Page images
PDF
EPUB

XL.

XXXVII.

INTENT on gathering wool from hedge and brake
Yon busy Little-ones rejoice that soon
A poor old Dame will bless them for the boon:
Great is their glee while flake they add to flake
With rival earnestness ; far other strife
Than will hereafter move them, if they make
Pastime their idol, give their day of life
To pleasure snatched for reckless pleasure's sake.
Can pomp and show allay one heart-born grief ?
Pains which the World inflicts can she requite?
Not for an interval however brief;
The silent thoughts that search for stedfast light,
Love from her depths, and Duty in her might,
And Faith—these only yield secure relief.

March 8th, 1842.

TO THE REV, CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, D.D.

MASTER OF HARROW SCHOOL,
After the perusal of his Theophilus Anglicanus, recently published.
ENLIGHTENED Teacher, gladly from thy hand
Have I received this proof of pains bestowed
By Thee to guide thy Pupils on the road
That, in our native isle, and every land,
The Church, when trusting in divine command
And in her Catholic attributes, hath trod :
O may these lessons be with profit scanned
To thy heart's wish, thy labour blest by God!
So the bright faces of the young and gay
Shall look more bright—the happy, happier still ;
Catch, in the pauses of their keenest play,
Motions of thought which elevate the will
And, like the Spire that from your classic Hill
Points heavenward, indicate the end and way.

Rydal Mount, Dec. 11, 1843.

XXXVII.

XLI.

A PLEA FOR AUTHORS, MAY 1838. Failing impartial measure to dispense

TO THE PLANET VENUS. To every suitor, Equity is lame;

Upon its approximation (as an Evening Star) to the Earth, Jan. 1838. And social Justice, stript of reverence

What strong allurement draws, what spirit guides, For natural rights, a mockery and a shame; Thee, Vesper! brightening still, as if the nearer Law but a servile dupe of false pretence,

Thou com’st to man's abode the spot grew dearer If, guarding grossest things from common claim Night after night? True is it Nature hides Now and for ever, She, to works that came Her treasures less and less.—Man now presides From mind and spirit, grudge a short-lived fence. In power, where once he trembled in his weakness; “ What ! lengthened privilege, a lineal tie, Science advances with gigantic strides ; For Books /Yes, heartless Ones, or be it proved But are we aught enriched in love and meekness ? That 'tis a fault in Us to have lived and loved Aught dost thou see, bright Star! of pure and wise Like others, with like temporal hopes to die;

More than in humbler times graced human story; No public harm that Genius from her course

That makes our hearts more apt to sympathise Be turned; and streams of truth dried up, even at With heaven, our souls more fit for future glory, their source !

When earth shall vanish from our closing eyes,
Ere we lie down in our last dormitory?

XXXIX.

XLII.

VALEDICTORY SONNET.

WANSFELL !* this Household has a favoured lot, Closing the Volume of Sonpets published in 1838.

Living with liberty on thee to gaze, SERVING no haughty Muse, my hands have here To watch while Morn first crowns thee with her rays, Disposed some cultured Flowerets (drawn from spots Or when along thy breast serenely float Where they bloomed singly, or in scattered knots), Evening's angelic clouds. Yet ne'er a note Each kind in several beds of one parterre ; Hath sounded (shame upon the Bard !) thy praise Both to allure the casual Loiterer,

For all that thou, as if from heaven, hast brought And that, so placed, my Nurslings may requite Of glory lavished on our quiet days Studious regard with opportune delight,

Bountiful Son of Earth! when we are gone
Nor be unthanked, unless I fondly err,

From every object dear to mortal sight,
But metaphor dismissed, and thanks apart, As soon we shall be, may these words attest
Reader, farewell! My last words let them be- How oft, to elevate our spirits, shone
If in this book Fancy and Truth agree;

Thy visionary majesties of light,
If simple Nature trained by careful Art

How in thy pensive glooms our hearts found rest. Through It have won a passage to thy heart;

Dec. 24, 1842. Grant me thy love, I crave no other fee!

* The Hill that rises to the south-east, above Ambleside.

XLIII.

XLVI.

XLIV.

my

mind's eye

Who scorns a false utilitarian lure

Mid his paternal fields at random thrown? Waile beams of orient light shoot wide and high, Baffle the threat, bright Scene, from Orrest-head Deep in the vale a little rural Town *

Given to the pausing traveller's rapturous glance : Breathes forth a cloud-like creature of its own, Plead for thy peace, thou beautiful romance That mounts not toward the radiant morning sky, Of nature; and, if human hearts be dead, But, with a less ambitious sympathy,

Speak, passing winds; ye torrents, with your strong Hangs o'er its Parent waking to the cares And constant voice, protest against the wrong. Troubles and toils that every day prepares.

October 12th, 1844.
So Fancy, to the musing Poet's eye,
Endears that Lingerer. And how blest her sway
(Like influence never may my soul reject)
If the calm Heaven, now to its zenith decked

Proud were ye, Mountains, when, in times of old, With glorious forms in numberless array,

Your patriot sons, to stem invasive war, To the lone shepherd on the hills disclose

Intrenched your brows; ye gloried in each scar: Gleams from a world in which the saints repose.

