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That Sycamore, which annually holds
Within its shade, as in a stately tent
On all sides open to the fanning breeze,
A grave assemblage, seated while they shear
The fleece-encumbered flock; -- the JOYFUL ELM,
Around whose trunk the Maidens dance in May;
And the Lord's Oak; — would plead their several
In vain, if He were master of their fate;
His sentence to the axe would doom them alı.
But, green in age, and lusty as he is,
And promising to keep his hold on earth
Less, as might seem, in rivalship with men
Than with the forest's more enduring growth,
His own appointed hour will come at last;
And, like the haughty Spoilers of the word,
This keen Destroyer, in his turn, must fall.
“Now from the living pass we once again :
From Age,” the Priest continued, “ turn your thoughts
From Age, that often unlamented drops,
And mark that daisied hillock, three spans long!
- Seven lusty Sons sate daily round the board
Of Gold-rill side; and, when the hope had ceased
Of other progeny, a Daughter then
Was given, the crowning bounty of the whole;
And so acknowledged with a tremulous joy
Felt to the centre of that heavenly calm
With which by nature every Mother's Soul
Is stricken, in the moment when her throes
Are ended, and her ears have heard the cry
Which tells her that a living Child is born,
And she lies conscious in a blissful rest,
That the dread storm is weathered by them both.
The Father Him at this unlooked-for gift
A bolder transport seizes. From the side
Of his bright heath, and from his open door,
Day after day the gladness is diffused
To all that come, and almost all that pass;
Invited, summoned, to partake the cheer
Spread on the never-empty board, and drink
Health and good wishes to his new-born Girl,
From cups replenished by his joyous hand.
- Those seven fair Brothers variously were moved
Each by the thoughts best suited to his years:
But most of all, and with most thankful mind,
The hoary Grandsire felt himself enriched;
A happiness that ebbed not, but remained
To fill the total measure of the soul !
From the low tenement, his own abode,
Whither, as to a little private cell,
He had withdrawn from bustle, care, and noise,
To spend the Sabbath of old age in peace,
Once every day he duteously repaired
To rock the cradle of the slumbering Babe:
For in that female Infant's name he heard
The silent name of his departed Wife;
Heart-stirring music ! hourly heard that name
Full blest he was, “Another Margaret Green,
Oft did he say, 'was come to Gold-rill side.'
Oh! pang unthought of, as the precious boon
Itself had been unlooked for ; -oh! dire stroke
Of desolating anguish for them all!
Just as the Child could totter on the floor, And, by some friendly finger's help upstayed, Range round the garden walk, while She perchance Was catching at some novelty of Spring, Ground-flower, or glossy insect from its cell Drawn by the sunshine at that hopeful season
The winds of March, smiting insidiously,
Raised in the tender passage of the throat
Viewless obstruction; whence — all unfore warned,
The Household lost their pride and soul's delight.
- But Time hath power to soften all regrets,
And prayer and thought can bring to worst distress
Due resignation. Therefore, though some tears
Fail not to spring from either Parent's eye
Oft as they hear of sorrow like their own,
Yet this departed Little-one, too long
The innocent troubler of their quiet, sleeps
In what may now be called a peaceful grave.
“On a bright day, the brightest of the year,
These mountains echoed with an unknown sound,
A volley, thrice repeated o'er the Corse
Let down into the hollow of that Grave,
Whose shelving sides are red with naked mould.
Ye Rains of April, duly wet this earth!
Spare, burning Sun of Midsummer, these sods,
That they may knit together, and therewith
Our thoughts unite in kindred quietness !
Nor so the Valley shall forget her loss,
Dear Youth, by young and old alike beloved,
To me as precious as my own! - Green herbs
May creep (I wish that they would softly creep)
Over thy last abode, and we may pass
Reminded less imperiously of thee ;-
The ridge itself may sink into the breast
Of earth, the great abyss, and be no more;
Yet shall not thy remembrance leave our hearts,
Thy image disappear!
“The mountain Ash No eye can overlook, when 'mid a grove
Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head
Decked with autumnal berries, that outshine
Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have marked
By a brook side or solitary tarn,
Ilow she her station doth adorn
Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks
Are brightened round her. In his native Vale
Such and so glorious did this Youth appear;
A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts
By his ingenious beauty, by the gleam
Of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow,
By all the graces with which Nature's hand
Had lavishly arrayed him. As old Bards
Tell in their idle songs of wandering Gods,
Pan or Apollo, veiled in human form;
Yet, like the sweet-breathed violet of the shade,
Discovered in their own despite to sense
Of Mortals (if such fables without blame
May find chance-mention on this sacred ground)
So, through a simple rustic garb’s disguise,
And through the impediment of rural cares,
In him revealed a Scholar's genius shone;
And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight,
In him the spirit of a Hero walked
Our unpretending valley. - How the coit
Whizzed from the Stripling's arm! If touched by him
The inglorious foot-ball mounted to the pitch
Of the lark's flight, or shaped a rainbow curve,
Aloft, in prospect of the shouting field!
The indefatigable fox had learned
To dread his perseverance in the chase.
With admiration would he lift his eyes
To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand
Was loth to assault the majesty he loved:
Else had the strongest fastnessess proved weak
To guard the royal brood. The sailing glead,
The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe,
The sportive sea-gull dancing with the waves,
And cautious water-fowl, from distant climes,
Fixed at their seat, the centre of the Mere,
Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim.
“From Gallia's coast a Tyrant hurled his threats ;
Our Country marked the preparation vast
Of hostile Forces; and she called --- with voice
That filled her plains, that reached her utmost shores,
And in remotest vales was heard to Arms!
- Then, for the first time, here you might have seen
The Shepherd's gray to martial scarlet changed,
That flashed uncouthly through the woods and fields.
Ten hardy Striplings, all in bright attire,
And graced with shining weapons, weekly marched,
From this lone valley, to a central spot,
Where, in assemblage with the Flower and Choice
Of the surrounding district, they might learn
The rudiments of war; ten - hardy, strong,
And valiant; but young Oswald, like a Chief
And yet a modest Comrade, led them forth
From their shy solitude, to face the world.
With a gay confidence and seemly pride ;
Measuring the soil beneath their happy feet
Like Youths released from labor, and yet bound
To most laborious service, though to them
A festival of unencumbered ease;
The inner spirit keeping holiday,
Like vernal ground to sabbath sunshine left.
Oft have I marked him, at some leisure hour,
Stretched on the grass or seated in the shade
Among his Fellows, while an ample Map