Page images
PDF

OR, THE DESERTED cottAGE.

Was busy in the distance, shaping things
That o: her heart beat quick. You see that
path,
Now †-he grass has crept o'er its grey
1ne;
There, to and fro, she paced through many a
day
Of the warm summer, from a belt of hemp
That girt her waist, spinning the long drawn
thread
With backward steps. Yet ever as there passcd
A man yo garments showed the soldier's
red,
Or crippled mendicant in sailor's garb,
The little child who sate to turn the wheel
Ceased from his task; and she with faltering
voice
Made many a fond enquiry; and when they,
Whose presence gave no comfort, were gone by,
Her heart was still more sad. And by yon gate,
That bars the traveller's road, she often stood,
And when a stranger horseman came, the latch
Would lift, and in his face look wistfully :
Most happy, if, from aught discovered there
Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat
The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor hut
Sank to decay: for he was gone, whose hand,
At the first nipping of October frost,
Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of
Straw

[graphic]
[graphic]

96 MARGARET ;

Chequered the green-grown thatch. And so
she lived
Through the long winter, reckless and alone;
Until her house by frost, and thaw, and rain,
Was sapped; and while she slept, the nightly
damps
Did chill her breast; and in the stormy day
Her tattered clothes were ruffled by the wind;
Even at the side of her own fire. Yet still
She loved this wretched spot, nor would for
worlds
Have parted hence; and still that length of road,
And this rude bench, one torturing hope en-
deared,
Fastrooted ather heart: and here, my Friend,-
In sickness she remained; and here she died;
Last human tenant of these ruined walls.”

The old Man ceased: he saw that I was moved; From that low bench, rising instinctively I turned aside in weakness, nor had power To thank him for the tale which he had told. I stood, and leaning o'er the garden wall, Reviewed that Woman's sufferings; and it seemed To comfort me while with a brother's love I blessed her in the impotence of grief. Then towards the cottage I returned; and traced Fondly, though with an interest more mild,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

OR, TIE DESERTED COTTAGE.

That secret spirit of humanity
Which, mid the calm oblivious tendencies
Of nature, mid her plants, and weeds, and
flowers,
And silent overgrowings, still survived.
The old Man, noting this, resumed, and said,
“My Friend! enough to sorrow you have given,
The purposes of wisdom ask no more;
Be wise and cheerful; and no longer read
The forms of things with an unworthy eye.
She sleeps in the calm earth, and peace is here.
I well remember that those very plumes,
Those yo and the high spear-grass on that
Wall,
By mist and silent rain-drops silvered o'er,
As once I passed, into my heart conveyed
So still an image of tranquillity,
So calm and still, and looked so beautiful
Amid the uneasy thoughts which filled my mind,
That what we feel of sorrow and despair
From ruin and from change, and all the grief
The passing shows of Being leave behind,
Appeared an idle dream, that could not live
Where meditation was. I turned away,
And walked along my road in happiness.”

He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot A slant and mellow radiance, which began To fall upon us, while, beneath the trees, We sate on that low Bench: and now we felt, 7

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

S A linnet warbled from those lofty elms,

} a *. A thrush sang loud, and other melodies, At distance heard, peopled the milder air. o The old Man rose, and with a sprightly mien o Of hopeful preparation, grasped his staff: o Together casting then a farewell look o Upon those silent walls, we left the shade; - And, ere the stars were visible, had reached

o A village inn, our evening resting-place.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »