Poet's Address to the State and Church of England--The Pastor not inferior to the ancient Worthies of the Church--He begins his Narratives with an instance of unrequited Love--Anguish of mind subdued, and how--The lonely Miner--An instance of perseverance-- Which leads by contrast to an example of abused talents, irresolution, and weakness--Solitary, applying this covertly to his own case, asks for an instance of some Stranger, whose dispositions may have led him to end his days here--Pastor, in answer, gives an account of the harmonising influence of Solitude upon two men of opposite principles, who had encountered agitations in public life--The rule by which Peace may be obtained expressed, and where--Solitary hints at an overpowering Fatality-- Answer of the Pastor--What subjects he will exclude from his Narratives--Conversation upon this--Instance of an unamiable character, a Female, and why given--Contrasted with this, a meek sufferer, from unguarded and betrayed love--Instance of heavier guilt, and its consequences to the Offender--With this instance of a Marriage Contract broken is contrasted one of a Widower, evidencing his faithful affection towards his deceased wife by his care of their female Children.


          HAIL to the crown by Freedom shaped--to gird
          An English Sovereign's brow! and to the throne
          Whereon he sits! Whose deep foundations lie
          In veneration and the people's love;
          Whose steps are equity, whose seat is law.
          --Hail to the State of England! And conjoin
          With this a salutation as devout,
          Made to the spiritual fabric of her Church;
          Founded in truth; by blood of Martyrdom
          Cemented; by the hands of Wisdom reared                     10
          In beauty of holiness, with ordered pomp,
          Decent and unreproved. The voice, that greets
          The majesty of both, shall pray for both;
          That, mutually protected and sustained,
          They may endure long as the sea surrounds
          This favoured Land, or sunshine warms her soil.

            And O, ye swelling hills, and spacious plains
          Besprent from shore to shore with steeple-towers,
          And spires whose 'silent finger points to heaven;[1]
          Nor wanting, at wide intervals, the bulk                    20
          Of ancient minster lifted above the cloud
          Of the dense air, which town or city breeds
          To intercept the sun's glad beams--may ne'er
          That true succession fail of English hearts,
          Who, with ancestral feeling, can perceive
          What in those holy structures ye possess
          Of ornamental interest, and the charm
          Of pious sentiment diffused afar,
          And human charity, and social love.
          --Thus never shall the indignities of time                  30
          Approach their reverend graces, unopposed;
          Nor shall the elements be free to hurt
          Their fair proportions; nor the blinder rage
          Of bigot zeal madly to overturn;
          And, if the desolating hand of war
          Spare them, they shall continue to bestow
          Upon the thronged abodes of busy men
          (Depraved, and ever prone to fill the mind
          Exclusively with transitory things)
          An air and mien of dignified pursuit;                       40
          Of sweet civility, on rustic wilds.

            The Poet, fostering for his native land
          Such hope, entreats that servants may abound
          Of those pure altars worthy; ministers
          Detached from pleasure, to the love of gain
          Superior, insusceptible of pride,
          And by ambitious longings undisturbed;
          Men, whose delight is where their duty leads
          Or fixes them; whose least distinguished day
          Shines with some portion of that heavenly lustre            50
          Which makes the sabbath lovely in the sight
          Of blessed angels, pitying human cares.
          --And, as on earth it is the doom of truth
          To be perpetually attacked by foes
          Open or covert, be that priesthood still,
          For her defence, replenished with a band
          Of strenuous champions, in scholastic arts
          Thoroughly disciplined; nor (if in course
          Of the revolving world's disturbances
          Cause should recur, which righteous Heaven avert!           60
          To meet such trial) from their spiritual sires
          Degenerate; who, constrained to wield the sword
          Of disputation, shrunk not, though assailed
          With hostile din, and combating in sight
          Of angry umpires, partial and unjust;
          And did, thereafter, bathe their hands in fire,
          So to declare the conscience satisfied:
          Nor for their bodies would accept release;
          But, blessing God and praising him, bequeathed
          With their last breath, from out the smouldering flame,     70
          The faith which they by diligence had earned,
          Or, through illuminating grace, received,
          For their dear countrymen, and all mankind.
          O high example, constancy divine!

            Even such a Man (inheriting the zeal
          And from the sanctity of elder times
          Not deviating,--a priest, the like of whom
          If multiplied, and in their stations set,
          Would o'er the bosom of a joyful land
          Spread true religion and her genuine fruits)                80
          Before me stood that day; on holy ground
          Fraught with the relics of mortality,
          Exalting tender themes, by just degrees
          To lofty raised; and to the highest, last;
          The head and mighty paramount of truths,--
          Immortal life, in never-fading worlds,
          For mortal creatures, conquered and secured.

            That basis laid, those principles of faith
          Announced, as a preparatory act
          Of reverence done to the spirit of the place,               90
          The Pastor cast his eyes upon the ground;
          Not, as before, like one oppressed with awe
          But with a mild and social cheerfulness;
          Then to the Solitary turned, and spake.

            "At morn or eve, in your retired domain,
          Perchance you not unfrequently have marked
          A Visitor--in quest of herbs and flowers;
          Too delicate employ, as would appear,
          For one, who, though of drooping mien, had yet
          From nature's kindliness received a frame                  100
          Robust as ever rural labour bred."

            The Solitary answered: "Such a Form
          Full well I recollect. We often crossed
          Each other's path; but, as the Intruder seemed
          Fondly to prize the silence which he kept,
          And I as willingly did cherish mine,
          We met, and passed, like shadows. I have heard,
          From my good Host, that being crazed in brain
          By unrequited love, he scaled the rocks,
          Dived into caves, and pierced the matted woods,            110
          In hope to find some virtuous herb of power
          To cure his malady!"
                                The Vicar smiled,--
          "Alas! before to-morrow's sun goes down
          His habitation will be here: for him
          That open grave is destined."
                                         "Died he then
          Of pain and grief?" the Solitary asked,
          "Do not believe it; never could that be!"

            "He loved," the Vicar answered, "deeply loved,
          Loved fondly, truly, fervently; and dared
          At length to tell his love, but sued in vain;              120
          Rejected, yea repelled; and, if with scorn
          Upon the haughty maiden's brow, 'tis but
          A high-prized plume which female Beauty wears
          In wantonness of conquest, or puts on
          To cheat the world, or from herself to hide
          Humiliation, when no longer free.
          'That' he could brook, and glory in;--but when
          The tidings came that she whom he had wooed
          Was wedded to another, and his heart
          Was forced to rend away its only hope;                     130
          Then, Pity could have scarcely found on earth
          An object worthier of regard than he,
          In the transition of that bitter hour!
          Lost was she, lost; nor could the Sufferer say
          That in the act of preference he had been
          Unjustly dealt with; but the Maid was gone!
          Had vanished from his prospects and desires;
          Not by translation to the heavenly choir
          Who have put off their mortal spoils--ah no!
          She lives another's wishes to complete,--                  140
          'Joy be their lot, and happiness,' he cried,
          'His lot and hers, as misery must be mine!'

