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Mysterious havoc ! but serene his brow,
When from October clouds a milder light Where daylight lingers ’mid perpetual snow; Fell, where the blue flood rippled into white, Glitter the stars above, and all is black below.
Methought from every cot the watchfal bird
Crowed with ear-piercing power till then unheard; At such an hour I heaved a pensive sigh,
Each clacking mill, that broke the murmuring streains, When roared the sullen Arve in anger by,
Rocked the charmed thought in more delightfri That not for thy reward, delicious Vale!
dreams; Waves the ripe harvest in the autumnal gale;
Chasing those long, long dreams, the falling leaf That thou, the slave of slaves, art doomed to pine;
Awoke a fainte; pang of moral grief; Hard lot!—for no Italian arts are thine,
The measured echo of the distant flail To soothe or cheer, to soften or refine.
Wound in more welcome cadence down the vale; Beloved Freedom! were it mine to stray,
A more majestic tidet the water rolled,
And on ten thousand hearths his shout rebound;
His larum-bell from village tower to tower Fleet as my passage was, I still have found
Swing on the astounded ear its dull undying roar; That where despotic courts their gems display, Yet, yet rejoice, though Pride's perverted ire The lillies of domestic joy decay,
Rouse Hell's own aid, and wrap thy hills in fire! While the remotest hamlets blessings share,
Lo! from the innocuous flames, a lovely birth, In thy dear presence known, and only there!
With its own Virtues springs another earth: The casement's shed more luscious woodbine binds, Nature, as in her prime, her virgin reign And to the door a neater pathway winds;
Begins, and Love and Truth compose her train; At early morn, the careful housewife, led
While, with a pulseless hand, and steadfast gaze, To cull her dinner from its garden bed,
Unbreathing Justice her still beam surveys.
Oh give, great God, to Freedom's waves to ride In brighter rows her table wealth aspires,
Sublime o'er Conquest, Avarice, and Pride, And laugh with merrier blaze her evening fires ;
To sweep where Pleasure decks her guilty bowers, Her infants' cheeks with fresher roses glow,
And dark Oppression builds her thick-ribbed towers And wilder graces sport around their brow;
- Give them, beneath their breast while gladnese By clearer taper lit, a cleanlier board
springs, Receives at supper hour her tempting hoard;
To brood the nations o'er with Nile-like wings; The chamber hearth with fresher boughs is spread,
And grant that every sceptred Child of clay, And whiter is the hospitable bed.
Who cries, presumptuous, "Here their tides shall stay," And oh, fair France ! though now along the shade, Swept in their anger from the affrighted shore, Where erst at will the gray-clad peasant strayed,
With all his creatures sink-to rise no more!
To-night, my friend, within this humble cot
In timely sleep; and, when at break of day,
With lighter heart our course we may renew, While, as Night bids the startling uproar die, The first whose footsteps print the mountain dew. Sole sound, the Sourd* renews his mournful cry! -- Yet, hast thou found that Freedom spreads her + The duties upon many parts of the French rivers were so power
exorbitant, that the poorer people, deprived of the benefit of Beyond the cottage hearth, the cottage door :
water carriage were obliged to transport their goods by land. All nature smiles, and owns beneath her eyes Her fields peculiar, and peculiar skies. Yes, as I roamed where Loiret's waters glide Through rustling aspens heard from side to side,
* An insect is so called, which emits a short, melancholy cry, heard at the close of the summer evenings, on the banks of the Loire.
Such as did once the Poet bless,
Who murmuring here a later* ditty,
Could find no refuge from distress
But in the milder grief of pity.
Now let us, as we float along,
For him suspend the dashing oar;
And pray that never child of song
May know that Poet's sorrows more.
How calm! how still! the only sound,
The dripping of the oar suspended !
– The evening darkness gathers round Is hushed, am I at rest. My Friends! restrain
By virtue's holiest Powers attended.t
beautiful Prospect. LINES
Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely Yew-tree stands
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb?
What if the bee love not these barren boughs ?
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves, The boat her silent course pursues !
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
-Who he was
That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod
First covered, and here taught this aged Tree Such views the yoathful bard allure;
With its dark arms to form a circling bower, But, heedless of the following gloom,
I well remember. - He was one who owned He dreams their colours shall endure
No common soul. In youth by science nursed, Till peace go with him to the tomb.
