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Her annual bounty, sparingly dealt forth
A slight flush
That which we feel we utter; as we think So have we argued ; reaping for our pains No visible recompense. For our relief You,» to the Pastor turning thus he spake, « Have kindly interposed. May I entreat Your further help? The mine of real life Dng for us; and present us, in the shape Of virgin ore, that gold which we, hy pains Fruitless as those of aery Alchemists, Seek from the torturing crucible. There lies Around us a Domain where You have long Watched both the outward course and inner heart ; Give us, for our abstractions, solid facts; For our disputes, plain pictures. Say what Man He is who cultivates yon hanging field; What qualities of mind She bears, who comes, For morn and evening service, with her pail, To that green pasture; place before our siglit The Family who dwell within
House Fenced round with glittering laurel; or in that Below, from which the curling smoke ascends. Or rather, as we stand on holy carth, And have the Dead around us, take from them Your instances; for they are both best known, And by frail Man most equitablv judged. Epitomise the life ; pronounce. You can, Authentic epitaphs on some of these Who, from their lowly mansions hither brought, Beneath this turf lic mouldering at our feet. So, by your records, may our doubts be solved ; And so, not searching higher, we may learn To prize the brenth we share with human kind And look upon the dust of man with awe.»
The Priest replied. —-« An office you impose For which peculiar requisites are mine; Yet much, I feel, is wanting-else the task Would be most grateful. True indred it is That They whom Death has hidden from our sight Are worthiest of the Mind's regard; with these The future cannot contradict the past : Mortality's last exercise and proof Is undergone; the transit made that shews The very soul, revealed as she departs. Yet, on your first suggestion, will I give, Ere we descend into these silent vaults, One Picture from the living.
You behold, High on the breast of
dark mountain-dark With stony barrendess, a shining speck Bright as a supbeam sleeping till a shower Brush it away, or clouil pass over it; And such it might be deemed—a sleeping sunbeam; But 't is a plot of cultivated ground,
Cut off, an island in the dusky waste ;
But no tradition tells
- A House of stones collected on the spot,
- Alone within her solitary lut;
« Much was I pleased, the grey-haired Wanderer
said, When to those shining fields our notice first You turnd; and vet more pleased have from your lips Gather'd this fair report of them who dwell In that Retirement; whither, by such course Of evil hap and good as oft awaits A lone wayfaring. Man, I once was brought. Dark on my road the autumnal evening fell While I was traversing yon mountain-pass, And night succeeded with unusual gloom; So that my feet and hands at length became Guides better than mine eyes-until a light High in the gloom appeard, too higli, methought,
For human habitation; but I long'd
Save when the Sabbath brings its kind release, To reach it, destitute of other hope.
My Helpmate's face by light of day. He quits I look'd with steadiness as Sailors look
His door in darkness, nor till dusk returns. On the north star, or watch-lower's distant lamp, And, through Heaven's blessing, thus we gain the bread And saw the light-now fix'd-and shifting now For which we pray; and for the wants provide Not like a dancing meteor, but in line
Of sickness, accident and helpless age. Of never-varying motion, to and fro.
Companions have I many; many Friends, It is no night-fire of the naked hills,
Dependents, Comforters--my Wheel, my Fire, Thought I, some friendly covert must be near.
All day the House-clock ticking in mine ear, With this persuasion thitherward my steps
The cackling Hen, the tender chicken brood, I turn, and reach at last the guiding Liglit;
And the wild birds that gather round my porch. Joy to myself! but to the heart of Her
This honest Sheep-dog's countenance I read; Who there was standing on the open hill
With him can talk; por blush to waste a word (The same kind Matron whom your tongue hath praised) On Creatures less intelligent and shrewd. Alarm and disappointment! The alarm
And if the blustering Wind that drives the clouds
The Matron ended-nor could I forbear
Of these privations, richer in the main!
While thankless thousands are oppress'd and clogg'd Traversed but by a few irregular paths,
By ease and leisure -- by the very wealth Imposcs, whensoe'er untoward chance
And pride of opportunity made poor ; Detains him after his accustom'd hour
While tens of thousands falter in their path, When night lies black upon the hills. “But come, And sink through utter want of cheering light; Come,' said the Matron, 'to our poor Abode;
For you the liours of labour do not flag; Those dark rocks hide it!' Entering, I beheld
you each evening hath its shising Star, A blazing fire-beside a cleanly hearth
And every Sabbath-day its golden Sun !'»
« Yes!» said the Solitary with a smile Of mountain turf required the Builder's hand
That seem'd to break from an expanding heart, Its wasted splendour to repair, the door
The untutord Bird may found, and so construct, Open'd, and she re-enter'd with glad looks,
And with such soft materials line lier Dest, Her Help-mate following. Hospitable fare,
Fix'd in the centre of a prickly brake, Frank conversation, made the evening's treat:
That the thorns wound her not; they only guard. Need a bewilder'd Traveller wish for more?