            Such was that strong concussion; but the Man,
          Who trembled, trunk and limbs, like some huge oak
          By a fierce tempest shaken, soon resumed
          The stedfast quiet natural to a mind
          Of composition gentle and sedate,
          And, in its movements, circumspect and slow.
          To books, and to the long-forsaken desk,
          O'er which enchained by science he had loved               150
          To bend, he stoutly re-addressed himself,
          Resolved to quell his pain, and search for truth
          With keener appetite (if that might be)
          And closer industry. Of what ensued
          Within the heart no outward sign appeared
          Till a betraying sickliness was seen
          To tinge his cheek; and through his frame it crept
          With slow mutation unconcealable;
          Such universal change as autumn makes
          In the fair body of a leafy grove,                         160
          Discoloured, then divested.
                                      'Tis affirmed
          By poets skilled in nature's secret ways
          That Love will not submit to be controlled
          By mastery:--and the good Man lacked not friends
          Who strove to instil this truth into his mind,
          A mind in all heart-mysteries unversed.

          'Go to the hills,' said one, 'remit a while
          'This baneful diligence:--at early morn
          'Court the fresh air, explore the heaths and woods;
          'And, leaving it to others to foretell,                    170
          'By calculations sage, the ebb and flow
          'Of tides, and when the moon will be eclipsed,
          'Do you, for your own benefit, construct
          'A calendar of flowers, plucked as they blow
          'Where health abides, and cheerfulness, and peace.'
          The attempt was made;--'tis needless to report
          How hopelessly; but innocence is strong,
          And an entire simplicity of mind
          A thing most sacred in the eye of Heaven;
          That opens, for such sufferers, relief                     180
          Within the soul, fountains of grace divine;
          And doth commend their weakness and disease
          To Nature's care, assisted in her office
          By all the elements that round her wait
          To generate, to preserve, and to restore;
          And by her beautiful array of forms
          Shedding sweet influence from above; or pure
          Delight exhaling from the ground they tread."

            "Impute it not to impatience, if," exclaimed
          The Wanderer, "I infer that he was healed                  190
          By perseverance in the course prescribed."

            "You do not err: the powers, that had been lost
          By slow degrees, were gradually regained;
          The fluttering nerves composed; the beating heart
          In rest established; and the jarring thoughts
          To harmony restored.--But yon dark mould
          Will cover him, in the fulness of his strength,
          Hastily smitten by a fever's force;
          Yet not with stroke so sudden as refused
          Time to look back with tenderness on her                   200
          Whom he had loved in passion; and to send
          Some farewell words--with one, but one, request;
          That, from his dying hand, she would accept
          Of his possessions that which most he prized;
          A book, upon whose leaves some chosen plants,
          By his own hand disposed with nicest care,
          In undecaying beauty were preserved;
          Mute register, to him, of time and place,
          And various fluctuations in the breast;
          To her, a monument of faithful love                        210
          Conquered, and in tranquillity retained!

            Close to his destined habitation, lies
          One who achieved a humbler victory,
          Though marvellous in its kind. A place there is
          High in these mountains, that allured a band
          Of keen adventurers to unite their pains
          In search of precious ore: they tried, were foiled--
          And all desisted, all, save him alone.
          He, taking counsel of his own clear thoughts,
          And trusting only to his own weak hands,                   220
          Urged unremittingly the stubborn work,
          Unseconded, uncountenanced; then, as time
          Passed on, while still his lonely efforts found
          No recompense, derided; and at length,
          By many pitied, as insane of mind;
          By others dreaded as the luckless thrall
          Of subterranean Spirits feeding hope
          By various mockery of sight and sound;
          Hope after hope, encouraged and destroyed.
          --But when the lord of seasons had matured                 230
          The fruits of earth through space of twice ten years,
          The mountain's entrails offered to his view
          And trembling grasp the long-deferred reward.
          Not with more transport did Columbus greet
          A world, his rich discovery! But our Swain,
          A very hero till his point was gained,
          Proved all unable to support the weight
          Of prosperous fortune. On the fields he looked
          With an unsettled liberty of thought,
          Wishes and endless schemes; by daylight walked             240
          Giddy and restless; ever and anon
          Quaffed in his gratitude immoderate cups;
          And truly might be said to die of joy!
          He vanished; but conspicuous to this day
          The path remains that linked his cottage-door
          To the mine's mouth; a long and slanting track,
          Upon the rugged mountain's stony side,
          Worn by his daily visits to and from
          The darksome centre of a constant hope.
          This vestige, neither force of beating rain,               250
          Nor the vicissitudes of frost and thaw
          Shall cause to fade, till ages pass away;
          And it is named, in memory of the event,
                                      "Thou from whom
          Man has his strength," exclaimed the Wanderer, "oh!
          Do thou direct it! To the virtuous grant
          The penetrative eye which can perceive
          In this blind world the guiding vein of hope;
          That, like this Labourer, such may dig their way,
          'Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified;'                        260
          Grant to the wise 'his' firmness of resolve!"

