Lyrical Ballads with Other Poems, 1800, Vol. 2
by William Wordsworth
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Quam hihil ad genium, Papiniane, tuum!



Hart-leap Well There was a Boy, &c The Brothers, a Pastoral Poem Ellen Irwin, or the Braes of Kirtle Strange fits of passion I have known, &c. Song A slumber did my spirit seal, &c The Waterfall and the Eglantine The Oak and the Broom, a Pastoral Lucy Gray The Idle Shepherd-Boys or Dungeon-Gill Force, a Pastoral 'Tis said that some have died for love, &c. Poor Susan Inscription for the Spot where the Hermitage stood on St. Herbert's Island, Derwent-Water Inscription for the House (an Out-house) on the Island at Grasmere To a Sexton Andrew Jones The two Thieves, or the last stage of Avarice A whirl-blast from behind the Hill, &c. Song for the wandering Jew Ruth Lines written with a Slate-Pencil upon a Stone, &c. Lines written on a Tablet in a School The two April Mornings The Fountain, a conversation Nutting Three years she grew in sun and shower, &c. The Pet-Lamb, a Pastoral Written in Germany on one of the coldest days of the century The Childless Father The Old Cumberland Beggar, a Description Rural Architecture A Poet's Epitaph A Character A Fragment Poems on the Naming of Places, Michael, a Pastoral Notes to the Poem of The Brothers Notes to the Poem of Michael


Hart-Leap Well is a small spring of water, about five miles from Richmond in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road which leads from Richmond to Askrigg. Its name is derived from a remarkable chase, the memory of which is preserved by the monuments spoken of in the second Part of the following Poem, which monuments do now exist as I have there described them.

The Knight had ridden down from Wensley moor With the slow motion of a summer's cloud; He turn'd aside towards a Vassal's door, And, "Bring another Horse!" he cried aloud.

"Another Horse!"—That shout the Vassal heard, And saddled his best steed, a comely Grey; Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third Which he had mounted on that glorious day.

Joy sparkeled in the prancing Courser's eyes; The horse and horsemen are a happy pair; But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies, There is a doleful silence in the air.

A rout this morning left Sir Walter's Hall, That as they gallop'd made the echoes roar; But horse and man are vanish'd, one and all; Such race, I think, was never seen before.

Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind, Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain: Brach, Swift and Music, noblest of their kind, Follow, and weary up the mountain strain.

The Knight halloo'd, he chid and cheer'd them on With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern; But breath and eye-sight fail, and, one by one, The dogs are stretch'd among the mountain fern.

Where is the throng, the tumult of the chace? The bugles that so joyfully were blown? —This race it looks not like an earthly race; Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone.

The poor Hart toils along the mountain side; I will not stop to tell how far he fled, Nor will I mention by what death he died; But now the Knight beholds him lying dead.

Dismounting then, he lean'd against a thorn; He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy: He neither smack'd his whip, nor blew his horn, But gaz'd upon the spoil with silent joy.

Close to the thorn on which Sir Walter lean'd, Stood his dumb partner in this glorious act; Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yean'd, And foaming like a mountain cataract.

Upon his side the Hart was lying stretch'd: His nose half-touch'd a spring beneath a hill, And with the last deep groan his breath had fetch'd The waters of the spring were trembling still.

And now, too happy for repose or rest, Was never man in such a joyful case, Sir Walter walk'd all round, north, south and west, And gaz'd, and gaz'd upon that darling place.

And turning up the hill, it was at least Nine roods of sheer ascent, Sir Walter found Three several marks which with his hoofs the beast Had left imprinted on the verdant ground.

Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, "Till now Such sight was never seen by living eyes: Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow, Down to the very fountain where he lies."

I'll build a Pleasure-house upon this spot, And a small Arbour, made for rural joy; Twill be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot, A place of love for damsels that are coy.

A cunning Artist will I have to frame A bason for that fountain in the dell; And they, who do make mention of the same, From this day forth, shall call it Hart-leap Well.

And, gallant brute! to make thy praises known, Another monument shall here be rais'd; Three several pillars, each a rough hewn stone, And planted where thy hoofs the turf have graz'd.

And in the summer-time when days are long, I will come hither with my paramour, And with the dancers, and the minstrel's song, We will make merry in that pleasant bower.

Till the foundations of the mountains fail My mansion with its arbour shall endure, —The joy of them who till the fields of Swale, And them who dwell among the woods of Ure.

Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead, With breathless nostrils stretch'd above the spring. And soon the Knight perform'd what he had said, The fame whereof through many a land did ring.

Ere thrice the moon into her port had steer'd, A cup of stone receiv'd the living well; Three pillars of rude stone Sir Walter rear'd, And built a house of pleasure in the dell.

And near the fountain, flowers of stature tall With trailing plants and trees were intertwin'd, Which soon composed a little sylvan hall, A leafy shelter from the sun and wind.

And thither, when the summer days were long, Sir Walter journey'd with his paramour; And with the dancers and the minstrel's song Made merriment within that pleasant bower.

The Knight, Sir Walter, died in course of time, And his bones lie in his paternal vale.— But there is matter for a second rhyme, And I to this would add another tale.


The moving accident is not my trade. To curl the blood I have no ready arts; 'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade, To pipe a simple song to thinking hearts,

As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair, It chanc'd that I saw standing in a dell Three aspins at three corners of a square, And one, not four yards distant, near a well.

What this imported I could ill divine, And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop, I saw three pillars standing in a line, The last stone pillar on a dark hill-top.

The trees were grey, with neither arms nor head; Half-wasted the square mound of tawny green; So that you just might say, as then I said, "Here in old time the hand of man has been."

I look'd upon the hills both far and near; More doleful place did never eye survey; It seem'd as if the spring-time came not here, And Nature here were willing to decay.

I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost, When one who was in Shepherd's garb attir'd, Came up the hollow. Him did I accost, And what this place might be I then inquir'd.

The Shepherd stopp'd, and that same story told Which in my former rhyme I have rehears'd. "A jolly place," said he, "in times of old, But something ails it now; the spot is curs'd."

You see these lifeless stumps of aspin wood, Some say that they are beeches, others elms, These were the Bower; and here a Mansion stood, The finest palace of a hundred realms.

The arbour does its own condition tell, You see the stones, the fountain, and the stream, But as to the great Lodge, you might as well Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.

There's neither dog nor heifer, horse nor sheep, Will wet his lips within that cup of stone; And, oftentimes, when all are fast asleep, This water doth send forth a dolorous groan.

Some say that here a murder has been done, And blood cries out for blood: but, for my part, I've guess'd, when I've been sitting in the sun, That it was all for that unhappy Hart.

What thoughts must through the creature's brain have pass'd! To this place from the stone upon the steep Are but three bounds, and look, Sir, at this last! O Master! it has been a cruel leap.

For thirteen hours he ran a desperate race; And in my simple mind we cannot tell What cause the Hart might have to love this place, And come and make his death-bed near the well.

Here on the grass perhaps asleep he sank, Lull'd by this fountain in the summer-tide; This water was perhaps the first he drank When he had wander'd from his mother's side.

In April here beneath the scented thorn He heard the birds their morning carols sing, And he, perhaps, for aught we know, was born Not half a furlong from that self-same spring.

But now here's neither grass nor pleasant shade; The sun on drearier hollow never shone: So will it be, as I have often said, Till trees, and stones, and fountain all are gone.

Grey-headed Shepherd, thou hast spoken well; Small difference lies between thy creed and mine; This beast not unobserv'd by Nature fell, His death was mourn'd by sympathy divine.

The Being, that is in the clouds and air, That is in the green leaves among the groves. Maintains a deep and reverential care For them the quiet creatures whom he loves.

The Pleasure-house is dust:—behind, before, This, is no common waste, no common gloom; But Nature, in due course of time, once more Shall here put on her beauty and her bloom.

She leaves these objects to a slow decay That what we are, and have been, may be known; But, at the coming of the milder day, These monuments shall all be overgrown.

One lesson, Shepherd, let us two divide, Taught both by what she shews, and what conceals, Never to blend our pleasure or our pride With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.

There was a Boy, ye knew him well, ye Cliffs And Islands of Winander! many a time, At evening, when the stars had just begun To move along the edges of the hills, Rising or setting, would he stand alone, Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake, And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands Press'd closely palm to palm and to his mouth Uplifted, he, as through an instrument, Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls That they might answer him. And they would shout Across the wat'ry vale and shout again Responsive to his call, with quivering peals, And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud Redoubled and redoubled, a wild scene

Of mirth and jocund din. And, when it chanced That pauses of deep silence mock'd his skill, Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprize Has carried far into his heart the voice Of mountain torrents, or the visible scene Would enter unawares into his mind With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, receiv'd Into the bosom of the steady lake.

Fair are the woods, and beauteous is the spot, The vale where he was born: the Church-yard hangs Upon a slope above the village school, And there along that bank when I have pass'd At evening, I believe, that near his grave A full half-hour together I have stood, Mute—for he died when he was ten years old.





[Footnote 1: This Poem was intended to be the concluding poem of a series of pastorals, the scene of which was laid among the mountains of Cumberland and Westmoreland. I mention this to apologise for the abruptness with which the poem begins.]

