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—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.
BOOK IX. ARGUMENT.
Wanderer asserts that an active principle pervades the Universe—lis noblest seat the human soul—llow
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.
DISCOURSE OF THE WANDERER, AND AN EVENING WISIT TO THE LAKE.
• 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
Or so he ought to move. Ah! why in age
• 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;
• 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
“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
| 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
We rose together: all were pleased—but most
“Ah! what a pity were it to disperse,
These few words
The Lady whispered, while we stood and gazed
The beauteous Girl, whose cheek was flushed with joy.