            "That prayer were not superfluous," said the Priest,
          "Amid the noblest relics, proudest dust,
          That Westminster, for Britain's glory, holds
          Within the bosom of her awful pile,
          Ambitiously collected. Yet the sigh,
          Which wafts that prayer to heaven, is due to all,
          Wherever laid, who living fell below
          Their virtue's humbler mark; a sigh of 'pain'
          If to the opposite extreme they sank.                      270
          How would you pity her who yonder rests;
          Him, farther off; the pair, who here are laid;
          But, above all, that mixture of earth's mould
          Whom sight of this green hillock to my mind
                    'He' lived not till his locks were nipped
          By seasonable frost of age; nor died
          Before his temples, prematurely forced
          To mix the manly brown with silver grey,
          Gave obvious instance of the sad effect
          Produced, when thoughtless Folly hath usurped              280
          The natural crown that sage Experience wears.
          Gay, volatile, ingenious, quick to learn,
          And prompt to exhibit all that he possessed
          Or could perform; a zealous actor, hired
          Into the troop of mirth, a soldier, sworn
          Into the lists of giddy enterprise--
          Such was he; yet, as if within his frame
          Two several souls alternately had lodged,
          Two sets of manners could the Youth put on;
          And, fraught with antics as the Indian bird                290
          That writhes and chatters in her wiry cage,
          Was graceful, when it pleased him, smooth and still
          As the mute swan that floats adown the stream,
          Or, on the waters of the unruffled lake,
          Anchors her placid beauty. Not a leaf,
          That flutters on the bough, lighter than he;
          And not a flower, that droops in the green shade,
          More winningly reserved! If ye enquire
          How such consummate elegance was bred
          Amid these wilds, this answer may suffice;                 300
          'Twas Nature's will; who sometimes undertakes,
          For the reproof of human vanity,
          Art to outstrip in her peculiar walk.
          Hence, for this Favourite--lavishly endowed
          With personal gifts, and bright instinctive wit,
          While both, embellishing each other, stood
          Yet farther recommended by the charm
          Of fine demeanour, and by dance and song,
          And skill in letters--every fancy shaped
          Fair expectations; nor, when to the world's                310
          Capacious field forth went the Adventurer, there
          Were he and his attainments overlooked,
          Or scantily rewarded; but all hopes,
          Cherished for him, he suffered to depart,
          Like blighted buds; or clouds that mimicked land
          Before the sailor's eye; or diamond drops
          That sparkling decked the morning grass; or aught
          That 'was' attractive, and hath ceased to be!

            Yet, when this Prodigal returned, the rites
          Of joyful greeting were on him bestowed,                   320
          Who, by humiliation undeterred,
          Sought for his weariness a place of rest
          Within his Father's gates.--Whence came he?--clothed
          In tattered garb, from hovels where abides
          Necessity, the stationary host
          Of vagrant poverty; from rifted barns
          Where no one dwells but the wide-staring owl
          And the owl's prey; from these bare haunts, to which
          He had descended from the proud saloon,
          He came, the ghost of beauty and of health,                330
          The wreck of gaiety! But soon revived
          In strength, in power refitted, he renewed
          His suit to Fortune; and she smiled again
          Upon a fickle Ingrate. Thrice he rose,
          Thrice sank as willingly. For he--whose nerves
          Were used to thrill with pleasure, while his voice
          Softly accompanied the tuneful harp,
          By the nice finger of fair ladies touched
          In glittering halls--was able to derive
          No less enjoyment from an abject choice.                   340
          Who happier for the moment--who more blithe
          Than this fallen Spirit? in those dreary holds
          His talents lending to exalt the freaks
          Of merry-making beggars,--nor provoked
          To laughter multiplied in louder peals
          By his malicious wit; then, all enchained
          With mute astonishment, themselves to see
          In their own arts outdone, their fame eclipsed,
          As by the very presence of the Fiend
          Who dictates and inspires illusive feats,                  350
          For knavish purposes! The city, too,
          (With shame I speak it) to her guilty bowers
          Allured him, sunk so low in self-respect
          As there to linger, there to eat his bread,
          Hired minstrel of voluptuous blandishment;
          Charming the air with skill of hand or voice,
          Listen who would, be wrought upon who might,
          Sincerely wretched hearts, or falsely gay.
          --Such the too frequent tenor of his boast
          In ears that relished the report;--but all                 360
          Was from his Parents happily concealed;
          Who saw enough for blame and pitying love.
          They also were permitted to receive
          His last, repentant breath; and closed his eyes,
          No more to open on that irksome world
          Where he had long existed in the state
          Of a young fowl beneath one mother hatched,
          Though from another sprung, different in kind:
          Where he had lived, and could not cease to live,
          Distracted in propensity; content                          370
          With neither element of good or ill;
          And yet in both rejoicing; man unblest;
          Of contradictions infinite the slave,
          Till his deliverance, when Mercy made him
          One with himself, and one with them that sleep."

            "'Tis strange," observed the Solitary, "strange
          It seems, and scarcely less than pitiful,
          That in a land where charity provides
          For all that can no longer feed themselves,
          A man like this should choose to bring his shame           380
          To the parental door; and with his sighs
          Infect the air which he had freely breathed
          In happy infancy. He could not pine,
          Through lack of converse; no--he must have found
          Abundant exercise for thought and speech,
          In his dividual being, self-reviewed,
          Self-catechised, self-punished.--Some there are
          Who, drawing near their final home, and much
          And daily longing that the same were reached,
          Would rather shun than seek the fellowship                 390
          Of kindred mould.--Such haply here are laid?"

            "Yes," said the Priest, "the Genius of our hills--
          Who seems, by these stupendous barriers cast
          Round his domain, desirous not alone
          To keep his own, but also to exclude
          All other progeny--doth sometimes lure,
          Even by his studied depth of privacy,
          The unhappy alien hoping to obtain
          Concealment, or seduced by wish to find,
          In place from outward molestation free,                    400
          Helps to internal ease. Of many such
          Could I discourse; but as their stay was brief,
          So their departure only left behind
          Fancies, and loose conjectures. Other trace
          Survives, for worthy mention, of a pair
          Who, from the pressure of their several fates,
          Meeting as strangers, in a petty town
          Whose blue roofs ornament a distant reach
          Of this far-winding vale, remained as friends
          True to their choice; and gave their bones in trust        410
          To this loved cemetery, here to lodge
          With unescutcheoned privacy interred
          Far from the family vault.--A Chieftain one
          By right of birth; within whose spotless breast
          The fire of ancient Caledonia burned:
          He, with the foremost whose impatience hailed
          The Stuart, landing to resume, by force
          Of arms, the crown which bigotry had lost,
          Aroused his clan; and, fighting at their head,
          With his brave sword endeavoured to prevent                420
          Culloden's fatal overthrow. Escaped
          From that disastrous rout, to foreign shores
          He fled; and when the lenient hand of time
          Those troubles had appeased, he sought and gained,
          For his obscured condition, an obscure
          Retreat, within this nook of English ground.

