Imágenes de páginas
[blocks in formation]

—Not Brothers they in feature or attire, | But fond Companions, so I guessed, in field,

And by the river's margin—whence they come, Anglers elated with unusual spoil. One bears a willow-pannier on his back, The Boy of plainer garb, whose blush survives | More deeply tinged. Twin might the other be To that fair Girl who from the garden Mount | Bounded—triumphant entry this for him. | Between his hands he holds a smooth blue stone, | On whose capacious surface see outspread

Large store of gleaming crimson-spotted trouts; | Ranged side by side, and lessening by degrees Up to the dwarf that tops the pinnacle. Upon the Board he lays the sky-blue stone With its rich freight:-their number he proclaims; Tells from what pool the noblest had been dragged; And where the very monarch of the brook, After long struggle, had escaped at last— Stealing alternately at them and us (As doth his Comrade too) a look of pride. And, verily, the silent Creatures made A splendid sight, together thus exposed; Dead—but not sullied or deformed by Death, That seemed to pity what he could not spare.

But 0, the animation in the mien Of those two Boys! Yea in the very words With which the young Narrator was inspired, When, as our questious led, he told at large Of that day's prowess! Him might I compare, Ilis look, tones, testures, eager eloquence, To a bold Brook that splits for better speed, And, at the self-same moment, works its way Through many channels, ever and anon Parted and reunited: his Compeer To the still Lake, whose stillness is to sight As beautiful, as grateful to the mind. —But to what object shall the lovely Girl Be likened? She whose countenance and air Unite the graceful qualities of both, Even as she shares the pride and joy of both.

My grey-haired Friend was moved; his vivid eye Glistened with tenderness; his Mind, I knew, Was full; and had, I doubted not, returned, Upon this impulse, to the theme—ere while Abruptly broken-off. The ruddy Boys Withdrew, on summons to their well-earned meal; And He—(to whom all tongues resigned their rights With willingness, to whom the general ear Listened with readier patience than to strain Of music, lute or harp, a long delight That ceased not when his voice had ceased) as One Who from truth's central point serenely views The compass of his argument,--began Mildly, and with a clear and steady tone.


Wanderer asserts that an active principle pervades the Universe—lis noblest seat the human soul—llow

[blocks in formation]

lively this principle is in Childhood—Hence the delight in Old Age of looking back upon Childhood—The dignity, powers, and privileges of Age asserted— These not to be looked for generally but under a just government—Right of a human Creature to be exempt from being considered as a mere Instrument —Vicious inclinations are best kept under by giving good ones an opportunity to shew themselves—The condition of multitudes deplored from want of due respect to this truth on the part of their superiors in society—Former conversation recurred to, and the Wanderer's opinions set in a clearer light—Genuine principles of equality—Truth placed within reach of the humblest.—Happy state of the two boys again adverted to–Earnest wish expressed for a System of National Education established universally by Government—Glorious effects of this foretold–Wanderer breaks off–Walk to the Lake—embark—Description of scenery and amusements—Grand spectacle from the side of a hill—Address of Priest to the Supreme Being—in the Course of which he contrasts with ancient Barbarism the present appearance of the scene before him—The change ascribed to Christianity—Apostrophe to his Flock, living and dead— Gratitude to the Alinighty—Return over the Lake— Parting with the Solitary—Under what circumstances.


• To every Form of reing is assigned.” Thus calmly spake the venerable Sage,

; : An active principle:—howe'er removed

From sense and observation, it subsists
In all things, in all natures, in the stars
Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds,
In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
The moving waters, and the invisible air.
whate'er exists hath properties that spread
Beyond itself, communicating food,
A simple blessing, or with evil mixed;
Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
No chasm, no solitude; from link to link
It circulates, the Soul of all the Worlds.
This is the freedom of the Universe;
Infolded still the more, more visible,
The more we know; and yet is reverenced least,
And least respected, in the human Mind,
Its most apparent home. The food of hope
Is meditated action; robbed of this
lier sole support, she languishes and dies.
we perish also ; for we live by hope
And by desire: we see by the glad light,
And breathe the sweet air of futurity,
And so we live, or else we have no life.
To-morrow—nny perchance this very hour,
(For every moment hath its own to-morrow')
—Those blooming toys, whose hearts are almost sick
with present triumph, will be sure to find
A field before them freshened with the dew
of other expectations;–in which course
Their happy year spius round. The Youth obeys
A like glad impulse; and so moves the Man
Mid all his apprehensions, cares, and fears,

Or so he ought to move. Ah! why in age
Do we revert so fondly to the walks
Of Childhood—but that there the Soul discerns
The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired
Of her own native vigour—thence can hear
Reverberations; and a choral song,
Commingling with the incense that ascends
Undaunted, tow'rd the imperishable heavens,
From her own lonely altar?—Do not think
hat Good and Wise will ever be allowed,
Thougll strength decay, to breathe in such estate-
As shall divide them wholly from the stir
Of hopeful nature. Rightly is it said
That Man descends into the Vale of years;
Yet have I thought that we might also speak,
And not presumptuously, I trust, of Age,
As of a final EMI Nexce, though bare
In aspect and forbidding, yet a Point
On w!,ich t is not impossible to sit
In awful sovereignty—a place of power—
—A Throne, that may be likened unto his,
Who, in some placid day of summer, looks
Down from a mountain-top.–say one of those
High Peaks, that bound the vale where now we are.
Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye,
Forest and field, and hill and dale appear,
With all the shapes upon their surface spread:
But, while the gross and visible frame of things
Relinquishes its hold upon the sense,
Yea almost on the mind herself, and seems
All unsubstantialized,—how loud the voice
Of waters, with invigorated peal
From the full River in the vale below,
Ascending —For on that superior height
Who sits, is disencumbered from the press
Of near obstructions, and is privileged
To breatine in solitude above the host
Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air
That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves
Many and idle, visits not his ear;
This he is freed from, and from thousand notes
Not less unceasing, not less vain than these, -
By which the finer passages of sense
Are occupied; and the Soul, that would incline
To listen, is prevented or deterred.

• And may it not be hoped, that, placed by Age In like removal tranquil though severe, We are not so removed for utter loss; But for some favour, suited to our need? What more than that the severing should confer Fresh power to commune with the invisible world, And hear the mighty stream of tendency Uttering, for elevation of our thought, A clear sonorous voice, inaudible To the vast multitude; whose doom it is To run the giddy round of vain delight, Or fret and labour on the Plain below.

• But, if to such sublime ascent the hopes of Man may rise, as to a welcome close And termination of his mortal course. Them only can such hope inspire whose minds Have not been starved by absolute neglect; Nor bodies crushed by unremitting toil : To whom kind Nature, therefore, may afford

Proof of the sacred love she bears for all;
Whose birth-right Reason, therefore, may ensure.
For me, consulting what I feel within
In times when most existence with herself
Is satisfied, I cannot but believe,
That, far as kindly Nature hath free scope
And Reason's sway predominates, even so far,
Country, society, and time itself,
That saps the Individual's bodily frame,
And lays the generations low in dust,
Do, by the Almighty Ruler's grace, partake
Of one maternal spirit, bringing forth
And cherishing with ever-constant love,
That tires not, nor betrays. Our Life is turned
Out of her course, wherever Man is made
An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool
Or implement, a passive Thing employed
As a brute mean, without acknowledgment
Of common right or interest in the end;
Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt.
Say, what can follow for a rational Soul
Perverted thus, but weakness in all good,
And strength in evil? Hence an after-call
For chastisement, and custody, and bonds,
And oft-times Death, avenger of the past,
And the sole guardian in whose hands we dare
Entrust the future.—Not for these sad issues
Was Man created; but to obey the law
Of life, and hope, and action. And 't is known
That when we stand upon our native soil,
Unelbowed by such objects as oppress
Our active powers, those powers themselves become
Strong to subvert our noxious qualities:
They sweep distemper from the busy day,
And make the Wessel of the big round Year
Run o'er with gladness; whence the Being moves
In beauty through the world ; and all who see
Bless him, rejoicing in his neighbourhood.”

