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As it appeared to Enthusiasts at its commencement.
O, pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love !
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven ! O times ?
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance !.
When Reason seem'd the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime enchantress — to assist the work,
Which then was going forward in her name !
Not favour'd spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise — that which sets
(To take an image which was felt no doubt
Among the bowers of paradise itself)
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtility, and strength
Their ministers, — who in lordly wise had stirr'd
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield'it ; - they, too, who of gentle mood
Had watch'd all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish, -
Were call’d upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, - subterraneous fields, –
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where !
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all !
A BARKING sound the shepherd hears,
A cry as of a dog or fox;
He halts and searches with his eyes
Among the scatter'd rocks ;
And now at distance can discern
A stirring in a brake of fern ;
And instantly a dog is seen
Glancing from that covert green.
The dog is not of mountain breed ;
Its motions, too, are wild and shy;
With something, as the shepherd thinks,
Unusual in its cry :
Nor is there any one in sight
All round, in hollow or on height;
Nor shout, nor whistle strikes his ear;
What is the creature doing here?
It was a cove, a huge recess,
That keeps till June December's snow ;
A lofty precipice in front,
A silent tarn* below! * «Tarn' is a small mere or lake, mostly high up in the mountains.
Far in the bosom of Helvellyn,
Remote from public road or dwelling,
Pathway, or cultivated land ;
From trace of human foot or hand.
There sometimes doth a leaping fish
Send through the tarn a lonely cheer ;
The crags repeat the raven's croak,
In symphony austere ;
Thither the rainbow comes - the cloud -
And mists that spread the flying shroud ;
And sunbeams : and the sounding blast,
That, if it could, would hurry past,
But that enormous barrier binds it fast.
Not free from boding thoughts, a while
The shepherd stood; then makes his way
Towards the dog, o'er rocks and stones,
As quickly as he may;
Nor far had gone before he found
A human skeleton on the ground;
The appallid discoverer with a sigh
Looks round, to learn the history.
From those abrupt and perilous rocks
The man had fallen, that place of fear !
At length upon the shepherd's mind
It breaks, and all is clear :
He instantly recall’d the name,
And who he was, and whence he came ;
Remember'd, too, the very day
On which the traveller pass'd this way.
But hear a wonder, for whose sake
This lamentable tale I tell !
A lasting monument of words
This wonder merits well.
The dog, which still was hovering nigh,
Repeating the same timid cry,
This dog had been through three months' space
A dweller in that savage place.
Yes, proof was plain that since the day
On which the traveller thus had died
The dog had watch'd about the spot,
Or by his master's side :
How nourish'd here through such long time
He knows, who gave that love sublime,
And gave that strength of feeling, great
Above all human estimate.
THE HORN OF EGREMONT CASTLE,
WHEN the brothers reach'd the gateway,
Eustace pointed with his lance
To the horn which there was hanging ;
Horn of the inheritance.
Horn it was which none could sound,
No one upon living ground,
Save he who came as rightful heir
To Egremont's domains and castle fair.
Heirs from ages without record
Had the House of Lucie born,
Who of right had claim'd the lordship
By the proof upon the horn :
Each at the appointed hour
Tried the horn, - it own'd his power ;
He was acknowledged : and the blast,
Which good Sir Eustace sounded, was the last.
With his lance Sir Eustace pointed,
And to Hubert thus said he :
'What I speak this horn shall witness
For thy better memory.
Hear, then, and neglect me not !
At this time, and on this spot,
The words are utter'd from my heart,
As my last earnest prayer ere we depart.
Is known — by none, perhaps, so feelingly ;
But thou, who, starting in thy fervent prime,
Didst first lead forth this pilgrimage sublime,
Hast heard the constant voice its charge repeat,
Which, out of the young heart's oracular seat,
First roused thee, O true yoke-fellow of time.
With unabating effort, see, the palm
Is won, and by all nations shall be worn !
The bloody writing is for ever torn,
And thou henceforth shalt have a good man's calm,
A great man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm friend of human kind !
SAY, what is Honour ? 'Tis the finest sense
Of justice which the human mind can frame,
Intent each lurking frailty to disclaim,
And guard the way of life from all offence
Suffer'd or done. When lawless violence
A kingdom doth assault, and in the scale
Of perilous war her weightiest armies fail,
Honour is hopeful elevation — whence
Glory — and Triumph. Yet with politic skill
Endanger'd states may yield to terms unjust,
Stoop their proud heads — but not unto the dust,
A foe's most favourite purpose to fulfil !
Happy occasions oft by self-mistrust
Are forfeited ; but infamy doth kill.
GREAT Men have been among us; hands that penn'd
And tongues that utter'd wisdom, better none :
The later Sydney, Marvel, Harrington,
Young Vane and others who call’d Milton friend.
These moralists could act and comprehend :
They knew how genuine glory was put on;
Taught us how rightfully a nation shone
In splendour : what strength was, that would not bend
But in magnanimous meekness. France, 'tis strange
Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then.