            The other, born in Britain's southern tract,
          Had fixed his milder loyalty, and placed
          His gentler sentiments of love and hate,
          There, where 'they' placed them who in conscience prized   430
          The new succession, as a line of kings
          Whose oath had virtue to protect the land
          Against the dire assaults of papacy
          And arbitrary rule. But launch thy bark
          On the distempered flood of public life,
          And cause for most rare triumph will be thine
          If, spite of keenest eye and steadiest hand,
          The stream, that bears thee forward, prove not, soon
          Or late, a perilous master. He--who oft,
          Beneath the battlements and stately trees                  440
          That round his mansion cast a sober gloom,
          Had moralised on this, and other truths
          Of kindred import, pleased and satisfied--
          Was forced to vent his wisdom with a sigh
          Heaved from the heart in fortune's bitterness,
          When he had crushed a plentiful estate
          By ruinous contest, to obtain a seat
          In Britain's senate. Fruitless was the attempt;
          And while the uproar of that desperate strife
          Continued yet to vibrate on his ear,                       450
          The vanquished Whig, under a borrowed name,
          (For the mere sound and echo of his own
          Haunted him with sensations of disgust
          That he was glad to lose) slunk from the world
          To the deep shade of those untravelled Wilds;
          In which the Scottish Laird had long possessed
          An undisturbed abode. Here, then, they met,
          Two doughty champions; flaming Jacobite
          And sullen Hanoverian! You might think
          That losses and vexations, less severe                     460
          Than those which they had severally sustained,
          Would have inclined each to abate his zeal
          For his ungrateful cause; no,--I have heard
          My reverend Father tell that, 'mid the calm
          Of that small town encountering thus, they filled,
          Daily, its bowling-green with harmless strife;
          Plagued with uncharitable thoughts the church;
          And vexed the market-place. But in the breasts
          Of these opponents gradually was wrought,
          With little change of general sentiment,                   470
          Such leaning towards each other, that their days
          By choice were spent in constant fellowship;
          And if, at times, they fretted with the yoke,
          Those very bickerings made them love it more.

            A favourite boundary to their lengthened walks
          This Churchyard was. And, whether they had come
          Treading their path in sympathy and linked
          In social converse, or by some short space
          Discreetly parted to preserve the peace,
          One spirit seldom failed to extend its sway                480
          Over both minds, when they awhile had marked
          The visible quiet of this holy ground,
          And breathed its soothing air:--the spirit of hope
          And saintly magnanimity; that--spurning
          The field of selfish difference and dispute,
          And every care which transitory things,
          Earth and the kingdoms of the earth, create--
          Doth, by a rapture of forgetfulness,
          Preclude forgiveness, from the praise debarred,
          Which else the Christian virtue might have claimed.        490

            There live who yet remember here to have seen
          Their courtly figures, seated on the stump
          Of an old yew, their favourite resting-place.
          But as the remnant of the long-lived tree
          Was disappearing by a swift decay,
          They, with joint care, determined to erect,
          Upon its site, a dial, that might stand
          For public use preserved, and thus survive
          As their own private monument: for this
          Was the particular spot, in which they wished              500
          (And Heaven was pleased to accomplish the desire)
          That, undivided, their remains should lie.
          So, where the mouldered tree had stood, was raised
          Yon structure, framing, with the ascent of steps
          That to the decorated pillar lead,
          A work of art more sumptuous than might seem
          To suit this place; yet built in no proud scorn
          Of rustic homeliness; they only aimed
          To ensure for it respectful guardianship.
          Around the margin of the plate, whereon                    510
          The shadow falls to note the stealthy hours,
          Winds an inscriptive legend."--At these words
          Thither we turned; and gathered, as we read,
          The appropriate sense, in Latin numbers couched:
          'Time flies; it is his melancholy task,
          To bring, and bear away, delusive hopes,
          And re-produce the troubles he destroys.
          But, while his blindness thus is occupied,
          Discerning Mortal! do thou serve the will
          Of Time's eternal Master, and that peace,                  520
          Which the world wants, shall be for thee confirmed!'

            "Smooth verse, inspired by no unlettered Muse,"
          Exclaimed the Sceptic, "and the strain of thought
          Accords with nature's language;--the soft voice
          Of yon white torrent falling down the rocks
          Speaks, less distinctly, to the same effect.
          If, then, their blended influence be not lost
          Upon our hearts, not wholly lost, I grant,
          Even upon mine, the more are we required
          To feel for those among our fellow-men,                    530
          Who, offering no obeisance to the world,
          Are yet made desperate by 'too quick a sense
          Of constant infelicity,' cut off
          From peace like exiles on some barren rock,
          Their life's appointed prison; not more free
          Than sentinels, between two armies, set,
          With nothing better, in the chill night air,
          Than their own thoughts to comfort them. Say why
          That ancient story of Prometheus chained
          To the bare rock on frozen Caucasus;                       540
          The vulture, the inexhaustible repast
          Drawn from his vitals? Say what meant the woes
          By Tantalus entailed upon his race,
          And the dark sorrows of the line of Thebes?
          Fictions in form, but in their substance truths,
          Tremendous truths! familiar to the men
          Of long-past times, nor obsolete in ours.
          Exchange the shepherd's frock of native grey
          For robes with regal purple tinged; convert
          The crook into a sceptre; give the pomp                    550
          Of circumstance; and here the tragic Muse
          Shall find apt subjects for her highest art.
          Amid the groves, under the shadowy hills,
          The generations are prepared; the pangs,
          The internal pangs, are ready; the dread strife
          Of poor humanity's afflicted will
          Struggling in vain with ruthless destiny."

            "Though," said the Priest in answer, "these be terms
          Which a divine philosophy rejects,
          We, whose established and unfailing trust                  560
          Is in controlling Providence, admit
          That, through all stations, human life abounds
          With mysteries;--for, if Faith were left untried,
          How could the might, that lurks within her, then
          Be shown? her glorious excellence--that ranks
          Among the first of Powers and Virtues--proved?
          Our system is not fashioned to preclude
          That sympathy which you for others ask;
          And I could tell, not travelling for my theme
          Beyond these humble graves, of grievous crimes             570
          And strange disasters; but I pass them by,
          Loth to disturb what Heaven hath hushed in peace.
          --Still less, far less, am I inclined to treat
          Of Man degraded in his Maker's sight
          By the deformities of brutish vice:
          For, in such portraits, though a vulgar face
          And a coarse outside of repulsive life
          And unaffecting manners might at once
          Be recognised by all"--"Ah! do not think,"
          The Wanderer somewhat eagerly exclaimed,                   580
          "Wish could be ours that you, for such poor gain,
          (Gain shall I call it?--gain of what?--for whom?)
          Should breathe a word tending to violate
          Your own pure spirit. Not a step we look for
          In slight of that forbearance and reserve
          Which common human-heartedness inspires,
          And mortal ignorance and frailty claim,
          Upon this sacred ground, if nowhere else."

