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For Christian Faith. But hopeful signs abound;
SEE the Condemned alone within his cell
Yes, though He well may tremble at the sound
Those heights (like Phæbus when his golden locks EPISTLE
He veiled, attendant on Thessalian flocks)
And, in disguise, a Milkmaid with her pail TO SIR GEORGE HOWLAND BEAUMONT, BART.
Trips down the pathways of some winding dale ; FROM THE SOUTH-WEST COAST OF CUMBERLAND.-1811.
Or, like a Mermaid, warbles on the shores Far from our home by Grasmere's quiet Lake, To fishers mending nets beside their doors; From the Vale's peace which all her fields partake, Or, Pilgrim-like, on forest moss reclined, Here on the bleakest point of Cumbria's shore Gives plaintive ditties to the heedless wind, We sojourn stunned by Ocean's ceaseless roar; Or listens to its play among the boughs While, day by day, grim neighbour! huge Black Above her head and so forgets her vowsComb
If such a Visitant of Earth there be Frowns deepening visibly his native gloom, And she would deign this day to smile on me Unless, perchance rejecting in despite
And aid my verse, content with local bounds What on the Plain we have of warmth and light, Of natural beauty and life's daily rounds, In his own storms he hides himself from sight. Thoughts, chances, sights, or doings, which we tell Rough is the time; and thoughts, that would be free Without reserve to those whom we love wellFrom heaviness, oft fly, dear Friend, to thee ; Then haply, Beaumont ! words in current clear Turn from a spot where neither sheltered road Will flow, and on a welcome page appear Nor hedge-row screen invites my steps abroad; Duly before thy sight, unless they perish here. Where one poor Plane-tree, having as it might Attained a stature twice a tall man’s height,
What shall I treat of? News from Mona's Isle ? Hopeless of further growth, and brown and sere
Such have we, but unvaried in its style ; Through half the summer, stands with top cut sheer, No tales of Runagates fresh landed, whence Like an unshifting weathercock which proves And wherefore fugitive or on what pretence; How cold the quarter that the wind best loves, Of feasts, or scandal, eddying like the wind Or like a Centinel that, evermore
Most restlessly alive when most confined. Darkening the window, ill defends the door Ask not of me, whose tongue can best appease Of this unfinished house-a Fortress bare,
The hty tumults of the House of Keys; Where strength has been the Builder's only care ; The last year's cup whose Ram or Heifer gained, Whose rugged walls may still for years demand What slopes are planted, or what mosses drained : The final polish of the Plasterer's hand.
An eye of fancy only can I cast - This Dwelling's Inmate more than three weeks' On that proud pageant now at hand or past, space
When full five hundred boats in trim array, And oft a Prisoner in the cheerless place,
With nets and sails outspread and streamers gay, 1-of whose touch the fiddle would complain, And chanted hymns and stiller voice of prayer, Whose breath would labour at the flute in vain, For the old Manx-harvest to the Deep repair, In music all unversed, nor blessed with skill Soon as the herring-shoals at distance shine A bridge to copy, or to paint a mill,
Like beds of moonlight shifting on the brine. Tired of my books, a scanty company! And tired of listening to the boisterous sea- Mona from our Abode is daily seen, Pace between door and window muttering rhyme, But with a wilderness of waves between; An old resource to cheat a froward time !
And by conjecture only can we speak Though these dull hours (mine is it, or their shame?) Of aught transacted there in bay or creek; Would tempt me to renounce that humble aim. No tidings reach us thence from town or field, -But if there be a Muse who, free to take Only faint news her mountain sunbeams yield, Her seat upon Olympus, doth forsake
And some we gather from the misty air,
And some the hovering clouds, our telegraph, And in that griesly object recognise declare,
The Curate's Dog-his long-tried friend, for they, But these poetic mysteries I withhold;
As well we knew, together had grown grey. For Fancy hath her fits both hot and cold, The Master died, his drooping servant’s grief And should the colder fit with You be on
Found at the Widow's feet some sad relief; When You might read, my credit would be gone. Yet still he lived in pining discontent,
Sadness which no indulgence could prevent; Let more substantial themes the pen engage, Hence whole day wanderings, broken nightly sleeps And nearer interests culled from the opening stage And lonesome watch that out of doors he keeps; Of our migration.—Ere the welcome dawn Not oftentimes, I trust, as we, poor brute ! Had from the east her silver star withdrawn, Espied him on his legs sustained, blank, mute, The Wain stood ready, at our Cottage-door, And of all visible motion destitute, Thoughtfully freighted with a various store; So that the very heaving of his breath And long or ere the uprising of the Sun
Seemed stopt, though by some other power than O’er dew-damped dust our journey was begun,
death. A needful journey, under favouring skies, Long as we gazed upon the form and face, Through peopled Vales; yet something in the guise A mild domestic pity kept its place, Of those old Patriarchs when from well to well Unscared by thronging fancies of strange hue They roamed through Wastes where now the tented That haunted us in spite of what we knew. Arabs dwell.