These Tourists, Heaven preserve us! needs must live A profitable life: some glance along Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air. And they were butterflies to wheel about Long as their summer lasted; some, as wise, Upon the forehead of a jutting crag Sit perch'd with book and pencil on their knee, And look and scribble, scribble on and look, Until a man might travel twelve stout miles, Or reap an acre of his neighbour's corn. But, for that moping son of Idleness Why can he tarry yonder?—In our church-yard Is neither epitaph nor monument, Tomb-stone nor name, only the turf we tread. And a few natural graves. To Jane, his Wife, Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale. It was a July evening, and he sate Upon the long stone seat beneath the eaves Of his old cottage, as it chanced that day, Employ'd in winter's work. Upon the stone His Wife sate near him, teasing matted wool, While, from the twin cards tooth'd with glittering wire, He fed the spindle of his youngest child, Who turn'd her large round wheel in the open air With back and forward steps. Towards the field In which the parish chapel stood alone, Girt round with a bare ring of mossy wall, While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent Many a long look of wonder, and at last, Risen from his seat, beside the snowy ridge Of carded wool—which the old Man had piled He laid his implements with gentle care, Each in the other lock'd; and, down the path Which from his cottage to the church-yard led, He took his way, impatient to accost The Stranger, whom he saw still lingering there.

'Twas one well known to him in former days, A Shepherd-lad: who ere his thirteenth year Had chang'd his calling, with the mariners A fellow-mariner, and so had fared Through twenty seasons; but he had been rear'd Among the mountains, and he in his heart Was half a Shepherd on the stormy seas. Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds Of caves and trees; and when the regular wind Between the tropics fill'd the steady sail And blew with the same breath through days and weeks, Lengthening invisibly its weary line Along the cloudless main, he, in those hours Of tiresome indolence would often hang Over the vessel's aide, and gaze and gaze, And, while the broad green wave and sparkling foam Flash'd round him images and hues, that wrought In union with the employment of his heart, He, thus by feverish passion overcome, Even with the organs of his bodily eye, Below him, in the bosom of the deep Saw mountains, saw the forms of sheep that graz'd On verdant hills, with dwellings among trees, And Shepherds clad in the same country grey Which he himself had worn. [2]

[Footnote 2: This description of the Calenture is sketched from an imperfect recollection of an admirable one in prose, by Mr. Gilbert, Author of the Hurricane.]

And now at length, From perils manifold, with some small wealth Acquir'd by traffic in the Indian Isles, To his paternal home he is return'd, With a determin'd purpose to resume The life which he liv'd there, both for the sake Of many darling pleasures, and the love Which to an only brother he has borne In all his hardships, since that happy time When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two Were brother Shepherds on their native hills. —They were the last of all their race; and now, When Leonard had approach'd his home, his heart Fail'd in him, and, not venturing to inquire Tidings of one whom he so dearly lov'd, Towards the church-yard he had turn'd aside, That, as he knew in what particular spot His family were laid, he thence might learn If still his Brother liv'd, or to the file Another grave was added.—He had found Another grave, near which a full half hour He had remain'd, but, as he gaz'd, there grew Such a confusion in his memory, That he began to doubt, and he had hopes That he had seen this heap of turf before, That it was not another grave, but one, He had forgotten. He had lost his path, As up the vale he came that afternoon, Through fields which once had been well known to him. And Oh! what joy the recollection now Sent to his heart! he lifted up his eyes, And looking round he thought that he perceiv'd Strange alteration wrought on every side Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks, And the eternal hills, themselves were chang'd.

By this the Priest who down the field had come Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate Stopp'd short, and thence, at leisure, limb by limb He scann'd him with a gay complacency. Aye, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself; 'Tis one of those who needs must leave the path Of the world's business, to go wild alone: His arms have a perpetual holiday, The happy man will creep about the fields Following his fancies by the hour, to bring Tears down his check, or solitary smiles Into his face, until the setting sun Write Fool upon his forehead. Planted thus Beneath a shed that overarch'd the gate Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appear'd The good man might have commun'd with himself But that the Stranger, who had left the grave, Approach'd; he recogniz'd the Priest at once, And after greetings interchang'd, and given By Leonard to the Vicar as to one Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued.


You live, Sir, in these dales, a quiet life: Your years make up one peaceful family; And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come And welcome gone, they are so like each other, They cannot be remember'd. Scarce a funeral Comes to this church-yard once, in eighteen months; And yet, some changes must take place among you. And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks Can trace the finger of mortality, And see, that with our threescore years and ten We are not all that perish.—I remember, For many years ago I pass'd this road, There was a foot-way all along the fields By the brook-side—'tis gone—and that dark cleft! To me it does not seem to wear the face Which then it had.


Why, Sir, for aught I know, That chasm is much the same—


But, surely, yonder— PRIEST.

Aye, there indeed, your memory is a friend That does not play you false.—On that tall pike, (It is the loneliest place of all these hills) There were two Springs which bubbled side by side, As if they had been made that they might be Companions for each other: ten years back, Close to those brother fountains, the huge crag Was rent with lightning—one is dead and gone, The other, left behind, is flowing still.— For accidents and changes such as these, Why we have store of them! a water-spout Will bring down half a mountain; what a feast For folks that wander up and down like you, To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff One roaring cataract—a sharp May storm Will come with loads of January snow, And in one night send twenty score of sheep To feed the ravens, or a Shepherd dies By some untoward death among the rocks: The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge— A wood is fell'd:—and then for our own homes! A child is born or christen'd, a field plough'd, A daughter sent to service, a web spun, The old house cloth is deck'd with a new face; And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates To chronicle the time, we all have here A pair of diaries, one serving, Sir, For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side, Your's was a stranger's judgment: for historians Commend me to these vallies.


Yet your church-yard Seems, if such freedom may be used with you, To say that you are heedless of the past. Here's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass, Cross-bones or skull, type of our earthly state Or emblem of our hopes: the dead man's home Is but a fellow to that pasture field.


Why there, Sir, is a thought that's new to me. The Stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread If every English church-yard were like ours: Yet your conclusion wanders from the truth.

We have no need of names and epitaphs, We talk about the dead by our fire-sides. And then for our immortal part, we want No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale: The thought of death sits easy on the man Who has been born and dies among the mountains:


Your dalesmen, then, do in each other's thoughts Possess a kind of second life: no doubt You, Sir, could help me to the history Of half these Graves?


With what I've witness'd; and with what I've heard, Perhaps I might, and, on a winter's evening, If you were seated at my chimney's nook By turning o'er these hillocks one by one, We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round, Yet all in the broad high-way of the world. Now there's a grave—your foot is half upon it, It looks just like the rest, and yet that man Died broken-hearted.


'Tis a common case, We'll take another: who is he that lies Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves;— It touches on that piece of native rock Left in the church-yard wall.


That's Walter Ewbank. He had as white a head and fresh a cheek As ever were produc'd by youth and age Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore. For five long generations had the heart Of Walter's forefathers o'erflow'd the bounds Of their inheritance, that single cottage, You see it yonder, and those few green fields. They toil'd and wrought, and still, from sire to son, Each struggled, and each yielded as before A little—yet a little—and old Walter, They left to him the family heart, and land With other burthens than the crop it bore. Year after year the old man still preserv'd A chearful mind, and buffeted with bond, Interest and mortgages; at last he sank, And went into his grave before his time. Poor Walter! whether it was care that spurr'd him God only knows, but to the very last He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale: His pace was never that of an old man: I almost see him tripping down the path With his two Grandsons after him—but you, Unless our Landlord be your host to-night, Have far to travel, and in these rough paths Even in the longest day of midsummer—


But these two Orphans!


Orphans! such they were— Yet not while Walter liv'd—for, though their Parents Lay buried side by side as now they lie, The old Man was a father to the boys, Two fathers in one father: and if tears Shed, when he talk'd of them where they were not, And hauntings from the infirmity of love, Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart, This old Man in the day of his old age Was half a mother to them.—If you weep, Sir, To hear a stranger talking about strangers, Heaven bless you when you are among your kindred! Aye. You may turn that way—it is a grave Which will bear looking at.


These Boys I hope They lov'd this good old Man—


They did—and truly, But that was what we almost overlook'd, They were such darlings of each other. For Though from their cradles they had liv'd with Walter, The only kinsman near them in the house, Yet he being old, they had much love to spare, And it all went into each other's hearts. Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months, Was two years taller: 'twas a joy to see, To hear, to meet them! from their house the School Was distant three short miles, and in the time Of storm and thaw, when every water-course And unbridg'd stream, such as you may have notic'd Crossing our roads at every hundred steps, Was swoln into a noisy rivulet, Would Leonard then, when elder boys perhaps Remain'd at home, go staggering through the fords Bearing his Brother on his back.—I've seen him, On windy days, in one of those stray brooks, Aye, more than once I've seen him mid-leg deep, Their two books lying both on a dry stone Upon the hither side:—and once I said, As I remember, looking round these rocks And hills on which we all of us were born, That God who made the great book of the world Would bless such piety—


It may be then—


Never did worthier lads break English bread: The finest Sunday that the Autumn saw, With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts, Could never keep these boys away from church, Or tempt them to an hour of sabbath breach. Leonard and James! I warrant, every corner Among these rocks and every hollow place Where foot could come, to one or both of them Was known as well as to the flowers that grew there. Like roe-bucks they went bounding o'er the hills: They play'd like two young ravens on the crags: Then they could write, aye and speak too, as well As many of their betters—and for Leonard! The very night before he went away, In my own house I put into his hand A Bible, and I'd wager twenty pounds, That, if he is alive, he has it yet.


