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THE REVERIE OF POOR SUSAN.
At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
Hangs a thrush that sings loud—it has sung for three years ;
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.
'Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail,
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove's,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.
She looks, and her heart is in heaven : but they fade,
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade :
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colours have all passed away from her eyes.
An Orpheus ! an Orpheus !-yes, faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old ;-
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same,
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.
His station is there ;-and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud,
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim-
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?
What an eager assembly-what an empire is this !
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss ;
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest ;
And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer oppressed.
As the moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
So he, where he stands, is a centre of light !
It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-browed Jack,
And the pale-visaged baker's, with basket on back.
That errand-bound 'prentice was passing in hasteWhat matter! he's caught-and his time runs to wasteThe newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret, And the half-breathless lamplighter, he's in the net!
The porter sits down on the weight that he bore :
The lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ;
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the musician, 'tis all that she sees !
He stands backed by the wall; he abates not his din;
His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
From the old and the young, from the poorest—and there !
The one-pennied boy has his penny to spare.
O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;
I am glad for him, blind as he is !-all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.
That tall man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
There's a cripple who leans on his crutch ; like a tower
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour!-
A mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound.
Now, coaches and chariots ! roar on like a stream ;
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream :
They are deaf to your murmurs —they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue !
While my fellow-traveller and I were walking by the side of Loch Katrine, one fine evening after sunset, in our road to a hut, where, in the course of our tour, we had been hospitably entertained some weeks before, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region, two well-dressed women, one of whom said to us, by way of greeting, “What, you are stepping westward ?”
“What, you are stepping westward?”_"Yea.”
'Twould be a wildish destiny,
If we, who thus together roam
In a strange land, and far from home,
Were in this place the guests of chance :
Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter he had none,
With such a sky to lead him on?
The dewy ground was dark and cold ;
Behind, all gloomy to behold;
And stepping westward seem'd to be
A kind of heavenly destiny ;
I liked the greeting : 'twas a sound
Of something without place or bound;
And seemed to give me spiritual right
To travel through that region bright.
The voice was soft, and she who spake
Was walking by her native lake ;
The salutation had to me
The very sound of courtesy ;
Its power was felt; and while my eye
Was fixed upon the glowing sky,
The echo of the voice enwrought
A human sweetness with the thought
Of travelling through the world that lay
Before me in my endless way.