Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

From Age, that often unlamented drops
And marks with daisied hillock, three spans long!
-Seven lusty Sons sate daily round the board
Of Gold-rill side; and, when the hope had ceased
Of other progeny, a Daughter then
Was given, the crowning bounty of the whole;
And so acknowledged with a tremulous joy
Felt to the centre of that heavenly calm
With which by nature every mother's soul
Is stricken in the moment when her throes
Are ended, and her ears have heard the cry
Which tells her that a living child is born :
And she lies conscious, in a blissful rest,
That the dread storm is weathered by them both.

The Father--him at this unlooked-for gift
A bolder transport seizes. From the side
Of his bright hearth, and from his open door,
Day after day the gladness is diffused
To all that come, almost to all that pass;
Invited, summoned, to partake the cheer
Spread on the never-empty board, and drink
Health and good wishes to his new-born girl ;
From cups replenished by his joyous hand.
--Those seven fair brothers variously were moved
Each by the thoughts best suited to his years :
But most of all, and with most thankful mind
The hoary grandsire felt himself enriched;
A happiness that ebbed not, but remained
To fill the total measure of his soul !

- From the low tenement, his own abode,
Whither, as to a little private cell,
He had withdrawn from bustle, care, and noise,

To spend the sabbath of old

age

in

peace, ,
Once every day he duteously repaired
To rock the cradle of the slumbering babe:
For in that female infant's name he heard
The silent name of his departed wife;
Heart-stirring music! hourly heard that name;
Full blest he was, ' Another Margaret Green,'
Oft did he say, 'was come to Gold-rill side.'

Oh! pang unthought of, as the precious boon Itself had been unlooked-for; oh! dire stroke Of desolating anguish for them all! -Just as the Child could totter on the floor, And, by some friendly finger's help unstayed, Range round the garden walk, while she perchance Was catching at some novelty of spring, Ground-flower, or glossy insect from its cell Drawn by the sunshine—at that hopeful season The winds of March, smiting insidiously, Raised in the tender passage of the throat Viewless obstruction ; whence, all unforewarned, The household lost their pride and souls' delight.

-But time hath power to soften all regrets, And

prayer and thought can bring to worst distress Due resignation. Therefore, though some tears Fail not to spring from either Parent's

eye
Oft as they hear of sorrow like their own,
Yet this departed Little-one, too long
The innocent troubler of their quiet, sleeps
In what may now be called a peaceful bed.

On a bright day—so calm and bright it seemed To us, with our sad spirits, heavenly-fair.

These mountains echoed to an unknown sound;
A volley, thrice repeated o'er the Corse
Let down into the hollow of that grave,
Whose shelving sides are red with naked mould.
Ye rains of April, duly wet this earth!
Spare, burning sun of midsummer, these sods,
That they may knit together, and therewith
Our thoughts unite in kindred quietness!
Nor so the Valley shall forget her loss.
Dear Youth, by young and old alike beloved,
To me as precious as my own !Green herbs
May creep (I wish that they would softly creep)
Over thy last abode, and we may pass
Reminded less imperiously of thee;-
The ridge itself may sink into the breast
Of earth, the great abyss, and be no more;
Yet shall not thy remembrance leave our hearts,
Thy image disappear !

The Mountain-ash
No eye can overlook, when ʼmid a grove
Of yet unfaded trees she lifts her head
Decked with autumnal berries, that outshine
Spring's richest blossoms; and ye may have marked,
By a brook-side or solitary tarn,
How she her station doth adorn: the pool
Glows at her feet, and all the gloomy rocks
Are brightened round her. In his native vale
Such and so glorious did this Youth appear;'
A sight that kindled pleasure in all hearts
By bis ingenuous beauty, by the gleam
Of his fair eyes, by his capacious brow,
By all the graces with which nature's hand
Had lavishly arrayed him. As old bards

Tell in their idle songs of wandering gods,
Pan or Apollo, veiled in human form:
Yet, like the sweet-breathed violet of the shade
Discovered in their own despite to sense
Of mortals (if such fables without blame
May find chance-mention on this sacred ground)
So, through a simple rustic garb's disguise,
And through the impediment of rural cares,
In him revealed a scholar's genius shone;
And so, not wholly hidden from men's sight,
In him the spirit of a hero walked
Our unpretending valley.—How the quoit
Whizzed from the Stripling's arm! If touched by

him,
The inglorious foot-ball mounted to the pitch
Of the lark's flight,--or shaped a rainbow curve,
Aloft, in prospect of the shouting field !
The indefatigable fox had learned
To dread his perseverance in the chase.
With admiration would he lift his eyes
To the wide-ruling eagle, and his hand
Was loth to assault the majesty he loved :
Else had the strongest fastnesses proved weak
To guard the royal brood. The sailing glead,
The wheeling swallow, and the darting snipe,
The sportive sea-gull dancing with the waves,
And cautious water-fowl, from distant climes,
Fixed at their seat, the centre of the Mere,
Were subject to young Oswald's steady aim,
And lived by his forbearance.

From the coast
Of France a boastful Tyrant hurled his threats ;
Our Country marked the preparation vast

Of hostile forces; and she called — with voice
That filled her plains, that reached her utmost shores,
And in remotest vales was heard-to arms!
-Then, for the first time, here you might have seen
The shepherd's grey to martial scarlet changed,
That flashed uncouthly through the woods and fields.
Ten hardy Striplings, all in bright attire,
And graced with shining weapons, weekly marched,
From this Jone valley, to a central spot
Where, in assemblage with the flower and choice
Of the surrounding district, they might learn
The rudiments of war; ten-hardy, strong,
And valiant; but young Oswald, like a chief
And yet a modest comrade, led them forth
From their shy solitude, to face the world,
With a gay confidence and seemly pride;
Measuring the soil beneath their happy feet
Like Youths released from labor, and yet bound
To most laborious service, though to them
A festival of unincumbered ease;
The inner spirit keeping holiday,
Like vernal ground to sabbath sunshine left.

Oft have I marked him, at some leisure hour, Stretched on the grass, or seated in the shade, Among his fellows, while an ample map Before their eyes lay carefully outspread, From which the gallant teacher would discourse, Now pointing this way and now that.—Here flows,' Thus would he say, “The Rhine, that famous stream! • Eastward, the Danube toward this inland sea, • A mightier river, winds from realm to realm ; * And, like a serpent, shows his glittering back

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »