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23.—THE GOOD LORD CLIFFORD.

WORDSWORTH. SONG AT THE FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE, UPON THE RESTORATION

OF LORD CLIFFORD, THE SHEPHERD, TO THE ESTATES AND HONOURS OF HIS ANCESTORS.

[The greatest name in the literature of our own age is William Wordsworth. Twenty years ago we should have been sneered at for this opinion; no one now ventures to doubt its truth, who has outlived the poetical creed of the first Edinburgh Reviewers. Hazlitt, a critic in many respects before his age, writes thus of Wordsworth :-“ He is the most original poet now living, and the one whose writings could the least be spared, for they have no substitute elsewhere. The vulgar do not read them; the learned, who see all things through books, do , not understand them; the great despise, the fashionable may ridicule them; but the author has created himself an interest in the heart of the retired and lonely student which can never die.” The tastes of the retired and lonely student have triumphed over the pedantry of the learned and the coldness of the great and fashionable; and by dint of better education, and a familiarity with good models, the class whom Hazlitt calls “the vulgar” do read the poems of the secluded thinker, who has made the earnest cultivation of the highest poetry the one business of his life. We will not say that he has lived to see his reward;—his reward, his own “exceeding great reward,” has been in the tranquil but satisfying course of his contemplative life. Content with competence of worldly goods, he has lived apart from the world ;and has at last influenced the world more enduringly than any of his contemporaries, although his power has been slowly won. The secret of Wordsworth's success is his universality-a secret only known to the very highest of human intellects,—the secret of Shakspere.

Mr. Wordsworth was born in 1770. The poet of seventy-seven is still strong in his intellectual and bodily vigour. He is one, that with “blind Mæonides,” and with Milton, might be apostrophized in his own beautiful lines :

Brothers in soul! though distant times
Produced you, nursed in various climes,
Ye, when the orb of life had waned,
A plenitude of love retained ;
Hence, while in you each sad regret
By corresponding hope was met,
Ye lingered among human kind,
Sweet voices for the passing wind;
Departing sunbeams, loth to stop,
Though smiling on the last hill-top."]

High in the breathless Hall the Minstrel sate,
And Emont's murmur mingled with the song.
The words of ancient time I thus translate,
A festal strain that hath been silent long.

“ From town to town, from tower to tower,
The red rose is a gladsome flower.
Her thirty years of winter past,
The red rose is revived at last;
She lifts her head for endless spring,
For everlasting blossoming:
Both roses flourish, Red and White.
In love and sisterly delight
The two that were at strife are blended,
And all old troubles now are ended.
Joy! Joy to both! but most to her
Who is the flower of Lancaster!
Behold her how she smiles to-day
On this great throng, this bright array! ,
Fair greeting doth she send to all
From every corner of the Hall;
But, chiefly, from above the board
Where sits in state our rightful Lord,
A Clifford to his own restored !

“ They came with banner, spear, and shield;
And it was proved in Bosworth-field.
Not long the Avenger was withstood-
Earth helped him with the cry of blood ::
St George was with us, and the might
Of blessed angels crowned the right.
Loud voice the land has uttered forth,
We loudest in the faithful north :
Our fields rejoice, our mountains ring,
Our streams proclaim a welcoming;
Our strong abodes and castles see
The glory of their loyalty.

VOL. I.

“ How glad is Skipton at this hourThough she is but a lonely tower! To vacancy and silence left; Of all her guardian sons bereftKnight, squire, or yeoman, page or groom; We have them at the Feast of Brougham. How glad Pendragon-though the sleep Of years be on her!-She shall reap A taste of this great pleasure, viewing As in a dream her own renewing. Rejoiced is Brough, right glad I deem Beside her little humble stream ; And she that keepeth watch and ward Her statelier Eden's course to guard ; They both are happy at this hour, Though each is but a lonely tower :-But here is perfect joy and pride For one fair House by Emont's side, This day, distinguished without peer, To see her Master and to cheer; Him, and his Lady Mother dear!

“ Oh! it was a time forlorn,
When the fatherless was born-
Give her wings that she may fly,
Or she sees her infant die!
Swords that are with slaughter wild
Hunt the mother and the child.
Who will take them from the light?
-Yonder is a man in sight
Yonder is a house—but where ?
No, they must not enter there.
To the caves, and to the brooks,
To the clouds of heaven she looks ;
She is speechless, but her eyes
Pray in ghostly agonies.
Blissful Mary, mother mild,

Maid and mother undefiled,
Save a mother and her child !

"Now who is he that bounds with joy
On Carrock's side, a Shepherd Boy?
No thoughts hath he but thoughts that pass
Light as the wind along the grass.
Can this be he who hither came
In secret, like a smothered flame ?
O’er whom such thankful tears were shed
For shelter, and a poor man's bread !
God loves the child; and God hath willed
That those dear words should be fulfilled,
The lady's words, when forced away,
The last she to her babe did say,
"My own, my own, thy fellow-guest
I may not be; but rest thee, rest
For lowly shepherd's life is best!'

“Alas! when evil men are strong No life is good, no pleasure long. The boy must part from Mosedale's groves And leave Blencathara's rugged coves, And quit the flowers that summer brings To Glenderamakin's lofty springs; Must vanish, and his careless cheer Be turned to heaviness and fear. -Give Sir Lancelot Threlkeld praise ! Hear it, good man, old in days ! Thou free of covert and of rest For this young bird, that is distrest; Among the branches safe he lay, And he was free to sport and play When falcons were abroad for prey.

A recreant harp, that sings of fear
And heaviness in Clifford's ear!
I said, when evil men are strong,
No life is good, no pleasure long,

A weak and cowardly untruth !
Our Clifford was a happy youth,
And thankful through a weary time
That brought him up to manhood's prime.
--Again he wanders forth at will
And tends a flock from hill to hill :
His garb is humble : ne'er was seen
Such garb with such a noble mien :
Among the Shepherd-grooms no mate
Hath he, a child of strength and state !
Yet lacks not friends for solemn glee,
And a cheerful company,
That learned of him submissive ways;
And comforted his private days.
To his side the fallow-deer
Came, and rested without fear;
The eagle, lord of land and sea,
Stooped down to pay him fealty ;
And both the undying fish that swim
Through Bowscale-Tarn did wait on him,
The pair were servants of his eye
In their immortality ;
They moved about in open sight,
To and fro, for his delight.
He knew the rocks which angels haunt
On the mountains visitant;
He hath kenned them taking wing:
And the caves where faëries sing
He hath entered :—and been told
By voices how men lived of old.
Among the heavens his eye can see
Face of thing that is to be ;
And, if men report him right,
He could whisper words of might.

-Now another day is come, .
Fitter hope, and nobler doom :
He hath thrown aside his crook,
And hath buried deep his book ;

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