Powers not unjustly liken'd to those gifts But more was given; I studied as we sate
Of happy instinct which the woodland Bird By the bright fire, the good Man's face-composed
Shares with her species, Nature's grace sometimes Of features elegant; an open brow
Upon the individual doth confer, Of undisturb'd humanity; a cheek
Among her higher creatures born and train'd Suffused with something of a feminine hue:
To use of reason. And, I own, that tired Eyes beaming courtesy and mild regard;
Of the ostentatious world-a swelling stage But, in the quicker turns of the discourse,
With empty actions and vain passions stuffd, Expression slowly varying, that evinced
And from the private struggles of mankind A tardy apprehension. From a fount
Hoping for less than I could wish to hope, Lost, thought I, in the obscurities of time,
Far less than once I trusted and believed But honour'd once, these features and that mien
I love to hear of Those, who, not contending May have descended, though I see them here.
Nor summond to contend for Virtue's prize, In such a Man, so gentle and subdued,
Miss not the humbler good at which they aim; Withal so graceful in his gentleness,
Blest with a kindly faculty to blunt A race illustrious for heroic deeds,
The edge of adverse circumstance, and turn Humbled, but not degraded, may expire.
Into their contraries the petty plagues This pleasing fancy (cherish'd and upheld
And hindrances with which they stand beset. By sundry recollections of such fall
- In early youth, among my native hills, From high to low, ascent from low to high,
I knew a Scottish Peasant, who possessed As books record, and even the careless mind
A few small Crofts of stone encumber'd ground; Cannot but notice among men and things)
Masses of every shape and size, that lay Went with me to the place of my repose.
Scatter'd about beneath the mouldering walls
Of a rough precipice; and some, apart, « Roused by the crowing cock at dawn of day, In quarters unobnoxious to such chance, I yet had risen too late to interchange
As if the Moon had shower'd them down in spite ; A morning salutation with my lost,
But he repined not. Though the plough was scared Gone forth already to the far-off seat
By these obstructions, 'round the shady stones
Gathers and is preserved; and feeding dews
And damps, through all the droughty Summer day, From the delights of charity cut off,
To pity dead, the Oppressor and the Opprest;
Tyrants who utter the destroying word, So green, so fresh, so plentiful, as mine!"
And slaves who will consent to be destroy'da But thinly sown these Natures ; rare, at least,
Were of one species with the shelter'd few,
Who, with a dutiful and tender hand,
The vital air; and others, who, allow'd
That privilege, did yet expire loo soon, If living now, could otherwise report
Or with too brief a warning, to admit of rustic loneliness: that grey-hair'd Orphan
Administration of the holy rite So call him, for humanity to him
That lovingly consigns the Babe to the arms No parent was-could feelingly liave told,
Of Jesus, and his everlasting care. In life, in death, what Solitude can breed
These that in trembling hope are laid apart; Of selfishness, and cruelty, and vice;
And the besprinkled Nursling, unrequired Or, if it breed not, hath not power to cure.
Till he begins to sinile upon the breast --But your compliance, Sir! with our request
That feeds him; and the tottering Little-one My words too long have binderd.»
Taken from air and sunshine when the rose
Undeterr'd, Of Infancy first blooms upon his cheek; Perhaps incited rather, by these shocks,
The thinking, thoughtless School-boy; the bold Youth lo no ungracious opposition, given
Of soul impetuous, and the bashful Maid To the confiding spirit of his own
Smitten while all the promises of life Experienced faith, the reverend Pastor said,
Are opening round her; those of middle
age, Around him looking, « Where shall I begin?
Cast down while confident in strength they stand, Who shall be first selected from my Flock
Like pillars fix'd more firmly, as might seem, Gather'd together in their peaceful fold ?»
And more secure, by very weight of all He paused—and having lifted up his eyes
That, for support, rests on them: the decay'd To the pure Heaven, he cast them down again And burthensome; and, lastly, that poor
few Cpon the earth beneath his feet; and spake.
