« AnteriorContinuar »
Doth yet frequent the hill of storms,
O Nature, in thy changeful visions, Through all thy most abrupt transitions, Smooth, graceful, tender, or subline, Ever averse to Pantomime, Thee neither do they know nor us Thy Servants, who can trifle thus; Else surely had the sober powers Of rock that frowns, and stream that roars, Exalted by congenial sway Of Spirits, and the undying Lay, And names that moulder not away, Awaken'd some redeeming thought More worthy of this favour'd Spot; Recall'd some feeling—to set free The Bard from such indignity'
The Effigies of a valiant Wight I once beheld, a Templar Knight; Not prostrate, not like those that rest On Tombs, with palms together press'd, 3ut sculptured out of living stone, And standing upright and alone, Both hands with rival energy Employd in setting his sword free From its dull sheath—stern Sentinel Intent to guard St Robert's Cell; As if with memory of the affray Far distant, when, as legends say, The Monks of Fountain's throng'd to force From its dear home the Hermit's corse, That in their keeping it might lie, To crown their Abbey's sanctity. So had they rush'd into the Grot Of sense despised, a world forgot, And torn him from his loved Retreat, Where Altar-stone and rock-hewn seat Still hint that quiet best is found, Even by the Living, under ground; But a bold Knight, the selfish aim
' On the banks of the River Nid, near Knaresborough.
Defeating, put the Monks to shame, There where you see his Image stand Bare to the sky, with threatening brand Which lingering Nio is proud to show Reflected in the pool below.
Thus, like the Men of earliest days, Our Sires set forth their grateful praise; Uncouth the workmanship, and rude! But, nursed in mountain solitude, Might some aspiring Artist dare To seize whate'er, through misty air, A Ghost, by glimpses, may present Of imitable lineament, And give the Phantom such array As less should scorn the abandon'd clay; Then let him hew, with patient stroke, An Ossian out of mural rock, And leave the figurative Man Upon thy Margin, roaring Bran! Fixed, like the Templar of the steep, An everlasting watch to keep; With local sanctities in trust, More precious than a hermit's dust: And virtues through the mass infused, Which old idolatry abused.
There was such deep contentment in the air,
Reviving obsolete Idolatry, I, like a Runic Priest, in characters Of formidable size had chisseled out Some uncouth name upon the native rock, Above the Rotha, by the forest side. —Now, by those dear immunities of heart Engendered betwixt malice and true love, 1 was not loth to be so catechised, And this was my reply:-" As it befel, One summer morning we had walked abroad At break of day, Joanna and myself. —'T was that delightful season when the broom, Full-flowered, and visible on every steep, Along the copses runs in veins of gold. Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks; And when we came in front of that tall rock Which looks toward the East, I there stopped short, And traced the lofty barrier with my eye From base to summit: such delight I found To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower, That intermixture of delicious hues, Along so vast a surface, all at once, In one impression, by connecting force Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart. —When I had gazed perhaps two minutes space, Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud. The Rock, like something starting from a sleep, Took up the Lady's voice, and laughed again: That ancient Woman seated on Helm-Crag Was ready with her cavern: Hammer-Scar, And the tall Steep of Silver-How, sent forth A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard, And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone: Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky Carried the Lady's voice,—old Skiddaw blew Ilis speaking trumpet;-back out of the clouds Of Glaramara southward came the voice; And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head. —Now whether (said I to our cordial Friend, Who in the hey-day of astonishment Smiled in my face) this were in simple truth A work accomplished by the brotherhood Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touched With dreams and visionary impulses To me alone imparted, sure I am That there was a loud uproar in the hills: And, while we both were listening, to my side The fair Joanna drew, as if she wished To shelter from some object of her fear. —And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons Were wasted, as I chanced to walk alone Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm And silent morning, I sat down, and there, In memory of affections old and true, I chisseled out in those rude characters Joanna's name upon the living stone. And I, and all who dwell by my fire-side, Have called the lovely rock, JoANNA's Rock.”
