Page images

XXIV. - THE RESTING-PLACE. MID-NOON is past; — upon the sultry mead No zephyr breathes, no cloud its shadow throws: If we advance unstrengthened by repose, Farewell the solace of the vagrant reed! This Nook, with woodbine hung and straggling weed, Tempting recess as ever pilgrim chose, Half grot, half arbour, proffers to enclose Body and mind from molestation freed, In narrow compass — narrow as itself : Or if the Fancy, too industrious Elf, Be loth that we should breathe awhile exempt From new incitements friendly to our task, There wants not stealthy prospect, that may tempt Loose Idless to forego her wily mask.

XXV. METHINKS 'twere no unprecedented feat Should some benignant Minister of air Lift, and encircle with a cloudy chair, The One for whom my heart shall ever beat With tenderest love ; — or, if a safer seat Atween his downy wings be furnished, there Would lodge her, and the cherished burden bear O'er hill and valley to this dim retreat! Rough ways my steps have trod; — too rough and long For her companionship; here dwells soft ease: With sweets which she partakes not some distaste Mingles, and lurking consciousness of wrong; Languish the flowers; the waters seem to waste Their vocal charm; their sparklings cease to please.

XXVI. RETURN, Content! for fondly I pursued, Even when a child, the Streams — unheard, unseen; Through tangled woods, impending rocks between; Or, free as air, with flying inquest viewed The sullen reservoirs whence their bold brood, Pure as the morning, fretful, boisterous, keen, Green as the salt-sea billows, white and green, Poured down the hills, a choral multitude ! Nor have I tracked their course for scanty gains; They taught me random cares and truant joys, That shield from mischief and preserve from stains Vague minds, while men are growing out of boys; Maturer Fancy owes to their rough noise Impetuous thoughts that brook not servile reins.


FALLEN, and diffused into a shapeless heap,
Or quietly self-buried in earth’s mould,
Is that embattled House, whose massy Keep
Flung from yon cliff a shadow large and cold.
There dwelt the gay, the bountiful, the bold,
Till nightly lamentations, like the sweep
Of winds — though winds were silent, struck a deep
And lasting terror through that ancient Hold.
Its line of Warriors fed ;— they shrunk when tried
By ghostly power:- but Time's unsparing hand
Hath plucked such foes, like weeds, from out the land ;
And now, if men with men in peace abide,
All other strength the weakest may withstand,
All worse assaults may safely be defied.

XXVIII. — JOURNEY RENEWED. I ROSE while yet the cattle, heat-opprest, Crowded together under rustling trees, Brushed by the current of the water-breeze; And for their sakes, and love of all that rest, On Duddon's margin, in the sheltering nest; For all the startled scaly tribes that slink Into his coverts, and each fearless link Of dancing insects forged upon his breast; For these, and hopes and recollections worn Close to the vital seat of human clay; Glad meetings — tender partings — that upstay The drooping mind of absence, by vows sworn In his pure presence near the trysting thorn ; I thanked the Leader of my onward way.

XXIX. No record tells of lance opposed to lance, Horse charging horse, 'mid these retired domains ; Tells that their turf drank purple from the veins Of heroes fallen, or struggling to advance, Till doubtful combat issued in a trance Of victory, that struck through heart and reins, Even to the inmost seat of mortal pains, And lightened o'er the pallid countenance. Yet, to the loyal and the brave, who lie In the blank earth, neglected and forlorn The passing Winds memorial tribute pay; The Torrents chant their praise, inspiring scorn Of power usurped with proclamation high, And glad acknowledgment of lawful sway.

XXX. Who swerves from innocence, who makes divorce Of that serene companion-a good name, Recovers not his loss; but walks with shame, With doubt, with fear, and haply with remorse: And oft-times he, who, yielding to the force Of chance-temptation, ere his journey end, From chosen comrade turns, or faithful friend, In vain shall rue the broken intercourse. Not so with such as loosely wear the chain That binds them, pleasant River! to thy side: Through the rough copse wheel Thou with hasty stride, I choose to saunter o'er the grassy plain, Sure, when the separation has been tried, That we, who part in love, shall meet again.

XXXI. The Kirk of ULPHA to the Pilgrim's eye Is welcome as a Star, that doth present Its shining forehead through the peaceful rent Of a black cloud diffused o'er half the sky: Or as a fruitful palm-tree towering high O'er the parched waste beside an Arab's tent; Or the Indian tree whose branches, downward bent, Take root again, a boundless canopy. How sweet were leisure! could it yield no more Than 'mid that wave-washed Church-yard to recline, From pastoral graves extracting thoughts divine; Or there to pace, and mark the summits hoar Of distant moon-lit mountains faintly shine, Soothed by the unseen River's gentle roar.

XXXII. Not hurled precipitous from steep to steep; ... Lingering no more 'mid flower-enamelled lands And blooming thickets; nor by rocky bands Held ;- but in radiant progress tow'rd the Deep Where mightiest rivers into powerless sleep Sink, and forget their nature;—now expands Majestic Duddon, over smooth flat sands Gliding in silence with unfettered sweep ! Beneath an ampler sky a region wide Is opened round him:- hamlets, towers, and towns, And blue-topped hills, behold him from afar; In stately mien to sovereign Thames allied Spreading his bosom under Kentish Downs, With Commerce freighted, or triumphant War,

XXXIII.— CONCLUSION. But here no cannon thunders to the gale ; Upon the wave no haughty pendants cast A crimson splendour; lowly is the mast That rises here, and humbly spread the sail; While, less disturbed than in the narrow Vale Through which with strange vicissitudes he passed, The Wanderer seeks that receptacle vast Where all his unambitious functions fail. And may thy Poet, cloud-born Stream! be free, The sweets of earth contentedly resigned, And each tumultuous working left behind At seemly distance, to advance like Thee, Prepared, in peace of heart, in calm of mind And soul, to mingle with Eternity!

« PreviousContinue »