Imágenes de páginas

His scorn'd, or unacknowledged sovereignty.
And when the One, ineffable of name,
Of nature indivisible, withdrew
From mortal adoration or regard,
Not then was deity ingulf'd, nor man,
The rational creature, left, to feel the weight
Of his own reason, without sense or thought,
Of higher reason and a purer will,
To benefit and bless, through mightier power ;
Whether the Persian-zealous to reject
Altar and image, and the inclusive walls
And roofs of temples built by human hands-
To loftiest heights ascending from their tops,
With myrtle-wreath'd tiara on his brow,
Presented sacrifice to moon and stars,
And to the winds and mother elements,
And the whole circle of the heavens, for him
A sensitive existence, and a God,
With lifted hands invoked, and songs of praise :
Or, less reluctantly to bonds of sense
Yielding his soul, the Babylonian framed
For influence undefined a personal shape ;
And, from the plain, with toil immense, upreard
Tower eight times planted on the top of tower;
That Belus, nightly to his splendid couch
Descending, there might rest; upon that height
Pure and serene, diffused-to overlook
Winding Euphrates, and the city vast
Of his devoted worshippers, far-stretchd,
With grove, and field, and garden, interspersed ;
Their town,

and foodful region for support Against the pressure of belcaguring war.

“Chaldean shepherds, ranging trackless fields,
Beneath the concave of unclouded skies
Spread like a sea, in boundless solitude,
Look'd on the polar star, as on a guide
And guardian of their course, that never closed
His steadfast eye. The planetary five
With a submissive reverence they beheld:
Watch’d, from the centre of their sleeping flocks
Those radiant Mercuries, that seem to move
Carrying through ether, in perpetual round,
Decrees and resolutions of the gods;
And, by their aspects, signifying works
Of dim futurity, to man reveal’d.
The imaginative faculty was lord
Of observations natural; and, thus
Led on, those shepherds made report of stars
In set rotation passing to and fro,
Between the orbs of our apparent sphere
And its invisible counterpart, adorn'd
With answering constellations, under earth,
Removed from all approach of living sight,
But present to the dead; who, so they deem'd,
Like those celestial messengers beheld
All accidents, and judges were of all.

“ The lively Grecian, in a land of hills,
Rivers, and fertile plains, and sounding shores,
Under a cope of variegated sky,
Could find commodious place for every god,
Promptly received, as prodigally brought,
From the surrounding countries at the choice
Of all adventurers. With unrivall'd skill,
As nicest observation furnish'd hints
For studious fancy, did his hand bestow
On fluent operations a fix'd shape;

Metal or stone, idolatrously served,
And yet triumphant o'er this pompous show
Of art, this palpable array of sense,
On every side encounter'd; in despite
Of the gross fictions chanted in the streets
By wandering rhapsodists; and in contempt
Of doubt and bold denial hourly urged
Amid the wrangling schools-a SPIRIT hung,
Beautiful region ! o'er thy towns and farms,
Statues and temples, and memorial tombs ;
And emanations were perceived; and acts
Of immortality, in nature's course,
Exemplified by mysteries, that were felt
As bonds, on grave philosopher imposed
And armed warrior; and in every grove
A gay or pensive tenderness prevailid,
When piety more awful had relax'd.
- Take, running river, take these locks of mine'-
Thus would the votary say—this sever'd hair,
My vow fulfilling, do I here present,
Thankful for my beloved child's return.
Thy banks, Cephisus, he again hath trod,
Thy murmurs heard ; aud drunk the crystal lymph
With which thou dost refresh the thirsty lip,
And moisten all day long these flowery fields !
And doubtless, sometimes, when the hair was sbed
Upon the flowing stream, a thought arose
Of life continuous, being unimpair'd:
That hath been, is, and where it was and is
There shall endure,-existence unexposed
To the blind walk of mortal accident;
From dimunitions safe and weakening age;
While man grows old, and dwindles, and decays;
And countless generations of mankind
Depart; and leave no restige where they trod.

