Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

His bodily frame had been from youth to age
Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks
He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud,
And listened to the wind; and, as before,
Performed all kinds of labour for his sheep,
And for the land, his small inheritance.
And to that hollow dell from time to time
Did he repair, to build the Fold of which
His flock had need. "Tis not forgotten yet
The pity which was then in every heart
For the old Man-and 'tis believed by all
That many and many a day he thither went,
And never lifted up a single stone.

II.

The Mother mourned, nor ceased her tears to flow,
Till a winter's noon-day placed her buried Son
Before her eyes, last child of many gone-

His raiment of angelic white, and lo!
His very feet bright as the dazzling snow
Which they are touching; yea far brighter, even
As that which comes, or seems to come, from heaven,
Surpasses aught these elements can show.
Much she rejoiced, trusting that from that hour
Whate'er befel she could not grieve or pine;

But the Transfigured, in and out of season,
Appeared, and spiritual presence gained a power
Over material forms that mastered reason.

There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he Oh, gracious Heaven, in pity make her thine!

seen

Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog,

Then old, beside him, lying at his feet.

The length of full seven years, from time to time,
He at the building of this Sheep-fold wrought,
And left the work unfinished when he died.
Three years, or little more, did Isabel
Survive her Husband: at her death the estate
Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand.
The Cottage which was named the EVENING STAR
Is gone the ploughshare has been through the
ground

On which it stood; great changes have been wrought
In all the neighbourhood:-yet the oak is left
That grew beside their door; and the remains
Of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen
Beside the boisterous brook of Green-head Ghyll.

1800.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE.

T.

How beautiful when up a lofty height
Honour ascends among the humblest poor,
And feeling sinks as deep! See there the door
Of One, a Widow, left beneath a weight
Of blameless debt. On evil Fortune's spite
She wasted no complaint, but strove to make
A just repayment, both for conscience-sake
And that herself and hers should stand upright
In the world's eye. Her work when daylight failed
Paused not, and through the depth of night she kept
Such earnest vigils, that belief prevailed
With some, the noble Creature never slept;
But, one by one, the hand of death assailed
Her children from her inmost heart bewept.

THE ARMENIAN LADY'S LOVE.

[The subject of the following poem is from the Orlandus of the author's friend, Kenelm Henry Digby: and the liberty is taken of inscribing it to him as an acknowledgment, however unworthy, of pleasure and instruction derived from his numerous and valuable writings, illustrative of the piety and chivalry of the olden time.]

I.

You have heard 'a Spanish Lady

How she wooed an English man* ;'
Hear now of a fair Armenian,
Daughter of the proud Soldàn;

How she loved a Christian Slave, and told her pain
By word, look, deed, with hope that he might love

again.

* See, in Percy's Reliques, that fine old ballad, "The Spanish Lady's Love;" from which Poem the form of stanza, as suitable to dialogue, is adopted.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

"Lady! dread the wish, nor venture

In such peril to engage;

Think how it would stir against you

Your most loving father's rage:

XI.

"Wedded love with loyal Christians,

Lady, is a mystery rare;

Body, heart, and soul in union,

Make one being of a pair."

"Humble love in me would look for no return,

Sad deliverance would it be, and yoked with shame, Soft as a guiding star that cheers, but cannot burn.” Should troubles overflow on her from whom it

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

And how blest the Reunited,

While beneath their castle-walls,

Runs a deafening noise of welcome !—

Blest, though every tear that falls Doth in its silence of past sorrow tell,

Bend with the breeze their heads, beside a crystal And makes a meeting seem most like a dear farewell,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

XXVI.

Mute memento of that union

In a Saxon church survives,

Where a cross-legged Knight lies sculptured

As between two wedded WivesFigures with armorial signs of race and birth, And the vain rank the pilgrims bore while yet on earth.

XXXV.

LOVING AND LIKING:

IRREGULAR VERSES,

ADDRESSED TO A CHILD.

(BY MY SISTER.)

THERE's more in words than I can teach :
Yet listen, Child!-I would not preach;
But only give some plain directions

To guide your speech and your affections.
Say not you love a roasted fowl,
But you may love a screaming owl,
And, if you can, the unwieldy toad
That crawls from his secure abode
Within the mossy garden wall
When evening dews begin to fall.
Oh mark the beauty of his eye:
What wonders in that circle lie!
So clear, so bright, our fathers said
He wears a jewel in his head!
And when, upon some showery day,
Into a path or public way

A frog leaps out from bordering grass,
Startling the timid as they pass,
Do you observe him, and endeavour
To take the intruder into favour;'
Learning from him to find a reason
For a light heart in a dull season.
And you may love him in the pool,
That is for him a happy school,

In which he swims as taught by nature,
Fit pattern for a human creature,
Glancing amid the water bright,
And sending upward sparkling light.

Nor blush if o'er your heart be stealing A love for things that have no feeling: The spring's first rose by you espied, May fill your breast with joyful pride; And you may love the strawberry-flower, And love the strawberry in its bower; But when the fruit, so often praised For beauty, to your lip is raised,

1830.

Say not you love the delicate treat,
But like it, enjoy it, and thankfully eat.