Even now I sometimes think of him as lost
In second-sight appearances, or crost Say first, to whom did we the charge confide, By spectral shapes of guilt, or to the ground, Who promptly undertook the Wain to guide On which he stood, by spells unnatural bound, Up many a sharply-twining road and down, Like a gaunt shaggy Porter forced to wait And over many a wide hill's craggy crown,
In days of old romance at Archimago's gate. Through the quick turns of many a hollow nook, And the rough bed of many an unbridged brook ? Advancing Summer, Nature's law fulfilled, A blooming Lass—who in her better hand The choristers in every grove had stilled; Bore a light switch, her sceptre of command But we, we lacked not music of our own, When, yet a slender Girl, she often led,
For lightsome Fanny had thus early thrown, Skilful and bold, the horse and burthened sled
Mid the gay prattle of those infant tongues, From the peat-yielding Moss on Gowdar's head. Some notes prelusive, from the round of songs What could go wrong with such a Charioteer
With which, more zealous than the liveliest bird For goods and chattels, or those Infants dear,
That in wild Arden's brakes was ever heard, A Pair who smilingly sate side by side,
Her work and her work's partners she can cheer, Our hope confirming that the salt-sea tide, The whole day long, and all days of the year. Whose free embraces we were bound to seek, Would their lost strength restore and freshen the
Thus gladdened from our own dear Vale we pass pale cheek?
And soon approach Diana's Looking-glass ! Such hope did either Parent entertain
To Loughrigg-tarn, round clear and bright as Pacing behind along the silent lane.
Such name Italian fancy would have given, Blithe hopes and happy musings soon took flight, Ere on its banks the few grey cabins rose For lo! an uncouth melancholy sight
That yet disturb not its concealed repose
More than the feeblest wind that idly blows.
Ah, Beaumont! when an opening in the road The Figure called to mind a beast of prey
Stopped me at once by charm of what it showed, Stript of its frightful powers by slow decay, The encircling region vividly exprest And, though no longer upon rapine bent,
Within the mirror's depth, a world at restDim memory keeping of its old intent.
Sky streaked with purple, grove and craggy bield* , We started, looked again with anxious eyes, And the smooth green of many a pendent field,
* A word common in the country, signifying shelter, as * A local word for Sledge.
And, quieted and soothed, a torrent small,
Under a rock too steep for man to tread, A little daring would-be waterfall,
Where sheltered from the north and bleak northOne chimney smoking and its azure wreath,
west Associate all in the calm Pool beneath,
Aloft the Raven hangs a visible nest, With here and there a faint imperfect gleam Fearless of all assaults that would her brood molest. Of water-lilies veiled in misty steam
Hot sunbeams fill the steaming vale ; but hark, What wonder at this hour of stillness deep, At our approach, a jealous watch-dog's bark, A shadowy link 'tween wakefulness and sleep, Noise that brings forth no liveried Page of state, When Nature's self, amid such blending, seems But the whole household, that our coming wait. To render visible her own soft dreams,
With Young and Old warm greetings we exchange, If, mixed with what appeared of rock, lawn, wood, And jocund smiles, and toward the lowly Grange Fondly embosomed in the tranquil flood,
Press forward by the teasing dogs unscared. A glimpse I caught of that Abode, by Thee Entering, we find the morning meal prepared: Designed to rise in humble privacy,
So down we sit, though not till each had cast A lowly Dwelling, here to be outspread,
Pleased looks around the delicate repast, Like a small Hamlet, with its bashful head Rich cream, and snow-white eggs fresh from the Half hid in native trees. Alas 'tis not,
nest, Nor ever was; I sighed, and left the spot
With amber honey from the mountain's breast; Unconscious of its own untoward lot,
Strawberries from lane or woodland, offering wild And thought in silence, with regret too keen, Of children's industry, in hillocks piled; Of unexperienced joys that might have been ; Cakes for the nonce, and butter fit to lie Of neighbourhood and intermingling arts,
Upon a lordly dish ; frank hospitality And golden summer days uniting cheerful hearts. Where simple art with bounteous nature vied, But time, irrevocable time, is flown,
And cottage comfort shunned not seemly pride. And let us utter thanks for blessings sown And reaped—what hath been, and what is, our own.