“We live by admiration, hope, and love;
And, e'en as these are well and wisely fix'd,
In dignity of being we ascend.
But what is error ?”—“ Answer he who can !"
The skeptic somewhat haughtily exclaim'd:
Love, hope, and admiration-are they not
Mad fancy's favourite vassals? Does not life
Use them, full oft, as pioneers to ruin,
Guides to destruction? Is it well to trust
Imagination's light when reason's fails,
| Th’unguarded taper where the guarded faints ?
Stoop from those heights, and soberly declare
What error is; and, of our errors, which
Doth most debase the mind; the genuine seats
Of power, where are they? Who shall regulate,
With truth, the scale of intellectual rank !"

“Methinks,” persuasively the sage replied,
“ That for this arduous office you possess
Some rare advantages. Your early days
A grateful recollection must supply
Of much exalted good by Heaven vouchsafed
To dignify the humblest state. Your voice
Hath, in my hearing, often testified
That poor men's children, they, and they alone,
By their condition taught, can understand
The wisdom of the prayer that daily asks
For daily bread. A consciousness is yours
How feelingly religion may be learn'd
In smoky cabins, from a mother's tongue-
Heard while the dwelling vibrates to the din
Of the contiguous torrent, gathering strength

At every moment, and, with strength, increase The nightly hunter, listing up his eyes
Of fury; or, while snow is at the door,

Towards the crescent moon, with grateful heart Assaulting and defending, and the wind,

Call'd on the lovely wanderer who bestow'd A sightless labourer, whistles at his work

That timely light, to share his joyous sport: Fearful, but resignation tempers fear,

And hence, a beaming goddess with her nymphs, And piety is sweet to infant minds.

Across the lawn and through the darksome grove The shepherd lad, who in the sunshine carves, (Not unaccompanied with tuneful notes On the green turf, a dial, to divide

By echo multiplied from rock or cave) The silent hours; and who to that report

Swept in the storm of chase, as moon and stars Can portion out his pleasures, and adapt

Glance rapidly along the clouded heaven, His round of pastoral duties, is not left

When winds are blowing strong. The traveller With less intelligence for moral things

slaked Of gravest import. Early he perceives,

His thirst from rill or gushing fount, and thank'd Within himself, a measure and a rule,

The naiad. Sunbeams, upon distant hills Which to the sun of truth he can apply,

Gliding apace, with shadows in their train, That shines for him, and shines for all mankind. Might, with small help from fancy, be transform’d Experience daily fixing his regards

Into fleet oreads sporting visibly. On nature's wants, he knows how few they are, The zephyrs, fanning as they pass'd, their wings, And where they lie, how answer'd and appeased. Lack'd not, for love, fair objects whom they woo'd This knowledge ample recompense affords

With gentle whisper. Wither'd boughs grotesque, For manifold privations; he refers

Stripp'd of their leaves and twigs by hoary age, His notions to this standard, on this rock

From depth of shaggy covert peeping forth Rests his desires; and hence, in after life,

In the low vale, or on steep mountain side ; Soul-strengthening patience, and sublime content. And, sometimes, intermix'd with stirring horns Imagination-not permitted here

Of the live deer, or goat's depending beardTo waste her powers, as in the worldling's mind, These were the lurking satyrs, a wild brood On fickle pleasures, and superfluous cares

or gamesome deities; or Pan himself, And trivial ostentation-is left free

The simple shepherd's awe-inspiring god!” And puissant to range the solemn walks

As this apt strain proceeded, I could mark Of time and nature, girded by a zone

Its kindly influence, o'er the yielding brow That, while it binds, in vigorates and supports. Of our companion, gradually diffused Acknowledge, then, that whether by the side While, listening he had paced the noiseless turf, Of his poor hut, or on the mountain top,

Like one whose untired ear a murmuring stream Or in the cultured field, a man so bred

Detains ; but tempted now to interpose, (Take from him what you will upon the score He with a smile exclaim'dOf ignorance or illusion) lives and breathes

« 'Tis well you speak For noble purposes of mind: his heart

At a safe distance from our native land, Beats to the heroic song of ancient days;

And from the mansions where our youth was taught. His eye distinguishes, his soul creates.

