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'Tis a common case. We'll take another : who is he that lies Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves ? It touches on that piece of native rock Left in the churchyard wall.
That's Walter Ewbank. He had as white a head and fresh a cheek As ever were produced by youth and age. Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore Through five long generations had the heart Of Walter's forefathers o'erflowed the bounds Of their inheritance, that single cottageYou see it yonder; and those few green fields. They toiled and wrought, and still from sire to son, Each struggled, and each yielded as before A little-yet a little--and old Walter, They left to him the family heart and land With other burthens than the crop it bore. Year after year the old man still kept up A cheerful mind,--and buffeted with bond, Interest, and mortgages ; at last he sank, And went into his grave before his time. Poor Walter ! whether it was care that spurred him, God only knows, but to the very last He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale : His pace was never that of an old man : I almost see him tripping down the path With his two grandsons after him :—but you, Unless our landlord be your host to-night,
Have far to travel, -and on these rough paths
Even in the longest day of midsummer-
LEONARD, But those two orphans
Orphans !-Such they were Yet not while Walter lived :—for though their parents Lay buried side by side, as now they lie, The old man was a father to the boys, Two fathers in one father : and if tears, Shed when he talk'd of them where they were not, And hauntings from the infirmity of love, Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart, This old man, in the day of his old age, Was half a mother to them. If you weep, sir, To hear a stranger talking about strangers, Heaven bless you when you are among your kindred ! Ay-you may turn that way—it is a grave Which will bear looking at.
These boys—I hope They loved this good old man !
They did- and truly : But that was what we almost overlook'd They were such darlings of each other. For Though from their cradles they had lived with Walter, The only kinsman near them, and though he
Inclined to them by reason of his age
With a more fond, familiar tenderness,
They, notwithstanding, had much love to spare,
And it all went into each other's heart.
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months,
Was two years taller : 'twas a joy to see,
To hear, to meet them !-From their house the school
Was distant three short miles—and in the time
Of storm and thaw, when every watercourse
And unbridged stream, such as you may have noticed
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps,
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet,
Would Leonard then, when elder boys perhaps
Remain'd at home, go staggering through the fords,
Bearing his brother on his back. I've seen him,
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks,
Ay, more than once I've seen him mid-leg deep,
Their two books lying both on a dry stone
Upon the hither side : and once I said,
As I remember, looking round these rocks
And hills on which all of us were born,
That God who made the great book of the world
Would bless such piety-
Never did worthier lads break English bread;
The finest Sunday that the autumn saw,
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts,
Could never keep these boys away from church.
Or tempt them to an hour of Sabbath breach.
Leonard and James ! I warrant, every corner,
Among these rocks, and every hollow place
Where foot could come, to one or both of them
Was known as well as to the flowers that grew there.
Like roebucks they went bounding o'er the hills :
They play'd like two young ravens on the crags;
Then they could write, ay, and speak too, as well
As many of their betters—and for Leonard !
The very night before he went away,
In my own house I put into his hand
A Bible, and I'd wager twenty pounds,
That, if he is alive, he has it yet.
It seems these brothers have not lived to be
A comfort to each other.
Live to such end is what both old and young,
In this our valley, all of us, have wish'd,
And what, for my part, I have often pray'd :
Then James still is left among you ?
'Tis of the elder brother I am speaking :
They had an uncle ;-he was at that time
A thriving man, and trafficked on the seas :
And, but for that same uncle, to this hour
Leonard had never handled rope or shroud.
For the boy loved the life which he lead here
And, though of unripe years, a stripling only,
His soul was knit to this his native soil.
But, as I said, old Walter was too weak
To strive with such a torrent; when he died,
The estate and house were sold; and all their sheep,
A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know,
Had clothed the Ewbanks for a thousand years :-
Well-all was gone, and they were destitute.
And Leonard, chiefly for his brother's sake,
Resolved to try his fortune on the seas.
'Tis now twelve years since we had tidings from him.
If there was one among us who had heard /
That Leonard Ewbank was come home again,
From the great Gavel, down by Leeza's banks,
And down the Enna, far as Egremont,
The day would be a very
And those two bells of ours, which there you see-
Hanging in the open air-but, O good sir !
This is sad talk-they'll never sound for him
Living or dead.-When last we heard of him,
He was in slavery among the Moors
Upon the Barbary coast. — 'Twas not a little
That would bring down his spirit; and no doubt
Before it ended in his death, the youth
Was sadly crossed.-Poor Leonard ! when we parted,
He took me by the hand and said to me,
If e'er he should grow rich, he would return
To live in peace upon his father's land,
And lay his bones among us.