• Then,” said the Solitary, a by what force Of language shall a feeling Heart express Her sorrow for that multitude in whom We look for health from seeds that have been sown In sickness, and for increase in a power That works but by extinction? On themselves They cannot lean, nor turn to their own hearts To know what they must do; their wisdom is To look into the eyes of others, thence To be instructed what they must avoid : Or rather let us say, how least observed, How with most quiet and most silent death, With the least taint an injury to the air The Oppressor breathes, their human Form divine, And their immortal Soul, may waste away.”

The Sage rejoined, “I thank you—you have spared My voice the utterance of a keen regret, A wide compassion which with you I share. When, heretofore, I placed before your sight A Little-one, subjected to the Arts Of modern ingenuity, and made The senseless member of a vast machine, Serving as doth a spindle or a wheel; Think not, that, pitying him, I could forget The rustic Boy, who walks the fields, untaught; The Slave of ignorance, and oft of want,

And miserable hunger. Much, too much
Of this unhappy lot, in early youth
We both have witnessed, lot which I myself
Shared, though in mild and merciful degree:
Yet was the mind to hinderances exposed,
Through which I struggled, not without distress
And sometimes injury, like a lamb enthralled
"Mid thorns and brambles; or a Bird that breaks
Through a strong net, and mounts upon the wind,
Though with her plumes impaired. If they, whose souls
Should open while they range the richer fields
Of merry England, are obstructed less
By indigence, their ignorance is not less,
Nor less to be deplored. For who can doubt
That tens of thousands at this day exist
Such as the Boy you painted, lineal Heirs
Of those who once were Wassals of her soil,
Following its fortunes like the beasts or trees
Which it sustained. But no one takes delight
In this oppression; none are proud of it;
It bears no sounding name, nor ever bore;
A standing grievance, an indigenous vice
Of every country under heaven. My thoughts
Were turned to evils that are new and chosen,
A Bondage lurking under shape of good,
Arts, in themselves beneficent and kind,
But all too fondly followed and too far;
To Victims, which the merciful can see
Northink that they are Victims; turned to wrongs
By Women who have Children of their own
Beheld without compassion, yea with praise!
I spake of mischief by the wise diffused
With gladness, thinking that the more it spreads
The healthier, the securer, we become;
Delusion which a moment may destroy!
Lastly, I mourned for those whom I had seen
Corrupted and cast down, on favoured ground,
Where circumstance and nature had combined
To shelter innocence, and cherish love;
Who, but for this intrusion, would have lived.
Possessed of health, and strength, and peace of mind;
Thus would have lived, or never have been born.

“Alas! what differs more than man from man! And whence that difference? whence but from himself? For see the universal Race endowed With the same upright form!—The sun is fixed, And the infinite magnificence of heaven, Fixed within reach of every human eye; The sleepless Ocean murmurs for all ears; The vernal field infuses fresh delight Into all hearts. Throughout the world of sense, Even as an object is sublime or fair, That object is laid open to the view Without reserve or veil; and as a power Is salutary, or an influence sweet, Are each and all enabled to perceive That power, that influence, by impartial law. Gifts nobler are vouchsafed alike to all; Reason, and, with that reason, smiles and tears; Imagination, freedom in the will, Conscience to guide and check, and death to be Foretasted, immortality presumed. Strange, then, nor less than monstrous might be deemed The failure, if the Almighty, to this point Liberal and undistinguishing, should hide