The true descendants of those godly men And those illusions, which excite the scorn. Who swept from Scotland, in a flame of zeal, Or move the pity of unthinking minds,

Shrine, altar, image, and the massy piles Are they not mainly outward ministers

That harbour'd them,—the souls retaining yet Of inward conscience with whose service charged The churlish features of that after race They came and go, appeard and disappear, Who fled to caves, and woods, and naked rocks, Diverting evil purposes, remorse

In deadly scorn of superstitious rites, Awakening, chastening an intemperate grief Or what their scruples construed to be suchOr pride of heart abating: and, whene'er

How, think you, would they tolerate this scheme For less important ends those phantoms move Of fine propensities, that tends, if urged Who would forbid them, if their presence serve Far as it might be urged, to sow afresh Among wild mountains and unpeopled heaths, The weeds of Roman phantasy, in vain Filling a space, else vacant, to exalt

Uprooted; would re-consecrate our wells The forms of nature, and enlarge her powers ? To good Saint Fillan and to fair Saint Anne; “ Once more to distant ages of the world

And from long banishment recall Saint Giles, Let us revert, and place before our thoughts To watch again with tutelary love The face which rural solitude might wear

O’er stately Edinborough throned on crags ? To th' unenlightend swains of pagan Greece. A blessed restoration, to behold In that fair clime, the lonely herdsman, stretch'd The patron, on the shoulders of his priests, On the soft grass through half a summer's day, Once more parading through her crowded streets; With music lull’d his indolent repose:

Now simply guarded by the sober powers And in some fit of weariness, if he,

Of science, and philosophy, and sense !” When his own breath was silent, chanced to hear This answer follow'd. “ You have turn'd my A distant strain, far sweeter than the sounds

thoughts Which his poor skill could make, his fancy fetch'd, Upon our brave progenitors, who rose E'en from the blazing chariot of the sun

Against idolatry with warlike mind, A beardless youth, who touch'd a golden lute, And shrunk from vain observances, to lurk And fill'd th’ illumined groves with ravishment. In caves, and woods, and under dismal rocks,

Deprived of shelter, covering, fire, and food; And twice ten thousand interests, do yet prize
Why? for this very reason that they felt,

This soul, and the transcendent universe,
And did acknowledge, wheresoe'er they moved, No more than as a mirror that reflects
A spiritual presence, ofttimes misconceived ; To proud self-love her own intelligence ;
But still a high dependence, a divine

That one, poor, infinite object, in the abyss
Bounty and government, that fill'd their hearts Of infinite being, twinkling restlessly!
With joy, and gratitude, and fear, and love:

“ Nor higher place can be assign'd to him And from their servent lips drew hymns of praise, And his compeers—the laughing sage of France. That through the desert rang. Though favour'd Crown'd was he, if my memory do not err, less,

With laurel planted upon hoary hairs, Far less, than these, yet such, in their degree, In sign of conquest by his wit achieved, Were those bewilderd pagans of old time. And benefits his wisdom had conferr'd, Beyond their own poor natures and above His tottering body was with wreaths of flowers They look’d: were humbly thankful for the good Opprest, far less becoming ornaments Which the warm sun solicited and earth

Than spring oft twines about a mouldering tree; Bestow'd; were gladsome, and their moral sense Yet so it pleased a fond, a vain old man, They fortified with reverence for the gods And a most frivolous people. Him I mean And they had hopes that overstepp'd the grave. Who penn'd, to ridicule confiding faith,

“Now, shall our great discoverers,” he exclaim'd, This sorry legend; which by chance we found Raising his voice triumphantly,“ obtain

Piled in a nook, through malice, as might seem, From sense and reason less than these obtain's, Among more innocent rubbish.” Speaking thus, Though far misled? Shall men for whom our age with a brief notice when, and how, and where, Unbaffled powers of vision hath prepared,

We had espied the book, he drew it forth; T'explore the world without and world within, And courteously, as if the act removed, Be joyless as the blind? Ambitious souls- At once, all traces from the good man's heart Whom earth, at this late season, hath produced Of unbenign aversion or contempt, To regulate the moving spheres, and weigh Restored it to its owner. “Gentle friend,” The planets in the hollow

their hand;

