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Now homeward through the thickening hubbub,
See, among less distinguishable shapes,
The begging scavenger, with hat in hand;
Enough; the mighty concourse I surveyed With no unthinking mind, well pleased to note Among the crowd all specimens of man,
Through all the colors which the sun bestows,
Malays, Lascars, the Tartar, the Chinese,
At leisure, then, I viewed, from day to day, The spectacles within doors, birds and beasts Of every nature, and strange plants convened From every clime; and, next, those sights that ape The absolute presence of reality,
Expressing, as in mirror, sea and land,
And what earth is, and what she has to show.
I do not here allude to subtlest craft,
By means refined attaining purest ends,
But imitations, fondly made in plain
Of Tivoli; and, high upon that steep,
The Sibyl's mouldering Temple! every tree,
Throughout the landscape; tuft, stone scratch minute,
All that the traveller sees when he is there.
And to these exhibitions, mute and still, Others of wider scope, where living men, Music, and shifting pantomimic scenes, Diversified the allurement. Need I fear To mention by its name, as in degree, Lowest of these and humblest in attempt,
Yet richly graced with honors of her own,
Half-rural Sadler's Wells? Though at that time
Intolerant, as is the way of youth
Unless itself be pleased, here more than once
Taking my seat, I saw (nor blush to add,
Perform their feats. Nor was it mean delight
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave."
Delusion bold! and how can it be wrought? The garb he wears is black as death, the word "Invisible" flames forth upon his chest.
Here, too, were "forms and pressures of the time,"
Rough, bold, as Grecian comedy displayed
When Art was young; dramas of living men, And recent things yet warm with life; a sea-fight, Shipwreck, or some domestic incident
Divulged by Truth and magnified by Fame,
Such as the daring brotherhood of late
Set forth, too serious theme for that light place;
And how, unfaithful to a virtuous wife
Deserted and deceived, the spoiler came
And wooed the artless daughter of the hills,
Of love and marriage bonds.
These words to thee
Must needs bring back the moment when we first, Ere the broad world rang with the maiden's name, Beheld her serving at the cottage inn,
Both stricken, as she entered or withdrew,
With admiration of her modest mien
And carriage, marked by unexampled grace.
Have seen her, her discretion have observed,
Her just opinions, delicate reserve,
Of public notice, an offensive light
To a meek spirit suffering inwardly.
From this memorial tribute to my theme
I was returning, when, with sundry forms Commingled, shapes which met me in the way That we must tread,
thy image rose again,
Maiden of Buttermere! She lives in peace
Upon the spot where she was born and reared;
Without contamination doth she live
In quietness, without anxiety:
Beside the mountain chapel sleeps in earth
A sportive infant, who, for six months' space,