village school;

And there, along that bank, when I have passed
At evening, I believe, that oftentimes

A long half-hour together I have stood

Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies!


O BLITHE new-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice:

O Cuckoo shall I call thee bird,
Or but a wandering voice?

While I am lying on the grass,
Thy loud note smites my ear!
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
At once far off and near!

I hear thee babbling to the vale
Of sunshine and of flowers;

And unto me thou bring'st a tale
Of visionary hours.

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring
Even yet thou art to me

No bird; but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery.

The same whom in my school-boy days
I listened to; that cry

Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.

To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green
And thou wert still a hope, a love;

Still longed for, never seen!

And I can listen to thee yet;

Can lie upon the plain

And listen, till I do beget

That golden time again.

O blessed bird! the earth we pace

Again appears to be

An unsubstantial, fairy place

That is fit home for thee!


THE sky is overcast

With a continuous cloud of texture close,

Heavy and wan, all whitened by the moon,
Which through that vale is indistinctly seen,
A dull, contracted circle, yielding light

So feebly spread that not a shadow falls,

Chequering the ground-from rock, plant, tree or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveller as he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye

Bent earthwards; he looks up-the clouds are split
Asunder, and above his head he sees

The clear moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives;-how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not !-the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent ;-still they roll along
Immeasurably distant;-and the vault,

Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.

At length the vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.


THERE is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched

To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.

Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree!-a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks-and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved,-
Nor uninformed with phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane ;-a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially-beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked
With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes
May meet at noontide-Fear and trembling Hope,
Silence and Foresight-Death the skeleton
And Time the shadow,-there to celebrate,
As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.

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