Herewith he grasp'd the solitary's hand, And they who rather die than soar, whose pains “ You have known better lights and guides than Have solved the elements, or analyzed

theseThe thinking principle-shall they in fact Ah ! let not aught amiss within dispose Prove a degraded race ? and what avails

A noble mind to practise on herself, Renown, if their presumption make them such ? And tempt opinion to support the wrongs 0! there is laughter at their work in heaven! Of passion : whatsoe'er be felt or fear'd, Inquire of ancient wisdom: go, demand

From higher judgment seats make no appeal
Of mighty nature, if 'twas ever meant

To lower: can you question that the soul
That we should pry far off yet be unraised; Inherits an allegiance, not by choice
That we should pore, and dwindle as we pore, To be cast off, upon an oath proposed
Viewing all objects unremittingly

By each new upstart notion? In the ports
In disconnexion dead and spiritless ;

Of levity no refuge can be found, And still dividing, and dividing still,

No shelter, for a spirit in distress.
Break down all grandeur, still unsatisfied

He, who by wilful disesteem of life,
With the perverse attempt, while littleness And proud insensibility to hope,
May yet become more little; waging thus Affronts the eye of solitude, shall learn
An impious warfare with the very life

That her mild nature can be terrible ;
Of our own souls! And if indeed there be That neither she nor silence lack the power
An all-pervading spirit, upon whom

T'avenge their own insulted majesty.
Our dark foundations rest, could he design

O blest seclusion! when the mind admits That this magnificent effect of power,

The law of duty; and can therefore move The earth we tread, the sky that we behold Through each vicissitude of loss and gain, By day, and all the pomp which night reveals, Link'd in entire complacence with her choice ; That these—and that superior mystery,

When youth's presumptuousness is mellow'd down, Our vital frame, so fearfully devised,

And manhood's vain anxiety dismiss'd ;
And the dread soul within it-should exist When wisdom shows her seasonable fruit,
Only to be examined, ponder'd, search’d,

Upon the boughs of sheltering leisure hung
Probed, vex'd, and criticised ? Accuse me not In sober plenty; when the spirit stoops
Of arrogance, unknown wanderer as I am, To drink with gratitude the crystal stream
If, having walk'd with nature threescore years, Of unreproved enjoyment; and is pleased
And offer'd, far as frailty would allow,

To muse,-and be saluted by the air
My heart a daily sacrifice to truth,

Of meek repentance, wafting wall-flower scents I now affirm of nature and of truth,

From out the crumbling ruins of fall’n pride Whom I have served, that their DIVINITY

And chambers of transgression now forlorn. Revolts, offended at the ways of men

O, calm, contented days, and peaceful nights Sway'd by such motives, to such end employ'd; Who, when such good can be obtain'd, would strive Philosophers, who, though the human soul

To reconcile his manhood to a couch Be of a thousand faculties composed,

Soft, as may seem, but, under that disguise

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Stuff?d with the thorny substance of the past, For you, assuredly, a hopeful road
For fix'd annoyance; and full oft beset

Lies open : we have heard from you a voice
With floating dreams, disconsolate and black, At every moment soften'd in its course
The vapory phantoms of futurity ?

By tenderness of heart; have seen your eye, " Within the soul a faculty abides,

Even like an altar lit by fire from heaven, That with interpositions, which would hide Kindle before us. Your discourse this day, And darken, so can deal, that they become That, like the fabled lethe, wish'd to flow Contingencies of pomp; and serve exalt

In creeping sadness, through oblivious shades Her native brightness. As the ample moon, Of death and night, has caught at every turn In the deep stillness of a summer even

The colours of the sun. Access for you Rising behind a thick and lofty grove,

Is yet preserved to principles of truth,
Burns like an unconsuming fire of light,

Which the imaginative will upholds
In the green trees; and, kindling on all sides In seats of wisdom, not to be approach'd
Their leafy umbrage, turns the dusky veil

By the inferior faculty that moulds,
Into a substance glorious as her own,

With her minute and speculative pains, Yea, with her own incorporated, by power Opinion, ever changing! I have seen Capacious and serene ; like power abides

A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract
In man's celestial spirit; virtue thus

Of inland ground, applying to his ear
Sets forth and magnifies herself; thus feeds The convolutions of a smooth-lipp'd shell ;
A calm, a beautiful, and silent fire,

To wbich, in silence hushid, his very soul
From the encumbrances of mortal life,

Listen’d intensely; and his countenance soon From error, disappointment,-nay, from guilt: Brightend with joy ; for murmurings from within And sometimes, so relenting justice wills,

Were heard, --sonorous cadences ! whereby From palpable oppressions of despair.”

