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And, at the touch of every wandering breeze,
Murmurs, not idly, o'er his peaceful grave.
Soul-cheering Light, most bountiful of things! Guide of our way, mysterious comforter! Whose sacred influence, spread through earth and heaven,
We all too thanklessly participate,
Thy gifts were utterly withheld from him
Whose place of rest is near yon ivied porch.
Yet, of the wild brooks ask if he complained;
Ask of the channelled rivers if they held
A safer, easier, more determined, course.
What terror doth it strike into the mind
To think of one, blind and alone, advancing
Straight toward some precipice's airy brink!
But, timely warned, He would have stayed his steps,
Protected, say enlightened, by his ear;
And on the very edge of vacancy
Not more endangered than a man whose eye
Beholds the gulf beneath.-No floweret blooms
Throughout the lofty range of these rough hills,
Nor in the woods, that could from him conceal
Its birth-place; none whose figure did not live
Upon his touch. The bowels of the earth
Enriched with knowledge his industrious mind;
The ocean paid him tribute from the stores
Lodged in her bosom; and, by science led,
His genius mounted to the plains of heaven.
-Methinks I see him-how his eye-balls rolled,
Beneath his ample brow, in darkness paired,
But each instinct with spirit; and the frame
Of the whole countenance alive with thought,
Faney, and understanding; while the voice
Discoursed of natural or moral truth
With eloquence, and such authentic power,
That, in his presense, humbler knowledge stood
Abashed, and tender pity overawed."
"A noble--and, to unreflecting minds, A marvellous spectacle," the Wanderer said,
Beings like these present! But proof abounds Upon the earth that faculties, which seem Extinguished, do not, therefore, cease to be. And to the mind among her powers of sense This transfer is permitted,―not alone That the bereft their recompense may win; But for remoter purposes of love And charity; nor last nor least for this, That to the imagination may be given A type and shadow of an awful truth; How, likewise, under sufferance divine, Darkness is banished from the realms of death,
By man's imperishable spirit, quelled.
Unto the men who see not as we see
Futurity was thought, in ancient times,
To be laid open, and they prophesied.
And know we not that from the blind have flowed
The highest, holiest, raptures of the lyre;
And wisdom married to immortal verse ?"
Among the humbler Worthies, at our feet Lying insensible to human praise,
Love, or regret,-whose lineaments would next Have been portrayed, I guess not; but it chanced That, near the quiet church-yard where we sate,
A team of horses, with a ponderous freight
Pressing behind, adown a rugged slope,
'Whose sharp descent confounded their array,
Came at that moment, ringing noisily.
Here," said the Pastor, "do we muse, and mourn The waste of death; and lo! the giant oak Stretched on his bier-that massy timber wain ; Nor fail to note the Man who guides the team."
He was a peasant of the lowest class: Grey locks profusely round his temples hung In clustering curls, like ivy, which the bite Of winter cannot thin; the fresh air lodged Within his cheek, as light within a cloud; And he returned our greeting with a smile. When he had passed, the Solitary spake: "A Man he seems of cheerful yesterdays And confident to-morrows; with a face Not worldly-minded, for it bears too much Of Nature's impress,-gaiety and health, Freedom and hope; but keen, withal, and shrewd. His gestures note,-and hark! his tones of voice Are all vivacious as his mien and looks."
The Pastor answered. "You have read him well. Year after year is added to his store With silent increase: summers, winters-past, Past or to come; yea, boldly might I say, Ten summers and ten winters of a space That lies beyond life's ordinary bounds, Upon his sprightly vigour cannot fix The obligation of an anxious mind,
A pride in having, or a fear to lose;
Possessed like outskirts of some large domain,
By any one more thought of than by him
Who holds the land in fee, its careless lord!
Yet is the creature rational, endowed
With foresight; hears, too, every Sabbath day,
The Christian promise with attentive ear;
Nor will, I trust, the Majesty of Heaven
Reject the incense offered up by him,
Though of the kind which beasts and birds present
In grove or pasture; cheerfulness of soul,
From trepidation and repining free.
How many scrupulous worshippers fall down
Upon their knees, and daily homage pay
Less worthy, less religious even, than his!
This qualified respect, the old Man's due,
Is paid without reluctance; but in truth,"
(Said the good Vicar with a fond half-smile),
"I feel at times a motion of despite
Towards one, whose bold contrivances and skill,
As you have seen, bear such conspicuous part
In works of havoc; taking from these vales,
One after one, their proudest ornaments.
Full oft his doings leave me to deplore
Tall ash-tree, sown by winds, by vapours nursed,
In the dry crannies of the pendent rocks;
Light birch, aloft upon the horizon's edge,
A veil of glory for the ascending moon ;
And oak whose roots by noontide dew were damped,
And on whose forehead inaccessible
The raven lodged in safety.-Many a ship
Launched into Morecamb-bay, to him hath owed
Her strong knee-timbers, and the mast that bears
The loftiest of her pendants; He, from park
Or forest, fetched the enormous axle-tree
That whirls (how slow itself!) ten thousand spindles:
And the vast engine laboring in the mine,
Content with meaner prowess, must have lacked
The trunk and body of its marvellous strength,
If his undaunted enterprise had failed
Among the mountain coves.
Yon household fir,
A guardian planted to fence off the blast,
But towering high the roof above, as if
Its humble destination were forgot—
That sycamore, which annually holds
Within its shade, as in a stately tent
On all sides open to the fanning breeze,"
A grave assemblage, seated while they shear
The fleece-encumbered flock-the JOYFUL ELM,
Around whose trunk the maidens dance in May-
And the LORD'S OAK-would plead their several rights
In vain, if he were master of their fate;
His sentence to the axe would doom them all.
green in age, and lusty as he is,
And promising to keep his hold on earth
Less, as might seem, in rivalship with men
Than with the forest's more enduring growth,
His own appointed hour will come at last;
And, like the haughty Spoilers of the world,
This keen Destroyer, in his turn, must fall.
Now from the living pass we once again : From Age," the Priest continued,