Whose light of reason is with age extinct; Toa mysteriously-consorted Pair
The hopeful and the hopeless, first and last, This place is consecrate; to Death and Life,
The earliest summond and the longest sparedAnd to the best Affections that proceed
Are here deposited, with tribute paid | From their conjunction. Consecrate to faith
Various, but unto each some tribute paid; ! Ja Him who bled for man upon the Cross;
As if, amid these peaceful hills and groves, Hallowd to Revelation; and no less
Society were touched with kind concern; | To reason's mandates; and the hopes divine
And gentle ‘Naturc grieved, that One should die;' | Of pure Imagination ;-above all,
Or, if the change demanded no regret, To Charity, and Love, that have provided,
Observed the liberating stroke-and blessed. Within these precincts a capacious bed
- And whence that tribute ? wherefore these regards ? | And receptacle, open to the good
Not from the naked Heart alone of Man And evil, to the just and the unjust ;
(Though claiming high distinction upon earth In which they find an equal resting-place:
As the sole spring and fountain-head of tears, 1 Even as the multitude of kindred brooks
His own peculiar utterance for distress And streams whose murmur fills this hollow vale, Or gladness); No,» the philosophic Priest Whether their course be turbulent or smooth,
Continued, « 'i is not in the vital seat Their waters clear or sullied, all are lost
Of feeling to produce them, without aid Within the bosom of yon crystal Lake,
From the pure Soul, the Soul sublime and pure ; And end their journey in the same repose !
With her two faculties of Eye and Ear,
The one by which a Creature, whom his sins And blest are they who sleep; and we that know Have rendered prone, can upward look to heaven; While in a spot like this we breathe and walk, The other that empowers him to perceive That All beneath us by the wings are covered
The voice of Deity, on height and plain | of motherly Humanity, outspread
Whispering those truths in stillness, which the Wond, | And gathering all within their tender shade,
To the four quarters of the winds, proclaims. Though loth and slow to come! A battle-field, Not without such assistance could the use lo stillness left when slaughter is no more,
Of these benign observances prevail. | With this compared, is a strange spectacle!
Thus are they born, thus fostered, and maintained; A rueful sight the wild shore strewn with wrecks, And by the care prospective of our wise And trod by people in aftlicted quest
Forefathers, who, to guard against the shocks, Of friends and kindred wliom the angry
The fluctuation and decay of things Restores not to their prayer! Ah! who would think Embodied and established these high Truths I That all the scatter'd subjects which compose lo solemn Institutions:-Men convinced Earth's melancholy vision through the space
That Life is Love and Immortality, Of all her climes; these wretched, these depraved, The Being one, and one the Element, ! To virtue lost, iosensible of peace,
There lies the channel, and original bed,
From the beginning, hollowed out and scooped Nor wanting, at wide intervals, the bulk
Of ancient Minster, lifted above the cloud
Of the dense air, which town or city breeds -This is the genuine course, the aim, and end To intercepe the sun's glad beams-may ne'er Of prescicut Reason; all conclusions else
That true succession fail of English Hearts,
Who, with Ancestral feeling, can perceive
What in those holy Structures ye possess
Of ornamental interest, and the charm
Of pious sentiment diffused afar, In strife, and tribulation; and ordained,
And human charity, and social love. If so approved and sanctified, to pass,
—Thus never shall the indignilies of Time Through shades and silent rest, to endless joy.» Approach their reverend graces, unopposed ;
Nor shall the Elements be free to hurt
Their fair proportions; nor the blinder rage
Of bigot zeal madly to overturn;
Spare them, they shall continue to bestow-
Upon the thronged abodes of busy Men
(Depraved, and ever prone to fill their minds Poet's Address to the State and Church of England - Exclusively with transitory things)
The Pastor not inferior to the ancient Worthies of an air and mien of dignified pursuit;
which leads by contrast to an Example of Of those pure Altars worthy; Ministers abused talents, irresolution, and weakness --Solitary, Detached from pleasure, to the love of gain applying this covertly to his own case, asks for an Superior, insusceptible of pride, Instance of some Stranger, whose dispositions may And by ambitious longings undisturbed ; have led him to end his days here-Pastor, in an- Men, whose delight is where their duty leads swer, gives an account of the harmonizing influence or fixes them; whose least distinguished day of Solitude upon two Men of opposite principles, Shines with some portion of that heavenly lustre who had encountered agitations in public life-The Which makes the Sabbath lovely in the sight Rule by which Peace may be obtained expressed- of blessed Angels, pitying human cares. and where—Solitary hints at an overpowering Fata- | - And, as on earth it is the doom of Truth lity—Answer of the Pastor-What subjects he will to be perpetually attacked by foes exclude from his Narratives—Conversation upon this Open or covert, be that Priesthood still, ---Instance of an upamiable character, a Female For her defence, replenished with a Band and why given-Contrasted with this, a meek Suf- of strenuous Champions, in scholastic arts ferer, from unguarded and betrayed love-Instance of Thoroughly disciplined ; nor (if in course heavier guilt, and its consequences to the Offender of the revolving World's disturbances With this Instance of a Marriage Contract broken is Cause should recur, which righteous Heaven avert! contrasted one of a Widower, evidencing his faithful To meet such trial) from their spiritual Sires affection towards his deceased wife by his care of Degenerale; who, constrained to wield the sword their feinale Children.
