Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The Christian promise with attentive ear; Felt to the centre of that heavenly calm
Nor will, I trust, the Majesty of heaven

With which by nature every mother's soul
Reject the incense offered up by him,

Is stricken, in the moment when her throes Though of the kind which beasts and birds present Are ended, and her ears have heard the cry In grove or pasture—cheerfulness of soul,

Which tells her that a living child is born, From trepidation and repining free.

And she lies conscious, in a blissful rest, How many scrupulous worshippers fall down That the dread storm is weather'd by them both. Upon their knees, and daily homage pay

“ The father-bim at this unlook'd-for gift Less worthy, less religious even, than his ! A bolder transport seizes. From the side

“ This qualified respect, the old man's due, Of his bright hearth, and from his open door, Is paid without reluctance; but in truth”

Day after day the gladness is diffused (Said the good vicar with a fond half-smile) To all that come, and almost all that pass; “ I feel at times a motion of despite

Invited, summond, to partake the cheer Towards one, whose bold contrivances and skill, Spread on the never-empty board, and drink As you have seen, bear such conspicuous part Health and good wishes to his new-born girl, In works of havoc ; taking from these vales, From cups replenish’d by his joyous hand. One after one, their proudest ornaments.

Those seven fair brothers variously were moved Full oft his doings leave me to deplore

Each by the thoughts best suited to his years Tall ash tree, sown by winds, by vapours nursed, But most of all and with most thankful mind In the dry crannies of the pendant rocks; The hoary grandsire felt himself enrich'd; Light birch, alost upon the horizon's edge, A happiness that ebb’d not, but remaind A veil of glory for th' ascending moon;

To fill the total measure of the soul ! And oak whose roots by noontide dew were damp'd, From the low tenement, his own abode, And on whose forehead inaccessible

Whither, as to a little private cell, The raven lodged in safety. Many a ship

He had withdrawn from bustle, care, and noise, Launch'd into Morecamb Bay, to him hath owed To spend the Sabbath of old age in peace, Her strong knee-timbers, and the mast that bears Once every day he duteously repair'd The loftiest of her pendants. He, from park To rock the cradle of the slumbering babe: Or forest, fetch'd the enormous axletree

For in that female infant's name he heard That whirls (how slow itself!) ten thousand spindles: The silent name of his departed wife; And the vast engine labouring in the mine, Heart-stirring music ! hourly heard that name; Content with meaner prowess, must have lack'd Full blest he was,

* Another Margaret Green,' The trunk and body of its marvellous strength, Oft did he say, 'was come to Gold-rill side.' If his undaunted enterprise had failid

Oh! pang unthought of, as the precious boon Among the mountain coves.

Itself had been unlook'd for ; oh! dire stroke

Yon household fir, Of desolating anguish for them all! A guardian planted to fence off the blast.

Just as the child could totter on the floor, But towering high the roof above, as if

And, by some friendly finger's help upstay'd, Its humble destination were forgot;

Range round the garden walk, while she perchance That sycamore, which annually holds

Was catching at some novelty of spring, Within its shade, as in a stately tent

Ground-flower, or glossy insect from its cell On all sides open to the fanning breeze,

Drawn by the sunshine-at that hopeful season A grave assemblage, seated while they shear The winds of March, smiting insidiously, The fleece-encumber'd flock; the joyful elm, Raised in the tender passage of the throat Around whose trunk the maidens dance in May; Viewless obstruction; whence, all unforewarn'd, And the lord's oak, -would plead their several | The household lost their pride and soul's delight. rights

But time hath power to soften all regrets, In vain, if he were master of their fate:

And prayer and thought can bring to worst distress His sentence to the axe would doom them all. Due resignation. Therefore, though some tears But, green in age and lusty as he is,

Fail not to spring from either parent's eye
And promising to keep his hold on earth

Oft as they hear of sorrow like their own,
Less, as might seem, in rivalship with men Yet this departed little one, too long
Than with the forest's more enduring growth, The innocent troubler of their quiet, sleeps
His own appointed hour will come at last;

In what may now be call’d a peaceful grave. And, like the haughty spoilers of the world,

“On a bright day, the brightest of the year, This keen destroyer in his turn must fall.