Kind Hostess! Handmaid also of the feast,
If thou be lovelier than the kindling East, Not far we travelled ere a shout of glee, Words by thy presence unrestrained may speak Startling us all, dispersed my reverie;
Of a perpetual dawn from brow and cheek Such shout as many a sportive echo meeting
Instinct with light whose sweetest promise lies, Oft-times from Alpine chalets sends a greeting.
Never retiring, in thy large dark eyes, Whence the blithe hail ? behold a Peasant stand Dark but to every gentle feeling true, On high, a kerchief waving in her hand !
As if their lustre flowed from ether's purest blue. Not unexpectant that by early day Our little Band would thrid this mountain way, Let me not ask what tears may have been wept Before her cottage on the bright hill side
By those bright eyes, what weary vigils kept, She hath advanced with hope to be descried. Beside that hearth what sighs may have been Right gladly answering signals we displayed,
heaved Moving along a tract of morning shade,
For wounds inflicted, nor what toil relieved And vocal wishes sent of like good will
By fortitude and patience, and the grace To our kind Friend high on the sunny hill- Of heaven in pity visiting the place. Luminous region, fair as if the prime
Not unadvisedly those secret springs Were tempting all astir to look aloft or climb;
I leave unsearched: enough that memory clings, Only the centre of the shining cot
Here as elsewhere, to notices that make With door left open makes a gloomy spot,
Their own significance for hearts awake, Emblem of those dark corners sometimes found To rural incidents, whose genial powers Within the happiest breast on earthly ground. Filled with delight three summer morning hours.
Rich prospect left behind of stream and vale, More could my pen report of grave or gay And mountain-tops, a barren ridge we scale; That through our gipsy travel cheered the way; Descend and reach, in Yewdale's depths, a plain But, bursting forth above the waves, the Sun With haycocks studded, striped with yellowing Laughs at my pains, and seems to say, “Be done.” grain
Yet, Beaumont, thou wilt not, I trust, reprove An area level as a Lake and spread
This humble offering made by Truth to Love,
Nor chide the Muse that stooped to break a spell Which might have else been on me yet:
Yet might your glassy prison seem
A place where joy is known, Where golden flash and silver gleam
Have meanings of their own ; While, high and low, and all about,
Your motions, glittering Elves ! Ye weave—no danger from without,
And peace among yourselves.
UPON PERUSING THE FOREGOING EPISTLE THIRTY
YEARS AFTER ITS COMPOSITION.
Soon did the Almighty Giver of all rest
Type of a sunny human breast
Is your transparent cell; Where Fear is but a transient guest,
No sullen Humours dwell; Where, sensitive of every ray
That smites this tiny sea, Your scaly panoplies repay
The loan with usury.
How beautiful !-Yet none knows why
This ever-graceful change,
Within your quiet range.
For mutual pleasure glide ;
Are dwarfed, or magnified ?
Note.-LOUGHRIGG TARN, alluded to in the foregoing Epistle, resembles, though much smaller in compass, the Lake Nemi, or Speculum Dianæ as it is often called, not only in its clear waters and circular form, and the beauty immediately surrounding it, but also as being overlooked by the eminence of Langdale Pikes as Lake Nemi is by that of Monte Calvo. Since this Epistle was written Loughrigg Tarn has lost much of its beauty by the felling of many natural clumps of wood, relics of the old forest, particularly upon the farm called “ The Oaks," from the abundance of that tree which grew there.
It is to be regretted, upon public grounds, that Sir George Beaumont did not carry into effect his intention of constructing here a Summer Retreat in the style I have described; as his taste would have set an example how buildings, with all the accommodations modern society requires, might be introduced even into the most secluded parts of this country without injuring their native character. The design was not abandoned from failure of inclination on his part, but in consequence of local untowardnesses which need not be particularised.
Fays, Genii of gigantic size!
And now, in twilight dim, Clustering like constellated eyes,
In wings of Cherubim, When the fierce orbs abate their glare;
Whate'er your forms express, Whate'er ye seem, whate'er ye are
All leads to gentleness.
Cold though your nature be, 'tis pure;
Your birthright is a fence
Through tyranny of sense.
Are Ye to heaven allied,
Ye mingle, or divide.
GOLD AND SILVER FISHES IN A VASE,
The soaring lark is blest as proud
When at heaven's gate she sings;
Her flight by vocal wings;
Your silent lives employ
Though haply less than joy.