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INSCRIPTIONS.

I.

IN THE GROUNDS OF COLEORTON, THE SEAT OF SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT, BART., LEICESTERSHIRE.

1808.

THE embowering rose, the acacia, and the pine,
Will not unwillingly their place resign;
If but the Cedar thrive that near them stands,
Planted by Beaumont's and by Wordsworth's hands.
One wooed the silent Art with studious pains:
These groves have heard the Other's pensive strains;
Devoted thus, their spirits did unite
By interchange of knowledge and delight.
May Nature's kindliest powers sustain the Tree,
And Love protect it from all injury!
And when its potent branches, wide out-thrown,
Darken the brow of this memorial Stone,
Here may some Painter sit in future days,
Some future Poet meditate his lays ;
Not mindless of that distant age renowned
When Inspiration hovered o'er this ground,
The haunt of him who sang how spear and shield
In civil conflict met on Bosworth-field;
And of that famous Youth, full soon removed
From earth, perhaps by Shakspeare's self approved,
Fletcher's Associate, Jonson's Friend beloved.

But by an industry that wrought in love;
With help from female hands, that proudly strove
To aid the work, what time these walks and bowers
Were shaped to cheer dark winter's lonely hours.

III.

WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF SIR GEORGE BEAU-
MONT, BART., AND IN HIS NAME, FOR AN URN,
PLACED BY HIM AT THE TERMINATION OF A NEWLY-
PLANTED AVENUE, IN THE SAME GROUNDS.

YE Lime-trees, ranged before this hallowed Urn,
Shoot forth with lively power at Spring's return;
And be not slow a stately growth to rear
Of pillars, branching off from year to year,
Till they have learned to frame a darksome aisle ;-
That may recal to mind that awful Pile
Where Reynolds, 'mid our country's noblest dead,
In the last sanctity of fame is laid.
-There, though by right the excelling Painter sleep
Where Death and Glory a joint sabbath keep,
Yet not the less his Spirit would hold dear
Self-hidden praise, and Friendship's private tear:
Hence, on my patrimonial grounds, have I
Raised this frail tribute to his memory;
From youth a zealous follower of the Art
That he professed; attached to him in heart;
Admiring, loving, and with grief and pride
Feeling what England lost when Reynolds died.

II.

IN A GARDEN OF THE SAME.

OFT is the medal faithful to its trust
When temples, columns, towers, are laid in dust;
And 'tis a common ordinance of fate

That things obscure and small outlive the great:
Hence, when yon mansion and the flowery trim
Of this fair garden, and its alleys dim,
And all its stately trees, are passed away,
This little Niche, unconscious of decay,
Perchance may still survive. And be it known
That it was scooped within the living stone,--
Not by the sluggish and ungrateful pains
Of labourer plodding for his daily gains,

IV.

FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF COLEORTON.

BENEATH yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
Rugged and high, of Charnwood's forest ground,
Stand yet, but, Stranger! hidden from thy view,
The ivied Ruins of forlorn GRACE DIEU;
Erst a religious House, which day and night
With hymns resounded, and the chanted rite:
And when those rites had ceased, the Spot gave
birth

To honourable Men of various worth:

There, on the margin of a streamlet wild,
Did Francis Beaumont sport, an eager child;
There, under shadow of the neighbouring rocks,
Sang youthful tales of shepherds and their flocks;
Unconscious prelude to heroic themes,
Heart-breaking tears, and melancholy dreams
Of slighted love, and scorn, and jealous rage,
With which his genius shook the buskined stage.
Communities are lost, and Empires die,
And things of holy use unhallowed lie;
They perish; but the Intellect can raise,
From airy words alone, a Pile that ne'er decays.

V.

1808.

WRITTEN WITH A PENCIL UPON A STONE IN THE
WALL OF THE HOUSE (AN OUT-HOUSE), ON THE
ISLAND AT GRASMERE.

RUDE is this Edifice, and Thou hast seen
Buildings, albeit rude, that have maintained
Proportions more harmonious, and approached
To closer fellowship with ideal grace.
But take it in good part:-alas! the poor
Vitruvius of our village had no help
From the great City; never, upon leaves
Of red Morocco folio saw displayed,
In long succession, pre-existing ghosts
Of Beauties yet unborn-the rustic Lodge
Antique, and Cottage with verandah graced,
Nor lacking, for fit company, alcove,
Green-house, shell-grot, and moss-lined hermitage.
Thou see'st a homely Pile, yet to these walls
The heifer comes in the snow-storm, and here
The new-dropped lamb finds shelter from the wind.
And hither does one Poet sometimes row
His pinnace, a small vagrant barge, up-piled
With plenteous store of heath and withered fern,
(A lading which he with his sickle cuts,
Among the mountains) and beneath this roof
He makes his summer couch, and here at noon
Spreads out his limbs, while, yet unshorn, the
Sheep,

Panting beneath the burthen of their wool,
Lie round him, even as if they were a part
Of his own Household: nor, while from his bed
He looks, through the open door-place, toward the
lake

And to the stirring breezes, does he want
Creations lovely as the work of sleep-
Fair sights, and visions of romantic joy!

VI.

WRITTEN WITH A SLATE PENCIL ON A STONE, ON THE
SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN OF BLACK COMB.

