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Relinquished, lived dependent for his bread
Upon the laws of public charity.
The Housewife, tempted by such slender gains
As might from that occasion be distilled,
Opened, as she before had done for me,
Her doors to admit this homeless Pensioner ;
The portion gave of coarse but wholesome fare
Which appetite required, - a blind, dull nook,
Such as she had, the kennel of his rest!
This, in itself not ill, would yet have been
Ill borne in ea er life ; but his was now
The still contentedness of seventy years.
Calm did he sit under the wide-spread tree
Of his old age; and yet less calm and meek,
Winningly meek or vencrably calm,
Than slow and torpid ; paying in this wise
A penalty, if penalty it were,
For spendthrift feats, excesses of his prime.
I loved the old Man, for I pitied him !
A task it was, I own, to hold discourse
With one so slow in gathering up his thoughts,
But he was a cheap pleasure to my eyes ;
Mild, inoffensive, ready in his way,
And helpful to his utmost power : and there
Our housewife knew full well what she possessed
He was her vassal of all labor, tilled
ller garden, from the pasture fetched her kine;
Aud, one among the orderly array
Of haymakers, beneath the burning sun
Maintained his place; or heedfully pursued


His course, on errands bound, to other vales,
Leading sometimes an inexperienced child
Too young for any profitable task.
So moved he like a shadow that performed
Substantial service. Mark me now, and learn
For what reward! — The moon her monthly round
Hath not completed since our dame, the queen
Of this one cottage and this lonely dale,
Into my little sanctuary rushed, -
Voice to a rueful treble humanized,
And features in deplorable dismay.
I treat the matter lightly, but, alas !
It is most serious: persevering rain
Had fallen in torrents; all the mountain-tops
Were hidden, and black vapors coursed their sides;
This had I seen, and saw; but, till she spake,
Was wholly ignorant that my ancient Friend -
Who, at her bidding, early and alone,
Had clomb aloft to delve the moorland turf
For winter fuel - to his noontide meal
Returned not, and now, haply, on the heights
Lay at the mercy of this raging storm.
“ Inhuman !” said I, was an old Man's life
Not worth the trouble of a thought ? alas!
This notice comes too late.” With joy I saw
Her husband enter, from a distant vale.
We sallied forth together ; found the tools
Which the neglected veteran had dropped,
But through all quarters looked for him in vain.
We shouted, — but no answer ! Darkness fell

Without remission of the blast or shower,
And fears for our own safety drove us home.

“I, who weep little, did, I will confess, The moment I was seated here alone, Honor


little cell with some few tears Which

anger and resentment could not dry. All night the storm endured ; and, soon as help Had been collected from the neighboring vale, With morning we renewed our quest: the wind Was fallen, the rain abated, but the hills Lay shrouded in impenetrable mist; And long and hopelessly we sought in vain : Till, chancing on that lofty ridge to pass A heap of ruin, almost without walls And wholly without roof, (the bleached remains Of a small chapel, where, in ancient time, The peasants of these lonely valleys used 'To meet for worship on that central height,) -We there espied the object of our search, Lying full three parts buried among tufts Of heath-plant, under and above him strewn, To baffle, as he might, the watery storm : And there we found him breathing peaceably, Snug as a child that hides itself in sport Mid a green hay cock in a sunny field. We spake,

he made reply, but would not stir At our entreaty ; less from want of power T'han apprehension and bewiklering thoughts.

“ So was he lifted gently from the ground, And with their freight homeward the shepherds

Through the dull mist, I following, when a step,
A single step, that freed me from the skirts
Of the blind vapor, opened to my

Glory beyond all glory ever seen
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul !
'The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
Was of a mighty city, — boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth,
Far sinking into splendor, — without end !
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
Witli alabaster domes, and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted ; here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed ; there, towers begiit
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars,

illumination of all gems!
By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
Upon the dark materials of the storm
Now pacified ; on them, and on the coves
And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapors had receded, taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky.
0, ’t was an unimaginable sight!
Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks, and emerald

turf, Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky,

Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,
Molten together, and composing thus,
Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge


of structure without name,
In teecy fold voluminous enwrapped.
Right in the midst, where interspace appeared
Of open court, an object like a throne
Under a shining canopy of state
Stood fixed; and fixed resemblances were seen
To implements of ordinary use,
But vast in size, in substance glorified ;
Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
In vision, forms uncouth of mightiest power
For admiration and mysterious awe.
This little Vale, a dwelling-place of Man,
Lay low beneath my feet ; ’t was visible, -
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the revealed abode
Of Spirits in beatitude: my heart
Swelled in


“I have been dead,” I cried, “And now I live! O, wherefore do I live? " And with that pang I prayed to be no more! But I forget our Charge, as utterly I then forgot him :-- there I stood and gazed : The apparition faded not away, And I descended.

Having reached the house,
I found its rescued inmate safely lodged,
And in serene possession of himself,

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