Page images

No door the tenement requires,

And seldom needs a laboured roof'; Yet is it to the fiercest sun

Impervious and storm-proof.

So warm, so beautiful withal,

In perfect fitness for its aim, That to the Kind by special grace

Their instinct surely came.

And when for their abodes they seek

An opportune recess,
The Hermit has no finer eye

For shadowy quietness.

These find, 'mid ivied Abbey walls,

A canopy in some still nook; Others are pent-housed by a brae

That overhangs a brook.

[ocr errors]

Just three days after, passing by

In clearer light the moss-built cell
I saw, espied its shaded mouth,

And felt that all was well.

The Primrose for a veil had spread

The largest of her upright leaves;
And thus, for purposes benign,

A simple Flower deceives.

Concealed from friends who might disturb

Thy quiet with no ill intent,
Secure from evil eyes and hands

On barbarous plunder bent,

Rest, mother bird ! and when thy young

Take flight, and thou art free to roam, When withered is the guardian flower,

And empty thy late home,

There to the brooding Bird her Mate

Warbles by fits his low clear song ; And by the busy Streamlet both

Are sung to all day long.

Think how ye prospered, thou and thine,

Amid the unviolated grove
Housed near the growing primrose tuft,

In foresight or in love.

Or in sequestered lanes they build,

Where, till the flitting Bird's return, Her eggs within the nest repose,

Like relics in an urn.

But still, where general choice is good,

Taere is a better and a best; And, among fairest objects, some

Are fairer than the rest;


This, one of those small builders prove

In a green covert, where, from out The forehead of a pollard oak,

The leafy antlers sprout;

For She who planned the mossy Lodge,

Mistrusting her evasive skill, Had to a Primrose looked for aid

Her wishes to fulfil.

High on the trunk's projecting brow,

And fixed an infant's span above
The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest

The prettiest of the grove!

You call it, “ Love lies bleeding," – so you may,
Though the red flower, not prostrate, only droops,
As we have seen it here from day to day,
From month to month, life passing not away:
| A flower how rich in sadness! Even thus stoops,
(Sentient by Grecian sculpture's marvellous power)
Thus leans, with hanging brow and body bent
Earthward in uncomplaining languishment,
The dying Gladiator. So, sad flower!
("T is Fancy guides me willing to be led,
Though by a slender thread,)
So drooped Adonis bathed in sanguine dew
Of his death-wound, when he from innocent air
The gentlest breath of resignation drew;
While Venus in a passion of despair
Rent, weeping over him, her golden hair
Spangled with drops of that celestial shower.
She suffered, as immortals sometimes do;
But pangs more lasting far, that Lover knew
Who first, weighed down by scorn, in some lone

Did press this semblance of unpitied smart
Into the service of his constant heart,
His own dejection, downcast flower! could share
With thine, and gave the mournful name which thou

wilt ever bear.

The treasure proudly did I show

To some whose minds without disdain Can turn to little things, but once

Looked up for it in vain :

"Tis gone


- a ruthless Spoiler's prey, Who heeds not beauty, love, or song,

gone! (so seemed it) and we griered Indignant at the wrong.

Never enlivened with the liveliest ray
That fosters growth or checks or cheers decay,
Nor by the heaviest rain-drops more deprest,
This flower, that first appeared as summer's guest,
Preserves her beauty mid autumnal leaves
And to her mournful habits fondly cleaves.
When files of stateliest plants have ceased to bloom,
One after one submitting to their doom,
When her coevals each and all are fled,
What keeps her thus reclined upon her lonesome bed ?

The old mythologists, more impress'd than we Of this late day by character in tree Or herb, that claimed peculiar sympathy, Or by the silent lapse of fountain clear, Or with the language of the viewless air By bird or beast made vocal, sought a cause To solve the mystery, not in nature's laws But in man's fortunes. Hence a thousand tales Sung to the plaintive lyre in Grecian vales. Nor doubt that something of their spirit swayed The fancy-stricken youth or heart-sick maid, Who, while each stood companionless and eyed This undeparting flower in crimson dyed, Thought of a wound which death is slow to cure, A fate that has endured and will endure, And, patience coveting yet passion feeding Called the dejected Lingerer, Love lies bleeding.

[ocr errors]

RURAL ILLUSIONS. Sylph was it? or a bird more bright

Than those of fabulous stock?
A second darted by ; - and lo!

Another of the flock,
Through sunshine flitting from the bough

To nestle in the rock.
Transient deception! a gay freak

Of April's mimicries!
Those brilliant strangers, hailed with joy

Among the budding trees,
Proved last year's leaves, pushed from the spray

To frolic on the breeze,

Not such the world's illusive shows;

Her wingless flutterings,
Her blossoms which, though shed, outbrave

The floweret as it springs,
For the undeceived, smile as they may,

Are melancholy things:
But gentle nature plays her part

With ever-varying wiles,
And transient feignings with plain truth

So well she reconciles,
That those fond idlers most are pleased

Whom oftenest she beguiles.