It seems, these Brothers have not liv'd to be A comfort to each other.—


That they might Live to that end, is what both old and young In this our valley all of us have wish'd, And what, for my part, I have often pray'd: But Leonard—


Then James still is left among you—


'Tis of the elder Brother I am speaking: They had an Uncle, he was at that time A thriving man, and traffick'd on the seas: And, but for this same Uncle, to this hour Leonard had never handled rope or shroud. For the Boy lov'd the life which we lead here; And, though a very Stripling, twelve years old; His soul was knit to this his native soil. But, as I said, old Walter was too weak To strive with such a torrent; when he died, The estate and house were sold, and all their sheep, A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know, Had clothed the Ewbauks for a thousand years. Well—all was gone, and they were destitute. And Leonard, chiefly for his brother's sake, Resolv'd to try his fortune on the seas. 'Tis now twelve years since we had tidings from him. If there was one among us who had heard That Leonard Ewbank was come home again, From the great Gavel [3], down by Leeza's Banks, And down the Enna, far as Egremont, The day would be a very festival, And those two bells of ours, which there you see Hanging in the open air—but, O good Sir! This is sad talk—they'll never sound for him Living or dead—When last we heard of him He was in slavery among the Moors Upon the Barbary Coast—'Twas not a little That would bring down his spirit, and, no doubt, Before it ended in his death, the Lad Was sadly cross'd—Poor Leonard! when we parted, He took me by the hand and said to me, If ever the day came when he was rich, He would return, and on his Father's Land He would grow old among us.

[Footnote 3: The great Gavel, so called I imagine, from its resemblance to the Gable end of a house, is one of the highest of the Cumberland mountains. It stands at the head of the several vales of Ennerdale, Wastdale, and Borrowdale.

The Leeza is a River which follows into the Lake of Ennerdale: on issuing from the Lake, it changes its name, and is called the End, Eyne, or Enna. It falls into the sea a little below Egremont.]


If that day Should come, 'twould needs be a glad day for him; He would himself, no doubt, be as happy then As any that should meet him—

PRIEST. Happy, Sir—


You said his kindred all were in their graves, And that he had one Brother—

PRIEST. That is but A fellow tale of sorrow. From his youth James, though not sickly, yet was delicate, And Leonard being always by his side Had done so many offices about him, That, though he was not of a timid nature, Yet still the spirit of a mountain boy In him was somewhat check'd, and when his Brother Was gone to sea and he was left alone The little colour that he had was soon Stolen from his cheek, he droop'd, and pin'd and pin'd;


But these are all the graves of full grown men!


Aye, Sir, that pass'd away: we took him to us. He was the child of all the dale—he liv'd Three months with one, and six months with another: And wanted neither food, nor clothes, nor love, And many, many happy days were his. But, whether blithe or sad, 'tis my belief His absent Brother still was at his heart. And, when he liv'd beneath our roof, we found (A practice till this time unknown to him) That often, rising from his bed at night, He in his sleep would walk about, and sleeping He sought his Brother Leonard—You are mov'd! Forgive me, Sir: before I spoke to you, I judg'd you most unkindly.


But this youth, How did he die at last?


One sweet May morning, It will be twelve years since, when Spring returns, He had gone forth among the new-dropp'd lambs, With two or three companions whom it chanc'd Some further business summon'd to a house Which stands at the Dale-head. James, tir'd perhaps, Or from some other cause remain'd behind. You see yon precipice—it almost looks Like some vast building made of many crags, And in the midst is one particular rock That rises like a column from the vale, Whence by our Shepherds it is call'd, the Pillar. James, pointing to its summit, over which They all had purpos'd to return together, Inform'd them that he there would wait for them: They parted, and his comrades pass'd that way Some two hours after, but they did not find him At the appointed place, a circumstance Of which they took no heed: but one of them, Going by chance, at night, into the house Which at this time was James's home, there learn'd That nobody had seen him all that day: The morning came, and still, he was unheard of: The neighbours were alarm'd, and to the Brook Some went, and some towards the Lake; ere noon They found him at the foot of that same Rock Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after I buried him, poor Lad, and there he lies.


And that then is his grave!—Before his death You said that he saw many happy years?


Aye, that he did—


And all went well with him—


If he had one, the Lad had twenty homes.


And you believe then, that his mind was easy—


Yes, long before he died, he found that time Is a true friend to sorrow, and unless His thoughts were turn'd on Leonard's luckless fortune, He talk'd about him with a chearful love.


He could not come to an unhallow'd end!


Nay, God forbid! You recollect I mention'd A habit which disquietude and grief Had brought upon him, and we all conjectur'd That, as the day was warm, he had lain down Upon the grass, and, waiting for his comrades He there had fallen asleep, that in his sleep He to the margin of the precipice Had walk'd, and from the summit had fallen head-long, And so no doubt he perish'd: at the time, We guess, that in his hands he must have had His Shepherd's staff; for midway in the cliff It had been caught, and there for many years It hung—and moulder'd there.

The Priest here ended— The Stranger would have thank'd him, but he felt Tears rushing in; both left the spot in silence, And Leonard, when they reach'd the church-yard gate, As the Priest lifted up the latch, turn'd round, And, looking at the grave, he said, "My Brother." The Vicar did not hear the words: and now, Pointing towards the Cottage, he entreated That Leonard would partake his homely fare: The other thank'd him with a fervent voice, But added, that, the evening being calm, He would pursue his journey. So they parted.

It was not long ere Leonard reach'd a grove That overhung the road: he there stopp'd short, And, sitting down beneath the trees, review'd All that the Priest had said: his early years Were with him in his heart: his cherish'd hopes, And thoughts which had been his an hour before. All press'd on him with such a weight, that now, This vale, where he had been so happy, seem'd A place in which he could not bear to live: So he relinquish'd all his purposes. He travell'd on to Egremont; and thence, That night, address'd a letter to the Priest Reminding him of what had pass'd between them. And adding, with a hope to be forgiven, That it was from the weakness of his heart, He had not dared to tell him, who he was.

This done, he went on shipboard, and is now A Seaman, a grey headed Mariner.


[Footnote 4: The Kirtle is a River in the Southern part of Scotland, on whose banks the events here related took place.]

Fair Ellen Irwin, when she sate Upon the Braes of Kirtle, Was lovely as a Grecian Maid Adorn'd with wreaths of myrtle. Young Adam Bruce beside her lay, And there did they beguile the day With love and gentle speeches, Beneath the budding beeches.

From many Knights and many Squires The Brace had been selected, And Gordon, fairest of them all, By Ellen was rejected. Sad tidings to that noble Youth! For it may be proclaim'd with truth, If Bruce hath lov'd sincerely, The Gordon loves as dearly.

But what is Gordon's beauteous face? And what are Gordon's crosses To them who sit by Kirtle's Braes Upon the verdant mosses? Alas that ever he was born! The Gordon, couch'd behind a thorn, Sees them and their caressing, Beholds them bless'd and blessing.

Proud Gordon cannot bear the thoughts That through his brain are travelling, And, starting up, to Bruce's heart He launch'd a deadly jav'lin! Fair Ellen saw it when it came, And, stepping forth to meet the same, Did with her body cover The Youth her chosen lover.

And, falling into Bruce's arms, Thus died the beauteous Ellen, Thus from the heart of her true-love The mortal spear repelling. And Bruce, as soon as he had slain The Gordon, sail'd away to Spain, And fought with rage incessant Against the Moorish Crescent.

But many days and many months, And many years ensuing, This wretched Knight did vainly seek The death that he was wooing: So coming back across the wave, Without a groan on Ellen's grave His body he extended, And there his sorrow ended.

Now ye who willingly have heard The tale I have been telling, May in Kirkonnel church-yard view The grave of lovely Ellen: By Ellen's side the Bruce is laid, And, for the stone upon his head, May no rude hand deface it, And its forlorn 'Hic jacet'.

Strange fits of passion I have known, And I will dare to tell, But in the lover's ear alone, What once to me befel.

When she I lov'd, was strong and gay And like a rose in June, I to her cottage bent my way, Beneath the evening moon.

Upon the moon I fix'd my eye, All over the wide lea; My horse trudg'd on, and we drew nigh Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reach'd the orchard plot, And, as we climb'd the hill, Towards the roof of Lucy's cot The moon descended still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept, Kind Nature's gentlest boon! And, all the while, my eyes I kept On the descending moon.

My horse mov'd on; hoof after hoof He rais'd and never stopp'd: When down behind the cottage roof At once the planet dropp'd.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide Into a Lover's head— "O mercy!" to myself I cried, "If Lucy should be dead!"


She dwelt among th' untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove, A Maid whom there were none to praise And very few to love.

A Violet by a mossy stone Half-hidden from the Eye! —Fair, as a star when only one Is shining in the sky!

She liv'd unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceas'd to be; But she is in her Grave, and Oh! The difference to me.

A slumber did my spirit seal, I had no human fears: She seem'd a thing that could not feel The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force She neither hears nor sees Roll'd round in earth's diurnal course With rocks and stones and trees!


"Begone, thou fond presumptuous Elf, Exclaim'd a thundering Voice, Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self Between me and my choice!" A falling Water swoln with snows Thus spake to a poor Briar-rose, That all bespatter'd with his foam, And dancing high, and dancing low, Was living, as a child might know, In an unhappy home.

"Dost thou presume my course to block? Off, off! or, puny Thing! I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock To which thy fibres cling." The Flood was tyrannous and strong; The patient Briar suffer'd long, Nor did he utter groan or sigh, Hoping the danger would be pass'd: But seeing no relief, at last He venture'd to reply.

"Ah!" said the Briar, "Blame me not! Why should we dwell in strife? We who in this, our natal spot, Once liv'd a happy life! You stirr'd me on my rocky bed— What pleasure thro' my veins you spread! The Summer long from day to day My leaves you freshen'd and bedew'd; Nor was it common gratitude That did your cares repay."

When Spring came on with bud and bell, Among these rocks did I Before you hang my wreath to tell That gentle days were nigh! And in the sultry summer hours I shelter'd you with leaves and flowers; And in my leaves now shed and gone The linnet lodg'd and for us two Chaunted his pretty songs when you Had little voice or none.

But now proud thoughts are in your breast— What grief is mine you see. Ah! would you think, ev'n yet how blest Together we might be! Though of both leaf and flower bereft, Some ornaments to me are left— Rich store of scarlet hips is mine, With which I in my humble way Would deck you many a Winter's day, A happy Eglantine!

