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To his castle Hubert sped ;
He has nothing now to dread.
But silent and by stealth he came,
And at an hour which nobody could name.
None could tell if it were night-time,
Night or day, at even or morn ;
For the sound was heard by no one
Of the proclamation horn.
But bold Hubert lives in glee :
Months and years went smilingly;
With plenty was his table spread
And bright the lady is who shares his bed.
Likewise he had sons and daughters;
And, as good men do, he sate
At his board by these surrounded,
Flourishing in fair estate.
And, while thus in open day,
Once he sate, as old books say,
A blast was utter'd from the horn,
Where, by the castle gate, it hung forlorn.
'Tis the breath of good Sir Eustace !
He is come to claim his right :
Ancient castle, woods, and inountains
Hear the challenge with delight.
Hubert ! though the blast be blown,
He is helpless and alone :
Thou hast a dungeon, speak the word !
And there he may be lodged, and thou be lord.
Speak! - astounded Hubert cannot ;
And if power to speak he had,
All are daunted, all the household,
Smitten to the heart and sad,
'Tis Sir Eustace : if it be
Living man, it must be he!
Thus Hubert thought in his disniay,
And by a postern gate he slunk away.
Sweet records, promises as sweet ;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food,
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine ;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller betwixt life and death ;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect woman, nobly plann'd,
To warn, to comfort, and command ;
And yet a spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel light.
It seems a day (I speak of one from many singled out), One of those heavenly days which cannot die; When forth I sallied from our cottage-door,* With a huge wallet o'er my shoulders slung, A nutting-crook in hand, and turn'd my steps Towards the distant woods, a figure quaint, Trick'd out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds Which for that service had been husbanded, By exhortation of my frugal dame. Motley accoutrement — of power to smile At thorns, and brakes, and brambles, — and, in truth, More ragged than need was. Among the woods, And o'er the pathless rocks, I forced my way, Until at length, I came to one dear nook
* The house in which I was boarded during the time I was at school.
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Droop'd with its wither'd leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation, but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung,
A virgin scene! A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in ; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed
The banquet, -or beneath the trees I sat
Among the flowers, and with the flowers I play'd ;
A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been bless'd
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons reappear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever,- and I saw the sparkling foam,
And with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, beneath the shady trees,
Lay round me, scatter'd like a flock of sheep,
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease ; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,
And dragg'd to earth both branch and bough, with crash
And merciless ravage ; and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deform'd and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being : and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past,
Even then, when from the bower I turn'd away
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees and the intruding sky.
Then, dearest maiden ! move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch -- for there is a spirit in the woods.
STAY near me - do not take thy flight !
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me ; do not yet depart !
Dead times revive in thee :
Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art !
A solemn image to my heart,
My father's family!
Oh ! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly !
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey : -- with leaps and springs
I follow'd on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her ! fear'd to brush
The dust from off its wings.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky :
So was it when my life began ;
So is it now I am a man ;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die ! The child is father of the man ; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.
In this sequester'd nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard seat !
And flowers and birds once more to greet,
My last year's friends together.
One have I mark'd, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest :
Hail to thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion.
Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While birds, and butterflies, and flowers
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment ;
A life, a presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perch'd in ecstasies,
Yet seeming still to hover ;
There ! where the futter of his wings
Upon his back and body fings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
While thus before my eyes he gleams,
A brother of the leaves he seems;
When in a moment forth he teems
His little song in gushes :
As if it pleased him to disdain
And mock the form which he did feign,
While he was dancing with the train
Of leaves among the bushes.