            "True," said the Solitary, "be it far
          From us to infringe the laws of charity.                   590
          Let judgment here in mercy be pronounced;
          This, self-respecting Nature prompts, and this
          Wisdom enjoins; but if the thing we seek
          Be genuine knowledge, bear we then in mind
          How, from his lofty throne, the sun can fling
          Colours as bright on exhalations bred
          By weedy pool or pestilential swamp,
          As by the rivulet sparkling where it runs,
          Or the pellucid lake."
                                  "Small risk," said I,
          "Of such illusion do we here incur;                        600
          Temptation here is none to exceed the truth;
          No evidence appears that they who rest
          Within this ground, were covetous of praise,
          Or of remembrance even, deserved or not.
          Green is the Churchyard, beautiful and green,
          Ridge rising gently by the side of ridge,
          A heaving surface, almost wholly free
          From interruption of sepulchral stones,
          And mantled o'er with aboriginal turf
          And everlasting flowers. These Dalesmen trust              610
          The lingering gleam of their departed lives
          To oral record, and the silent heart;
          Depositories faithful and more kind
          Than fondest epitaph: for, if those fail,
          What boots the sculptured tomb? And who can blame,
          Who rather would not envy, men that feel
          This mutual confidence; if, from such source,
          The practice flow,--if thence, or from a deep
          And general humility in death?
          Nor should I much condemn it, if it spring                 620
          From disregard of time's destructive power,
          As only capable to prey on things
          Of earth, and human nature's mortal part.

            Yet--in less simple districts, where we see
          Stone lift its forehead emulous of stone
          In courting notice; and the ground all paved
          With commendations of departed worth;
          Reading, where'er we turn, of innocent lives,
          Of each domestic charity fulfilled,
          And sufferings meekly borne--I, for my part,               630
          Though with the silence pleased that here prevails,
          Among those fair recitals also range,
          Soothed by the natural spirit which they breathe.
          And, in the centre of a world whose soil
          Is rank with all unkindness, compassed round
          With such memorials, I have sometimes felt,
          It was no momentary happiness
          To have 'one' Enclosure where the voice that speaks
          In envy or detraction is not heard;
          Which malice may not enter; where the traces               640
          Of evil inclinations are unknown;
          Where love and pity tenderly unite
          With resignation; and no jarring tone
          Intrudes, the peaceful concert to disturb
          Of amity and gratitude."
                                    "Thus sanctioned,"
          The Pastor said, "I willingly confine
          My narratives to subjects that excite
          Feelings with these accordant; love, esteem,
          And admiration; lifting up a veil,
          A sunbeam introducing among hearts                         650
          Retired and covert; so that ye shall have
          Clear images before your gladdened eyes
          Of nature's unambitious underwood,
          And flowers that prosper in the shade. And when
          I speak of such among my flock as swerved
          Or fell, those only shall be singled out
          Upon whose lapse, or error, something more
          Than brotherly forgiveness may attend;
          To such will we restrict our notice, else
          Better my tongue were mute.
                                       And yet there are,            660
          I feel, good reasons why we should not leave
          Wholly untraced a more forbidding way.
          For, strength to persevere and to support,
          And energy to conquer and repel--
          These elements of virtue, that declare
          The native grandeur of the human soul--
          Are oft-times not unprofitably shown
          In the perverseness of a selfish course:
          Truth every day exemplified, no less
          In the grey cottage by the murmuring stream                670
          Than in fantastic conqueror's roving camp,
          Or 'mid the factious senate, unappalled
          Whoe'er may sink, or rise--to sink again,
          As merciless proscription ebbs and flows.

            There," said the Vicar, pointing as he spake,
          "A woman rests in peace; surpassed by few
          In power of mind, and eloquent discourse.
          Tall was her stature; her complexion dark
          And saturnine; her head not raised to hold
          Converse with heaven, nor yet deprest towards earth,       680
          But in projection carried, as she walked
          For ever musing. Sunken were her eyes;
          Wrinkled and furrowed with habitual thought
          Was her broad forehead; like the brow of one
          Whose visual nerve shrinks from a painful glare
          Of overpowering light.--While yet a child,
          She, 'mid the humble flowerets of the vale,
          Towered like the imperial thistle, not unfurnished
          With its appropriate grace, yet rather seeking
          To be admired, than coveted and loved.                     690
          Even at that age she ruled, a sovereign queen,
          Over her comrades; else their simple sports,
          Wanting all relish for her strenuous mind,
          Had crossed her only to be shunned with scorn,
          --Oh! pang of sorrowful regret for those
          Whom, in their youth, sweet study has enthralled,
          That they have lived for harsher servitude,
          Whether in soul, in body, or estate!
          Such doom was hers; yet nothing could subdue
          Her keen desire of knowledge, nor efface                   700
          Those brighter images by books imprest
          Upon her memory, faithfully as stars
          That occupy their places, and, though oft
          Hidden by clouds, and oft bedimmed by haze,
          Are not to be extinguished, nor impaired.

            Two passions, both degenerate, for they both
          Began in honour, gradually obtained
          Rule over her, and vexed her daily life;
          An unremitting, avaricious thrift;
          And a strange thraldom of maternal love,                   710
          That held her spirit, in its own despite,
          Bound--by vexation, and regret, and scorn,
          Constrained forgiveness, and relenting vows,
          And tears, in pride suppressed, in shame concealed--
          To a poor dissolute Son, her only child.
          --Her wedded days had opened with mishap,
          Whence dire dependence. What could she perform
          To shake the burthen off? Ah! there was felt,
          Indignantly, the weakness of her sex.
          She mused, resolved, adhered to her resolve;               720
          The hand grew slack in alms-giving, the heart
          Closed by degrees to charity; heaven's blessing
          Not seeking from that source, she placed her trust
          In ceaseless pains--and strictest parsimony
          Which sternly hoarded all that could be spared,
          From each day's need, out of each day's least gain.

