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To life-long singleness; but happier far
Was to your souls, and, to the thoughts of others,
A thousand times more beautiful appeared
Your dual loneliness. The sacred tie
Is broken; yet why grieve ? for Time but holds
His moiety in trust, till Joy shall lead
To the blest world where parting is unknown.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die !
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
THE post-boy drove with fierce career,
For threatening clouds the moon had drowned; When, as we hurried on, my ear Was smitten with a startling sound.
As if the wind blew many ways
I heard the sound,-and more and more ;
It seemed to follow with the chaise,
And still I heard it as before.
At length I to the boy called out ;
He stopped his horses at the word,
But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout,
Nor aught else like it, could be heard.
The boy then smacked his whip, and fast
The horses scampered through the rain ;
But, hearing soon upon the blast
The cry, I bade him halt again.
Forthwith alighting on the ground,
“Whence comes,” said I, “ this piteous moan ?”
And there a little Girl I found
Sitting behind the chaise, alone.
“My cloak!” no other word she spake,
But loud and bitterly she wept,
As if her innocent heart would break;
And down from off her seat she leapt.
“What ails you, child ?”—she sobbed, “ Look
I saw it in the wheel entangled,
A weather-beaten rag as e'er
From any garden scare-crow dangled.
There, twisted between nave and spoke
It hung, nor could at once be freed ;
But our joint pains unloosed the cloak,
“And whither are you going, child,
To-night along these lonesome ways ?”
“ To Durham," answered she, half-wild-
“ Then come with me into the chaise."
Insensible to all relief
Sat the poor girl, and forth did send
Sob after sob, as if her grief
Could never, never have an end.
“My child, in Durham do you dwell ?"
She checked herself in her distress,
And said, “My name is Alice Fell;
I'm fatherless and motherless.
And I to Durham, Sir, belong."
Again, as if the thought would choke
Her very heart, her grief grew strong;
And all was for her tattered cloak !
The chaise drove on; our journey's end
Was nigh; and, sitting by my side,
As if she had lost her only friend
She wept, nor would be pacified.
Up to the tavern-door we post;
Of Alice and her grief I told;
And I gave money to the host,
To buy a new cloak for the old.
“ And let it be of duffel grey,
As warm a cloak as man can sell!"
Proud creature was she the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell!
THE WHITE DOE OF RYLSTONE;
THE FATE OF THE NORTONS.
ADVERTISEMENT. During the Summer of 1807, I visited, for the first time, the beautiful country that surrounds Bolton Priory, in Yorkshire; and the Poem of the White Doe, founded upon a Tradition connected with that place, was composed at the close of the same year.
In trellised shed with clustering roses gay,
And, Mary! oft beside our blazing fire,
When years of wedded life were as a day
Whose current answers to the heart's desire,
Did we together read in Spenser's Lay
How Upa, sad of soul-in sad attire,
The gentle Una, of celestial birth,
To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the earth.
Ah, then, Beloved ! pleasing was the smart,
And the tear precious in compassion shed
For Her, who, pierced by sorrow's thrilling dart,
Did meekly bear the pang unmerited;
Meek as that emblem of her lowly beart
The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,--
And faithful, loyal in her innocence,
Like the brave Lion slain in her defence.
Notes could we hear as of a faery shell
Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught;
Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,
And all its finer inspiration caught;
Till in the bosom of our rustic Cell,
We by a lamentable change were taught
That "bliss with mortal Man may not abide :">
How nearly joy and sorrow are allied
For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,
For ns the voice of melody was mute.
-But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow,
And give the timid herbage leave to shoot,
Heaven's breathing influence failed not to bestow
A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit,
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content
From blossoms wild of fancies innocent
It Boothed us-it beguiled as then, to hear
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell;
And griefs whose aery motion comes not near
The pangs that tempt the Spirit to rebel :
Then, with mild Una in her sober cheer,
High over hill and low adown the dell
Again we wandered, willing to partake
All that she suffered for her dear Lord's sake.
Then, too, this Song of mine once more could please,
Where anguish, strange as dreams of restless sleep,
Is tempered and allayed by sympathies
Aloft ascending, and descending deep,
Even to the inferior Kinds; whom forest-trees
Protect from beating sunbeams, and the sweep
Of the sharp winds; -fair Creatures!-to whom Heavea
A calm and sinless life, with love, hath given.
This tragic story cheered us; for it speaks
Of female patience winning firm repose ;
And, of tke recompense that conscience seeks,
A bright, encouraging example shows;
Needful when o'er wide realms the tempest breaks
Needful amid life's ordinary woes ;-
Herce, rot for them unfitted who would bless
A happy hour with kolier happiness.
He serves the Muses erringly and ill,
Whose aim is pleasure light and fugitive:
O, that iny mind were equal to fulfil
The comprehensive mandate which they give-
Vain aspiration of an earnest will
Yet in this moral Strain a power rnay live,
Beloved Wife! such solace to impart
As it hath yielded to thy tender heart.
RYDAL MOONT, WESTMORELAND,
April 20, 1815.
* Action is transitory- step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle,-this way or that
'T is done; and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed
Suffering is permanent, obscure, and dark,
And has the nature of infinity.
Yet through that darkness (infinite though it scen
And irremovable) gracious openings lie
By which the soul-with patient steps of thought
Now toiling, wafted now on wings of prayer--
May pass in hope, and, though from mortal bonds
Yet undelivered, rise with sure ascent
Even to the fountain-head of peace divine."