To bis belief, the monitor express'd The solitary by these words was touch'd Mysterious union with its native sea. With manifest emotion, and exclaim'd,

E'en such a shell the universe itself “ But how begin? and whence? The mind is free; Is to the ear of faith: and there are times, Resolve, the haughty moralist would say,

I doubt not, when to you it doth impart This single act is all that we demand.

Authentic tidings of invisible things ;
Alas! such wisdom bids a creature fly

Of ebb and flow, and ever during power;
Whose very sorrow is, that time hath shorn And central peace, subsisting at the heart
His natural wings! To friendship let him turn Of endless agitation. Here you stand,
For succour; but perhaps he sits alone

Adore, and worship, when you know it not;
On stormy waters, in a little boat

Pious beyond the intention of your thought; That holds but him, and can contain no more! Devout above the meaning of your will. Religion tells of amity sublime

Yes, you have felt, and may not cease to feel. Which no condition can preclude: of one

Th' estate of man would be indeed forlorn Who sees all suffering, comprehends all wants, If false conclusions of the reasoning power All weakness fathoms, can supply all needs ; Made the eye blind, and closed the passages But is that bounty absolute? His gifts,

Through which the ear converses with the heart. Are they not still, in some degree, rewards Has not the soul, the being of your life, For acts of service ? Can his love extend

Received a shock of awful consciousness, To hearts that own not him? Will showers of In some calm season, when these lofty rocks grace,

At night's approach bring down the unclouded sky When in the sky no promise may be seen,

To rest upon their circumambient walls;
Fall to refresh a parch'd and wither'd land? A temple framing of dimensions vast,
Or shall the groaning spirit cast her load

And yet not too enormous for the sound
At the Redeemer's feet?”

Of human anthems,-choral song, or burst
In rueful tone,

Sublime of instrumental harmony
With some impatience in his mien he spake; To glorify th' Eternal! What if these
Back to my mind rush'd all that had been urged Did never break the stillness that prevails
To calm the sufferer when his story closed; Here, if the solemn nightingale be mute,
I look'd for counsel as unbending now;

And the soft woodlark here did never chant
But a discriminating sympathy

Her vespers, nature fails not to provide Stoop'd to this apt reply

Impulse and utterance. The whispering air « As men from men Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights, Do, in the constitution of their souls,

And blind recesses of the cavern'd rocks; Differ, by mystery not to be explain'd;

The little hills, and waters numberless, And as we fall by various ways, and sink

Inaudible by daylight, blend their notes One deeper than another, self-condemn'd,

With the loud streams : and often, at the hour Through manifold degrees of guilt and shame, When issue forth the first pale stars, is heard, So manifold and various are the ways

Within the circuit of this fabric huge, Of restoration, fashion'd to the steps

One voice—the solitary raven, flying Of all infirmity, and tending all

Athwart the concave of the dark-blue dome, To the same point,-attainable by all;

Unseen, perchance above all power of sightPeace in ourselves, and union with our God. An iron knell! with echoes from afar 57

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On the hill sides, a cheerful quiet scene,

Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise, Now in its morning purity array’d.