And led by nature into a wild scene -- And let him nurse his fond deceit,
Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth And what if he must die in sorrow!
A favoured Being, knowing no desire Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Which genius did not hallow; 'gainst the taint
Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate,
Owed him no service; wherefore he at once
With indignation turned himself away,
And with the food of pride sustained his soul
In solitude. - Stranger! these gloomy boughs
His only visitants a straggling sheep,
The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper:
And on these barren rocks, with fern and heath,
GLIDE gently, thus for ever glide,
As now, fair river! come to me.
Voin thought!-Yet be as now thou art,
* Collins's Ode on the Death of Thomson, the last written,
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest,
COLLINS. — H. R.)
A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here
Thou seest,- and he would gaze till it became
sistible arms of Great Britain being added to those of the allies, . was assured in my own mind would be of long continuance, and productive of distress and misery beyond all possible calculation This conviction was pressed upon me by having been a witness, during a long residence in revolutionary France, of the spirit which prevailed in that country. After leaving the Isle of Wight, I spent two days in wandering on foot over Salisbury Plain, which, though cultivation was then widely spread through parts of it, had upon the whole a still more impressive appearance than it now retains.
The monuments and traces of antiquity, scattered in abundance over that region, led ine unavoidably to compare what we know or guess of those remote times with certain aspects of modern society, and with calamities, principally those consequent upon war, to which, more than other classes of men, the poor are subject.lv those reflections, joined with particular facts that had come to my knowledge, the following stanzas originated.
In conclusion, to obviato nome distraction in the minds of those who are well acquainted with Salisbury Plain, it may be proper 10 say, that of the features described as belonging to it, one or two are taken from other desolate parts of England.
If Thou be one whose heart the holy forms
While thus he journeyed, step by step led on,
GUILT AND SORROW;
The gathering clouds grew red with stormy fire,
That inn he long had passed; the distant spire,
Which oft as he looked back had fixed his eye,
Was lost, though still he looked, in the blank sky. ADVERTISEMENT,
Perplexed and comfortless he gazed around, PREFIXED TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS POEM, PUBLISHED IN 1842. And scarce could any trace of man descry,
Save cornfields stretched and stretching without bound; Not less than one-third of the following poem, though it has But where the sower dwelt was nowhere to be found. from time to time been altered in the expression, was published so far back as the year 1798, under the title of "The Female Vagrant." The extract is of such length that an apology seems to be required No tree was there, no meadow's pleasant green, for reprinting it here: but it was necessary to restore it to its origi. nal position, or the rest would have been unintelligible. The whole
No brook to wet his lip or soothe his ear; was written before the close of the year 1794, and I will detail, Long files of corn-stacks here and there were seen, rather as matter of literary biography than for any other reason, the circumstances under which it was produced.
But not one dwelling-place his heart to cheer. During the latter part of the summer of 1793, having passed a
Some labourer, thought he, may perchance be near; month in the Isle of Wight, in view of the fleet which was then And so he sent a feeble shout- in vain; preparing for sea off Portsmouth at the commencement of the war, No voice made answer, he could only hear i left the place with melancholy forebodings. The American war was still fresh in memory. The struggle which was beginning, and
Winds rustling over plots of unripe grain, which many thought would be brought to a speedy close by the irre. I or whistling thro' thin grass along the unfurrowed plain,
Of the mind's phantoms, horrible as vain.
The stones, as if to cover him from day,
Rolled at his back along the living plain;
He fell, and without sense or motion lay;
But, when the trance was gone, feebly pursued his way.
As one whose brain habitual phrensy fires
Owes to the fit in which his soul hath tossed
Profounder quiet, when the fit retires,
Even so the dire phantasma which had crossed
His sense, in sudden vacancy quite lost,
Left his mind still as a deep evening stream.
Moody, or inly troubled, would he seem
To traveller who might talk of any casual theme.
Hurtle the clouds in deeper darkness piled,
Gone is the raven timely rest to seek; "Gainst all that in his heart, or theirs perhaps
, said nay. He seemed the only creature in the wild
On whom the elements their rage might wreak;
Save that the bustard, of those regions bleak
Shy tenant, seeing by the uncertain light
A man there wandering, gave a mournful shriek, And hope returned, and pleasure fondly made
And half upon the ground, with strange affright, Her dwelling in his dreams. By Fancy's aid
Forced hard against the wind a thick unwieldy flight. The happy husband Aies, his arms to throw
All, all was cheerless to the horizon's bound;
The weary eye — which, wheresoe'er it strays, As if thenceforth nor pain nor trouble she could know. Marks nothing but the red sun’s setting round,
Or on the earth strange lines, in former days Vain hope! for fraud took all that he had earned.