These mountains echo'd with an unknown sound, “ Now from the living pass we once again ; A volley, thrice repeated o'er the corse From age,” the priest continued, “turn your Let down into the hollow of that grave, thoughts;

Whose shelving sides are red with naked mould. From age, that often unlamented drops,

Ye rains of April, duly wet this earth! And mark that daisied hillock, three spans long! Spare, burning sun of midsummer, these sods, Seven lusty sons sate daily round the board That they may knit together, and therewith Of Gold-rill side; and, when the hope had ceased Our thoughts unite in kindred quietness! Of other progeny, a daughter then

Nor so the valley shall forget her loss. Was given, the crowning bounty of the whole; Dear youth, by young and old alike beloved, And 80 acknowledged with a tremulous joy To me as precious as my own! Green herbs 60

2 R 2

May creep (I wish that they would softly creep) And yet a modest comrade, led them forth
Over thy last abode, and we may pass

From their shy solitude, to face the world
Reminded less imperiously of thee;

With a gay confidence and seemly pride; The ridge itself may sink into the breast

Measuring the soil beneath their bappy feet, Of earth, the great abyss, and be no more; Like youths released from labour, and yet bound Yet shall not thy remembrance leave our hearts, To most laborious service, though to them Thy image disappear!

A festival of unencumber'd ease; “ The mountain ash The inner spirit keeping holyday, No eye can overlook, when 'mid a grove

Like vernal ground to sabbath sunshine lest. Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head,

“ Oft have I mark'd him at some leisure hour, Deck'd with autumnal berries, that outshine Stretch'd on the grass or seated in the shade Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have mark'd, Among his fellows, while an ample map By a brook side or solitary tarn,

Before their eyes lay carefully outspread, How she ber station doth adorn ; the pool

From which the gallant teacher would discourse, Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks Now pointing this way and now that. Here flows,' Are brighten'd round her. In his native vale Thus would he say, the Rhine, that famous stream! Such and so glorious did this youth appear ;

Eastward, the Danube toward this inland sea, A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts

A mightier river, winds from realm to realm, By his ingenuous beauty, by the gleam

And, like a serpent, shows his glittering back Of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow,

Bespotted with innumerable isles : By all the graces with which nature's hand Here reigns the Russian, there the Turk; observe Had lavishly array'd him. As old bards

His capital city! Thence, along a tract Tell in their idle songs of wandering gods, Of livelier interest to his hopes and fears Pan or Apollo, veil'd in human form;

His finger moved, distinguishing the spots Yet, like the sweet-breath'd violet of the shade, Where wide-spread conflict then most fiercely raged; Discover'd in their own despite to sense

Nor left unstigmatized those fatal fields Of mortals, (if such fables without blame

On which the sons of mighty Germany May find chance mention on this sacred ground,) Were taught a base submission. · Here behold So, through a simple rustic garb's disguise, A nobler race, the Switzers, and their land; And through th' impediment of rural cares, Vales deeper far than these of ours, huge woods In him reveal'd a scholar's genius shone;

And mountains white with everlasting snow!' And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight, And, surely, he, that spake with kindling brow, In him the spirit of a hero walk'd

Was a true patriot, hopeful as the best Our unpretending valley. How the coit

Of that young peasantry, who, in our days, Whizz'd from the stripling's arm! If touch'd by Have fought and perish'd for Helvetia’s rights,him,

Ah, not in vain Sor those who, in old time, Th’ inglorious football mounted to the pitch For work of happier issue to the side Of the lark's flight, or shaped a rainbow curve, Of Tell came trooping from a thousand huts, Aloft, in prospect of the shouting field !

When he had risen alone! No braver youth The indefatigable fox had learn'd

Descended from Judean heights, to march To dread his perseverance in the chase.