The excellence of moral qualities
From common understanding; leaving truth
And virtue, difficult, abstruse, and dark;
Hard to be won, and only by a few;
Strange, should he deal herein with nice respects,
And frustrate all the rest : Believe it not :
The primal duties shine aloft—like stars;
The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
Are scattered at the feet of Man—like flowers.
The generous inclination, the just rule,
Kind wishes, and good actions, and pure thoughts—
No mystery is here; no special boon
For high and not for low, for proudly graced
And not for meek of heart. The smoke ascends
To heaven as lightly from the Cottage hearth
As from the haughty palace. He, whose soul
Ponders this true equality, may walk
The fields of earth with gratitude and hope;
Yet, in that meditation, will he find
Motive to sadder grief, as we have found,-

[blocks in formation]

| While she exacts allegiance, shall admit An obligation, on her part, to teach Them who are born to serve her and obey; i:inding herself by Statute to secure For all the Children whom her soil maintains The rudiments of Letters, and inform The mind with moral and religious truth, Both understood, and practised,—so that none, | However destitute, be left to droop !y timely culture unsustained; or run !nto a wild disorder; or be forced To drudge through weary life without the aid of intellectual implements and tools; | A savage Horde among the civilized, |A servile Band among the lordly free! |This sacred right, the lisping Babe proclaims To be inherent in him, by Heaven's will, For the protection of his innocence; And the rude Boy, who, having overpast The sinless age, by conscience is enrolled, Yet mutinously knits his angry brow, And lifts his wilful hand on mischief hent, Or turns the godlike faculty of speech

To impious use—by process indirect | Declares his due, while he makes known his need.

—This sacred right is fruitlessly announced, | This universal plea in vain addressed, To eyes and ears of Parents who themselves did, in the time of their necessity, Urge it in vain; and therefore, like a prayer That from the humblest floor ascends to heaven, It mounts to reach the State's parental ear; Who, if indecd she own a Mother's heart, And be not most unfeelingly devoid Of gratitude to Providence, will grant The unquestionable good; which, England, safe From interference of external force, May grant at leisure; without risk incurred That what in wisdom for herself she doth, Others shall e'er be able to undo.

* Look! and behold, from Calpe's sunburnt cliff, To the flat margin of the Baltic sea, Long-reverenced Titles cast away as weeds; Laws overturned;—and Territory split, Like fields of ice rent by the polar wind, And forced to join in less obnoxious shapes, Which, cre they gain consistence, by a gust Of the same breath are shattered and destroyed. Meantime the Sovereignty of these fair Isles Remains entire and indivisible; And, if that ignorance were removed, which breeds Within the compass of their several shores Dark discontent, or loud commotion, each Alight still preserve the beautiful repose Of heavenly Bodies shining in their spheres. —The discipline of slavery is unknown Amongst us, hence the more do we require The discipline of virtue; order else Cannot subsist, nor confideuce, nor peace. Thus, duties rising out of good possessed, And prudent caution needful to avert Impending evil, equally require

So shall licentiousness and black resolve He rooted out, and virtuous habits take

That the whole people should be taught and trained. Their place; and genuine piety descend, Like an inheritance, from age to age.

« With such foundations laid, avaunt the fear Of numbers crowded on their native soil, To the prevention of all healthful growth Through mutual injury! Rather in the law Of increase and the mandate from above Rejoice!—and Ye have special cause for joy. —For, as the element of air affords An easy passage to the industrious bees Fraught with their burthens; and a way as smooth For those ordained to take their sounding flight From the thronged hive, and settle where they list in fresh abodes, their labour to renew ; So the wide waters, open to the power, The will, the instincts, and appointed needs Of Britain, do invite her to cast off Her swarms, and in succession send them forth; Bound to establish new communities On every shore whose aspect favours hope Or bold adventure; promising to skill And perseverance their deserved reward. —Yes," he continued, kindling as he spake, “Change wide, and deep, and silently performed, This Land shall witness; and as days roll on, Earth's universal Frame shall feel the effect Even till the smallest habitable Rock, Beaten by lonely billows, hear the songs Of humanized Society; and bloom With civil arts, that send their fragrance forth, A grateful tribute to all-ruling Heaven. From Culture, unexclusively bestowed On Albion's noble Race in freedom born, Expect these mighty issues; from the pains And faithful care of unambitious Schools Instructing simple Childhood's ready ear: Thence look for these magnificent results! Vast the circumference of hope—and Ye Are at its centre, British Lawgivers; Ah! sleep not there in shame! Shall Wisdom's voice From out the bosom of these troubled Times Repeat the dictates of her calmer mind, And shall the venerable Halls ye fill Refuse to echo the sublime decree ? Trust not to partial care a general good; Transfer not to Futurity a work Of urgent need.—Your Country must complete Her glorious destiny.—Begin even now, Now, when Oppression, like the Egyptian plague Of darkness, stretched o'er guilty Europe, makes The brightness more conspicuous, that invests The happy Island where ye think and act: Now, when Destruction is a prime pursuit, Shew to the wretched Nations for what end The Powers of civil Polity were given!»

