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So many incidents upon his mind
And now, when Lrke bad reached his eighteenth year Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
There by the light of this old Lamp they sat, Which, like a book, preserved the memory
Father and Son, while late into the night Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,
The Housewife plied her own peculiar work, Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts,
Making the cottage through the silent hours The certainty of honourable gain,
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies. Those fields, those hills — what could they less ? had This Light was famous in its neighbourhood, laid
And was a public Symbol of the life Strong hold on his affections, were to him
That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced, A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
Their Cottage on a plot of rising ground The pleasure which there is in life itself.
Stood single, with large prospect, North and South
High into Easedale, op to Dummail-Raise, His days had not been past in singleness.
And westward to the village near the Lake; His helpmate was a comely Matron, old —
And from this constant light, so regular Though younger than himself full twenty years. And so far seen, the House itself, by all She was a woman of a stirring life,
Who dwelt within the limits of the vale, Whose heart was in her house: two wheels she had Both old and young, was named The Evening Star Of antique form, this large for spinning wool, That small for flax; and if one wheel had rest,
Thus living on through such a length of years It was because the other was at work.
The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs The Pair had but one inmate in their house,
Have loved his Helpmate; but to Michael's heart An only Child, who had been born to them,
This Son of his old age was yet more dear – When Michael, telling o'er his years, began
Less from instinctive tenderness, the same To deem that he was old, - in Shepherd's phrase,
Blind Spirit, which is in the blood of all
Than that a child, more than all other gifts,
Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts, The one of an inestimable worth,
And stirrings of inquietude, when they Made all their Household. I may truly say,
By tendency of nature needs must fail. That they were as a proverb in the vale
Exceeding was the love he bare to him, For endless industry. When day was gone,
His Heart and his Heart's joy! For oftentimes And from their occupations out of doors
Old Michael, while he was a babe in armis, The Son and Father were come home, even then,
Had done him female service, not alone Their labour did not cease; unless when all
For pastime and delight, as is the use Turned to their cleanly supper-board, and there,
Of Fathers, but with patient mind enforced Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk,
To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
His cradle with a woman's gentle hand.
Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love,
Albeit of a stern unbending mind, To such convenient work as might employ
To have the Young-one in his sight, when he Their hands by the fire-side ; perhaps to card
Had work by his own door, or when he sat Wool for the Housewife's spindle, or repair
With sheep before him on his Shepherd's stool, Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,
Beneath that large old Oak, which near their drus Or other implement of house or field.
Stood, — and, from its enormous breadth of shade
Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun, Down from the ceiling, by the chimney's edge,
Thence in our rustic dialect was called That in our ancient uncouth country style
The Clipping TREE*, a name which yet it bears. Did with a huge projection overbrow
There, while they two were sitting in the shade. Large space beneath, as duly as the light
With others round them, earnest all and blithe, Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a Lamp;
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks An aged utensil, which had performed
Of fond correction and reproof bestowed Service beyond all others of its kind.
Upon the Child, if he disturbed the sheep Early fit evening did it burn and late,
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts Surviving Comrule of uncounted Ilours,
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears Whichi, proing by from year to year, had found,
And when by Heaven's good grace the Boy grew up And let the couple neither gay perhaps Nor clumstil, you with objects and with hopes,
A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek Living a life of mayor industry.
*Clipping is the wor d in the North of England forehearing.
Has scarcely been more diligent than I; And I have lived to be a fool at last To my own family. An evil Man That was, and made an evil choice, if he Were false to us; and if he were not false, There are ten thousand to whom loss like this Had been no sorrow. I forgive him - but 'T were better to be dumb than to talk thus. When I began, my purpose was to speak Of remedies, and of a cheerful hope. Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land Shall not go from us, and it shall be free; He shall possess it, free as is the wind That passes over it. We have, thou know'st, Another Kinsman — he will be our friend In this distress. He is a prosperous man, Thriving in trade — and Luke to him shall go, And with his Kinsman's help and his own thrift He quickly will repair this loss, and then May come again to us. If here he stay, What can be done? Where every one is poor, What can be gained ?" At this the Old Man paused, And Isabel sat silent, for her mind Was busy, looking back into past times. There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself, He was a Parish-boy at the Church-door They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence, And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought A Basket, which they filled with Pedlar's wares; And, with this Basket on his arm, the Lad Went up to London, found a Master there, Who, out of many, chose the trusty Boy To go and overlook his merchandise Beyond the seas; where he grew wondrous rich, And left estates and moneys to the poor, And, at his birth-blace, built a Chapel floored With Marble, which he sent from foreign lands. These thoughts, and many others of like sort, Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel, And her face brightened. The Old Man was glad, And thus resumed:-“Well, Isabel! this scheme, These two days, has been meat and drink to me. Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
- We have enough — I wish indeed that I Were younger, — but this hope is a good hope.
- Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best
Two steady roses that were five years old,
There stood the Urchin, as you will divine,
And for this cause not always, I believe,
But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand
Thus in his Father's sight the Boy grew up:
While in this sort the simple Household lived Prom day to day, to Michael's ear there came Distressful tidings. Long before the time Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound In surety for his Brother's Son, a man Of an industrious life, and ample means, But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly Had prest upon him, — and old Michael now Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture, A grierous penalty, but little less Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim, At the first hearing, for a moment took llore hope out of his life than he supposed
any old man ever could have lost. As
soon as he had gathered so much strength That he could look his trouble in the face, It seemed that his sole refuge was to sell 1 portion of his patrimonial fields. Soch was his first resolve; he thought again, And his heart failed him. “Isabel," said he, Two evenings after he had heard the news, "I have been toiling more than seventy years, And in the open sunshine of God's love llare we all lived ; yet if these fields of ours Sivuld pass into a Stranger's hand, I think T'hat I could not lie quiet in my grave, Our lot is a hard lot; the sun himself
And when they rose at morning she could see That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon She said to Luke, while they two by themselves Were sitting at the door, “ Thou must not go : We have no other Child but thee to lose, None to remember - do not go away, For if thou leave thy Father he will die.” The Youth made answer with a jocund voice; And Isabel, when she had told her fears, Recovered heart. That evening her best fare Did she bring forth, and all together sat Like happy people round a Christinas fire.