What more he said, I cannot tell. The stream came thundering down the dell And gallop'd loud and fast; I listen'd, nor aught else could hear, The Briar quak'd and much I fear. Those accents were his last.

The OAK and the BROOM,


His simple truths did Andrew glean Beside the babbling rills; A careful student he had been Among the woods and hills. One winter's night when through the Trees The wind was thundering, on his knees His youngest born did Andrew hold: And while the rest, a ruddy quire Were seated round their blazing fire, This Tale the Shepherd told.

I saw a crag, a lofty stone As ever tempest beat! Out of its head an Oak had grown, A Broom out of its feet. The time was March, a chearful noon— The thaw-wind with the breath of June Breath'd gently from the warm South-west; When in a voice sedate with age This Oak, half giant and half sage, His neighbour thus address'd.

"Eight weary weeks, thro' rock and clay, Along this mountain's edge The Frost hath wrought both night and day, Wedge driving after wedge. Look up, and think, above your head What trouble surely will be bred; Last night I heard a crash—'tis true, The splinters took another road— I see them yonder—what a load For such a Thing as you!"

You are preparing as before To deck your slender shape; And yet, just three years back—no more— You had a strange escape. Down from yon Cliff a fragment broke, It came, you know, with fire and smoke And hither did it bend its way. This pond'rous block was caught by me, And o'er your head, as you may see, 'Tis hanging to this day.

The Thing had better been asleep, Whatever thing it were, Or Breeze, or Bird, or fleece of Sheep, That first did plant you there. For you and your green twigs decoy The little witless Shepherd-boy To come and slumber in your bower; And trust me, on some sultry noon, Both you and he, Heaven knows how soon! Will perish in one hour.

"From me this friendly warning take"— —The Broom began to doze, And thus to keep herself awake Did gently interpose. "My thanks for your discourse are due; That it is true, and more than true, I know and I have known it long; Frail is the bond, by which we hold Our being, be we young or old, Wise, foolish, weak or strong."

Disasters, do the best we can, Will reach both great and small; And he is oft the wisest man, Who is not wise at all. For me, why should I wish to roam? This spot is my paternal home, It is my pleasant Heritage; My Father many a happy year Here spread his careless blossoms, here Attain'd a good old age.

Even such as his may be may lot. What cause have I to haunt My heart with terrors? Am I not In truth a favor'd plant! The Spring for me a garland weaves Of yellow flowers and verdant leaves, And, when the Frost is in the sky, My branches are so fresh and gay That You might look on me and say This plant can never die.

The butterfly, all green and gold, To me hath often flown, Here in my Blossoms to behold Wings lovely as his own. When grass is chill with rain or dew, Beneath my shade the mother ewe Lies with her infant lamb; I see The love, they to each other make, And the sweet joy, which they partake, It is a joy to me.

Her voice was blithe, her heart was light; The Broom might have pursued Her speech, until the stars of night Their journey had renew'd. But in the branches of the Oak Two Ravens now began to croak Their nuptial song, a gladsome air; And to her own green bower the breeze That instant brought two stripling Bees To feed and murmur there.

One night the Wind came from the North And blew a furious blast, At break of day I ventur'd forth And near the Cliff I pass'd. The storm had fall'n upon the Oak And struck him with a mighty stroke, And whirl'd and whirl'd him far away; And in one hospitable Cleft The little careless Broom was left To live for many a day.


Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray, And when I cross'd the Wild, I chanc'd to see at break of day The solitary Child.

No Mate, no comrade Lucy knew; She dwelt on a wild Moor, The sweetest Thing that ever grew Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the Fawn at play, The Hare upon the Green; But the sweet face of Lucy Gray Will never more be seen.

"To-night will be a stormy night, You to the Town must go, And take a lantern, Child, to light Your Mother thro' the snow."

"That, Father! will I gladly do; 'Tis scarcely afternoon— The Minster-clock has just struck two, And yonder is the Moon."

At this the Father rais'd his hook And snapp'd a faggot-band; He plied his work, and Lucy took The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe, With many a wanton stroke Her feet disperse, the powd'ry snow That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time, She wander'd up and down, And many a hill did Lucy climb But never reach'd the Town.

The wretched Parents all that night Went shouting far and wide; But there was neither sound nor sight To serve them for a guide.

At day-break on a hill they stood That overlook'd the Moor; And thence they saw the Bridge of Wood A furlong from their door.

And now they homeward turn'd, and cry'd "In Heaven we all shall meet!" When in the snow the Mother spied The print of Lucy's feet.

Then downward from the steep hill's edge They track'd the footmarks small; And through the broken hawthorn-hedge, And by the long stone-wall;

And then an open field they cross'd, The marks were still the same; They track'd them on, nor ever lost, And to the Bridge they came.

They follow'd from the snowy bank The footmarks, one by one, Into the middle of the plank, And further there were none.

Yet some maintain that to this day She is a living Child, That you may see sweet Lucy Gray Upon the lonesome Wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along, And never looks behind; And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.




[Footnote 5: 'Gill', in the dialect of Cumberland and Westmoreland, is a short and for the most part a steep narrow valley, with a stream running through it. Force is the word universally employed in these dialects for Waterfall.]


The valley rings with mirth and joy, Among the hills the Echoes play A never, never ending song To welcome in the May. The Magpie chatters with delight;

The mountain Raven's youngling Brood Have left the Mother and the Nest, And they go rambling east and west In search of their own food, Or thro' the glittering Vapors dart In very wantonness of Heart.


Beneath a rock, upon the grass, Two Boys are sitting in the sun; It seems they have no work to do Or that their work is done. On pipes of sycamore they play The fragments of a Christmas Hymn, Or with that plant which in our dale We call Stag-horn, or Fox's Tail Their rusty Hats they trim: And thus as happy as the Day, Those Shepherds wear the time away.


Along the river's stony marge The sand-lark chaunts a joyous song; The thrush is busy in the Wood, And carols loud and strong. A thousand lambs are on the rocks, All newly born! both earth and sky Keep jubilee, and more than all, Those Boys with their green Coronal, They never hear the cry, That plaintive cry! which up the hill Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Gill.


Said Walter, leaping from the ground, "Down to the stump of yon old yew I'll run with you a race."—No more— Away the Shepherds flew. They leapt, they ran, and when they came Right opposite to Dungeon-Gill, Seeing, that he should lose the prize, "Stop!" to his comrade Walter cries— James stopp'd with no good will: Said Walter then, "Your task is here, 'Twill keep you working half a year."


"Till you have cross'd where I shall cross, Say that you'll neither sleep nor eat." James proudly took him at his word, But did not like the feat. It was a spot, which you may see If ever you to Langdale go: Into a chasm a mighty Block Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock; The gulph is deep below, And in a bason black and small Receives a lofty Waterfall.


With staff in hand across the cleft The Challenger began his march; And now, all eyes and feet, hath gain'd The middle of the arch. When list! he hears a piteous moan— Again! his heart within him dies— His pulse is stopp'd, his breath is lost, He totters, pale as any ghost, And, looking down, he spies A Lamb, that in the pool is pent Within that black and frightful rent.


The Lamb had slipp'd into the stream, And safe without a bruise or wound The Cataract had borne him down Into the gulph profound, His dam had seen him when he fell, She saw him down the torrent borne; And while with all a mother's love She from the lofty rocks above Sent forth a cry forlorn, The Lamb, still swimming round and round Made answer to that plaintive sound.


When he had learnt, what thing it was, That sent this rueful cry; I ween, The Boy recover'd heart, and told The sight which he had seen. Both gladly now deferr'd their task; Nor was there wanting other aid— A Poet, one who loves the brooks Far better than the sages' books, By chance had thither stray'd; And there the helpless Lamb he found By those huge rocks encompass'd round.


He drew it gently from the pool, And brought it forth into the light; The Shepherds met him with his charge An unexpected sight! Into their arms the Lamb they took, Said they, "He's neither maim'd nor scarr'd"— Then up the steep ascent they hied And placed him at his Mother's side; And gently did the Bard Those idle Shepherd-boys upbraid, And bade them better mind their trade.

'Tis said, that some have died for love: And here and there a church-yard grave is found In the cold North's unhallow'd ground, Because the wretched man himself had slain, His love was such a grievous pain. And there is one whom I five years have known; He dwells alone Upon Helvellyn's side. He loved—The pretty Barbara died, And thus he makes his moan: Three years had Barbara in her grave been laid When thus his moan he made.

Oh! move thou Cottage from behind that oak Or let the aged tree uprooted lie, That in some other way yon smoke May mount into the sky! The clouds pass on; they from the Heavens depart: I look—the sky is empty space; I know not what I trace; But when I cease to look, my hand is on my heart.

O! what a weight is in these shades! Ye leaves, When will that dying murmur be suppress'd? Your sound my heart of peace bereaves, It robs my heart of rest. Thou Thrush, that singest loud and loud and free, Into yon row of willows flit, Upon that alder sit; Or sing another song, or chuse another tree

Roll back, sweet rill! back to thy mountain bounds, And there for ever be thy waters chain'd! For thou dost haunt the air with sounds That cannot be sustain'd; If still beneath that pine-tree's ragged bough Headlong yon waterfall must come, Oh let it then be dumb!— Be any thing, sweet rill, but that which thou art now.

Thou Eglantine whose arch so proudly towers (Even like a rainbow spanning half the vale) Thou one fair shrub, oh! shed thy flowers, And stir not in the gale. For thus to see thee nodding in the air, To see thy arch thus stretch and bend, Thus rise and thus descend, Disturbs me, till the sight is more than I can bear.

