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Still as we nearer draw to life's dark goal,
Be hopeful spring the favourite of the soul!
ENOUGH of climbing toil! Ambition treads Here, as mid busier scenes, ground steep and rough, Or slippery even to peril! and each step, As we for most uncertain recompense Mount toward the empire of the fickle clouds, Each weary step, dwarfing the world below, Induces, for its old familiar sights, Unacceptable feelings of contempt, With wonder mixed—that man could e'er be tied, In anxious bondage to such nice array And formal fellowship of petty things ! Oh, 'tis the heart that magnifies this life, Making a truth and beauty of her own: And moss-grown alleys, circumscribing shades, And gurgling rills, assist her in the work More efficaciously than realms outspread, As in a map, before the adventurer's gazeOcean and earth contending for regard.
The umbrageous woods are left-how far beneath! But lo! where darkness seems to guard the mouth Of
cave, whose jagged brows are fringed With flaccid threads of ivy, in the still And sultry air depending motionless. Yet cool the space within, and not uncheered (As whoso enters shall ere long perceive) By stealthy influx of the timid day Mingling with night, such twilight to compose As Numa loved : when in the Egerian grot, From the sage nymph appearing at his wish,
He gained whate'er a regal mind might ask,
Or need, of council breathed through lips divine.
Long as the heat shall rage, let that dim cave
Protect us, there deciphering as we may
Diluvian records; or the sighs of earth
Interpreting; or counting for old Time
His minutes, by reiterated drops,
Audible tears, from some invisible source
That deepens upon fancy-more and more
Drawn toward the centre whence those sighs creep forth
To awe the lightness of humanity.
Or, shutting up thyself within thyself,
There let me see thee sink into a mood
Of gentler thought, protracted till thine
Be calm as water when the winds are gone,
And no one can tell whither. Dearest friend!
We two have known such happy hours together,
That, were power granted to replace them (fetched
From out the pensive shadows where they lie)
In the first warmth of their original sunshine,
Loth should I be to use it: passing sweet
Are the domains of tender memory!
A BARKING sound the shepherd hears,
A cry as of a dog or fox;
He halts and searches with his eyes
Among the scattered rocks:
And now at distance can discern
A stirring in a brake of fern;
And instantly a dog is seen,
Glancing through 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;
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 appalled 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 recalled the name,
And who he was, and whence he came;
Remembered, too, the very day
On which the traveller passed 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
When this ill-fated traveller died,
The dog had watched about the spot,
Or by his master's side:
How nourished here through such long time
He knows who gave that love sublime;
And gave that strength of feeling great
Above all human estimate.
TO THE LADY
ON SEEING THE FOUNDATION PREPARING FOR THE
ERECTION OF CHAPEL, WESTMORELAND.
Blest is this isle-our native land;
Where battlement and moated gate
Are objects only for the hand
Of hoary time to decorate:
Where shady hamlet, town that breathes
Its busy smoke in social wreaths,
No rampart's stern defence require, Nought but the heaven-directed spire, And steeple tower (with pealing bells Far heard)—our only citadels. O lady! from a noble line Of chieftains sprung, who stoutly bore The spear, yet gave to works divine A bounteous help in days of yore, (As records mouldering in the Dell Of Nightshade haply yet may tell) Thee kindred aspirations moved To build, within a vale beloved, For him upon whose high behests All peace depends, all safety rests. Well may the villagers rejoice! Nor heat, nor cold, nor weary ways, Will be a hindrance to the voice That would unite in prayer and praise; More duly shall wild wandering youth Receive the curb of sacred truth, Shall tottering age, bent earthward, hear The promise, with uplifted ear! And all shall welcome the new ray Imparted to their Sabbath day. Even strangers, slackening here their pace, Shall hail this work of pious care, Lifting its front with modest grace To make a fair recess more fair; And to exalt the passing hour; Or soothe it, with a healing power Drawn from the sacrifice fulfilled, Before this rugged soil was tilled, Or human habitation rose To interrupt the deep repose !