With daylight Isabel resumed her work; And all the ensuing week the house appeared As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length The expected letter from their Kinsman came, With kind assurances that he would do Ilis utmost for the welfare of the Boy; To which, requests were added, that forth with He might be sent to him. Ten times or more The letter was read over ; Isabel Went forth to show it to the neighbours round; Nor was there at that time on English land A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel Had to her house returned, the Old Man said, “He shall depart to-morrow.” To this word The Housewife answered, talking much of things Which, if at such short notice he should go, Would surely be forgotten. But at length She gave consent, and Michael was at ease.
When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month followed month, And in the open fields my life was passed And on the mountains; else I think that thou Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees. But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills, As well thou knowest, in us the old and young Ilave played together, nor with me didst thou Lack any pleasure which a boy can know." Luke had a manly heart; but at these words He sobbed aloud. The Old Man grasped his hand, And said, “Nay, do not take it so - I see That these are things of which I need not speak. - Even to the utmost I have been to thee A kind and a good Father: and herein I but repay a gift which I myself Received at others' hands; for, though now old Beyond the common life of man, I still Remember them who loved me in my youth. Both of them sleep together: here they lived, As all their Forefathers had done; and when At length their time was come, they were not loth To give their bodies to the family mould. I wished that thou shouldst live the life they lived. But, 't is a long time to look back, my Son, And see so little gain from threescore years. These fields were burthened when they came to me Till I was forty years of age, not more Than half of my inheritance was mine. I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my
work, And till these three weeks past the land was free.
It looks as if it never could endure
This was a work for us; and now, my Son,
live To see a better day. At eighty-four I still am strong and hale; - do thou thy part: I will do mine. - I will begin again With many tasks that were resigned to thee: Up to the heights, and in among the storms, Will I without thee go again, and do All works which I was wont to do alone, Before I knew thy face. – Heaven bless thee, Boy! Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast With many hopes — It should be so— Yes—yes — I knew that thou couldst never have a wish To leave me, Luke: thou hast been bound to me Only by links of love: when thou art gone, What will be left to us! - But, I forget My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone, As I requested; and hereafter, Luke,
Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, In that deep Valley, Michael had designed To build a Sheep-fold; and before he heard The tidings of his melancholy loss, For this same purpose he had gathered up A heap of stones, which by the Streamlet's edge Lay thrown together, ready for the work. With Luke that evening thitherward he walked ; And soon as they had reached the place he stopped, And thus the Old Man spake to him: "My Son, To-morrow thou wilt leave me: with full heart I look upon thee, for thou art the same That wert a promise to me ere thy birth, And all thy life hast been my daily joy. I will relate to thee some little part Of our two histories; 't will do thee good When thou art from me, even if I should speak Of things thou canst not know of. After thou First camest into the world — as oft befalls To new-born infants — thou didst sleep away Two days, and blessings from thy Father's tongue Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on, And still I loved thee with increasing love. Never to living ear came sweeter sounds Than when I heard thee by our own fire-side First uttering, without words, a natural tune;
And to that hollow Dell from time to time
Did he repair, to build the Fold of which
His flock had need. And of this moment; hither turn thy thoughts,
'Tis not forgotten yet And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear
The pity which was then in every heart And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou
For the Old Man — and 't is believed by all
And never lifted up a single stone.
There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he seen A work which is not here: a covenant
Sitting alone, with that his faithful Dog, 'T will be between us But, whatever fate
Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. Betall thee, I shall love thee to the last,
The length of full seven years, from time to time, And bear thy memory with me to the grave.”
He at the building of this sheep-fold wrought,
And left the work unfinished when he died.
Survive her Husband : at her death the estate
Is gone—the ploughshare has been through the ground And to the house together they returned.
On which it stood; great changes have been wrought -Hushed was that house in peace, or seeming peace, In all the neighbourhood :- yet the Oak is left Ere the night fell:- with morrow's dawn the Boy That grew beside their Door; and the remains Began his journey, and when he had reached Of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen The public Way, he put on a bold face;
Beside the boisterous brook of Green-head Ghyll And all the Neighbours, as he passed their doors, Came forth with wishes and with farewell prayers, That followed him till he was out of sight.
THE RUSSIAN FUGITIVE.
[Peler Henry Bruce, having given in his entertaining Memoirs Which
, as the Housewife phrased it, were throughout the substance of the following Tale, affirms, that, besides the “The prettiest letters that were ever seen."
concurring reports of others, he had the story from the Lady's
own mouth. Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts.
The Lady Catherine, mentioned towards the close, was the Se many months passed on: and once again
famous Catherine, then bearing that name as the acknowledged The Shepherd went about his daily work
Wife of Peter the Great.]
Enough of rose-bud lips, and eyes
Like harebells bathed in dew, To evil courses: ignominy and shame
Of cheek that with carnation vies, Pell on him, so that he was driven at last
And veins of violet hue; To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas.
Earth wants not beauty that may scorn
A likening to frail flowers ;
Yea, to the stars, if they were born
For seasons and for hours.
Through Moscow's gates, with gold unbarred,
Stepped one at dead of night,
From meditated blight;
As doth the hunted fawn,
Appeared unwelcome dawn.
Yeurs after he had heard this heavy news.