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And that he had one brother-
That is but
A fellow tale of sorrow. From his youth
James, though not sickly, yet was delicate ;
And Leonard being always by his side
Had done so many offices about him,
That, though he was not of a timid nature,
Yet still the spirit of a mountain-boy
In him was somewhat checked ; and when his brother
Was gone to sea, and he was left alone,
The little colour that he had was soon
Stolen from his cheek; he drooped, and pined, and pined--
Leon. But these are all the graves of full-grown men!
Priest. Ay, sir, that passed away: we took him to us :
He was the child of all the dale-he lived
Three months with one and six months with another ;
And wanted neither food, nor clothes, nor love :
And many, many happy days were his.
But whether blithe or sad, 'tis my belief
His absent brother still was at his heart.
And when he dwelt beneath our roof, we found
(A practice till this time unknown to him)
That often, rising from his bed at night,
He in his sleep would walk about, and sleeping
He sought his brother Leonard. You are moved !
Forgive me, sir : before I spoke to you,
I judged you most unkindly.
But this youth,
How did he die at last ?
One sweet May morning,
(It will be twelve years since when spring returns)
He had gone forth among the new-dropped lambs,
With two or three companions, whom their course
Of occupation led from height to height
Under a cloudless sun, till he at length,
Through weariness, or, haply, to indulge
The humour of the moment, lagged behind.
You see yon precipice; it wears the shape
Of a vast building made of many crags;
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale,
Whence by our shepherds it is called THE PILLAR.
Upon its airy summit crowned with heath,
The loiterer, not unnoticed by his comrades,
Lay stretched at ease; but, passing by the place
On their return, they found that he was gone.
No ill was feared; but one of them by chance
Entering, when evening was far spent, the house
Which at that time was James's home, there learned
That nobody had seen him all that day :
The morning came, and still he was unheard of:
The neighbours were alarmed, and to the brook
Some hastened, some towards the lake : ere noon
They found him at the foot of that same rock---
Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after
I buried him, poor youth, and there he lies!
Leon. And that then is his grave! Before his death You say that he saw many happy years?
Priest. Ay, that he did -
Leonard. And all went well with him?
Priest. If he had one, the youth had twenty homes.
Leon. And you believe, then, that his mind was easy!
Priest. Yes, long before he died, he found that time
Is a true friend to sorrow; and unless
His thoughts were turned on Leonard's luckless fortune,
He talked about him with a cheerful love.
Leonard. He could not come to an unhallowed end!
Priest. Nay, God forbid ! You recollect I mentioned A habit which disquietude and grief Had brought upon him ; and we all conjectured
That, as the day was warm, he had lain down
Upon the grass, and waiting for his comrades,
He there had fallen asleep; that in his sleep
He to the margin of the precipice
Had walked, and from the summit had fallen headlong.
And so, no doubt, he perished ; at the time,
We guess, that in his hands he must have held
His shepherd's staff; for midway in the cliff
It had been caught; and there for many years
It hung, and mouldered there.
The priest here ended-
The stranger would have thanked him, but he felt
A gushing from his heart, that took away
The power of speech. Both left the spot in silence;
And Leonard, when they reached the churchyard gate,
As the priest lifted up the latch, turned round, -
And looking at the grave, he said, 'My Brother!'
The vicar did not hear the words: and now,
Pointing towards the cottage, he entreated
That Leonard would partake his homely fare:
The other thanked him with a fervent voice;
But added that, the evening being calm,
He would pursue his journey. So they parted.
It was not long ere Leonard reached a grove
That overhung the road : he there stopped short,
And sitting down beneath the trees, reviewed
All that the priest had said : his early years
Were with him in his heart: his cherished hopes,
And thoughts which had been his an hour before,
All pressed on him with such a weight, that now
This vale, where he had been so happy, seemed
A place in which he could not bear to live :
So he relinquished all his purposes.
He travelled on to Egremont: and thence,
That nicht he wrote a letter to the priest,
Reminding him of what had passed between them :
And adding, with a hope to be forgiven.
That it was from the weakness of his heart
He had not dared to tell him who he was.
This done, he went on shipboard, and is now
A seaman, a gray-headed mariner.
WRITTEN IN MY POCKET-COPY OF THOMSON'S
“CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.”
Within our happy castle there dwelt one
Whom without blame I may not overlook;
For never sun on living creature shone
Who more devout enjoyment with us took :
Here on his hours he hung as on a book ;
On his own time here would he float away,
As doth a fly upon a summer brook ;
But go to-morrow-or belike to-day-
Seek for him,-he is fied; and whither none can say.
Thus often would he leave our peaceful home,
And find elsewhere his business or delight:
Out of our valley's limits did he roam :
Full many a time, upon a stormy night,
His voice came to us from the neighbouring height;
Oft did we see him driving full in view
At midday when the sun was shining bright;
What ill was on him, what he had to do,
A mighty wonder bred among our quiet crew.
Ah! piteous sight it was to see this man
When he came back to us, a withered flower,-
Or like a sinful creature, pale and wan,
Down would he sit ; and without strength or power
Look at the common grass from hour to hour :
And oftentimes, how long I fear to say,
Where apple-trees in blossom made a bower,
Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay :
And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away.
Great wonder to our gentle tribe it was
Whenever from our valley he withdrew;
For happier soul no living creature has
Than he had, being here the long day through.
Some thought he was a lover, and did woo :
Some thought far worse of him, and judged him wrong:
But verse was what he had been wedded to;
And his own mind did like a tempest strong
Come to him thus, and drove the weary wight along.
With him there often walked in friendly guise,
Or lay upon the moss by brook or tree,
A noticeable man with large gray eyes,
And a pale face that seemed undoubtedly
As if a blooming face it ought to be ;
Heavy his low-hung lip did oft appear
Depressed by weight of musing phantasy;
Profound his forehead was, though not severe;
Yet some did think that he had little business here.
Sweet heaven forefend ! his was a lawful right ;
Noisy he was, and gamesome as a boy ;
His limbs would toss about him with delight
Like branches when strong winds the trees annoy.
Nor lacked his calmer hours device or toy
To banish listlessness and irksome care:
He would have taught you how you might employ
Yourself; and many did to him repair,-
And, certes, not in vain; he had inventions rare.