With righteous Joshua; or appear'd in arms With admiration would he lift his eyes

When grove was fell’d, and altar was cast down, To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand

And Gideon blew the trumpet, soul-inflamed, Was loath to assault the majesty he loved ; And strong in hatred of idolatry.” Else had the strongest fastnesses proved weak This spoken, from his seat the pastor rose, To guard the royal brood. The sailing glead, And moved towards the grave. Instinctively 'The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe, His steps we follow'd; and my voice exclaim'd, The sportive sea-gull dancing with the waves, “ Power to th' oppressors of the world is given, And cautious water-fowl from distant climes, A might of which they dream not. (! the curse, Fix'd at their seat, the centre of the mere, To be th' awakener of divinest thoughts, Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim. Father and Founder of exalted deeds,

“From Gallia's coast a tyrant hurld his threats ; And to whole nations bound in servile straits Our country mark'd the preparation vast

The liberal donor of capacities Of hostile forces; and she call'd, with voice More than heroic ! this to be, nor yet That fill'd her plains, that reach'd her utmost shores, Have sense of one connatural wish, nor yet And in remotest vales was heard, --To arms! Deserve the least return of human thanks; Then, for the first time, here you might have seen Winning no recompense but deadly hate The shepherd's gray to martial scarlet changed, With pity mix'd, astonishment with scorn!” That flash'd uncouthly through the woods and fields. When these involuntary words had ceased, Ten hardy striplings, all in bright attire,

The pastor said, “ So Providence is served; And graced with shining weapons, weekly march'd The forked weapon of the skies can send From this lone valley, to a central spot,

Illumination into deep, dark holds, Where, in assemblage with the flower and choice Which the mild sunbeam hath not power to pierce. Of the surrounding district, they might learn Why do ye quake, intimidated thrones? The rudiments of war; ten-hardy, strong, For, not unconscious of the mighty debt And valiant; but young Oswald, like a chief, Which to outrageous wrong the sufferer owes,

Europe, through all her habitable seats,

Tender emotions spreading from the heart Is thirsting for their overthrow, who still

To his worn cheek; or with uneasy shame Exist, as pagan temples stood of old,

For those cold humours of habitual spleen, By very horror of their impious rites

That fondly seeking in dispraise of man Preserved ; are suffer'd to extend their pride, Solace and self-excuse, had sometimes urged Like cedars on the top of Lebanon

To self-abuse a not ineloquent tongue.
Darkening the sun. But less impatient thoughts, Right toward the sacred edifice his steps
And love all hoping and expecting all,'

Had been directed; and we saw him now
This hallow'd grave demands, where rests in peace Intent upon a monumental stone,
A humble champion of the better cause;

Whose uncouth form was grafted on the wall, A peasant youth, so call him, for he ask'd

Or rather seem'd to have grown into the side No higher name ; in whom our country show'd, Of the rude pile; as ofttimes trunks of trees, As in a favourite son, most beautiful.

Where nature works in wild and craggy spots, In spite of vice, and misery, and disease,

Are seen incorporate with the living rock, Spread with the spreading of her wealthy arts,

To endure for aye. The vicar, taking note England, the ancient and the free, appear'd of his employment, with a courteous smile In him to stand before my swimming eyes,

Exclaim'd, “ The sagest antiquarian's eye Unconquerably virtuous and secure.

That task would foil ;" then, letting fall his voice No more of this, lest I offend his dust:

While he advanced, thus spake: “ Tradition tells Short was his life, and a brief tale remains. That, in Eliza's golden days, a knight “ One summer's day-a day of annual pomp

Came on a war-horse sumptuously attired, And solemn chase-from morn to sultry noon

And fix'd his home in this sequester'd vale. His steps had follow'd, fleetest of the feet,

'Tis left untold if here he first drew breath, The red deer, driven along its native heights Or as a stranger reach'd this deep recess, With cry of hound and horn; and, from that toil Unknowing and unknown. A pleasing thought Return'd with sinews weaken’d and relax'd, I sometimes entertain, that, haply bound This generous youth, too negligent of self,

To Scotland's court in service of his queen, Plunged-mid a gay and busy throng convened Or sent on mission to some northern chief To wash the fleeces of his father's flock

Of England's realm, this vale he might have seen, Into the chilling food.

With transient observation ; and thence caught “ Convulsions dire

An image fair, which brightening in his soul Seized him that selfsame night; and through the When joy of war and pride of chivalry space

Languish'd beneath accumulated years,
Of twelve ensuing days his frame was wrench'd, Had power to draw him from the world, resolved
Till nature rested from her work in death.

