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THE POOR BLIND MAN.
Did he solicit, and from her he drew
A voice so constant, soft, and lowly deep,
That there he rested, welcoming in her
A mild memorial of the ocean-cave
Where he was born.
THE POOR BLIND MAN OF SALISBURY
There is a poor blind man, who, every day,
In frost or snow, in sunshine or in rain,
Duly as tolls the bell to the high fane,
Explores with faltering footsteps his dark way,
To kneel before his Maker, and to hear
The chanted service pealing full and clear.
Ask why, alone, in the same spot he kneels
Through the long year? Oh, the wide world is
As dark to him : here he no longer feels
His sad bereavement — faith and hope uphold
His heart; he feels not he is poor and blind,
Amid th' unpitying tumult of mankind :
His soul is in the choir above the skies,
And songs far off of angel companies.
Oh happy, if the rich, the vain, the proud,
The pageant actors of the motley crowd, -
Since life is “a poor play'r," our days a span,
Would learn one lesson from this poor blind man.
RURAL SIGHTS AND SOUNDS.
Youth repairs His wasted spirits quickly, by long toil Incurring short fatigue; and though our years, As life declines, speed rapidly away, And not a year but pilfers as he goes Some youthful grace that age would gladly keep, A tooth or auburn lock, and by degrees Their length and colour from the locks they spare, The elastic spring of an unwearied foot That mounts the stile with ease, or leaps the fence, That play of lungs inhaling and again Respiring freely the fresh air, that makes Swift pace or steep ascent no toil to me; Mine have not pilfer'd yet; nor yet impair’d My relish of fair prospect; scenes that sooth'd Or charm’d me young, no longer young I find Still soothing, and of power to charm me still. And witness, dear companion of my walks, Whose arm this twentieth winter I perceive Fast lock'd in mine, with pleasure such as love, Confirm’d by long experience of thy worth And well-tried virtues, could alone inspire, Witness a joy that thou hast doubled long. Thou know'st my praise of nature most sincere, And that my raptures are not conjured up To serve occasions of poetic pomp, But genuine, and art partner of them all. How oft upon yon eminence our pace
152 RURAL SIGHTS AND SOUNDS.
Has slacken'd to a pause, and we have borne
The ruffling wind, scarce conscious that it blew ;
While admiration, feeding at the eye
And still unsated, dwelt upon the scene !
Thence with what pleasure have we just discern'd
The distant plough slow-moving, and beside
His labouring team that swerved not from the
The sturdy swain diminish'd to a boy!
Here Ouse, slow winding through a level plain
Of spacious meads with cattle sprinkled o'er,
Conducts the eye along his sinuous course
Delighted. There, fast rooted in his bank,
Stand, never overlook’d, our favourite elms,
That screen the herdsman's solitary hut;
While far beyond and overthwart the stream,
That as with molten glass inlays the vale,
The sloping land recedes into the clouds,
Displaying on its varied side the grace
Of hedgerow beauties numberless, square tower,
Tall spire from which the sound of cheerful bells
Just undulates upon the listening ear ;
Groves, heaths, and smoking villages remote.
Scenes must be beautiful which, daily view'd,
Please daily, and whose novelty survives
Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years :
Praise justly due to those which I describe.
Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds Exhilarate the spirit, and restore The tone of languid nature. Mighty winds, That sweep the skirt of some far-spreading wood
Of ancient growth, make music not unlike
The dash of ocean on his winding shore,
And lull the spirit while they fill the mind;
Unnumber'd branches waving in the blast,
And all their leaves fast flutt'ring all at once.
Nor less composure waits upon the roar
Of distant floods, or on the softer voice
Of neighbouring fountain, or of rills that slip
Through the cleft rock, and, chiming as they fall
Upon loose pebbles, lose themselves at length
In matted grass, that with a livelier green
Betrays the secret of their silent course.
Nature inanimate employs sweet sounds,
But animated nature sweeter still,
To soothe and satisfy the human ear.
Ten thousand warblers cheer the day, and one
The livelong night: nor these alone whose notes
Nice-finger'd art must emulate in vain,
But cawing rooks, and kites that swim sublime
In still repeated circles, screaming loud,
The jay, the pie, and even the boding owl
That hails the rising moon, have charms for me :
Sounds inharmonious in themselves and harsh,
Yet heard in scenes where peace for ever reigns,
And only there please highly for their sake.
I HAVE found peace in the bright earth,
And in the sunny sky;
CHILDREN'S GLEE. By the low voice of summer seas,
And where streams murmur by.
I find it in the quiet tone
Of voices that I love;
By the flickering of a twilight fire,
And in a leafless grove :
I find it in the silent flow
Of solitary thought,
In calm half-meditated dreams,
And reasonings self-taught.
But seldom have I found such peace
As in the soul's deep joy,
Of passing onward free from harm
Through every day's employ.
If gems we seek, we only tire,
And lift our hopes too high :
The constant flowers that line our way
Alone can satisfy.
It was a gladsome sight to see
The Indian children, with what glee
They breathed their native air of liberty.
Food, to the weary man with toil forespent,
Not more refreshment brings,
Than did the forest breeze upon its wings