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The notes luxuriate every stone is kissed
By sound, or ghost of sound, in mazy strife:
Heart-thrilling strains, that cast before the eye
Of the devout a veil of ecstasy!
They dreamt not of a perishable home
Who thus could build. Be mine, in hours of fear
Or grovelling thought, to seek a refuge here;
Or through the aisles of Westminster to roam ;
Where bubbles burst, and folly's dancing foam
Melts, if it cross the threshold ; where the wreath
Of awe-struck wisdom droops: or let my path
Lead to that younger pile, whose sky-like dome
Hath typified by reach of daring art
Infinity's embrace; whose guardian crest,
The silent cross, among the stars shall spread
As now, when she hath also seen her breast
Filled with mementos, satiate with its part
Of grateful England's overflowing dead.
“MERRY ENGLAND." They called thee 'merry England,' in old time; A happy people won for thee that name With envy heard in many a distant clime; And, spite of change, for me thou keep'st the same Endearing title, a responsive chime To the heart's fond belief, though some there are Whose sterner judgments deem that word a snare For inattentive Faney, like the lime Which foolish birds are caught with. Can, I ask, This face of rural beauty be a mask For discontent, and poverty, and crime; These spreading towns a cloak for lawless will; Forbid it, Heaven !--that 'merry England still May be thy rightful name, in prose and rhyme !
CONCLUSION. Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes To pace the ground if path there be or none, While a fair repose round the traveller lies, Which he forbears again to look upon; Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene, The work of fancy or some happy tone Of meditation, stepping in between The beauty coming and the beauty gone. If thought and love desert us, from that day Let us break off all commerce with the muse : With thought and love companions of our way, Whate'er the senses take or may refuse, The mind's internal heaven shall shed her dews Of inspiration on the humblest lay.
A MID the smoke of cities did you pass
The time of early youth ; and there you learned,
From years of quiet industry, to love
The living beings by your own fireside,
With such a strong devotion, that your heart
Is slow towards the sympathies of them
Who look upon the hills with tenderness,
And make dear friendships with the streams and groves.
Yet we, who are transgressors in this kind,
Dwelling retired in our simplicity
Among the woods and fields, we love you well,
Joanna! and I guess, since you have been
So distant from us now for two long years
That you will gladly listen to discourse
However trivial, if you thence are taught
That they, with whom you once were happy, talk
Familiarly of you and of old times.
While I was seated, now some ten days past,
Beneath those lofty firs, that overtop
Their ancient neighbour, the old steeple tower,
The vicar from his gloomy house hard by
Came forth to greet me ; and when he had asked,
“How fares Joanna; that wild-hearted maid !
And when will she return to us?” he paused;
And, after short exchange of village news,
He with grave looks demanded, for what cause,
Reviving obsolete idolatry,
1, like a Runic priest, in characters
Of formidable size had chiselled out
Some uncouth name upon the native rock,
Above the Rotha, by the forest side.
Now by those dear immunities of heart
Engendered betwixt malice and true love,
I was not loth to be so catechised,
And this was my reply: “As it befell,
One summer morning we had walked abroad
At break of day, Joanna and myself.
'Twas that delightful season when the broom,
Full-flowered, and visible on every steep,
Along the copses runs in veins of gold.
Our pathway led us on to Rotha's banks;
And when we came in front of that tall rock
Which looks toward the east, I there stopped short,
And traced the lofty barrier with my eye
From base to summit; such delight I found
To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower,
That intermixture of delicious hues,
Along so vast a surface, all at once,
In one impression, by connecting force
Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart.
When I had gazed perhaps two minutes' space,
Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld
That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud.
The rock, like something starting from a sleep,
Took up the lady's voice, and laughed again :
That ancient woman seated on Helm-Crag
Was ready with her cavern : Hammer-Scar,
And the tall steep of Silver-How, sent forth
A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard,
And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone:
Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky
Carried the lady's voice-old Skiddaw blew
His speaking trumpet ; back out of the clouds
Of Glaramara southward came the voice:
And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head.
Now whether (said I to our cordial friend,
Who in the heyday of astonishment
Smiled in my face) this were in simple truth
A work accomplished by the brotherhood
Of ancient mountains, or my ear was touched
With dreams and visionary impulses
To me alone imparted, sure I am
That there was a loud uproar in the hills:
And, while we both were listening, to my side
The fair Joanna drew, as if she wished
To shelter from some object of her fear.
And hence, long afterwards, when eighteen moons
Were wasted, as I chanced to walk alone
Beneath this rock, at sunrise, on a calm
And silent morning, I sat down, and there.
In memory of affections old and true,
I chiselled out in those rude characters
Joanna's name upon the living stone
And I, and all who dwell by my fireside,
Have called the lovely rock, Joanna's Rock.”
THE FIR GROVE.
When, to the attractions of the busy world,
Preferring studious leisure, I had chosen
A habitation in this peaceful vale,
Sharp season followed of continual storm
In deepest winter ; and, from week to week,
Pathway, and lane, and public road, were clogged