Hast thou then survived Mild offspring of infirm humanity, Meek infant! among all forlornest things The most forlorn - one life of that bright star, The second glory of the Heavens ?- Thou hast; Already hast survived that great decay, That transformation through the wide earth felt, And by all nations. In that Being's sight From whom the Race of human kind proceed, A thousand years are but as yesterday; And one day's narrow circuit is to Him Not less capacious than a thousand years. But what is time? What outward glory? neither A measure is of Thee, whose claims extend Through “ Heaven's eternal year."— Yet hail to Thee, Frail

, feeble, monthling!— by that name, methinks, Thy scanty breathing-time is portioned out Not idly. - Hadst thou been of Indian birth, Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves, And rudely canopied by leafy boughs, Or to the churlish elements exposed On the blank plains,

the coldness of the night. Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned, Would, with imperious admonition, then Have scored thine age, and punctually timed Thine infant history, on the minds of those Who might have wandered with thee. Mother's love, Nor less than mother's love in other breasts, Will, among us warm-clad and warınly housed, Do for thee what the finger of the heavens Doth all too often harshly execute For thy unblest coevals, amid wilds Where fancy hath small liberty to grace The affections, to exalt them or refine; And the maternal sympathy itself, Though strong, is, in the main, a joyless tie Of naked instinct, wound about the heart. Ilappier, far happier is thy lot and ours ! Even now to solemnise thy helpless state, And to enliven in the mind's regard Thy passive beauty — parallels have risen,

[merged small][ocr errors]

Peter Bell, you asked why THE WAGGONER was not they differ from each other. The Epilogue carries on the

Resemblances, or contrasts, that connect,

added ?" — To say the truth, — from the higher tone of Within the region of a father's thoughts,

imagination, and the deeper touches of passion aimed Thee and thy mate and sister of the sky.

at in the former, I apprehend, this little Piece could And first ; — thy sinless progress, through a world not accompany it without disadvantage. In the year By sorrow darkened and by care disturbed, Apt likeness bears to hers, through gat! ed clouds,

The fact of my discarded hero's getting the horses out Moving untouched in silver purity,

of a great difficulty with a word, as related in the poem, And cheering ofttimes their reluctant gloom.

was told me by an eye-witness. Fair are ye both, and both are free from stain :

[“ Due honour is done to Peter Bell, at this time, by But thou, how leisurely thou fill'st thy horn

students of poetry in general; but some, even of Mr.

Wordsworth's greatest admirers, do not quite satisfy me With brightness ! leaving her to post along,

in their admiration of The Waggoner, a poem which my And range about, disquieted in change,

dear uncle, Mr. Southey, preferred even to the former. And still impatient of the shape she wears.

Ich will meine Denkungsart hierin niemanden aufdringen, Once up, once down the hill, one journey, babe

as Lessing says; I will force my way of thinking on noThat will suffice thee; and it seems that now

body, but take the liberty, for my own gratification, to Thou hast fore-knowledge that such task is thine; express it. The sketches of hill and valley in this poem Thou travellest so contentedly, and sleep'st

have a lightness and spirit, - an allegro touch, - distin. In such a heedless peace. Alas! full soon

guishing them from the grave and elevated splendour which Hath this conception, grateful to behold,

characterizes Mr. Wordsworth's representations of nature Changed countenance, like an object sullied o'er

in general, and from the pensive tenderness of those in

The White Doe, while it harmonizes well with the human By breathing mist; and thine appears to be

interest of ibe piece ; indeed, it is the harmonious sweetA meurnful labour, while to her is given

ness of the composition which is most dwelt upon by its Hope and a renovation without end.

special admirers. In its course it describes, with bold - That smile forbids the thought; for on thy face

brief touches, the striking mountain tract from Grasmere Smiles are beginning, like the beams of dawn,

to Keswick; it commences with an evening storm among To shoot and circulate; smiles have there been seen;

the mountains, presents a lively interior of a country inn Tranquil assurances that Heaven supports

during midnight, and concludes after bringing us in sight The feeble inotions of thy life, and cheers

of St. John's Vale and the Vale of Keswick seen by day Thy loneliness: or shall those smiles be called

break. — Skiddaw touched with rosy light,' and the pros

pect from Nathdale Fell, 'hoar with the frost-like dews of Feelers of love, put forth as if to explore

dawn:' thus giving a beautiful and well contrasteo This untried world, and to prepare thy way

panorama, produced by the most delicate and masterly Through a strait passage intricate and dim?