Left by gigantic arms — at length surveys The lion roars and gluts his tawny brood
What seems an antique castle spreading wide; Eren in the desert's heart; but he, returned,
Hoary and naked are its walls, and raise Bears not to those he loves their needful food.
Their brow sublime: in shelter there to bide His home approaching, but in such a mood
He turned, while rain poured down smoking on every That frorn his sight his children might have run,
side. He met a traveller, robbed him, shed his blood; And when the miserable work was done
Pile of Stone-henge! so proud to hint yet keep He fled, a vagrant since, the murderer's fate to shun.
Thy secrets, thou that lov'st to stand and hear
The plain resounding to the whirlwind's sweep.
Inmate of lonesome Nature's endless year;
So lonely, but that thence might come a pang
Within that fabric of mysterious form,
See Note 2.
Her he addressed in words of cheering sound; No swinging sign-board creaked from cottage elm Recovering heart, like answer did she make; To stay his steps with faintness overcome;
And well it was that, of the corse there found, 'Twas dark and void as ocean's watery realm
In converse that ensued she nothing spake; Roaring with storms beneath night's starless gloom; She knew not what dire pangs in him such tale could No gipsy cower'd o'er fire of furze or broom;
wake. No labourer watched his red kiln glaring bright,
But soon his voice and words of kind intent
Banished that dismal thought; and now the wind
Meanwhile discourse ensued of various kind,
Which by degrees a confidence of mind
And mutual interest failed not to create,
And, to a natural sympathy resigned,
In that forsaken building where they sate
The woman thus retraced her own untoward fate.
“ By Derwent's side my father dwelt – a man
And I believe that, soon as I began And now the walls are named the “Dead House" of the To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed, plain.
And in his hearing there my prayers I said:
And afterwards, by my good father taught, Though he had little cause to love the abode
I read, and loved the books in which I read; Of man, or covet sight of mortal face,
For books in every neighbouring house I sought, Yet when faint heams of light that ruin showed, And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought. How glad he was at length to find some trace Of human shelter in that dreary place!
A little croft we owned a plot of corn, Till to his flock the early shepherd goes,
A garden stored with peas, and mus, and thyme, Here shall much-needed sleep his frame embrace.
And flowers for posies, oft on Sunday morn In a dry nook where fern the floor bestrows
Plucked while the church bells rang their earliest chime. He lays his stiffened limbs, — his eyes begin to close;
Can I forget our freaks at shearing time!
My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied ; When hearing a deep sigh, that seemed to come The cowslip's gathering in June's dewy prime; From one who mourned in sleep, he raised his head, The swans that with white chests upreared in pride And saw a woman in the naked room
Rushing and racing came to meet me at the water-side' Outstretched, and turning on a restless bed: The moon a wan dead light around her shed.
The staff I well remember which upbore He waked her — spake in tone that would not fail,
The bending body of my active sire; He hoped, to calm her mind; but ill he sped,
His seat beneath the honied sycamore For of that ruin she had heard a tale
Where the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire; Which now with freezing thoughts did all her powers When market-inorning came, the neat attire assail ;
With which, though bent on haste, myself I decked ;
Our watchful house-dog, that would tease and tire Had heard of one who, forced from storms to shroud,
The stranger till its barking fit I checked; Felt the loose walls of this decayed retreat
The red-breast, known for years, which at my casement Rock to incessant neighings shrill and loud,
pecked. While his horse pawed the floor with furious heat; Till on a stone, that sparkled to his feet,
The suns of twenty summers danced along,
But, through severe mischance and cruel wrong,
We toiled and struggled, hoping for a day
When fortune might put on a kinder look; Such tale of this lone mansion she had learned,
But vain were wishes, efforts vain as they ; And, when that shape, with eyes in sleep half drowned, He from his old hereditary nook By the moon's sullen lamp she first discerned, Must part; the summons came;-our final leave we Cold stony horror all her senses bound.