Of disputation, shrunk not, though assailed
With liostile din, and combating in sight THE CHURCH-YARD AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.
Of angry umpires, partial and upjust;
And did, thereafter, bathe their hands in fire,
With their last breath, from out the smouldering flame, Whose steps are equiry, whose seat is law.
The faith which they by diligence bad earned, -Hail to the State of England! And conjoin
Or, through illuminating grace, received, With this a salutation as devout,
For their dear Countrymen, and all mankind.
O bigh example, constancy divine!
Even such a Man (inheriting the real la beauty of Holiness, with ordered pomp,
And from the sanctity of elder times
If multiplied, and in their stations set,
Would o'er the bosom of a joyful Land They may endure as long as sea surrounds
Spread truc Religion, and her genuine fruits) This favoured Land, or sunshine warms her soil. Before me stood that day; on holy ground
- And O, ye swelling hills, and spacious plains ! Fraught with the relics of mortaliiy, Besprent from shore to shore with steeple-towers, Exalting tender themes, by just degrees And spires Whose « silent finger points to Heaven ;» To lofty raised; and to the inighest, last:
Such was that strong concussion; but the Man Who trembled, trunk and limbs, like some buge Oak By a fierce teinpest shaken, soon resumed The steadfast quiet natural to a Mind Of composition gentle and sedate, And in its movements circumspect and slow. To books, and to the long-forsaken desk, O'er which enchained by science he had loved To bend, he stoutly re-addressed himself, Resolved to quell his pain, and search for truth With kecner appetite (if that might be) And closer industry. Of what ensued Within the beart no outward sign appeared Till a betraying sickliness was seen To linge his cheek; and through his frame it crepe With slow mutation unconccalable; Such universal change as autumn makes To the fair body of a leafy grove Discoloured, then divested. “T is affirmed ky Poels skilled in Nature's secret ways That Love will not submit to be controlled By mastery :-and the good Man Jacked not Friends Who strove to instil this truth into his mind, A mind in all heart-mysteries unversed. . Go to the hills,' said one, ' remit awhile This baneful diligence :-at early morn Court the fresh air, explore the heaths and woods; And, leaving it to others to foretell, By calculations sage, the ebb and flow Of tides, and when the moon will be eclipsed, Do you, for your own benefit, construct A calendar of flowers, plucked as they blow Where health abides, and cheerfulness, and peace.' The attempt was made;- 't is needless to report How hopelessly :- but Innocence is strong, And an cotire simplicity of mind A thing most sacred in the eye of Heaven, That opens, for such Sufferers, relief Within their souls, a fount of grace divine; And doth commend their weakness and disease To Nature's care, assisted in her office By all the Elements that round her wait To generale, to preserve, and to restore ; And by her beautiful array of Forms Shedding sweet influence from above, or pure Delight exhaling from the ground they tread.»
« Impute it not to impatience, if,» exclaimed The Wanderer, « Tiofer that he was bealed By perseverance in the course prescribed.»
The head and mighty paramount of truths;
That basis laid, those principles of faith
« At morn or eve, in your retired Domain,
From Nature's kindliness, received a frame · Robust as ever rural labour bred.»
| The Solitary answered : « Such a Form
Full well I recollect. We often crossed
The Vicar smiled,
« Died he then Of pain and grief,» the Solitary asked, « Believe it noi-oh! never could that be!»
He loved,» the vicar answered, « deeply loved, Loved fondly, truly, fervently; and dared At length to tell his love, but sued in vain ;
-- Rejected-yea repeiled—and, if with scorn l'pon the baughty maiden's brow, 't is but Å bigh-prized plume which female Beauty wears la waptonness of conquesi, or puts on To cbeat the world, or from herself to hide Humiliation, when no longer free. That he could brook, and glory in ;- but when The tidings came that she whom he had wooed Was wedded to another, and his heart Was forced to rend away its only hope, Then, Pily could have scarcely found on earth Ao Object worthier of regard than he, lo the transition of that bitter hour!
Lost was she, lost ; nor could the Sufferer say · That in the ac! of preference he had been
Cnjustly dealt with; but the Maid was gone !
flis lot ard hers, as misery is mine!
« You do not err: the powers, that had been lost By slow degrees, were gradually regained; The fluttering nerves composed; the beating heart In rest established; and the jarring thoughts To harmony restored.—But yon dark mould Will cover him, in height of strength-to earth Hastily smitten, by a fever's force; Yet not with stroke so sudden as refused Time to look back with tenderness on her Whom he had loved in passion,- and to send Some farewell words- wiili one, but one, request, That from his dying hand, she would accept, Of his possessions, that which most he prized; A Book, upon whose leaves some chosen plants \ By his own hand Jisposed with nicest care,