The man who makes this feverish complaint Is one of giant stature, who could dance Equipp'd from head to foot in iron mail. Ah gentle Love! if ever thought was thine To store up kindred hours for me, thy face Turn from me, gentle Love, nor let me walk Within the sound of Emma's voice, or know Such happiness as I have known to-day.


At the corner of Wood-Street, when day-light appears, There's a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years: Poor Susan has pass'd by the spot and has heard In the silence of morning the song of the bird.

'Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees; Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.

Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale, Down which she so often has tripp'd with her pail, And a single small cottage, a nest like a Jove's, The only one dwelling on earth that she loves.

She looks, and her heart is in Heaven, but they fade, The mist and the river, the hill and the shade; The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, And the colours have all pass'd away from her eyes.

Poor Outcast! return—to receive thee once more The house of thy Father will open its door, And thou once again, in thy plain russet gown, May'st hear the thrush sing from a tree of its own.

INSCRIPTION 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.—St. Herbert hither came And here, for many seasons, from the world Remov'd, and the affections of the world He dwelt in solitude. He living here, This island's sole inhabitant! had left A Fellow-labourer, whom the good Man lov'd As his own soul; and when within his cave Alone he knelt before the crucifix While o'er the lake the cataract of Lodore Peal'd to his orisons, and when he pac'd Along the beach of this small isle and thought Of his Companion, he had pray'd that both Might die in the same moment. Nor in vain So pray'd he:—as our Chronicles report, Though here the Hermit number'd his last days, Far from St. Cuthbert his beloved friend, Those holy men both died in the same hour.

INSCRIPTION For the House (an Outhouse) on the Island at Grasmere.

Rude is this Edifice, and Thou hast seen Buildings, albeit rude, that have maintain'd Proportions more harmonious, and approach'd To somewhat of a closer fellowship With the ideal grace. Yet as it is Do take it in good part; for he, the poor Vitruvius of our village, had no help From the great city; never on the leaves Of red Morocco folio saw display'd The skeletons and pre-existing ghosts Of Beauties yet unborn, the rustic Box, Snug Cot, with Coach-house, Shed and Hermitage. It is a homely pile, yet to these walls The heifer comes in the snow-storm, and here The new-dropp'd 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 wither'd 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 unborn, 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 through that door-place looks 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.


Let thy wheel-barrow alone. Wherefore, Sexton, piling still In thy bone-house bone on bone? Tis already like a hill In a field of battle made, Where three thousand skulls are laid. —These died in peace each with the other, Father, Sister, Friend, and Brother.

Mark the spot to which I point! From this platform eight feet square Take not even a finger-joint: Andrew's whole fire-side is there.

Here, alone, before thine eyes, Simon's sickly Daughter lies From weakness, now, and pain defended, Whom he twenty winters tended.

Look but at the gardener's pride, How he glories, when he sees Roses, lilies, side by side, Violets in families.

By the heart of Man, his tears, By his hopes and by his fears, Thou, old Grey-beard! art the Warden Of a far superior garden.

Thus then, each to other dear, Let them all in quiet lie, Andrew there and Susan here, Neighbours in mortality.

And should I live through sun and rain Seven widow'd years without my Jane, O Sexton, do not then remove her, Let one grave hold the Lov'd and Lover!


I hate that Andrew Jones: he'll breed His children up to waste and pillage. I wish the press-gang or the drum With its tantara sound would come, And sweep him from the village!

I said not this, because he loves Through the long day to swear and tipple; But for the poor dear sake of one To whom a foul deed he had done, A friendless Man, a travelling Cripple!

For this poor crawling helpless wretch Some Horseman who was passing by, A penny on the ground had thrown; But the poor Cripple was alone And could not stoop—no help was nigh.

Inch-thick the dust lay on the ground For it had long been droughty weather: So with his staff the Cripple wrought Among the dust till he had brought The halfpennies together.

It chanc'd that Andrew pass'd that way Just at the time; and there he found The Cripple in the mid-day heat Standing alone, and at his feet He saw the penny on the ground.

He stopp'd and took the penny up. And when the Cripple nearer drew, Quoth Andrew, "Under half-a-crown. What a man finds is all his own, And so, my Friend, good day to you."

And hence I said, that Andrew's boys Will all be train'd to waste and pillage; And wish'd the press-gang, or the drum With its tantara sound, would come And sweep him from the village!

The TWO THIEVES, Or the last Stage of AVARICE.

Oh now that the genius of Bewick were mine And the skill which He learn'd on the Banks of the Tyne; When the Muses might deal with me just as they chose For I'd take my last leave both of verse and of prose.

What feats would I work with my magical hand! Book-learning and books should be banish'd the land And for hunger and thirst and such troublesome calls Every ale-house should then have a feast on its walls.

The Traveller would hang his wet clothes on a chair Let them smoke, let them burn, not a straw would he care. For the Prodigal Son, Joseph's Dream and his Sheaves, Oh what would they be to my tale of two Thieves!

Little Dan is unbreech'd, he is three birth-days old, His Grandsire that age more than thirty times told, There's ninety good seasons of fair and foul weather Between them, and both go a stealing together.

With chips is the Carpenter strewing his floor? It a cart-load of peats at an old Woman's door? Old Daniel his hand to the treasure will slide, And his Grandson's as busy at work by his side.

Old Daniel begins, he stops short and his eye Through the lost look of dotage is cunning and sly. 'Tis a look which at this time is hardly his own, But tells a plain tale of the days that are flown.

Dan once had a heart which was mov'd by the wires Of manifold pleasures and many desires: And what if he cherish'd his purse? 'Twas no more Than treading a path trod by thousands before.

'Twas a path trod by thousands, but Daniel is one Who went something farther than others have gone; And now with old Daniel you see how it fares You see to what end he has brought his grey hairs.

The pair sally forth hand in hand; ere the sun Has peer'd o'er the beeches their work is begun: And yet into whatever sin they may fall, This Child but half knows it and that not at all.

They hunt through the street with deliberate tread, And each in his turn is both leader and led; And wherever they carry their plots and their wiles, Every face in the village is dimpled with smiles.

Neither check'd by the rich nor the needy they roam, For grey-headed Dan has a daughter at home; Who will gladly repair all the damage that's done, And three, were it ask'd, would be render'd for one.

Old Man! whom so oft I with pity have ey'd, I love thee and love the sweet boy at thy side: Long yet may'st thou live, for a teacher we see That lifts up the veil of our nature in thee.

A whirl-blast from behind the hill Rush'd o'er the wood with startling sound: Then all at once the air was still, And showers of hail-stones patter'd round.

Where leafless Oaks tower'd high above, I sate within an undergrove Of tallest hollies, tall and green, A fairer bower was never seen.

From year to year the spacious floor With wither'd leaves is cover'd o'er, You could not lay a hair between: And all the year the bower is green.

But see! where'er the hailstones drop The wither'd leaves all skip and hop, There's not a breeze—no breath of air— Yet here, and there, and every where

Along the floor, beneath the shade By those embowering hollies made, The leaves in myriads jump and spring, As if with pipes and music rare Some Robin Good-fellow were there, And all those leaves, that jump and spring, Were each a joyous, living thing.

Oh! grant me Heaven a heart at ease That I may never cease to find, Even in appearances like these Enough to nourish and to stir my mind!




Though the torrents from their fountains Roar down many a craggy steep, Yet they find among the mountains Resting-places calm and deep.

Though almost with eagle pinion O'er the rocks the Chamois roam. Yet he has some small dominion Which no doubt he calls his home.

If on windy days the Raven Gambol like a dancing skiff, Not the less he loves his haven On the bosom of the cliff.

Though the Sea-horse in the ocean Own no dear domestic cave; Yet he slumbers without motion On the calm and silent wave.

Day and night my toils redouble! Never nearer to the goal, Night and day, I feel the trouble, Of the Wanderer in my soul.



When Ruth was left half desolate, Her Father took another Mate; And so, not seven years old, The slighted Child at her own will Went wandering over dale and hill In thoughtless freedom bold.

And she had made a pipe of straw And from that oaten pipe could draw All sounds of winds and floods; Had built a bower upon the green, As if she from her birth had been An Infant of the woods.

There came a Youth from Georgia's shore, A military Casque he wore With splendid feathers drest; He brought them from the Cherokees; The feathers nodded in the breeze And made a gallant crest.

From Indian blood you deem him sprung: Ah no! he spake the English tongue And bare a Soldier's name; And when America was free From battle and from jeopardy He cross the ocean came.

With hues of genius on his cheek In finest tones the Youth could speak. —While he was yet a Boy The moon, the glory of the sun, And streams that murmur as they run Had been his dearest joy.

He was a lovely Youth! I guess The panther in the wilderness Was not so fair as he; And when he chose to sport and play, No dolphin ever was so gay Upon the tropic sea.

Among the Indians he had fought, And with him many tales he brought Of pleasure and of fear, Such tales as told to any Maid By such a Youth in the green shade Were perilous to hear.

He told of Girls, a happy rout, Who quit their fold with dance and shout Their pleasant Indian Town To gather strawberries all day long, Returning with a choral song When day-light is gone down.

He spake of plants divine and strange That ev'ry day their blossoms change, Ten thousand lovely hues! With budding, fading, faded flowers They stand the wonder of the bowers From morn to evening dews.

He told of the Magnolia, [6] spread High as a cloud, high over head! The Cypress and her spire, Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam [7] Cover a hundred leagues and seem To set the hills on fire.

[Footnote 6: Magnolia grandiflora.]

[Footnote 7: The splendid appearance of these scarlet flowers, which are scattered with such profusion over the Hills in the Southern parts of North America is frequently mentioned by Bartram in his Travels.]