To make that paradise his chosen home
To him, thus snatch'd away, his comrades paid To which his peaceful fancy oft had turn'd.
A soldier's honours. At his funeral hour

Vague thoughts are these; but, if belief may rest
Bright was the sun, the sky a cloudless blue; Upon unwritten story fondly traced
A golden lustre slept upon the hills;

From sire to son, in this obscure retreat
And if by chance a stranger, wandering there, The knight arrived, with pomp of spear and shield,
From some commanding eminence had look'd And borne upon a charger cover'd o'er
Down on this spot, well pleased would he have seen With gilded housings. And the lofty steed,
A glittering spectacle ; but every face

His sole companion, and his faithful friend,
Was pallid; seldom hath that eye been moist Whom he, in gratitude, let loose to range
With tears, that wept not then; nor were the few In fertile pastures, was beheld with eyes
Who from their dwellings came not forth to join Of admiration, and delightful awe,
In this sad service, less disturbid than we.

By those untravell’d dalesmen. With less pride, They started at the tributary peal

Yet free from touch of envious discontent, Of instantaneous thunder, which announced They saw a mansion at his bidding rise, Through the still air the closing of the grave; Like a bright star amid the lowly band And distant mountains echo'd with a sound Of their rude homesteads. Here the warrior dwelt; Of lamentation never heard before !"

And, in that mansion, children of his own, The pastor ceased. My venerable friend Or kindred, gather'd round him. As a tree Victoriously upraised his clear bright eye;

That falls and disappears, the house is gone; And, when that eulogy was ended, stood

And, through improvidence or want of love Enrapt, as if his inward sense perceived

For ancient worth and honourable things, The prolongation of some still response,

The spear and shield are vanish’d, which the knight Sent by the ancient soul of this wide land, Hung in his rustic hall. One ivied arch The spirit of its mountains and its seas,

Myself have seen, a gateway, last remains Its cities, temples, fields, its awful power,

Of that foundation in domestic care Its rights and virtues-by that Deity

Raised by his hands. And now no trace is left Descending, and supporting his pure heart Of the mild-hearted champion, save this stone, With patriotic confidence and joy.

Faithless memorial! and his family name And, at the last of those memorial words,

Borne by yon clustering cottages, that sprang The pining solitary turn'd aside,

From out the ruins of his stately lodge: Whether through manly instinct to conceal These, and the name and title at full length

SIR ALFRED IRTHING, with appropriate words Like wild beasts without home! Their hour wa Accompanied, still extant, in a wreath

come ; Or posy, girding round the several fronts

But why no softening thought of gratitude, Of three clear-sounding and harmonious bells No just remembrance, scruple, or wise doubt? That in the steeple hang, his pious gift.”

Benevolence is mild ; nor borrows help, “So fails, so languishes, grows dim, and dies,” Save at worst need, from bold impetuous force, The gray-hair'd wanderer pensively exclaim'd, Fitliest allied to anger and revenge. “ All that this world is proud of. From their spheres But human kind rejoices in the might The stars of human glory are cast down;

Of mutability, and airy hopes, Perish the roses and the flowers of kings," Dancing around her, hinder and disturb Princes, and emperors, and the crowns and palms Those meditations of the soul that feed Of all the mighty, wither'd and consumed ! The retrospective virtues. Festive songs Nor is power given to lowliest innocence Break from the maddend nations at the sight Long to protect her own. The man himself Of sudden overthrow; and cold neglect Departs; and soon is spent the line of those Is the sure consequence of slow decay. Who, in the bodily image, in the mind,

Even," said the wanderer, “as that courteous In heart or soul, in station or pursuit,

knight, Did most resemble him. Degrees and ranks, Bound by his vow to labour for redress Fraternities and orders-heaping high

Of all who suffer wrong, and to enact New wealth upon the burden of the old,

By sword and lance the law of gentleness, And placing trust in privilege confirm’d

(If I may venture of myself to speak, And reconfirm'd-are scoff'd at with a smile Trusting that not incongruously I blend Of greedy foretaste, from the secret stand Low things with lofty,) I too shall be doom'd Of desolation, aim'd: to slow decline