Now, for your shame, a Power, the Thirst of Gold,

That rules o'er Britain like a baneful star, Jan 1, 1843.

Wills that your peace, your beauty, shall be sold,

And clear way made for her triumphal car IN

Through the beloved retreats your arms enfold ! a Temple, like a cloud

Heard ye that Whistle? As her long-linked Train Slowly surmounting some invidious hill, Rose out of darkness : the bright Work stood still ; Yes, ye were startled ;—and, in balance true,

Swept onwards, did the vision cross your view? And might of its own beauty have been proud,

Weighing the mischief with the promised gain, But it was fashioned and to God was vowed

Mountains, and Vales, and Floods, I call on you By Virtues that diffused, in every part,

To share the passion of a just disdain.
Spirit divine through forms of human art:
Faith had herarch—her arch, when winds blow loud,
Into the consciousness of safety thrilled;
And Love her towers of dread foundation laid
Under the grave of things; Hope had her spire
Star-high, and pointing still to something higher; Here, where, of havoc tired and rash undoing,
Trembling I gazed, but heard a voice-it said, Man left this Structure to become Time's prey
“Hell-gates are powerless Phantoms when we build.” A soothing spirit follows in the way

That Nature takes, her counter-work pursuing.
See how her Ivy clasps the sacred Ruin
Fall to prevent or beautify decay;
And, on the mouldered walls, how bright, how gay,

The flowers in pearly dews their bloom renewing ! Is then no nook of English ground secure

Thanks to the place, blessings upon the hour; From rash assault ?t Schemes of retirement sown

Even as I speak the rising Sun's first smile In youth, and mid the busy world kept pure

Gleams on the grass-crowned top of yon tall Tower As when their earliest flowers of hope were blown,

Whose cawing occupants with joy proclaim Must perish ;-how can they this blight endure?

Prescriptive title to the shattered pile And must he too the ruthless change bemoan

Where, Cavendish, thine seems nothing but a name!

XLVII.

AT FURNESS ABBEY.

XLV.

ON THE PROJECTED KENDAL AND WINDERMERE

RAILWAY

XLVIII.

AT FURNESS ABBEY.

* Ambleside.

+ The degree and kind of attachment which many of the yeomanry feel to their small inheritances can scarcely be over-rated. Near the house of one of them stands a magnificent tree, which a neighbour of the owner advised him to fell for profit's sake. “ Fell it : " exclaimed the yeoman, “I had rather fall on my knees and worship it." It happens, I believe, that the intended railway would pass through this little property, and I hope that an apology for the answer will not be thought necessary by one who enters into the strength of the feeling.

Well have yon Railway Labourers to this ground
Withdrawn for noontide rest. They sit, they walk
Among the Ruins, but no idle talk
Is heard; to grave demeanour all are bound;
And from one voice a Hymn with tuneful sound
Hallows once more the long-deserted Quire

[blocks in formation]

SEVEN YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH.

I Shiver, Spirit fierce and bold,
At thought of what I now behold :
As vapours breathed from dungeons cold

Strike pleasure dead,
So sadness comes from out the mould

Where Burns is laid.

And have I then thy bones so near,
And thou forbidden to appear?
As if it were thyself that 's here

I shrink with pain ;
And both my wishes and my fear

Alike are vain.

The gentlest Shade that walked Elysian plains
Might sometimes covet dissoluble chains ;
Even for the tenants of the zone that lies
Beyond the stars, celestial Paradise,
Methinks 'twould heighten joy, to overleap
At will the crystal battlements, and peep
Into some other region, though less fair,
To see how things are made and managed there.
Change for the worse might please, incursion bold
Into the tracts of darkness and of cold;
O'er Limbo lake with aëry flight to steer,
And on the verge of Chaos hang in fear.
Such animation often do I find,
Power in my breast, wings growing in my mind,
Then, when some rock or hill is overpast,
Perchance without one look behind me cast,
Some barrier with which Nature, from the birth
Of things, has fenced this fairest spot on earth.
O pleasant transit, Grasmere! to resign
Such happy fields, abodes so calm as thine ;
Not like an outcast with himself at strife ;
The slave of business, time, or care for life,
But moved by choice ; or, if constrained in part,
Yet still with Nature's freedom at the heart ;-
To cull contentment upon wildest shores,
And luxuries extract from bleakest moors ;
With prompt embrace all beauty to enfold,
And having rights in all that we behold.
- Then why these lingering steps ?-A bright

adieu,
For a brief absence, proves that love is true;
Ne’er can the way be irksome or forlorn
That winds into itself for sweet return.

Off weight-nor press on weight !-away
Dark thoughts !- they came, but not to stay ;
With chastened feelings would I pay

The tribute due
To him, and aught that hides his clay

From mortal view.

Fresh as the flower, whose modest worth
He sang, his genius glinted' forth,
Rose like a star that touching earth,

For so it seems,
Doth glorify its humble birth

With matchless beams.

The piercing eye, the thoughtful brow,
The struggling heart, where be they now ? -
Full soon the Aspirant of the plough,

The prompt, the brave,
Slept, with the obscurest, in the low

And silent grave.

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

* See note.

« PreviousContinue »