            Thus all was re-established, and a pile
          Constructed, that sufficed for every end,
          Save the contentment of the builder's mind;
          A mind by nature indisposed to aught                       730
          So placid, so inactive, as content;
          A mind intolerant of lasting peace,
          And cherishing the pang her heart deplored.
          Dread life of conflict! which I oft compared
          To the agitation of a brook that runs
          Down a rocky mountain, buried now and lost
          In silent pools, now in strong eddies chained;
          But never to be charmed to gentleness:
          Its best attainment fits of such repose
          As timid eyes might shrink from fathoming.                 740

            A sudden illness seized her in the strength
          Of life's autumnal season.--Shall I tell
          How on her bed of death the Matron lay,
          To Providence submissive, so she thought;
          But fretted, vexed, and wrought upon, almost
          To anger, by the malady that griped
          Her prostrate frame with unrelaxing power,
          As the fierce eagle fastens on the lamb?
          She prayed, she moaned;--her husband's sister watched
          Her dreary pillow, waited on her needs;                    750
          And yet the very sound of that kind foot
          Was anguish to her ears! 'And must she rule,'
          This was the death-doomed Woman heard to say
          In bitterness, 'and must she rule and reign,
          'Sole Mistress of this house, when I am gone?
          'Tend what I tended, calling it her own!'
          Enough;--I fear, too much.--One vernal evening,
          While she was yet in prime of health and strength,
          I well remember, while I passed her door
          Alone, with loitering step, and upward eye                 760
          Turned towards the planet Jupiter that hung
          Above the centre of the Vale, a voice
          Roused me, her voice; it said, 'That glorious star
          'In its untroubled element will shine
          'As now it shines, when we are laid in earth
          'And safe from all our sorrows.' With a sigh
          She spake, yet, I believe, not unsustained
          By faith in glory that shall far transcend
          Aught by these perishable heavens disclosed
          To sight or mind. Nor less than care divine                770
          Is divine mercy. She, who had rebelled,
          Was into meekness softened and subdued;
          Did, after trials not in vain prolonged,
          With resignation sink into the grave;
          And her uncharitable acts, I trust,
          And harsh unkindnesses are all forgiven,
          Tho', in this Vale, remembered with deep awe."

          THE Vicar paused; and toward a seat advanced,
          A long stone-seat, fixed in the Churchyard wall;
          Part shaded by cool sycamore, and part                     780
          Offering a sunny resting-place to them
          Who seek the House of worship, while the bells
          Yet ring with all their voices, or before
          The last hath ceased its solitary knoll.
          Beneath the shade we all sate down; and there,
          His office, uninvited, he resumed.

            "As on a sunny bank, a tender lamb
          Lurks in safe shelter from the winds of March,
          Screened by its parent, so that little mound
          Lies guarded by its neighbour; the small heap              790
          Speaks for itself; an Infant there doth rest;
          The sheltering hillock is the Mother's grave.
          If mild discourse, and manners that conferred
          A natural dignity on humblest rank;
          If gladsome spirits, and benignant looks,
          That for a face not beautiful did more
          Than beauty for the fairest face can do;
          And if religious tenderness of heart,
          Grieving for sin, and penitential tears
          Shed when the clouds had gathered and distained            800
          The spotless ether of a maiden life;
          If these may make a hallowed spot of earth
          More holy in the sight of God or Man;
          Then, o'er that mould, a sanctity shall brood
          Till the stars sicken at the day of doom.

            Ah! what a warning for a thoughtless man,
          Could field or grove, could any spot of earth,
          Show to his eye an image of the pangs
          Which it hath witnessed; render back an echo
          Of the sad steps by which it hath been trod!               810
          There, by her innocent Baby's precious grave,
          And on the very turf that roofs her own,
          The Mother oft was seen to stand, or kneel
          In the broad day, a weeping Magdalene.
          Now she is not; the swelling turf reports
          Of the fresh shower, but of poor Ellen's tears
          Is silent; nor is any vestige left
          Of the path worn by mournful tread of her
          Who, at her heart's light bidding, once had moved
          In virgin fearlessness, with step that seemed              820
          Caught from the pressure of elastic turf
          Upon the mountains gemmed with morning dew,
          In the prime hour of sweetest scents and airs.
          --Serious and thoughtful was her mind; and yet,
          By reconcilement exquisite and rare,
          The form, port, motions, of this Cottage-girl
          Were such as might have quickened and inspired
          A Titian's hand, addrest to picture forth
          Oread or Dryad glancing through the shade
          What time the hunter's earliest horn is heard              830
          Startling the golden hills.
                                       A wide-spread elm
          Stands in our valley, named THE JOYFUL TREE;
          From dateless usage which our peasants hold
          Of giving welcome to the first of May
          By dances round its trunk.--And if the sky
          Permit, like honours, dance and song, are paid
          To the Twelfth Night, beneath the frosty stars
          Or the clear moon. The queen of these gay sports,
          If not in beauty yet in sprightly air,
          Was hapless Ellen.--No one touched the ground              840
          So deftly, and the nicest maiden's locks
          Less gracefully were braided;--but this praise,
          Methinks, would better suit another place.

            She loved, and fondly deemed herself beloved.
          --The road is dim, the current unperceived,
          The weakness painful and most pitiful,
          By which a virtuous woman, in pure youth,
          May be delivered to distress and shame.
          Such fate was hers.--The last time Ellen danced,
          Among her equals, round THE JOYFUL TREE,                   850
          She bore a secret burthen; and full soon
          Was left to tremble for a breaking vow,--
          Then, to bewail a sternly-broken vow,
          Alone, within her widowed Mother's house.
          It was the season of unfolding leaves,
          Of days advancing toward their utmost length,
          And small birds singing happily to mates
          Happy as they. With spirit-saddening power
          Winds pipe through fading woods; but those blithe notes
          Strike the deserted to the heart; I speak                  860
          Of what I know, and what we feel within.
          --Beside the cottage in which Ellen dwelt
          Stands a tall ash-tree; to whose topmost twig
          A thrush resorts, and annually chants,
          At morn and evening from that naked perch,
          While all the undergrove is thick with leaves,
          A time-beguiling ditty, for delight
          Of his fond partner, silent in the nest.
          --'Ah why,' said Ellen, sighing to herself,
          'Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge;            870
          'And nature that is kind in woman's breast,
          'And reason that in man is wise and good,
          'And fear of him who is a righteous judge;
          'Why do not these prevail for human life,
          'To keep two hearts together, that began
          'Their spring-time with one love, and that have need
          'Of mutual pity and forgiveness, sweet
          'To grant, or be received; while that poor bird--
          'O come and hear him! Thou who hast to me
          'Been faithless, hear him, though a lowly creature,        880
          'One of God's simple children that yet know not
          'The universal Parent, how he sings
          'As if he wished the firmament of heaven
          'Should listen, and give back to him the voice
          'Of his triumphant constancy and love;
          'The proclamation that he makes, how far
          'His darkness doth transcend our fickle light!'

            Such was the tender passage, not by me
          Repeated without loss of simple phrase,
          Which I perused, even as the words had been                890
          Committed by forsaken Ellen's hand
          To the blank margin of a Valentine,
          Bedropped with tears. 'Twill please you to be told
          That, studiously withdrawing from the eye
          Of all companionship, the Sufferer yet
          In lonely reading found a meek resource:
          How thankful for the warmth of summer days,
          When she could slip into the cottage-barn,
          And find a secret oratory there;
          Or, in the garden, under friendly veil                     900
          Of their long twilight, pore upon her book
          By the last lingering help of the open sky
          Until dark night dismissed her to her bed!
          Thus did a waking fancy sometimes lose
          The unconquerable pang of despised love.