To outlive the kindly use and fair esteem These yield, and these to sudden overthrow; of the poor calling which my youth embraced Their virtue, service, happiness, and state With no unworthy prospect. But enough; Expire; and nature's pleasant robe of green, Thoughts crowd upon me, and 'twere seemlier now Humanity's appointed shroud, inwraps

To stop, and yield our gracious teacher thanks Their monuments and their memory. The vast For the pathetic records which his voice frame

Hath here delivered; words of heartfelt truth, Of social nature changes evermore

Tending to patience when affliction strikes; Her organs and her members with decay

To hope and love ; to confident repose
Restless, and restless generation, powers

In God; and reverence for the dust of man."
And functions dying and produced at need;
And by this law the mighty whole subsists :
With an ascent and progress in the main,

BOOK VIII.
Yet, O! how disproportion'd to the hopes
And expectations of self-flattering minds !

THE PARSONAGE.
The courteous knight whose bones are here interr'd,
Lived in an age conspicuous as our own
For strife and ferment in the minds of men ;

Pastor's apprehensions that he might have detained his

auditors too long. Invitation to his house. Solitary Whence alteration, in the forms of things,

disinclined to comply, rallies the wanderer; and some Various and vast. A memorable age !

what playfully draws a comparison between his iline Which did to him assign a pensive lot

rant profession and that of the knight-errant; which To linger 'mid the last of those bright clouds,

leads to wanderer's giving an account of changes in the That, on the steady breeze of honour, sail'd

country from the manufacturing spirit. Favourable

effects. The other side of the picture, and chiefly as it In long procession, calm and beautiful.

has affected the humbler classes. Wanderer asserts He who had seen his own bright order fade,

the hollowness of all national grandeur is unsupported And its devotion gradually decline,

by moral worth; gives instances. Physical science (While war, relinquishing the lance and shield, unable to support itself. Lamentations over an excess Her temper changed, and bow'd to other laws,)

of manufacturing industry among the humbler classes Had also witnessed, in his morn of life,

of society. Picture of a child employed in a cottop

mill. Ignorance and degradation of children among That violent commotion which o’erthrew,

the agricultural population reviewed. Conversation In town, and city, and sequester'd glen,

broken off by a renewed invitation from the pastor. Altar, and cross, and church of solemn roof,

Path leading to his house. Its appearance described. And old religious house-pile after pile;

His daughter. His wife. His son (a boy) enters with And shook the tenants out into the fields,

his companion. Their happy appearance. The wan

derer, how affected by the sight of them. The " lransit gloria mundi" is finely expressed in the introduction to the foundation charters of some of the The pensive skeptic of the lonely vale ancient abbeys. Some expressions here used are taken To those acknowledgments subscribed his own, from that of the abbey of St. Mary's Furness, the transla- | With a sedate compliance, which the priest tion of which is as follows:

Fail'd not to notice, inly pleased, and said, “ Considering every day the uncertainty of life, that the “ If ye, by whom invited I commenced roses and flowers of kings, emperors, and dukes, and the These narratives of calm and humble life, crowns and palms of all the great wither and decay; and that all things, with an uninterrupted course, tend to dis- Be satisfied, 'tis well; the end is gaind; solution and death: 1 therefore," &c.

And in return for sympathy bestow'd

ARGUMENT.

And patient listening, thanks accept from me. Affections seated in the mother's breast,
Life, death, eternity! momentous themes And in the lover's fancy; and to feed
Are they, and right demand a seraph's tongue, The sober sympathies of long-tried friends.
Were they not equal to their own support ; By these itinerants, as experienced men,
And therefore no incompetence of mine

Counsel is given; contention they appease
Could do them wrong. The universal forms With gentle language ; in remotest wilds,
Of human nature, in a spot like this,

Tears wipe away, and pleasant tidings bring ;
Present themselves at once to all men's view: Could the proud quest of chivalry do more?”
Ye wish'd for act and circumstance, that make “ Happy,” rejoined the wanderer, “ they who
The individual known and understood :

gain
And such as my best judgment could select A panegyric from your generous tongue !
From what the place afforded have been given ; But, if to these wayfarers once pertained
Though apprehensions cross’d me that my zeal Aught of romantic interest, 'tis gone;
To his might well be liken’d, who unlocks Their purer service, in this realm at least,
A cabinet with gems or pictures stored,