THERE is an Eminence,—of these our hills
A Nan now girdle of rough stones and crags, A rude and natural causeway, interposed setween the water and a winding slope of copse and thicket, leaves the eastern shore of Grasmere safe in its own privacy. And there, myself and two beloved Friends, One calm September morning, ere the mist ilad altogether yielded to the sun, Sauntered on this retired and dissicult way. ——ill suits the road with one in haste, but we Played with our time; and, as we strolled along, It was our occupation to observe Such objects as the waves had tossed ashore, Feather, or leaf, or weed, or withered bough, Each on the other heaped, along the line of the dry wreck. And, in our vacant mood, Not seldom did we stop to watch some tuft of dandelion seed or thistle's beard, That skinned the surface of the dead calm lake, Suddenly halting now—a lifeless stand! And starting off again with freak as sudden; In all its sportive wanderings, all the while, Making report of an invisible breeze That was its wings, its chariot, and its horse, Its playinate, rather say its moving soul. ––And often, tritling with a privilege Altke indulged to all, we paused, one now, And now the other, to point out, perchance To pluck, some flower or water-weed, too fair Łither to be divided from the place on which it goew, or to be left alone To its own beauty. Many such there are, Fair Ferns and Flowers, and chiefly that tall Fern, So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named; Plant lovelier in its own retired abode on Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere, sole-itting by the shores of old Romance. —So fared we that bright morning: from the fields, Meanwhile, a noise was heard, the busy mirth of Reapers, Men and Women, Boys and Girls.
vate of crasmere, is a rock which from most points of view bears • *triking resemblance to an old woman cowering. Close by this ro-A is one of those Fix-are- or Caverns, which in the language of the country are called dungeons. Most of the Mountains here menee-1 immediately surround the vale of Grasmere; of the others, ** are at a cousiderable distance, but they belong to the same
Delighted much to listen to those sounds,
TO M. ii.
OUR walk was far among the ancient trees;
When, to the attractions of the busy World,
The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts Meanwhile were mine; till, one bright April day, By chance retiring from the glare of noon To this forsaken covert, there I found A hoary path-way traced between the trees, And winding on with such an easy line Along a natural opening, that I stood Much wondering how I could have sought in vain For what was now so obvious. To abide, For an allotted interval of ease, Beneath my cottage roof, had newly come From the wild sea a cherished Visitant; And with the sight of this same path—begun, Begun and ended, in the shady grove,
Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind
When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant shore, And taken thy first leave of those green hills And rocks that were the play-ground of thy Youth. Year followed year, my Brother! and we two, Conversing not, knew little in what mould Each other's minds were fashioned; and at lengtla, When once again we met in Grasmere Vale, Between us there was little other bond Than common feelings of fraternal love. But thou, a School-boy, to the sea hadst carried Undying recollections; Nature there Was with thee; she, who loved us both, she still Was with thee; and even so didst thou become A silent Poet; from the solitude Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart Still couchant, an inevitable ear, And an eye practised like a blind man's touch. —Back to the joyless Ocean thou art gone; Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours Could I withhold thy honoured name, and now I love the fir-grove with a perfect love. Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong: And there I sit at evening, when the steep Of Silver-how, and Grasmere's peaceful Lake. And one green Island, gleam between the stems Of the dark firs, a visionary scene! And, while I gaze upon the spectacle Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee, My brother, and on all which thou hast lost. Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while Thou, Muttering the Verses which I muttered first Among the mountains, through the midnight watch Art pacing thoughtfully the Vessel's deck In some far region, here, while o'er my head, At every impulse of the moving breeze, The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound, Alone I tread this path;—for aught I know, Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store Of undistinguishable sympathies, Mingling most carnest wishes for the day When we, and others whom we love, shall meet A second time, in Grasmere's happy Vale.
Note. —This wish was not granted; the lamented Person, set long after, perished by shipwreck, in discharge of his duty as Commander of the Honourable East India Company's Wessel, the Earl of Abergavenny.