            A kindlier passion opened on her soul
          When that poor Child was born. Upon its face
          She gazed as on a pure and spotless gift
          Of unexpected promise, where a grief
          Or dread was all that had been thought of,--joy            910
          Far livelier than bewildered traveller feels,
          Amid a perilous waste that all night long
          Hath harassed him toiling through fearful storm,
          When he beholds the first pale speck serene
          Of day-spring, in the gloomy east, revealed,
          And greets it with thanksgiving. 'Till this hour,'
          Thus, in her Mother's hearing Ellen spake,
          'There was a stony region in my heart;
          'But He, at whose command the parched rock
          'Was smitten, and poured forth a quenching stream,         920
          'Hath softened that obduracy, and made
          'Unlooked-for gladness in the desert place,
          'To save the perishing; and, henceforth, I breathe
          'The air with cheerful spirit, for thy sake
          'My infant! and for that good Mother dear,
          'Who bore me; and hath prayed for me in vain;--
          'Yet not in vain; it shall not be in vain.'
          She spake, nor was the assurance unfulfilled;
          And if heart-rending thoughts would oft return,
          They stayed not long.--The blameless Infant grew           930
          The Child whom Ellen and her Mother loved
          They soon were proud of; tended it and nursed;
          A soothing comforter, although forlorn;
          Like a poor singing-bird from distant lands;
          Or a choice shrub, which he, who passes by
          With vacant mind, not seldom may observe
          Fair-flowering in a thinly-peopled house,
          Whose window, somewhat sadly, it adorns.

            Through four months' space the Infant drew its food
          From the maternal breast; then scruples rose;              940
          Thoughts, which the rich are free from, came and crossed
          The fond affection. She no more could bear
          By her offence to lay a twofold weight
          On a kind parent willing to forget
          Their slender means: so, to that parent's care
          Trusting her child, she left their common home,
          And undertook with dutiful content
          A Foster-mother's office.
                                     'Tis, perchance,
          Unknown to you that in these simple vales
          The natural feeling of equality                            950
          Is by domestic service unimpaired;
          Yet, though such service be, with us, removed
          From sense of degradation, not the less
          The ungentle mind can easily find means
          To impose severe restraints and laws unjust,
          Which hapless Ellen now was doomed to feel:
          For (blinded by an over-anxious dread
          Of such excitement and divided thought
          As with her office would but ill accord)
          The pair, whose infant she was bound to nurse,             960
          Forbade her all communion with her own:
          Week after week, the mandate they enforced.
          --So near! yet not allowed, upon that sight
          To fix her eyes--alas! 'twas hard to bear!
          But worse affliction must be borne--far worse;
          For 'tis Heaven's will--that, after a disease
          Begun and ended within three days' space,
          Her child should die; as Ellen now exclaimed,
          Her own--deserted child!--Once, only once,
          She saw it in that mortal malady;                          970
          And, on the burial-day, could scarcely gain
          Permission to attend its obsequies.
          She reached the house, last of the funeral train;
          And some one, as she entered, having chanced
          To urge unthinkingly their prompt departure,
          'Nay,' said she, with commanding look, a spirit
          Of anger never seen in her before,
          'Nay, ye must wait my time!' and down she sate,
          And by the unclosed coffin kept her seat
          Weeping and looking, looking on and weeping,               980
          Upon the last sweet slumber of her Child,
          Until at length her soul was satisfied.

            You see the Infant's Grave; and to this spot,
          The Mother, oft as she was sent abroad,
          On whatsoever errand, urged her steps:
          Hither she came; here stood, and sometimes knelt
          In the broad day, a rueful Magdalene!
          So call her; for not only she bewailed
          A mother's loss, but mourned in bitterness
          Her own transgression; penitent sincere                    990
          As ever raised to heaven a streaming eye?
          --At length the parents of the foster-child,
          Noting that in despite of their commands
          She still renewed and could not but renew
          Those visitations, ceased to send her forth;
          Or, to the garden's narrow bounds, confined.
          I failed not to remind them that they erred;
          For holy Nature might not thus be crossed,
          Thus wronged in woman's breast: in vain I pleaded--
          But the green stalk of Ellen's life was snapped,          1000
          And the flower drooped; as every eye could see,
          It hung its head in mortal languishment.
          --Aided by this appearance, I at length
          Prevailed; and, from those bonds released, she went
          Home to her mother's house.
                                       The Youth was fled;
          The rash betrayer could not face the shame
          Or sorrow which his senseless guilt had caused;
          And little would his presence, or proof given
          Of a relenting soul, have now availed;
          For, like a shadow, he was passed away                    1010
          From Ellen's thoughts; had perished to her mind
          For all concerns of fear, or hope, or love,
          Save only those which to their common shame,
          And to his moral being appertained:
          Hope from that quarter would, I know, have brought
          A heavenly comfort; there she recognised
          An unrelaxing bond, a mutual need;
          There, and, as seemed, there only.
                                              She had built,
          Her fond maternal heart had built, a nest
          In blindness all too near the river's edge;               1020
          That work a summer flood with hasty swell
          Had swept away; and now her Spirit longed
          For its last flight to heaven's security.
          --The bodily frame wasted from day to day;
          Meanwhile, relinquishing all other cares,
          Her mind she strictly tutored to find peace
          And pleasure in endurance. Much she thought,
          And much she read; and brooded feelingly
          Upon her own unworthiness. To me,
          As to a spiritual comforter and friend,                   1030
          Her heart she opened; and no pains were spared
          To mitigate, as gently as I could,
          The sting of self-reproach, with healing words.
          Meek Saint! through patience glorified on earth!
          In whom, as by her lonely hearth she sate,
          The ghastly face of cold decay put on
          A sun-like beauty, and appeared divine!
          May I not mention--that, within those walls,
          In due observance of her pious wish,
          The congregation joined with me in prayer                 1040
          For her soul's good? Nor was that office vain.
          --Much did she suffer: but, if any friend,
          Beholding her condition, at the sight
          Gave way to words of pity or complaint,
          She stilled them with a prompt reproof, and said,
          'He who afflicts me knows what I can bear;
          'And, when I fail, and can endure no more,
          'Will mercifully take me to himself.'
          So, through the cloud of death, her Spirit passed
          Into that pure and unknown world of love                  1050
          Where injury cannot come:--and here is laid
          The mortal Body by her Infant's side."