Is past for ever. An inventive age
And draws them forth-soliciting regard

Has wrought, if not with speed of magic, yet To this, and this, as worthier than the last, - To most strange issues. I have lived to mark Till the spectator who a wbile was pleased A new and unforeseen creation rise More than the exhibiter himself, becomes

From out the labours of a peaceful land, Weary and faint, and longs to be released. Wielding her potent enginery to frame But let us hence ! my dwelling is in sight, And to produce, with appetite as keen And there"

As that of war, which rests not night or day, At this the solitary shrunk Industrious to destroy! With fruitless pains With backward will : but, wanting not address Might one like me now visit many a tract That inward motion to disguise, he said

Which, in his youth, he trod, and trod again, To his compatriot, smiling as he spake ;

A lone pedestrian with a scanty freight, “ The peaceable remains of this good knight Wish'd for, or welcome, wheresoe’er he came, Would be disturbed, I fear, with wrathful scorn, Among the tenantry of Thorpe and Ville ; If consciousness could reach him where he lies Or straggling burgh, of ancient charter proud, That one, albeit of these degenerate times, And dignified by battlements and towers Deploring changes past, or dreading change Of some stern castle, mouldering on the brow Foreseen, had dared to couple, e'en in thought, Of a green hill or bank of rugged stream. The fine vocation of the sword and lance

The footpath faintly mark’d, the horse-track wild, With the gross aims and body-bending toil And formidable length of plashy lane, Of a poor brotherhood who walk the earth

(Prized avenues ere others had been shaped Pitied, and where they are not known, despised. Or easier links connecting place with place) Yet, by the good knight's leave, the two estates Have vanished,-swallow'd up by stately roads Are traced with some resemblance. Errant those, Easy and bold, that penetrate the gloom Exiles and wanderers-and the like are these ; Of Britain's farthest glens. The earth has lent Who with their burden, traverse hill and dale, Her waters, air her breezes ;* and the sail Carrying relief for nature's simple wants.

Of traffic glides with ceaseless interchange, What though no higher recompense they seek Glistening along the low and woody dale, Than honest maintenance, by irksome toil

Or on the naked mountain's lofty side. Full oft procured, yet such may claim respect, Meanwhile, at social industry's command, Among th' intelligent, for what this course How quick, how vast an increase ! From the germ Enables them to be, and to perform.

Of some poor hamlet, rapidly produced Their tardy steps give leisure to observe,

Here a huge town, continuous and compact, While solitude permits the mind to feel;

Hiding the face of earth for leagues—and there, Instructs and prompts her to supply defects Where not a habitation stood before, By the division of her inward self,

Abodes of men irregularly mass'd For grateful converse ; and to these poor men Like trees in forest,--spread through spacious (As I have heard you boast with honest pride)

tracts Nature is bountiful, where'er they go ;

O'er which the smoke of unremitting fires Kind nature's various wealth is all their own. Hangs permanent, and plentiful as wreaths Versed in the characters of men : and bound, Of vapour glittering in the morning sun. By ties of daily interest, to maintain

And wheresoe'er the traveller turns his steps, Conciliatory manners and smooth speech ;

He sees the barren wilderness erased,
Such have been, and still are in their degree,
Examples efficacious to refine

* In treating this subject, it was impossible not to re

collect, with gratitude, the pleasing picture, which, in his Rude intercourse: apt agents to expel,

poem of the Fleece, the excellent and amiable Dyer has By importation of unlook’d-for arts,

given of the influences of manufacturing industry upon Barbarian torpor, and blind prejudice;

the face of this island. He wrote at a time when machiRaising, through just gradation, savage life nery was first beginning to be introduced, and his beneTo rustic, and the rustic to urbane.

volent heart prompted him to augur from it nothing but Within their moving magazines is lodged

good. Truth has compelled me to dwell upon the bane

sul effects arising out of an ill-regulated and excessive Power that comes forth to quicken and exalt

application of powers so admirable in themselves.

« AnteriorContinuar »