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The Author describes his travels with the Wanderer, whose character is further illustrated - Morning scene, and view of a Village Wake
Wanderer's account of a Friend whom he purposes to visit — View, from an eminence, of the Valley which his Friend had chosen for his retreat - Feelings of the Author at the sight of it - Sound of singing from below - A funeral procession -- Descent into the Valley
- Observations drawn from the Wanderer at sight of a Book accidentally discovered in a recess in the Valley -- Meeting with the Wanderer's friend, the Solitary – Wanderer's description of the mode of burial in this mountainous district — Solitary contrasts with this, that of the Individual carried a few minutes before from the Cottage - Brief conversation - The Cottage entered
The Cottage entered - Description of the Solitary's apartment - Repast there -- View from the window of two mountain summits --- and the Solitary's description of the Companionship they afford him - Account of the departed Inmate of the Cottage -- Description of a grand spectacle upon the mountains, with its effect upon the Solitary's mind -- Quit the House.
In days of yore how fortunately fared
The Minstrel! wandering on from Hall to Hall,
Baronial Court or Royal ; cheered with gifts
Munificent, and love, and Ladies' praise;
Now meeting on his road an armed Knight,
Now resting with a Pilgrim by the side
Of a clear brook ; beneath an Abbey's roof
One evening sumptuously lodged; the next
Humbly in a religious Hospital ;
Or with some merry Outlaws of the wood;
Or haply shrouded in a Hermit's cell.
Him, sleeping or awake, the Robber spared;
He walked - protected from the sword of war
By virtue of that sacred Instrument,
His Harp, suspended at the Traveller's side ;
His dear companion wheresoe’er he went,
Opening from Land to Land an easy way,
By melody, and by the charm of verse.
Yet, not the noblest of that honored Race
Drew happier, loftier, more impassioned thoughts
From his long journeyings and eventful life,
Than this obscure Itinerant had skill
To gather, ranging through the tamer ground
Of these our unimaginative days;
Both while he trod the earth in humblest guise,
Accoutred with his burthen and his staff;
And now, when free to move with lighter pace.
What wonder, then, if I, whose favorite School
Hath been the fields, the roads, and rural lanes,
Looked on this Guide with reverential love?
Each with the other pleased, we now pursued
Our journey beneath favorable skies.
Turn wheresoe'er we would, he was a light
Unfailing; not a Hamlet could we pass,
Rarely a House, that did not yield to him
Remembrances; or from his tongue call forth
Some way-beguiling tale. Nor less regard
Accompanied those strains of apt discourse
Which Nature's various objects might inspire ;
And in the silence of his face I read
His overflowing spirit. Birds and beasts,
And the mute fish that glances in the stream,
And harmless reptile coiling in the sun,
And gorgeous insect hovering in the air,
The fowl domestic, and the household dog,
In his capacious mind -- he loved them all;
Their rights acknowledging, he felt for all.
Oft was occasion given me to perceive
How the calm pleasures of the pasturing Herd
To happy contemplation soothed his walk;
How the poor Brute's condition, forced to run
Its course of suffering in the public road,
Sad contrast! all too often smote his heart
With unavailing pity. Rich in love
And sweet humanity, he was, himself,
To the degree that he desired, beloved.
- Greetings and smiles we met with all day long,
From faces that he knew ; we took our seats
By many a cottage hearth, where he received
The welcome of an Inmate come from far.
- Nor was he loth to enter ragged Huts, Huts where his charity was blest; his voice Heard as the voice of an experienced Friend. And, sometimes, where the Poor Man held disputo With his own mind, unable to subdue Impatience, through inaptness to perceive Genera. distress in his particular lot; Or cherishing resentment, or in vain Struggling against it, with a soul perplexed, And finding in himself no steady power To draw the line of comfor: that divides Calamity, the chastisement of Heaven, From the injustice of our brother men;
To Him appeal was made, as to a judge,
Who, with an understanding heart, allayed
The perturbation ; listened to the plea;
Resolved the dubious point; and sentence gave
So grounded, so applied, that it was heard
With softened spirit-even when it condemned.
Such intercourse I witnessed, while we roved,
Now as his choice directed, now as mine;
Or both, with equal readiness of will,
Our course submitting to the changeful breeze
Of accident. But when the rising sun
Had three times called us to renew our walk,
My Fellow-traveller, with earnest voice,
As if the thought were but a moment old,
Claimed absolute dominion for the day.
We started and he led towards the hills,
Up through an ample vale, with higher hills
Before us, mountains stern and desolate;
But, in the majesty of distance, now
Set off, and to our ken appearing fair
Of aspect, with aerial softness clad,
And beautified with morning's purple beams.
The Wealthy, the Luxurious, by the stress
Of business roused, or pleasure, ere their time,
May roll in chariots, or provoke the hoofs
Of the fleet coursers they bestride, to raise
From earth the dust of morning, slow to rise;
And They, if blest with health and hearts at ease,
Shall lack not their enjoyment -- but how faint
Compared with ours! who, pacing side by side,
Could, with an eye of leisure, look on all
That we beheld; and lend the listening sense
To every grateful sound of earth and air;
Pausing at will -- our spirits braced, our thoughts
Pleasant as roses in the thickets blown,
And pure as dew bathing their crimson leaves.
Mount slowly, Sun! that we may journey long,
By this dark hill protecte! from thy beams!
Such is the summer Pilgrim's frequent wish;
But quickly from among our morning thoughts
'Twas chased away: for, toward the western side
Of the broad Vale, casting a casual glance,
We saw a throng of People; -- wherefore met ?
Blithe notes of music, suddenly let loose
On the thrilled ear, and flags uprising, yield
Prompt answer : they proclaim the annual Wake,
Which the bright season favors. Tabor and Pipe
In purpose join to hasten and reprove
The laggard Rustic; and repay with boons
Of merriment a parti colored Knot,
Already formed upon the Village green.
· Beyond the limits of the shadow cast
By the broad hill, glistened upon our sight
That gay assemblage. Round them and above,
Glitter, with dark recesses interposed,
Casement, and cottage-roof, and stems of trees
Half-veiled in vapory cloud, the silver steam
Of dews fast melting on their leafy boughs
By the strong sunbeams smitten. Like a mast
Of gold, the Maypole shines; as if the rays
Of morning, aided by exhaling dew,
With gladsome influence could re-animate
The faded garlands dangling from its sides.
Said I, “ The music and the sprightly scene
Invite us; shall we quit our road, and join
These festive matins ? " -
He replied, “Not loth Here would I linger and with you partake,