STAY, bold Adventurer; rest awhile thy limbs
On this commodious Seat! for much remains
Of hard ascent before thou reach the top
Of this huge Eminence,-from blackness named,
And, to far-travelled storms of sea and land,
A favourite spot of tournament and war!
But thee may no such boisterous visitants
Molest; may gentle breezes fan thy brow;
And neither cloud conceal, nor misty air
Bedim, the grand terraqueous spectacle,
From centre to circumference, unveiled!
Know, if thou grudge not to prolong thy rest,
That on the summit whither thou art bound,
A geographic Labourer pitched his tent,
With books supplied and instruments of art,
To measure height and distance; lonely task,
Week after week pursued!-To him was given
Full many a glimpse (but sparingly bestowed
On timid man) of Nature's processes
Upon the exalted hills. He made report
That once, while there he plied his studious work
Within that canvass Dwelling, colours, lines,
And the whole surface of the out-spread map,
Became invisible: for all around

Had darkness fallen-unthreatened, unproclaimed-
As if the golden day itself had been
Extinguished in a moment; total gloom,
In which he sate alone, with unclosed eyes,
Upon the blinded mountain's silent top!

VII.

1813.

WRITTEN WITH A SLATE PENCIL UPON A STONE, THE
LARGEST OF A HEAP LYING NEAR A DESERTED
QUARRY, UPON ONE OF THE ISLANDS AT RYDAL.
STRANGER! this hillock of mis-shapen stones
Is not a Ruin spared or made by time,
Nor, as perchance thou rashly deem'st, the Cairn
Of some old British Chief: 'tis nothing more
Than the rude embryo of a little Dome
Or Pleasure-house, once destined to be built
Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle.
But, as it chanced, Sir William having learned
That from the shore a full-grown man might wade,
And make himself a freeman of this spot
At any hour he chose, the prudent Knight

Desisted, and the quarry and the mound
Are monuments of his unfinished task.

The vocal raptures of fresh poesy,

Shall he frequent these precincts; locked no more

The block on which these lines are traced, perhaps, In earnest converse with beloved Friends,
Was once selected as the corner-stone

Of that intended Pile, which would have been
Some quaint odd plaything of elaborate skill,
So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush,
And other little builders who dwell here,
Had wondered at the work. But blame him not,
For old Sir William was a gentle Knight,
Bred in this vale, to which he appertained
With all his ancestry. Then peace to him,
And for the outrage which he had devised
Entire forgiveness!-But if thou art one
On fire with thy impatience to become
An inmate of these mountains,-if, disturbed
By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn
Out of the quiet rock the elements

Of thy trim Mansion destined soon to blaze

In snow-white splendour, think again; and, taught

By old Sir William and his quarry, leave
Thy fragments to the bramble and the rose;
There let the vernal slow-worm sun himself,
And let the redbreast hop from stone to stone.

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Here will he gather stores of ready bliss,

As from the beds and borders of a garden
Choice flowers are gathered! But, if Power may
spring

Out of a farewell yearning-favoured more
Than kindred wishes mated suitably
With vain regrets-the Exile would consign
This Walk, his loved possession, to the care
Of those pure Minds that reverence the Muse.

X.

1826.

INSCRIPTIONS SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND IN AND NEAR
A HERMIT'S CELL.

1818.

I.

HOPES what are they?-Beads of morning
Strung on slender blades of grass;

Or a spider's web adorning

In a strait and treacherous pass.

What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not;
And deluding the unwary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!

What is glory?—in the socket

See how dying tapers fare!

What is pride?—a whizzing rocket

That would emulate a star.

What is friendship?—do not trust her,
Nor the vows which she has made;
Diamonds dart their brightest lustre
From a palsy-shaken head.

What is truth?-a staff rejected;

Duty-an unwelcome clog;
Joy?-a moon by fits reflected
In a swamp or watery bog;

Bright, as if through ether steering,
To the Traveller's eye it shone:
He hath hailed it re-appearing-
And as quickly it is gone;

Such is Joy-as quickly hidden,
Or mis-shapen to the sight,
And by sullen weeds forbidden
To resume its native light.

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The umbrageous Oak, in pomp outspread,
Full oft, when storms the welkin rend,
Draws lightning down upon the head
It promised to defend.

But Thou art true, incarnate Lord, Who didst vouchsafe for man to die; Thy smile is sure, thy plighted word No change can falsify!

I bent before thy gracious throne,
And asked for peace on suppliant knee;
And peace was given,-nor peace alone,
But faith sublimed to ecstasy!

XV.

FOR THE SPOT WHERE THE HERMITAGE STOOD ON

ST. HERBERT'S ISLAND, DERWENT-WATER.

If thou in the dear love of some one Friend
Hast been so happy that thou know'st what thoughts
Will sometimes in the happiness of love
Make the heart sink, then wilt thou reverence

This quiet spot; and, Stranger! not unmoved Wilt thou behold this shapeless heap of stones, The desolate ruins of St. Herbert's Cell.

Here stood his threshold; here was spread the roof
That sheltered him, a self-secluded Man,
After long exercise in social cares

And offices humane, intent to adore

The Deity, with undistracted mind,
And meditate on everlasting things,
In utter solitude.-But he had left

A Fellow-labourer, whom the good Man loved
As his own soul. And, when with eye upraised
To heaven he knelt before the crucifix,
While o'er the lake the cataract of Lodore
Pealed to his orisons, and when he paced
Along the beach of this small isle and thought
Of his Companion, he would pray that both
(Now that their earthly duties were fulfilled)
Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain
So prayed he:-as our chronicles report,
Though here the Hermit numbered his last day
Far from St. Cuthbert his beloved Friend,
Those holy Men both died in the same hour.

1800.

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