strokes of the pencil. Well may Mr. Ruskin, a fine Such are they; and the same are tokens, signs,

observer and eloquent describer of various classes of Which, when the appointed season hath arrived,

natural appearances, speak of Mr. Wordsworth as the Joy, as her holiest language, shall adopt ;

great poetic landscape painter of the age. But Mr. Ruskin And reason's godlike power be proud to own.

has found how seldom the great landscape painters are powerful in expressing human passions and affections on canvass, or even successful in the introduction of human figures into their foregrounds; whereas in the poetic paint.

ings of Mr. Wordsworth, the landscape is always subordiTIIE WAGGONER.*

nate to a higher interest; certainly, in The Waggoner, the liule sketch of human nature which occupies, as it were,

the front of that encircling background, the picture of In Cairo's crowded streets Thwe impatient Merchant wondering waits in vain,

Benjamin and his temptations, his humble friends and the And Mecca saddens at the long delay.


mute companions of his way, has a character of its own,
combining with sportiveness, a homely pathos, which must
ever be delightful to some of those who are thoroughly
conversant with the spirit of Mr. Wordsworth's poetry.
It may be compared with the ale-house scene in Tam

feeling of the piece very beautifully.”—S. C.

This fine criticism – worthy of the Sire- is from the ne several years after the event that forms the subject of pen of the daughter of Coleridge, the widow of Henry non sono in company with my friend, the late Mr. Cole Nelson Coleridge; it is part of a note in Coleridge's rut I happened to fall in with the person to whom the tame of expressing regret

· Biographia Literaria.' Edition of 1847. Vol. II. p. 183. mong op had not, for a long time, seen upon the front de fer 1801, in which an account is given of the master" in more on me, and as to the man who was put in my place, Correspondence

, Vol

. II. p. 148, Chap. viii., where in a note it is added that the circumstances of the poerr, are

accurately correct.-H. R.) U


Hex I sent you, a few weeks ago, the Tale of Philemon; though it differs from each of them as much as

Po ginat could come out of bim ; he was a man of no

[ocr errors]


1806, it I am not mistaken, The WAGGONER was read | The Horses have worked with right good-will,
to you in manuscript; and, as you have remembered it And now have gained the top of the hill,
for so long a time, I am the more encouraged to hope, He was patient — they were strong-
that, since the localities on which it partly depends did And now they smoothly glide along,
not prevent its being interesting to you, it may prove Gathering breath, and pleased to win
acceptable to others. Being therefore in some measure The praises of mild Benjamin.
the cause of its present appearance, you must allow me Heaven shield him from mishap and snare!
the gratification of inscribing it to you: in acknowledg. But why so early with this prayer?-
ment of the pleasure I have derived from your Writings, Is it for threatenings in the sky ?-
and of the high esteem with which I am

Or for some other danger nigh?
Very truly yours, No, none is near him yet, though he

William WORDSWORTH. Be one of much infirmity;
Rydal Mount, May 20, 1819.

For at the bottom of the Brow,

Where once the Dove and OLIVE-BOUGH CANTO FIRST.

Offered a greeting of good ale

To all who entered Grasmere Vale; Tis spent — this burning day of June!

And called on him who must depart Soft darkness o'er its latest gleams is stealing; To leave it with a jovial heart; – The dor-hawk, solitary bird,

There, where the Dove and OLIVE-BOUGH Round the dim crags on heavy pinions wheeling, Once hung, a Poet harbours now, – Buzzes incessantly, a tiresomne tune;

A simple water-drinking Bard ; That constant voice is all that can be heard

Why need our Hero then (though frail In silence deeper far than that of deepest noon! His best resolves) be on his guard? –

He marches by, secure and bold, – Confiding Glow-worms ! 't is a night

Yet while he thinks on times of old, Propitious to your earth-born light;

It seems that all looks wondrous cold; But where the scattered stars are seen

He shrugs his shoulders - shakes his head In hazy straits the clouds between,

And, for the honest folk within, Each, in his station twinkling not

It is a doubt with Benjamin
Seems changed into a pallid spot.

Whether they be alive or dead !
The air, as in a lion's den,
Is close and hot; - and now and then
Comes a tired and sultry breeze

Here is no danger,

none at all! With a haunting and a panting,

Beyond his wish is he secure; Like the stifling of disease;

But pass a mile and then for trial, – The mountains rise to wondrous height,

Then for the pride of self-denial; And in the heavens there hangs a weight;

If he resist that tempting door, But the dews allay the heat,

Which with such friendly voice will cail, And the silence makes it sweet.

If he resist those casement panes,

And that bright gleam which thence will fall Hush, there is some one on the stir!

Upon his Leaders' bells and manes, 'Tis Benjamin the Waggoner;

Inviting him with cheerful lure: Who long bath trod this toilsome way,

For still, though all be dark elsewhere, Companion of the night and day.