            The Vicar ceased; and downcast looks made known
          That each had listened with his inmost heart.
          For me, the emotion scarcely was less strong
          Or less benign than that which I had felt
          When seated near my venerable Friend,
          Under those shady elms, from him I heard
          The story that retraced the slow decline
          Of Margaret, sinking on the lonely heath                  1060
          With the neglected house to which she clung.
          --I noted that the Solitary's cheek
          Confessed the power of nature.--Pleased though sad,
          More pleased than sad, the grey-haired Wanderer sate;
          Thanks to his pure imaginative soul
          Capacious and serene; his blameless life,
          His knowledge, wisdom, love of truth, and love
          Of human kind! He was it who first broke
          The pensive silence, saying:--
                                          "Blest are they
          Whose sorrow rather is to suffer wrong                    1070
          Than to do wrong, albeit themselves have erred.
          This tale gives proof that Heaven most gently deals
          With such, in their affliction.--Ellen's fate,
          Her tender spirit, and her contrite heart,
          Call to my mind dark hints which I have heard
          Of one who died within this vale, by doom
          Heavier, as his offence was heavier far.
          Where, Sir, I pray you, where are laid the bones
          Of Wilfrid Armathwaite?"
                                    The Vicar answered,
          "In that green nook, close by the Churchyard wall,        1080
          Beneath yon hawthorn, planted by myself
          In memory and for warning, and in sign
          Of sweetness where dire anguish had been known,
          Of reconcilement after deep offence--
          There doth he rest. No theme his fate supplies
          For the smooth glozings of the indulgent world;
          Nor need the windings of his devious course
          Be here retraced;--enough that, by mishap
          And venial error, robbed of competence,
          And her obsequious shadow, peace of mind,                 1090
          He craved a substitute in troubled joy;
          Against his conscience rose in arms, and, braving
          Divine displeasure, broke the marriage-vow.
          That which he had been weak enough to do
          Was misery in remembrance; he was stung,
          Stung by his inward thoughts, and by the smiles
          Of wife and children stung to agony.
          Wretched at home, he gained no peace abroad;
          Ranged through the mountains, slept upon the earth,
          Asked comfort of the open air, and found                  1100
          No quiet in the darkness of the night,
          No pleasure in the beauty of the day.
          His flock he slighted: his paternal fields
          Became a clog to him, whose spirit wished
          To fly--but whither! And this gracious Church,
          That wears a look so full of peace and hope
          And love, benignant mother of the vale,
          How fair amid her brood of cottages!
          She was to him a sickness and reproach.
          Much to the last remained unknown: but this               1110
          Is sure, that through remorse and grief he died;
          Though pitied among men, absolved by God,
          He could not find forgiveness in himself;
          Nor could endure the weight of his own shame.

            Here rests a Mother. But from her I turn
          And from her grave.--Behold--upon that ridge,
          That, stretching boldly from the mountain side,
          Carries into the centre of the vale
          Its rocks and woods--the Cottage where she dwelt
          And where yet dwells her faithful Partner, left           1120
          (Full eight years past) the solitary prop
          Of many helpless Children. I begin
          With words that might be prelude to a tale
          Of sorrow and dejection; but I feel
          No sadness, when I think of what mine eyes
          See daily in that happy family.
          --Bright garland form they for the pensive brow
          Of their undrooping Father's widowhood,
          Those six fair Daughters, budding yet--not one,
          Not one of all the band, a full-blown flower.             1130
          Deprest, and desolate of soul, as once
          That Father was, and filled with anxious fear,
          Now, by experience taught, he stands assured,
          That God, who takes away, yet takes not half
          Of what he seems to take; or gives it back,
          Not to our prayer, but far beyond our prayer;
          He gives it--the boon produce of a soil
          Which our endeavours have refused to till,
          And hope hath never watered. The Abode,
          Whose grateful owner can attest these truths,             1140
          Even were the object nearer to our sight,
          Would seem in no distinction to surpass
          The rudest habitations. Ye might think
          That it had sprung self-raised from earth, or grown
          Out of the living rock, to be adorned
          By nature only; but, if thither led,
          Ye would discover, then, a studious work
          Of many fancies, prompting many hands.

            Brought from the woods the honeysuckle twines
          Around the porch, and seems, in that trim place,          1150
          A plant no longer wild; the cultured rose
          There blossoms, strong in health, and will be soon
          Roof-high; the wild pink crowns the garden-wall,
          And with the flowers are intermingled stones
          Sparry and bright, rough scatterings of the hills.
          These ornaments, that fade not with the year,
          A hardy Girl continues to provide;
          Who, mounting fearlessly the rocky heights,
          Her Father's prompt attendant, does for him
          All that a boy could do, but with delight                 1160
          More keen and prouder daring; yet hath she,
          Within the garden, like the rest, a bed
          For her own flowers and favourite herbs, a space,
          By sacred charter, holden for her use.
          --These, and whatever else the garden bears
          Of fruit or flower, permission asked or not,
          I freely gather; and my leisure draws
          A not unfrequent pastime from the hum
          Of bees around their range of sheltered hives
          Busy in that enclosure; while the rill,                   1170
          That sparkling thrids the rocks, attunes his voice
          To the pure course of human life which there
          Flows on in solitude. But, when the gloom
          Of night is falling round my steps, then most
          This Dwelling charms me; often I stop short,
          (Who could refrain?) and feed by stealth my sight
          With prospect of the company within,
          Laid open through the blazing window:--there
          I see the eldest Daughter at her wheel
          Spinning amain, as if to overtake                         1180
          The never-halting time; or, in her turn,
          Teaching some Novice of the sisterhood
          That skill in this or other household work,
          Which, from her Father's honoured hand, herself,
          While she was yet a little-one, had learned.
          Mild Man! he is not gay, but they are gay;
          And the whole house seems filled with gaiety.
          --Thrice happy, then, the Mother may be deemed,
          The Wife, from whose consolatory grave
          I turned, that ye in mind might witness where,            1190
          And how, her Spirit yet survives on earth!"

[1] An instinctive taste teaches men to build their churches in flat countries with spire-steeples, which, as they cannot be referred to any other object, point as with silent finger to the sky and stars, and sometimes, when they reflect the brazen light of a rich though rainy sunset, appear like a pyramid of flame burning heavenward. See "The Friend," by S. T. Coleridge, No. 14, p. 223.
< Back
Wordsworth, William. 1888. Complete Poetical Works.