Abruptly here, but with a graceful air The Sage broke off. No sooner had he ceased Than, looking forth, the gentle Lady said, * Behold, the shades of afternoon have fallen Upon this flowery slope; and see—beyond— The lake, though bright, is of a placid blue; As if preparing for the peace of evening. How temptingly the Landscape shines!—The air Breathes invitation; easy is the walk

--------------- ---

To the Lake's margin, where a Boat lies moored
Beneath her sheltering tree. n—Upon this hint

We rose together: all were pleased—but most
Light as a sunbeam glides along the hills
She vanished—eager to impart the scheme
To her loved Brother and his shy Compeer.
–Now was there bustle in the Vicar's house
And earnest preparation.—Forth we went,
And down the Vale along the Streamlet's edge
Pursued our way, a broken Company,
Mute or cenversing, single or in pairs.
Thus having reached a bridge, that overarched
The hasty rivulet where it lay becalmed
In a deep pool, by happy chance we saw
A two-fold Image; on a grassy bank
A snow-white Ram, and in the crystal flood
Another and the same ! Most beautiful,
On the green turf, with his imperial front
Shatty and bold, and wreathed horns superb,
The breathing Creature stood; as beautiful,
Beneath him, shewed his shadowy Counterpart.
Each had his glowing mountains, each his sky,
And each seemed centre of his own fair world :
Antipodes unconscious of each other,
Yet, in partition, with their several spheres,
Blended in perfect stillness, to our sight!

“Ah! what a pity were it to disperse,
Or to disturb so fair a spectacle,
And yet a breath can do it!»

These few words

The Lady whispered, while we stood and gazed
Gathered together, all, in still delight,
Not without awe. Thence passing on, she said
In like low voice to my particular ear,
* I love to hear that eloquent Old Man
Pour forth his meditations, and descant
On human life from infancy to age.
How pure his spirit! in what vivid hues
His mind gives back the various forms of things,
Caught in their fairest, happiest attitude :
While he is speaking, I have power to see
Even as he secs; but when his voice hath ceased,
Then, with a sigh, I sometimes feel, as now,
That combinations so serene and bright,
Like those retlected in yon quiet Pool,
Cannot be lasting in a world like ours,
To great and small disturbances exposed.”
More had she said—but sportive shouts were heard;
Sent from the jocund hearts of those two Boys,
Who, bearing each a basket on his arm,
Down the green field came tripping after us.
—When we had cautiously embarked, the Pair
Now for a prouder service were addrest;
but an inexorable law forbade,
And each resigned the oar which he had seized.
Whereat, with willing hand I undertook
The needful labour; grateful task — to me
Pregnant with recollections of the time
When, on thy bosom, spacious Windermere:
A youth, I practised this delightful art;
Tossed on the waves alone, or 'mid a crew
of joyous Comrades.—Now, the reedy marge
Cleared, with a strenuous arm I dipped the oar,
Free from obstruction; and the Boat advanced


The beauteous Girl, whose cheek was flushed with joy.

« AnteriorContinuar »