Some shining notice will be there,
That far-off tinkling's drowsy cheer,

Of open house and ready fare.
Mixed with a faint yet grating sound
In a moment lost and found,

The place to Benjamin full well
The Wain announces - by whose side,

Is known, and by as strong a spell Along the banks of Rydal Mere,

As used to be that sign of love He paces on, a trusty Guide,

And hope --- the OLIVE-BOUGH and Dove, Listen! you can scarcely hear !

He knows it to his cost, good Man! Hither he his course is bending; —

Who does not know the famous Swax! Now he leaves the lower ground,

Uncouth although the object be, And up the craggy hill ascending

An image of perplexity; Many a stop and stay he makes,

Yet not the less it is our boast, Many a breathing-fit he takes ;

For it was painted by the Host ; Steep the way and wearisome,

His own conceit the figure planned, Yet all the while his whip is dumb!

'Twas colou

own hand;

This rude piece of self-taught art (such is the progress of sents two figures, full as distinctly shaped as that of the famuus

And that frail Child of thirsty clay,

A storrn, which had been smothered long it. Of u hom I sing this rustic lay,

Was growing inwardly more strong; me Could tell with self-dissatisfaction

And, in its struggles to get free,
Quaint stories of the Bird's attraction !*

Was busily employed as he.

The thunder had begun to growl —
Well! that is past — and in despite

He heard not, too intent of soul;
Of open door and shining light.

The air was now without a breath
And now the Conqueror essays

He marked not that 't was still as death.
The long ascent of Dunmail-raise ;

But soon large drops upon his head
And with his Team is gentle here

Fell with the weight of drops of lead ; -
As when he clomb from Rydal Mere;

He starts — and, at thic admonition,
He whip they do not dread — his voice

Takes a survey of his condition.
They only hear it to rejoice.

The road is black before his eyes,
To stand or go is at their pleasure

Glimmering faintly where it lies;
Their efforts and their time they measure

Black is the sky - and every hill,
By generous pride within the breast ;

Up to the sky, is blacker still -
And, while they strain, and while they rest,

A huge and melancholy room,
He thus pursues his thoughts at leisure.

Hung round and overhung with gloom;
Save that above a single height
Is to be seen a lurid light,
Above Helm-crag* - a streak half dead,
A burning of portentous red;
And near that lurid light, full well
The ASTROLOGER, sage Sidrophel,
Where at his desk and book he sits,
Puzzling on high his curious wits;
He whose domain is held in common
With no one but the ANCIENT WOMAN,
Cowering beside her risted cell ;
As if intent on magic spell;
Dread pair, that, spite of wind and weather,
Still sit upon Helm-crag together!
The ASTROLOGER was not unseen
By solitary Benjamin:
But total darkness came anon,
And he and every thing was gone.
And suddenly a ruffling breeze,
(That would have sounded through the trees
Had aught of sylvan growth been there)
Was felt throughout the region bare:
The rain rushed down the road was battered,
As with the force of billows shattered;
The horses are dismayed, nor know
Whether they should stand or go;
And Benjamin is groping near them,
Sees nothing, and can scarely hear them.
He is astounded, — wonder not, -
With such a charge in such a spot;
Astounded in the mountain gap
By peals of thunder, clap on clap!
And many a terror-striking flash; –
And somewhere, as it seems, a crash,
Among the rocks; with weight of rain,

* A mountain of Grasmere, the broken summit of which pre

Now am I fairly safe to-night —
And never was my heart more light.
I trespassed lately worse than ever —
But Heaven will bless a good endeavour;
And, to my soul's delight, I find
The Evil One is left behind.
l'es, let my master fume and fret,
Here am I – with my Horses yet!
My jolly Team, he finds that ye
Will work for nobody but me!
Good proof of this the Country gained,
One day, when ye were vexed and strained -
Entrusted to another's care,
And forced unworthy stripes to bear.
Here was it on this rugged spot
Which now, coniented with our lot,
We climb — that, piteously abused,
le plunged in anger and confused:
As chance would have it, passing by
I saw you in your jeopardy:
A word from me was like a charm -
The ranks were taken with one mind;
And your huge burthen, safe from harm,
Vored like a vessel in the wind !
- Yes, without me, up hills so high
Tu vain to strive for mastery.
Then grieve not, jolly Team! though tough
The road we travel, steep and rough,
Though Rydal-heights and Dunmail-raise,
And all their fellow Banks and Braes,
Full often make you stretch and strain,
And halt for breath and halt again,
Yet to their sturdiness 't is owing
That side by side we still are going!
While Benjamin in earnest mood

His meditations thus pursued,

rcfiperdent) has been supplanted by a professional production

Cobbler, near Arroquhar in Scotland.

« PreviousContinue »