The Youth of green Savannahs spake, And many an endless endless lake With all its fairy crowds Of islands that together lie As quietly as spots of sky Among the evening clouds:

And then he said "How sweet it were A fisher or a hunter there, A gardener in the shade, Still wandering with an easy mind To build a household fire and find A home in every glade."

"What days and what sweet years! Ah me! Our life were life indeed, with thee So pass'd in quiet bliss, And all the while" said he "to know That we were in a world of woe. On such an earth as this!"

And then he sometimes interwove Dear thoughts about a Father's love, "For there," said he, "are spun Around the heart such tender ties That our own children to our eyes Are dearer than the sun."

Sweet Ruth! and could you go with me My helpmate in the woods to be, Our shed at night to rear; Or run, my own adopted bride, A sylvan huntress at my side And drive the flying deer.

"Beloved Ruth!" No more he said Sweet Ruth alone at midnight shed A solitary tear, She thought again—and did agree With him to sail across the sea, And drive the flying deer.

"And now, as fitting is and right, We in the Church our faith will plight, A Husband and a Wife." Even so they did; and I may say That to sweet Ruth that happy day Was more than human life.

Through dream and vision did she sink, Delighted all the while to think That on those lonesome floods And green Savannahs she should share His board with lawful joy, and bear His name in the wild woods.

But, as you have before been told, This Stripling, sportive gay and bold, And, with his dancing crest, So beautiful, through savage lands Had roam'd about with vagrant bands Of Indians in the West.

The wind, the tempest roaring high, The tumult of a tropic sky Might well be dangerous food. For him, a Youth to whom was given So much of earth so much of Heaven, And such impetuous blood.

Whatever in those climes he found Irregular in sight or sound Did to his mind impart A kindred impulse, seem'd allied To his own powers, and justified The workings of his heart.

Nor less to feed voluptuous thought The beauteous forms of Nature wrought, Fair trees and lovely flowers; The breezes their own languor lent, The stars had feelings which they sent Into those magic bowers.

Yet, in his worst pursuits, I ween, That sometimes there did intervene Pure hopes of high intent: For passions link'd to forms so fair And stately, needs must have their share Of noble sentiment.

But ill he liv'd, much evil saw With men to whom no better law Nor better life was known; Deliberately and undeceiv'd Those wild men's vices he receiv'd, And gave them back his own.

His genius and his moral frame Were thus impair'd, and he became The slave of low desires; A man who without self-controul Would seek what the degraded soul Unworthily admires.

And yet he with no feign'd delight Had woo'd the Maiden, day and night Had luv'd her, night and morn; What could he less than love a Maid Whose heart with so much nature play'd So kind and so forlorn?

But now the pleasant dream was gone, No hope, no wish remain'd, not one, They stirr'd him now no more, New objects did new pleasure give, And once again he wish'd to live As lawless as before.

Meanwhile as thus with him it fared. They for the voyage were prepared And went to the sea-shore, But, when they thither came, the Youth Deserted his poor Bride, and Ruth Could never find him more.

"God help thee Ruth!"—Such pains she had That she in half a year was mad And in a prison hous'd, And there, exulting in her wrongs, Among the music of her songs She fearfully carouz'd.

Yet sometimes milder hours she knew, Nor wanted sun, nor rain, nor dew, Nor pastimes of the May, They all were with her in her cell, And a wild brook with chearful knell Did o'er the pebbles play.

When Ruth three seasons thus had lain There came a respite to her pain, She from her prison fled; But of the Vagrant none took thought, And where it liked her best she sought Her shelter and her bread.

Among the fields she breath'd again: The master-current of her brain Ran permanent and free, And to the pleasant Banks of Tone [8] She took her way, to dwell alone Under the greenwood tree.

The engines of her grief, the tools That shap'd her sorrow, rocks and pools, And airs that gently stir The vernal leaves, she loved them still, Nor ever tax'd them with the ill Which had been done to her.

[Footnote 8: The Tone is a River of Somersetshire at no great distance from the Quantock Hills. These Hills, which are alluded to a few Stanzas below, are extremely beautiful, and in most places richly covered with Coppice woods.]

A Barn her winter bed supplies, But till the warmth of summer skies And summer days is gone, (And in this tale we all agree) She sleeps beneath the greenwood tree, And other home hath none.

If she is press'd by want of food She from her dwelling in the wood Repairs to a road side, And there she begs at one steep place, Where up and down with easy pace The horsemen-travellers ride.

That oaten pipe of hers is mute Or thrown away, but with a flute Her loneliness she cheers; This flute made of a hemlock stalk At evening in his homeward walk The Quantock Woodman hears.

I, too have pass'd her on the hills Setting her little water-mills By spouts and fountains wild, Such small machinery as she turn'd Ere she had wept, ere she had mourn'd A young and happy Child!

Farewel! and when thy days are told Ill-fated Ruth! in hallow'd mold Thy corpse shall buried be, For thee a funeral bell shall ring, And all the congregation sing A Christian psalm for thee.

LINES Written with a Slate-pencil upon a Stone, the largest of a heap lying near a deserted Quarry, upon one of the Islands at Rydale.

Stranger! this hillock of mishapen stones Is not a ruin of the ancient 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, which was to have been built Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle. But, as it chanc'd, Sir William having learn'd That from the shore a full-grown man might wade, And make himself a freeman of this spot At any hour he chose, the Knight forthwith Desisted, and the quarry and the mound Are monuments of his unfinish'd task.— The block on which these lines are trac'd, perhaps, Was once selected as the corner-stone Of the intended pile, which would have been Some quaint odd play-thing of elaborate skill, So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush, And other little builders who dwell here, Had wonder'd at the work. But blame him not, For old Sir William was a gentle Knight Bred in this vale to which he appertain'd With all his ancestry. Then peace to him And for the outrage which he had devis'd Entire forgiveness.—But if thou art one On fire with thy impatience to become An Inmate of these mountains, if disturb'd By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn Out of the quiet rock the elements Of thy trim mansion destin'd 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 red-breast hop from stone to stone.

In the School of —— is a tablet on which are inscribed, in gilt letters, the names of the federal persons who have been Schoolmasters there since the foundation of the School, with the time at which they entered upon and quitted their office. Opposite one of those names the Author wrote the following lines.

If Nature, for a favorite Child In thee hath temper'd so her clay, That every hour thy heart runs wild Yet never once doth go astray,

Read o'er these lines; and then review This tablet, that thus humbly rears In such diversity of hue Its history of two hundred years.

—When through this little wreck of fame, Cypher and syllable, thine eye Has travell'd down to Matthew's name, Pause with no common sympathy.

And if a sleeping tear should wake Then be it neither check'd nor stay'd: For Matthew a request I make Which for himself he had not made.

Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er, Is silent as a standing pool, Far from the chimney's merry roar, And murmur of the village school.

The sighs which Matthew heav'd were sighs Of one tir'd out with fun and madness; The tears which came to Matthew's eyes Were tears of light, the oil of gladness.

Yet sometimes when the secret cup Of still and serious thought went round It seem'd as if he drank it up, He felt with spirit so profound.

—Thou soul of God's best earthly mould, Thou happy soul, and can it be That these two words of glittering gold Are all that must remain of thee?

The Two April Mornings.

We walk'd along, while bright and red Uprose the morning sun, And Matthew stopp'd, he look'd, and said, "The will of God be done!"

A village Schoolmaster was he, With hair of glittering grey; As blithe a man as you could see On a spring holiday.

And on that morning, through the grass, And by the steaming rills, We travell'd merrily to pass A day among the hills.

"Our work," said I, "was well begun; Then, from thy breast what thought, Beneath so beautiful a sun, So sad a sigh has brought?"

A second time did Matthew stop, And fixing still his eye Upon the eastern mountain-top To me he made reply.

Yon cloud with that long purple cleft Brings fresh into my mind A day like this which I have left Full thirty years behind.

And on that slope of springing corn The self-same crimson hue Fell from the sky that April morn, The same which now I view!

With rod and line my silent sport I plied by Derwent's wave, And, coming to the church, stopp'd short Beside my Daughter's grave.

Nine summers had she scarcely seen The pride of all the vale; And then she sang!—she would have been A very nightingale.

Six feet in earth my Emma lay, And yet I lov'd her more, For so it seem'd, than till that day I e'er had lov'd before.

And, turning from her grave, I met Beside the church-yard Yew A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet With points of morning dew.

The FOUNTAIN, A Conversation.

We talk'd with open heart, and tongue Affectionate and true, A pair of Friends, though I was young, And Matthew seventy-two.

We lay beneath a spreading oak, Beside a mossy seat, And from the turf a fountain broke, And gurgled at our feet.

Now, Matthew, let us try to match This water's pleasant tune With some old Border-song, or catch That suits a summer's noon.

Or of the Church-clock and the chimes Sing here beneath the shade, That half-mad thing of witty rhymes Which you last April made!

On silence Matthew lay, and eyed The spring beneath the tree; And thus the dear old Man replied, The grey-hair'd Man of glee.

"Down to the vale this water steers, How merrily it goes! Twill murmur on a thousand years, And flow as now it flows."

And here, on this delightful day, I cannot chuse but think How oft, a vigorous Man, I lay Beside this Fountain's brink.

My eyes are dim with childish tears. My heart is idly stirr'd, For the same sound is in my ears, Which in those days I heard.

Thus fares it still in our decay: And yet the wiser mind Mourns less for what age takes away Than what it leaves behind.

The blackbird in the summer trees, The lark upon the hill, Let loose their carols when they please, Are quiet when they will.

With Nature never do they wage A foolish strife; they see A happy youth, and their old age Is beautiful and free:

But we are press'd by heavy laws, And often, glad no more, We wear a face of joy, because We have been glad of yore.

If there is one who need bemoan His kindred laid in earth, The houshold hearts that were his own, It is the man of mirth.

