Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Τ Η Ε

BROTHERS.

THE BROTHERS.

66 THESE Tourists, heaven preserve us! needs must

live
A profitable life; some glance along,
Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air,
And they were butterflies to wheel about
Long as the summer lasted; some, as wise,
Perched on the forehead of a jutting crag,
Pencil in hand and book upon the knee,
Will look and scribble, scribble on and look,
Until a man might travel twelve stout miles,
Or reap an acre of his neighbor's corn.
But, for that moping Son of Idleness,
Why can he tarry yonder ? - In our church-yard
Is neither epitaph nor monument,
Tombstone nor name only the turf we tread
And a few natural graves.”

To Jane, his wife,
Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale.
It was a July evening, and he sate
Upon the long stone-seat beneath the eaves
Of his old cottage, as it chanced, that day,
Employed in winter's work. Upon the stone
His wife sate near him, teasing matted wool,

While from the twin cards toothed with glittering wire,
He fed the spindle of his youngest child,
Who, in the open air, with due accord
Of busy hands and back-and-forward steps,
Her large round wheel was turning. Towards the field
In which the Parish Chapel stood alone,
Girt round with a bare ring of mossy wall,
While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent
Many a long look of wonder: and at last,
Risen from his seat, beside the snow-white ridge
Of carded wool which the old man had piled,
He laid his implements with gentle care,
Each in the other locked; and, down the path
That from his cottage to the church-yard led,
He took his way, impatient to accost
The stranger, whom he saw still lingering there.

'Twas one well-known to him in former days,
A Shepherd lad; who ere his sixteentn year
Had left that calling, tempted to entrust
His expectations to the fickle winds
And perilous waters; with the mariners
A fellow mariner ; - and so had fared
Through twenty seasons; but he had been reared
Among the mountains, and he in his heart
Was half a shepherd on the stormy seas.
Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard
The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds
Of caves and trees : -- and, when the regular wind
Between the tropics filled the steady sail,
And blew with the same breath through days and

weeks,
Lengthening invisibly its weary line
Along the cloudless Main, he, in those hours
Of tiresome indolence, would often hang

Over the vessel's side, and gaze and gaze;
And, while the broad blue wave and sparkling foam
Flashed round him images and hues that wrought
In union with the employment of his heart,
He, thus by feverish passion overcome,
Even with the organs of his bodily eye,
Below him, in the bosom of the deep,
Saw mountains, saw the forms of sheep that grazed
On verdant hills - with dwellings among trees, ,
And shepherds clad in the same country grey
Which he himself had worn.

And now, at last,
From perils manifold, with some small wealth
Acquired by traffic 'mid the Indian Isles,
To his paternal home he is returned,
With a determined purpose to resume
The life he had lived there; both for the sake
Of many darling pleasures and the love
Which to an only brother he has borne
In all his hardships, since that happy time
When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two
Were brother shepherds on their native hills.

- They were the last of all their race: and now
When Leonard had approached his home, his heart
Failed in him; and, not venturing to inquire
Tidings of one so long and dearly loved,
He to the solitary church-yard turned;
That, as he knew in what particular -spot
His family were laid, he thence might learn
If still his Brother lived, or to the file
Another grave was added. He had found
Another grave,

near which a full half hour He had remained; but, as he gazed, there grew Such a confusion in his memory,

« AnteriorContinuar »