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Ah! see her helpless Charge! enclosed Within himself as seems, composed; 50

To fear of loss, and hope of gain,
The strife of happiness and pain,
Utterly dead! yet in the guise
Of little infants, when their eyes
Begin to follow to and fro 5 5

The persons that before them go,
He tracks her motions, quick or slow.
Her buoyant spirit can prevail
Where common cheerfulness would fail;
She strikes upon him with the heat 60

Of July suns; he feels it sweet;
An animal delight though dim!
'Tis all that now remains for him!

The more I looked, I wondered more—
And, while I scanned them o'er and o'er, 65
Some inward trouble suddenly
Broke from the Matron's strong black eye—
A remnant of uneasy light,
A flash of something over-bright!
Nor long this mystery did detain 70

My thoughts;—she told in pensive strain
That she had borne a heavy yoke,
Been stricken by a twofold stroke;
111 health of body; and had pined
Beneath worse ailments of the mind. 75

So be it!—but let praise ascend
To Him who is our lord and friend!
Who from disease and suffering
Hath called for thee a second spring;
Repaid thee for that sore distress 80

By no untimely joyousness;
Which makes of thine a blissful state;
And cheers thy melancholy Mate!

XVI.

Fly, some kind Harbinger, to Grasmere-dale! Say that we come, and come by this day's

light; Fly upon swiftest wing round field and height, But chiefly let one Cottage hear the tale; There let a mystery of joy prevail, The kitten frolic, like a gamesome sprite, And Rover whine, as at a second sight Of near-approaching good that shall not fail: And from that Infant's face let joy appear; Yea, let our Mary's one companion child— That hath her six weeks' solitude beguiled With intimations manifold and dear, While we have wandered over wood and wild— Smile on his Mother now with bolder cheer.

XVII.
THE BLIND HIGHLAND BOY.

A TALE TOLD BY THE FIRE-SIDE, AFTER RETURN-
ING TO THE VALE OF GRASMERE.

Now we are tired of boisterous joy,
Have romped enough, my little Boy!
Jane hangs her head upon my breast,
And you shall bring your stool and rest;
This corner is your own.;
There! take your seat, and let me see
That you can listen quietly:
And, as I promised, I will tell
That strange adventure which befell

A poor blind Highland Boy. 10

A Highland Boy !—why call him so? Because, my Darlings, ye must know That, under hills which rise like towers, Far higher hills than these of ours!

He from his birth had lived. 15

He ne'er had seen one earthly sight
The sun, the day; the stars, the night;
Or tree, or butterfly, or flower,
Or fish in stream, or bird in bower,

Or woman, man, or child. 10

And yet he neither drooped nor pined,
Nor had a melancholy mind;
For God took pity on the Boy,
And was his friend; and gave him joy
Of which we nothing know. 25

His Mother, too, no doubt, above
Her other children him did love:
For was she here, or was she there,
She thought of him with constant care,
And more than mother's love. 30

And proud she was of heart, when clad
In crimson stockings, tartan plaid,
And bonnet with a feather gay,
To Kirk he on the sabbath day

Went hand in hand with her. 35

A dog too, had he; not for need,
But one to play with and to feed;
Which would have led him, if bereft
Of company or friends, and left

Without a better guide. 40

And then the bagpipes he could blow—
And thus from house to house would go;
And all were pleased to hear and see,
For none made sweeter melody

Than did the poor blind Boy. 45

Yet he had many a restless dream;
Both when he heard the eagles scream,
And when he heard the torrents roar,
And heard the water beat the shore

Near which their cottage stood. 50

Beside a lake their cottage stood,
Not small like ours, a peaceful flood;
But one of mighty size, and strange;
That, rough or smooth, is full of change,
And stirring in its bed. 55

For to this lake, by night and day,
The great Sea-water finds its way
Through long, long windings of the hills,
And drinks up all the pretty rills

And rivers large and strong: 60

Then hurries back the road it came—
Returns, on errand still the same;
This did it when the earth was new;
And this for evermore will do,

As long as earth shall last. 65

And, with the coming of the tide,
Come boats and ships that safely ride
Between the woods and lofty rocks;
And to the shepherds with their flocks

Bring tales of distant lands. 70

And of those tales, whate'er they were,
The blind Boy always had his share;
Whether of mighty towns, or vales
With warmer suns and softer gales,

Or wonders of the Deep. 75

Tet more it pleased him, more it stirred,
When from the water-side he heard
The shouting, and the jolly cheers;
The bustle of the mariners

In stillness or in storm. 80

But what do his desires avail?
For He must never handle sail;
Nor mount the mast, nor row, nor float
In sailor's ship, or fisher's boat,

Upon the rocking waves. 85

His Mother often thought, and said,
What sin would be upon her head
If she should suffer this: "My Son,
Whate'er you do, leave this undone;

The danger is so great." 90

Thus lived he by Loch-Leven's side
Still sounding with the sounding tide,
And heard the billows leap and dance,
Without a shadow of mischance,

Till he was ten years old. 95

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