"My days, my Friend, are almost gone, My life has been approv'd, And many love me, but by none Am I enough belov'd."

"Now both himself and me he wrongs, The man who thus complains! I live and sing my idle songs Upon these happy plains,"

"And, Matthew, for thy Children dead I'll be a son to thee!" At this he grasp'd his hands, and said, "Alas! that cannot be."

We rose up from the fountain-side, And down the smooth descent Of the green sheep-track did we glide, And through the wood we went,

And, ere we came to Leonard's Rock, He sang those witty rhymes About the crazy old church-clock And the bewilder'd chimes.


—It seems a day, One of those heavenly days which cannot die, When forth I sallied from our cottage-door, [1] And with a wallet o'er my shoulder slung, A nutting crook in hand, I turn'd my steps Towards the distant woods, a Figure quaint, Trick'd out in proud disguise of Beggar's weeds Put on for the occasion, by advice And exhortation of my frugal Dame.

[Footnote 1: The house at which I was boarded during the time I was at School.]

Motley accoutrements! of power to smile At thorns, and brakes, and brambles, and, in truth, More ragged than need was. Among the woods, And o'er the pathless rocks, I forc'd my way Until, at length, I came to one dear nook Unvisited, where not a broken bough Droop'd with its wither'd leaves, ungracious sign Of devastation, but the hazels rose Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung, A virgin scene!—A little while I stood, Breathing with such suppression of the heart As joy delights in; and with wise restraint Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed The banquet, or beneath the trees I sate Among the flowers, and with the flowers I play'd; A temper known to those, who, after long And weary expectation, have been bless'd With sudden happiness beyond all hope.— —Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves The violets of five seasons re-appear And fade, unseen by any human eye, Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on For ever, and I saw the sparkling foam, And with my cheek on one of those green stones That, fleec'd with moss, beneath the shady trees, Lay round me scatter'd like a flock of sheep, I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound, In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay Tribute to ease, and, of its joy secure The heart luxuriates with indifferent things, Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones, And on the vacant air. Then up I rose, And dragg'd to earth both branch and bough, with crash And merciless ravage; and the shady nook Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower Deform'd and sullied, patiently gave up Their quiet being: and unless I now Confound my present feelings with the past, Even then, when, from the bower I turn'd away, Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings I felt a sense of pain when I beheld The silent trees and the intruding sky.—

Then, dearest Maiden! move along these shades In gentleness of heart with gentle hand Touch,—for there is a Spirit in the woods.

Three years she grew in sun and shower, Then Nature said, "A lovelier flower On earth was never sown; This Child I to myself will take, She shall be mine, and I will make A Lady of my own."

Myself will to my darling be Both law and impulse, and with me The Girl in rock and plain, In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, Shall feel an overseeing power To kindle or restrain.

She shall be sportive as the fawn That wild with glee across the lawn Or up the mountain springs, And hers shall be the breathing balm, And hers the silence and the calm Of mute insensate things.

The floating clouds their state shall lend To her, for her the willow bend, Nor shall she fail to see Even in the motions of the storm A beauty that shall mould her form By silent sympathy.

The stars of midnight shall be dear To her, and she shall lean her ear In many a secret place Where rivulets dance their wayward round, And beauty born of murmuring sound Shall pass into her face.

And vital feelings of delight Shall rear her form to stately height, Her virgin bosom swell, Such thoughts to Lucy I will give While she and I together live Here in this happy dell.

Thus Nature spake—The work was done— How soon my Lucy's race was run! She died and left to me This heath, this calm and quiet scene, The memory of what has been, And never more will be.

The Pet-Lamb, A Pastoral.

The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink; I heard a voice, it said, Drink, pretty Creature, drink! And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied; A snow-white mountain Lamb with a Maiden at its side.

No other sheep were near, the Lamb was all alone, And by a slender cord was tether'd to a stone; With one knee on the grass did the little Maiden kneel, While to that Mountain Lamb she gave its evening meal.

The Lamb while from her hand he thus his supper took Seem'd to feast with head and ears, and his tail with pleasure shook. "Drink, pretty Creature, drink," she said in such a tone That I almost receiv'd her heart into my own.

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a Child of beauty rare; I watch'd them with delight, they were a lovely pair. And now with empty Can the Maiden turn'd away, But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay.

Towards the Lamb she look'd, and from that shady place I unobserv'd could see the workings of her face: If Nature to her tongue could measur'd numbers bring Thus, thought I, to her Lamb that little Maid would sing.

What ails thee, Young One? What? Why pull so at thy cord? Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and board? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be. Rest little Young One, rest; what is't that aileth thee?

What is it thou would'st seek? What is wanting to thy heart? Thy limbs are they not strong? And beautiful thou art: This grass is tender grass, these flowers they have no peer, And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears.

If the Sun is shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain, This beech is standing by, its covert thou can'st gain, For rain and mountain storms the like thou need'st not fear, The rain and storm are things which scarcely can come here.

Rest, little Young One, rest; thou hast forgot the day When my Father found thee first in places far away: Many flocks are on the hills, but thou wert own'd by none, And thy Mother from thy side for evermore was gone.

He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home, A blessed day for thee! then whither would'st thou roam? A faithful nurse thou hast, the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain tops no kinder could have been.

Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in this Can Fresh water from the brook as clear as ever ran; And twice in the day when the ground is wet with dew I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new.

Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now, Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough, My playmate thou shalt be, and when the wind is cold Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

It will not, will not rest!—poor Creature can it be That 'tis thy Mother's heart which is working so in thee? Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, And dreams of things which thou can'st neither see nor hear.

Alas, the mountain tops that look so green and fair! I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there, The little brooks, that seem all pastime and all play, When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey.

Here thou needst not dread the raven in the sky, He will not come to thee, our Cottage is hard by, Night and day thou art safe as living thing can be, Be happy then and rest, what is't that aileth thee?

As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet, This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat, And it seem'd as I retrac'd the ballad line by line That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was mine.

Again, and once again did I repeat the song, "Nay" said I, "more than half to the Damsel must belong, For she look'd with such a look, and she spake with such a tone, That I almost receiv'd her heart into my own."

Written in GERMANY, On one of the coldest days of the Century.

I must apprize the Reader that the stoves in North Germany generally have the impression of a galloping Horse upon them, this being part of the Brunswick Arms.

A fig for your languages, German and Norse, Let me have the song of the Kettle, And the tongs and the poker, instead of that horse That gallops away with such fury and force On this dreary dull plate of black metal.

Our earth is no doubt made of excellent stuff, But her pulses beat slower and slower. The weather in Forty was cutting and rough, And then, as Heaven knows, the glass stood low enough, And now it is four degrees lower.

Here's a Fly, a disconsolate creature, perhaps A child of the field, or the grove, And sorrow for him! this dull treacherous heat Has seduc'd the poor fool from his winter retreat, And he creeps to the edge of my stove.

Alas! how he fumbles about the domains Which this comfortless oven environ, He cannot find out in what track he must crawl Now back to the tiles, and now back to the hall, And now on the brink of the iron.

Stock-still there he stands like a traveller bemaz'd, The best of his skill he has tried; His feelers methinks I can see him put forth To the East and the West, and the South and the North, But he finds neither guide-post nor guide.

See! his spindles sink under him, foot, leg and thigh, His eyesight and hearing are lost, Between life and death his blood freezes and thaws, And his two pretty pinions of blue dusky gauze Are glued to his sides by the frost.

No Brother, no Friend has he near him, while I Can draw warmth from the cheek of my Love, As blest and as glad in this desolate gloom, As if green summer grass were the floor of my room, And woodbines were hanging above.

Yet, God is my witness, thou small helpless Thing, Thy life I would gladly sustain Till summer comes up from the South, and with crowds Of thy brethren a march thou should'st sound through the clouds, And back to the forests again.


Up, Timothy, up with your Staff and away! Not a soul in the village this morning will stay; The Hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds, And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds.

—Of coats and of jackets both grey, scarlet, and green, On the slopes of the pastures all colours were seen, With their comely blue aprons and caps white as snow, The girls on the hills made a holiday show.

The bason of box-wood, [9] just six months before, Had stood on the table at Timothy's door, A Coffin through Timothy's threshold had pass'd, One Child did it bear and that Child was his last.

[Footnote 9: In several parts of the North of England, when a funeral takes place, a bason full of Sprigs of Box-wood is placed at the door of the house from which the Coffin is taken up, and each person who attends the funeral ordinarily takes a Sprig of this Box-wood, and throws it into the grave of the deceased.]

Now fast up the dell came the noise and the fray, The horse and the horn, and the hark! hark! away! Old Timothy took up his Staff, and he shut With a leisurely motion the door of his hut.

Perhaps to himself at that moment he said, "The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead" But of this in my ears not a word did he speak, And he went to the chase with a tear on his cheek.



The class of Beggars to which the old man here described belongs, will probably soon be extinct. It consisted of poor, and, mostly, old and infirm persons, who confined themselves to a stated round in their neighbourhood, and had certain fixed days, on which, at different houses, they regularly received charity; sometimes in money, but mostly in provisions.

I saw an aged Beggar in my walk, And he was seated by the highway side On a low structure of rude masonry Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they Who lead their horses down the steep rough road May thence remount at ease. The aged man Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone That overlays the pile, and from a bag All white with flour the dole of village dames, He drew his scraps and fragments, one by one, And scann'd them with a fix'd and serious look Of idle computation. In the sun, Upon the second step of that small pile, Surrounded by those wild unpeopled hills, He sate, and eat his food in solitude; And ever, scatter'd from his palsied hand, That still attempting to prevent the waste, Was baffled still, the crumbs in little showers Fell on the ground, and the small mountain birds, Not venturing yet to peck their destin'd meal, Approached within the length of half his staff.

