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And, bidden to a spare but cheerful meal,
I sate among the holy brotherhood
At their long board. The fare indeed was such
As is prescribed on days of abstinence,
But might have pleased a nicer taste than mine ;
And through the floor came up, an ancient crone
Serving unseen below; while from the roof
(The roof, the floor, the walls of native fir,)
A lamp hung flickering, such as loves to fling
Its partial light on Apostolic heads,
And sheds a grace on all. Theirs Time as yet
Had changed not. Some were almost in the prime;
Nor was a brow o'ercast. Seen as they sate,
Ranged round their ample hearth-stone in an hour
Of rest, they were as gay, as free from guile,
As children ; answering, and at once, to all
The gentler impulses, to pleasure, mirth ;
Mingling, at intervals, with rational talk
Music; and gathering news from them that came,
As of some other world. But when the storm
Rose, and the snow rolled on in ocean-waves,
When on his face the experienced traveller fell,
Sheltering his lips and nostrils with his hands,
Then all was changed; and, sallying with their pack
Into that blank of nature, they became
Unearthly beings. 'Anselm, higher up,
Just where it drifts, a dog howls loud and long,
And now, as guided by a voice from Heaven,
Digs with his feet. That noble vehemence
Whose can it be, but his who never erred ? *
A man lies underneath! Let us to work ! -
But who descends Mont VELAN? 'Tis La Croix,
Away, away ! if not, alas, too late.
Homeward he drags an old man and a boy,
Faltering and falling, and but half awaked,
Asking to sleep again. Such their discourse.

Oft has a venerable roof received me;
St. Bruno's once t-where, when the winds were

hushed, Nor from the cataract the voice came up, You might have heard the mole work underground, So great the stillness of that place ; none seen,

* Alluding to Barri, a dog of great renown in his day. He is here admirably represented by a pencil that has done honour to many of his kind, but to none who deserved it

His skin is stuffed, and preserved in the Museum of Berne.

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Save when from rock to rock a hermit crossed
By some rude bridge-or one at midnight tolled
To matins, and white habits, issuing forth,
Glided along those aisles interminable,
All, all observant of the sacred law
Of Silence. Nor is that sequestered spot,
Once called 'Sweet Waters,' now · The Shady Vale,'*
To me unknown; that house so rich of old,
So courteous, and, by two that passed that way,t
Amply requited with immortal verse,
The Poet's payment.-But, among them all,
None can with this compare, the dangerous seat
Of generous, active Virtue. What though Frost
Reign everlastingly, and ice and snow
Thaw not, but gather—there is that within,
Which, where it comes, makes Summer; and, in thought,
Oft am I sitting on the bench beneath
Their garden-plot, where all that vegetates
Is but some scanty lettuce, to observe
Those from the South ascending, every step
As though it were their last,--and instantly

* Vallombrosa, formerly called Acqua Bella.

+ ARIOSTO and Milton. Milton was there at the fall of the leaf.

Restored, renewed, advancing as with songs,
Soon as they see, turning a lofty crag,
That plain, that modest structure, promising
Bread to the hungry, to the weary rest.

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THE DESCENT.

My mule refreshed-and, let the truth be told,
He was nor dull nor contradictory,
But patient, diligent, and sure of foot,
Shunning the loose stone on the precipice,
Snorting suspicion while with sight, smell, touch,
Trying, detecting, where the surface smiled ;
And with deliberate courage sliding down,
Where in his sledge the Laplander had turned
With looks aghast-my mule refreshed, his bells
Gingled once more, the signal to depart,
And we set out in the grey light of dawn,
Descending rapidly-by waterfalls
Fast-frozen, and among huge blocks of ice
That in their long career had stopped mid-way.
At length, unchecked, unbidden, he stood still;
And all his bells were muffled. Then

my

Guide, Lowering his voice, addressed me: “Thro' this Gap On and say nothing-lest a word, a breath

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