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Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needsul to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least-
And 'tis no vulgar service-makes them felt.
Yet further.-Many, I believe, there are Who live a life of virtuous decency, Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel No self-reproach : who of the moral law Established in the land where they abide Are strict observers : and not negligent, Meanwhile, in any tenderness of heart Or act of love to those with whom we dwell, Their kindred, and the children of their blood. Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace ! -But of the poor man ask, the abject poor, Go, and demand of him, if there be here In this cold abstinence from evil deeds, And these inevitable charities, Wherewith to satisfy the human soul? No-man is dear to man; the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life When they can know and feel that they have been Themselves the fathers and the dealers-out Of some small blessings; have been kind to such As needed kindness, for this single cause, That we have all of us one human heart. Such pleasure is to one kind being known, My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week Duly as Friday comes, though pressed herself By her own wants, she from her store of meal Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of this old mendicant, and from her door
Returning with exhilarated heart,
Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in heaven.
Then let him pass, a blessing on his head !
And while in that vast solitude to which
The tide of things has borne him, he appears
To breathe and live but for himself alone
Unblamed, uninjured, let him bear about
The good which the benignant law of Heaven
Has hung around him : and, while life is his,
Still let him prompt the unlettered villagers
To tender offices and pensive thoughts.
- Then let him pass, a blessing on his head !
And, long as he can wander, let him breathe
The freshness of the valleys : let his blood
Struggle with frosty hair and winter snows :
And let the chartered wind that sweeps the heath
Beat his gray locks against his withered face.
Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness
Gives the last human interest to his heart.
May never House, misnamed of Industry,
Make him a captive ! for that pent-up din,
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air,
Be his the natural silence of old age !
Let him be free of mountain solitudes;
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds.
Few are his pleasures : if his eyes have now
Been doomed so long to settle on the earth,
That not without some effort they behold
The countenance of the horizontal sun,
Rising and setting-let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.
And let him, where and when he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or by the grassy bank
Of highway side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gathered meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die !
Composed at Grasmere, during a walk, one evening after a stormy
day, the author having just read in a newspaper that the dis. solution of Mr. Fox was hourly expected.
Loud is the vale ! the voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty unison of streams !
Of all her voices, one!
Loud is the vale !—this inland depth
In peace is roaring like the sea :
Yon star upon the mountain-top
Is listening quietly.
Sad was I, even to pain deprest
Importunate and heavy load !
The comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
And many thousands now are sad
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For he must die who is their stay,
Their glory disappear.
A power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss ;
And when the mighty pass away,
What is it more than this,
That man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return ?
Such ebb and flow must ever be ;
Then wherefore should we mourn?