Him from my childhood have I known, and then He was so old, he seems not older now; He travels on, a solitary man, So helpless in appearance, that for him The sauntering horseman-traveller does not throw With careless hand his alms upon the ground, But stops, that he may safely lodge the coin Within the old Man's hat; nor quits him so, But still when he has given his horse the rein Towards the aged Beggar turns a look, Sidelong and half-reverted. She who tends The toll-gate, when in summer at her door She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees The aged Beggar coming, quits her work, And lifts the latch for him that he may pass. The Post-boy when his rattling wheels o'ertake The aged Beggar, in the woody lane, Shouts to him from behind, and, if perchance The old Man does not change his course, the Boy Turns with less noisy wheels to the road-side, And passes gently by, without a curse Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.

He travels on, a solitary Man, His age has no companion. On the ground His eyes are turn'd, and, as he moves along, They move along the ground; and evermore; Instead of common and habitual sight Of fields with rural works, of hill and dale, And the blue sky, one little span of earth Is all his prospect. Thus, from day to day, Bowbent, his eyes for ever on the ground, He plies his weary journey, seeing still, And never knowing that he sees, some straw, Some scatter'd leaf, or marks which, in one track, The nails of cart or chariot wheel have left Impress'd on the white road, in the same line, At distance still the same. Poor Traveller! His staff trails with him, scarcely do his feet Disturb the summer dust, he is so still In look and motion that the cottage curs, Ere he have pass'd the door, will turn away Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls, The vacant and the busy, maids and youths, And urchins newly breech'd all pass him by: Him even the slow-paced waggon leaves behind.

But deem not this man useless.—Statesmen! ye Who are so restless in your wisdom, ye Who have a broom still ready in your hands To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud, Heart-swoln, while in your pride ye contemplate Your talents, power, and wisdom, deem him not A burthen of the earth. Tis Nature's law That none, the meanest of created things, Of forms created the most vile and brute, The dullest or most noxious, should exist Divorced from good, a spirit and pulse of good, A life and soul to every mode of being Inseparably link'd. While thus he creeps From door to door, the Villagers in him Behold a record which together binds Past deeds and offices of charity Else unremember'd, and so keeps alive The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years, And that half-wisdom, half-experience gives Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.

Among the farms and solitary huts Hamlets, and thinly-scattered villages, Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds, The mild necessity of use compels To acts of love; and habit does the work Of reason, yet prepares that after joy Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul, By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursu'd Doth find itself insensibly dispos'd To virtue and true goodness. Some there are, By their good works exalted, lofty minds And meditative, authors of delight And happiness, which to the end of time Will live, and spread, and kindle; minds like these, In childhood, from this solitary being, This helpless wanderer, have perchance receiv'd, (A thing more precious far than all that books Or the solicitudes of love can do!) That first mild touch of sympathy and thought, In which they found their kindred with a world Where want and sorrow were. The easy man Who sits at his own door, and like the pear Which overhangs his head from the green wall, Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young, The prosperous and unthinking, they who live Shelter'd, and flourish in a little grove Of their own kindred, all behold in him A silent monitor, which on their minds Must needs impress a transitory thought Of self-congratulation, to the heart Of each recalling his peculiar boons, His charters and exemptions; and perchance, Though he to no one give the fortitude And circumspection needful to preserve His present blessings, and to husband up The respite of the season, he, at least, And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.

Yet further.—Many, I believe, there are Who live a life of virtuous decency, Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel No self-reproach, who of the moral law Establish'd in the land where they abide Are strict observers, and not negligent, Meanwhile, in any tenderness of heart Or act of love to those with whom they dwell, Their kindred, and the children of their blood.

Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace! —But of the poor man ask, the abject poor, Go and demand of him, if there be here, In this cold abstinence from evil deeds, And these inevitable charities, Wherewith to satisfy the human soul. No—man is dear to man: the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life When they can know and feel that they have been Themselves the fathers and the dealers out Of some small blessings, have been kind to such As needed kindness, for this single cause, That we have all of us one human heart.

—Such pleasure is to one kind Being known My Neighbour, when with punctual care, each week Duly as Friday comes, though press'd herself By her own wants, she from her chest of meal Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door Returning with exhilarated heart, Sits by her tire and builds her hope in heav'n.

Then let him pass, a blessing on his head! And while, in that vast solitude to which The tide of things has led him, he appears To breathe and live but for himself alone, Unblam'd, uninjur'd, let him bear about The good which the benignant law of heaven Has hung around him, and, while life is his, Still let him prompt the unletter'd Villagers To tender offices and pensive thoughts.

Then let him pass, a blessing on his head! And, long as he can wander, let him breathe The freshness of the vallies, let his blood Struggle with frosty air and winter snows, And let the charter'd wind that sweeps the heath Beat his grey locks against his wither'd face. Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness Gives the last human interest to his heart. May never House, misnamed of industry, Make him a captive; for that pent-up din, Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air, Be his the natural silence of old age.

Let him be free of mountain solitudes, And have around him, whether heard or nor, The pleasant melody of woodland birds. Few are his pleasures; if his eyes, which now Have been so long familiar with the earth, No more behold the horizontal sun Rising or setting, let the light at least Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.

And let him, where and when he will, sit down Beneath the trees, or by the grassy bank Of high-way side, and with the little birds Share his chance-gather'd meal, and, finally, As in the eye of Nature he has liv'd, So in the eye of Nature let him die.


There's George Fisher, Charles Fleming, and Reginald Shore, Three rosy-cheek'd School-boys, the highest not more Than the height of a Counsellor's bag; To the top of Great How did it please them to climb, and there they built up without mortar or lime A Man on the peak of the crag.

They built him of stones gather'd up as they lay, They built him and christen'd him all in one day, An Urchin both vigorous and hale; And so without scruple they call'd him Ralph Jones. Now Ralph is renown'd for the length of his bones; The Magog of Legberthwaite dale.

Just half a week after the Wind sallied forth, And, in anger or merriment, out of the North Coming on with a terrible pother, From the peak of the crag blew the Giant away. And what did these School-boys?—The very next day They went and they built up another.

—Some little I've seen of blind boisterous works In Paris and London, 'mong Christians or Turks, Spirits busy to do and undo: At remembrance whereof my blood sometimes will flag. —Then, light-hearted Boys, to the top of the Crag! And I'll build up a Giant with you.

Great How is a single and conspicuous hill, which rises towards the foot of Thirl-mere, on the western side of the beautiful dale of Legberthwaite, along the 'high road between Keswick' and Ambleside.


Art thou a Statesman, in the van Of public business train'd and bred, —First learn to love one living man; Then may'st thou think upon the dead.

A Lawyer art thou?—draw not nigh; Go, carry to some other place The hardness of thy coward eye, The falshood of thy sallow face.

Art thou a man of purple cheer? A rosy man, right plump to see? Approach; yet Doctor, not too near: This grave no cushion is for thee.

Art thou a man of gallant pride, A Soldier, and no mail of chaff? Welcome!—but lay thy sword aside, And lean upon a Peasant's staff.

Physician art thou? One, all eyes, Philosopher! a fingering slave, One that would peep and botanize Upon his mother's grave?

Wrapp'd closely in thy sensual fleece O turn aside, and take, I pray, That he below may rest in peace, Thy pin-point of a soul away!

—A Moralist perchance appears; Led, Heaven knows how! to this poor sod: And He has neither eyes nor ears; Himself his world, and his own God;

One to whose smooth-rubb'd soul can cling Nor form nor feeling great nor small, A reasoning, self-sufficing thing, An intellectual All in All!

Shut close the door! press down the latch: Sleep in thy intellectual crust, Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch, Near this unprofitable dust.

But who is He with modest looks, And clad in homely russet brown? He murmurs near the running brooks A music sweeter than their own.

He is retired as noontide dew, Or fountain in a noonday grove; And you must love him, ere to you He will seem worthy of your love.

The outward shews of sky and earth. Of hill and valley he has view'd; And impulses of deeper birth Have come to him in solitude.

In common things that round us lie Some random truths he can impart The harvest of a quiet eye That broods and sleeps on his own heart.

But he is weak, both man and boy, Hath been an idler in the land; Contented if he might enjoy The things which others understand.

—Come hither in thy hour of strength, Come, weak as is a breaking wave! Here stretch thy body at full length Or build thy house upon this grave.—

A CHARACTER, In the antithetical Manner.

I marvel how Nature could ever find space For the weight and the levity seen in his face: There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom, And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

There's weakness, and strength both redundant and vain; Such strength, as if ever affliction and pain Could pierce through a temper that's soft to disease, Would be rational peace—a philosopher's ease.

There's indifference, alike when he fails and succeeds, And attention full ten times as much as there needs, Pride where there's no envy, there's so much of joy; And mildness, and spirit both forward and coy.

There's freedom, and sometimes a diffident stare Of shame scarcely seeming to know that she's there. There's virtue, the title it surely may claim, Yet wants, heaven knows what, to be worthy the name.

What a picture! 'tis drawn without nature or art, —Yet the Man would at once run away with your heart, And I for five centuries right gladly would be Such an odd, such a kind happy creature as he.


Between two sister moorland rills There is a spot that seems to lie Sacred to flowrets of the hills, And sacred to the sky.

And in this smooth and open dell There is a tempest-stricken tree; A corner stone by lightning cut, The last stone of a cottage hut; And in this dell you see A thing no storm can e'er destroy, The shadow of a Danish Boy.

In clouds above, the lark is heard, He sings his blithest and his beet; But in this lonesome nook the bird Did never build his nest.

No beast, no bird hath here his home; The bees borne on the breezy air Pass high above those fragrant bells To other flowers, to other dells. Nor ever linger there. The Danish Boy walks here alone: The lovely dell is all his own.

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