Long may you love your pensioner mouse, Though one of a tribe that torment the house: Nor dislike for her cruel sport the cat, Deadly foe both of mouse and rat; Remember she follows the law of her kind, And Instinct is neither wayward nor blind. Then think of her beautiful gliding form, Her tread that would scarcely crush a worm, And her soothing song by the winter fire, Soft as the dying throb of the lyre.

I would not circumscribe your love : It may soar with the eagle and brood with the dove, May pierce the earth with the patient mole,

Or track the hedgehog to his hole.

Loving and liking are the solace of life,

Rock the cradle of joy, smooth the death-bed of

strife.

You love your father and your mother,
Your grown-up and your baby brother;
You love your sister, and your friends,
And countless blessings which God sends:
And while these right affections play,
You live each moment of your day;
They lead you on to full content,
And likings fresh and innocent,
That store the mind, the memory feed,
And prompt to many a gentle deed:
But likings come, and pass away;
'Tis love that remains till our latest day:
Our heavenward guide is holy love,
And will be our bliss with saints above.

XXXVI.

FAREWELL LINES.

1832.

"HIGH bliss is only for a higher state,'
But, surely, if severe afflictions borne
With patience merit the reward of peace,
Peace ye deserve; and may the solid good,
Sought by a wise though late exchange, and here
With bounteous hand beneath a cottage-roof
To you accorded, never be withdrawn,
Nor for the world's best promises renounced.
Most soothing was it for a welcome Friend,
Fresh from the crowded city, to behold
That lonely union, privacy so deep,

Such calm employments, such entire content.
So when the rain is over, the storm laid,

A pair of herons oft-times have I seen,

Upon a rocky islet, side by side,

Drying their feathers in the sun, at ease;

And so, when night with grateful gloom had fallen,
Two glow-worms in such nearness that they shared,
As seemed, their soft self-satisfying light,
Each with the other, on the dewy ground,
Where He that made them blesses their repose.—
When wandering among lakes and hills I note,
Once more, those creatures thus by nature paired,
And guarded in their tranquil state of life,
Even, as your happy presence to my mind
Their union brought, will they repay the debt,
And send a thankful spirit back to you,
With hope that we, dear Friends! shall meet again.

XXXVII.

THE REDBREAST.

(SUGGESTED IN A WESTMORELAND COTTAGE.)

DRIVEN in by Autumn's sharpening air
From half-stripped woods and pastures bare,
Brisk Robin seeks a kindlier home:
Not like a beggar is he come,
But enters as a looked-for guest,
Confiding in his ruddy breast,
As if it were a natural shield
Charged with a blazon on the field,
Due to that good and pious deed
Of which we in the Ballad read.
But pensive fancies putting by,
And wild-wood sorrows, speedily
He plays the expert ventriloquist ;

And, caught by glimpses now-now missed,
Puzzles the listener with a doubt

If the soft voice he throws about

Comes from within doors or without!
Was ever such a sweet confusion,
Sustained by delicate illusion?
He's at your elbow-to your feeling
The notes are from the floor or ceiling ;
And there's a riddle to be guessed,
Till you have marked his heaving chest,
And busy throat whose sink and swell,
Betray the Elf that loves to dwell
In Robin's bosom, as a chosen cell.

Heart-pleased we smile upon the Bird If seen, and with like pleasure stirred Commend him, when he's only heard.

But small and fugitive our gain
Compared with hers who long hath lain,
With languid limbs and patient head
Reposing on a lone sick-bed;

Where now, she daily hears a strain
That cheats her of too busy cares,
Eases her pain, and helps her prayers.
And who but this dear Bird beguiled
The fever of that pale-faced Child;
Now cooling, with his passing wing,
Her forehead, like a breeze of Spring:
Recalling now, with descant soft
Shed round her pillow from aloft,
Sweet thoughts of angels hovering nigh,
And the invisible sympathy

Of 'Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John,
Blessing the bed she lies upon * ?”
And sometimes, just as listening ends
In slumber, with the cadence blends
A dream of that low-warbled hymn
Which old folk, fondly pleased to trim
Lamps of faith, now burning dim,
Say that the Cherubs carved in stone,
When clouds gave way at dead of night
And the ancient church was filled with light,
Used to sing in heavenly tone,

Above and round the sacred places
They guard, with winged baby-faces.

Thrice happy Creature! in all lands
Nurtured by hospitable hands:
Free entrance to this cot has he,
Entrance and exit both yet free;
And, when the keen unruffled weather
That thus brings man and bird together,
Shall with its pleasantness be past,
And casement closed and door made fast,
To keep at bay the howling blast,
He needs not fear the season's rage,
For the whole house is Robin's cage.
Whether the bird flit here or there,
O'er table lilt, or perch on chair,
Though some may frown and make a stir,
To scare him as a trespasser,

And he belike will flinch or start,
Good friends he has to take his part;
One chiefly, who with voice and look
Pleads for him from the chimney-nook,
Where sits the Dame, and wears away

*The words

'Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John, Bless the bed that I lie on,' are part of a child's prayer, still in general use through the northern counties.

« AnteriorContinua »