« AnteriorContinuar »
For the Master sees, alas!
That unhappy Figure near him,
Limping o'er the dewy grass,
Where the road it fringes, sweet,
Soft and cool to way-worn feet;
And, O indignity! an Ass,
By his noble Mastiff's side,
Tether'd to the Waggon's tail:
And the Ship, in all her pride,
Following after in full sail!
Not to speak of Babe and Mother;
Who, contented with each other,
And, snug as birds in leafy arbour,
Find, within, a blessed harbour!
With eager eyes the Master pries:
Looks in and out-and through and through;
Says nothing-till at last he spies
A wound upon the Mastiff's head,
A wound-where plainly might be read
What feats an Ass's hoof can do!
But drop the rest :-this aggravation,
This complicated provocation,
A hoard of grievances unseal'd;
All past forgiveness it repeal'd;-
And thus, and through distemper'd blood
On both sides, Benjamin the good,
The patient, and the tender-hearted,
Was from his Team and Waggon parted;
When duty of that day was o'er,
Laid down his whip-and served no more.-
Nor could the waggon long survive
Which Benjamin had ceased to drive:
It linger'd on;-Guide after Guide
Ambitiously the office tried;
But each unmanageable hill
Call'd for his patience and his skill;-
And sure it is, that through this night,
And what the morning brought to light,
Two losses had we to sustain,
We lost both WAGGONER and WAIN!
Accept, O friend, for praise or blame,
The gift of this adventurous Song;
A record which I dared to frame,
Though timid scruples check'd me long;
They check'd me-and I left the theme
Untouch'd-in spite of many a gleam
Of fancy which thereon was shed,
Like pleasant sunbeams shifting still
Upon the side of a distant hill:
But Nature might not be gainsaid;
For what I have and what I miss
I sing of these-it makes my bliss!
Nor is it I who play the part,
But a shy spirit in my heart,
That comes and goes-will sometimes leap
From hiding-places ten years' deep;
Or haunts me with familiar face-
Returning, like a ghost unlaid,
Until the debt I owe be paid.
Forgive me, then; for I had been
On friendly terms with this Machine:
In him, while he was wont to trace
Our roads, through many a long year's space,
A living Almanack had we;
We had a speaking Diary,
That, in this uneventful place,
Gave to the days a mark and name
By which we knew them when they came.
-Yes, I, and all about me here,
Through all the changes of the
Had seen him through the mountains go,
In pomp of mist or pomp of snow,
Majestically huge and slow:
Or, with a milder grace adorning
The Landscape of a summer's morning;
While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain
The moving image to detain;
And mighty Fairlield, with a chime
Of echoes, to his march kept time;
When little other business stirr'd,
And little other sound was heard;
In that delicious hour of balm,
Stillness, solitude, and calm,
While yet the Valley is array'd,
On this side with a sober shade;
On that is prodigally bright-
Grag, lawn, and wood-with rosy light.-
But most of all, thou lordly Wain!
I wish to have thee here again,
When windows flap and chimney roars,
And all is dismal out of doors;
And sitting by my fire, I see
Eight sorry Carts, no less a train!
Unworthy Successors of thee,
Come straggling through the wind and rain :
And oft, as they pass slowly on,
Beneath my window-one by one-
See, perch'd upon the naked height
The summit of a cumbrous freight,
A single Traveller-and there
Another-then perhaps a Pair-
The lame, the sickly, and the old;
Men, Women, heartless with the cold;
And Babes in wet and starveling plight,
Which once, be weather as it might,
Had still a nest within a nest,
Thy shelter-and their Mother's breast!
Then most of all, then far the most,
Do I regret what we have lost;
Am grieved for that unhappy sin
Which robb'd us of good Benjamin;-
And of his stately Charge, which none
Could keep alive when he was gone!
year to year the spacious floor
With withered leaves is covered o'er,
And all the year the bower is green.
But see! where'er the hailstones drop,
The withered leaves all skip and hop,
There's not a breeze-no breath of air-
Yet here, and there, and every where
Along the floor, beneath the shade
By those embowering hollies made,
The leaves in myriads jump and spring,
As if with pipes and music rare
Some Robin Good-fellow were there,
And all those leaves, in festive glee,
Were dancing to the minstrelsy.
THE GREEN LINNET. BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread Of spring's unclouded weather,
In this sequestered nook how sweet
To sit upon my Orchard-seat!
And Birds and Flowers once more to greet,
My last year's Friends together.
One have I marked, the happiest Guest
In all this covert of the blest :
Hail to Thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion,
Thou, Linnet! in thy green array,
Presiding Spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While Birds, and Butterflies, and Flowers
Make all one Band of Paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment;
A Life, a Presence like the Air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perched in ecstasies,
Yet seeming still to hover;
There! where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
My sight he dazzles, half deceives,
A Bird so like the dancing Leaves;
Then flits, and from the Cottage eaves
Pours forth his song in gushes;
As if by that exulting strain
He mocked and treated with disdain
The voiceless Form he chose to feign,
While fluttering in the bushes.