Was occupied by oaken benches, ranged “ As, ʼmid some happy valley of the Alps," In seemly rows; the chancel only show'd Said I,“ once happy, ere tyrannic power

Some inoffensive marks of earthly state Wantonly breaking in upon the Swiss,

And vain distinction. A capacious pew Destroy'd their unoffending commonwealth, Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined; A popular equality reigns here,

And marble monuments were here display'd Save for one house of state beneath whose roof Thronging the walls; and on the floor beneath A rural lord might dwell.” “ No feudal pomp,” Sepulchral stones appear'd, with emblems graven Replied our friend, a chronicler who stood And foot-worn epitaphs, and some with small Where'er he moved upon familiar ground,

And shining effigies of brass inlaid. “ Nor feudal power is there ; but there abides, The tribute by these various records claim'd, In his allotted home, a genuine priest,

Without reluctance did we pay ; and read
The shepherd of his flock ; or, as a king

The ordinary chronicle of birth,
Is styled, when most affectionately praised, Office, alliance, and promotion, all
The father of his people. Such is he ;

Ending in dust; of upright magistrates,
And rich and poor, and young and old, rejoice Grave doctors strenuous for the mother church,
Under his spiritual sway. He hath vouchsafed And uncorrupted senators, alike
To me some portion of a kind regard;

To king and people true. A brazen plate, And something also of his inner mind

Not easily decipher'd, told of one
Hath he imparted—but I speak of him

Whose course of earthly honour was begun
As he is known to all. The calm delights In quality of page among the train
Of unambitious piety he chose,

Of the eighth Henry, when he cross'd the seas
And learning's solid dignity; though born His royal state to show, and prove his strength
Of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends. In tournament, upon the fields of France.
Hither, in prime of manhood, he withdrew Another tablet register'd the death,
From academic bowers. He loved the spot, And praised the gallant bearing, of a knight
Who does not love his native soil ? he prized Tried in the sea fights of the second Charles.
The ancient rural character, composed

Near this brave knight his father lay entomb’d; Of simple manners, feelings unsuppress'd

And, to the silent language giving voice,
And undisguised, and strong and serious thought; I read, how in his manhood's earlier day
A character reflected in himself,

He, 'mid th' afflictions of intestine war
With such embellishment as well beseems And rightful government subverted, sound
His rank and sacred function. This deep vale One only solace; that he had espoused
Winds far in reaches hidden from our eyes, A virtuous lady tenderly beloved
And one a turreted manorial hall

For her benign perfections; and yet more
Adorns, in which the good man's ancestors Endear'd to him, for this, that in her state
Have dwelt through ages, patrons of this cure. Of wedlock richly crown'd with Heaven's regard,
To them, and to his own judicious pains,

She with a numerous issue fill'd his house, The vicar's dwelling, and the whole domain, Who throve, like plants, uninjured by the storm Owes that presiding aspect which might well That laid their country waste. No need to speak Attract your notice; statelier than could else Of less particular notices assign'd Have been bestow'd, through course of common | To youth or maiden gone before their time, chance,

And matrons and unwedded sisters old; On an unwealthy mountain benefice.':

Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed This said, oft halting we pursued our way; In modest panegyric. “ These dim lines, Nor reach'd the village churchyard till the sun, What would they tell ?” said I; but from the task Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen Of puzzling out that faded narrative, Above the summits of the highest hills,

With whispers soft my venerable friend
And round our path darted oppressive beams. Calld me; and, looking down the darksome aisle

As chanced, the portals of the sacred pile I saw the tenant of the lonely vale
Stood open, and we enter'd. On my frame, Standing apart; with curvèd arm reclined
At such transition from the fervid air,

On the baptismal font; his pallid face
A grateful coolness fell, that seem'd to strike Upturn'd, as if his mind were wrapt, or lost
The heart, in concert with that temperate awe In some abstraction ; gracefully he stood,
And natural reverence, which the place inspired. The semblance bearing of a sculptured form
Not raised in nice proportions was the pile, That leans upon a monumental urn
But large and massy; for duration built;

In peace, from morn to night, from year to year. With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld

Him from that posture did the sexton rouse; By naked rafters intricately crossid,

Who enter'd, humming carelessly a tune,
Like leafless underboughs, ʼmid some thick grove, Continuation haply of the notes
All wither'd by the depth of shade above.

That had beguiled the work from which he came, Admonitory texts inscribed the walls,

With spade and mattock o'er his shoulder hung, Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed,

To be deposited, for future need,
Each also crown'd with winged heads, a pair In their appointed place. The pale recluse
Of rudely painted cherubim. The floor

Withdrew; and straight we follow'd, to a spot

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