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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 !
Not yet the corner-stone is laid
With solemn rite; but fancy sees
The tower time-stricken, and in shade
Embosomed of coeval trees;
Hears, o'er the lake, the warning clock
As it shall sound with gentle shock
At evening, when the ground beneath
Is ruffled o'er with cells of death;
Where happy generations lie,
Here tutored for eternity.
Lives there a man whose sole delights
Are trivial pomp and city noise,
Hardening a heart that loathes or slights
What every natural heart enjoys ?
Who never caught a noontide dream
From murmur of a running stream;
Could strip, for aught the prospect yields
To him, their verdure from the fields;
And take the radiance from the clouds
In which the sun his setting shrouds.
A soul so pitiably forlorn,
If such do on this earth abide,
May season apathy with scorn,
May turn indifference to pride,
And still be not unblest-compared
With him who grovels, self-debarred
From all that lies within the scope
Of holy faith and Christian hope;
Or, shipwrecked, kindles on the coast
False fires, that others may be lost.
Alas! that such perverted zeal
Should spread on Britain's favoured ground!
That public order, private weal,
Should e'er have felt or feared a wound
From champions of the desperate law
Which from their own blind hearts they draw;
Who tempt their reason to deny
God, whom their passions dare defy,
And boast that they alone are free
Who reach this dire extremity!
But turn we from these 'bold bad' men;
The way, mild lady! that hath led
Down to their 'dark opprobrious den,'
Is all too rough for thee to tread.
Softly as morning vapours glide
Through Mosedale-cove from Carrock's side,
Should move the tenor of his song
Who means to charity no wrong;
Whose offering gladly would accord
With this day's work in thought and word.
Heaven prosper it! may peace and love,
And hope, and consolation fall,
Through its meek influence from above,
And penetrate the hearts of all;
All who, around the hallowed fane,
Shall sojourn in this fair domain ;
Grateful to thee, while service pure,
And ancient ordinance, shall endure,
For opportunity bestowed
To kneel together, and adore their God!
ON THE SAME OCCASION. When in the antique age of bow and spear And feudal rapine clothed with iron mail, Came ministers of peace, intent to rear The mother church in yon sequestered vale;