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Left upon a Seat in a YEW-TREE, which stands near the
Lake of ESTHWAITE, on a desolate part of the shore, yet commanding a beautiful prospect.
Nay, Traveller ! rest. This lonely Yew-tree stands
Far from all human dwelling: what if here
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb?
What if these barren boughs the bee not loves ?
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod First covered o'er, and taught this aged Tree With its dark arms to form a circling bower,
I well remember. He was one who owned
No common soul. In youth by science nursed,
And led by nature into a wild scene
Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth
A favoured being, knowing no desire
Which genius did not hallow, 'gainst the taint
Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate,
And scorn, against all enemies prepared,
All but neglect. The world, for so it thought,
Owed him no service : wherefore he at once
With indignation turned himself away,
And with the food of pride sustained his soul
In solitude.--Stranger! these gloomy boughs
Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit,
His only visitants a straggling sheep,
The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper ;
And on these barren rocks, with juniper,
And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o'er,
Fixing his down-cast eye, he many an hour
A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here
An emblem of his own unfruitful life :
And lifting up his head, he then would gaze
On the more distant scene,--how lovely 'tis
Thou seest,--and he would gaze till it became
Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain
The beauty still more beauteous. Nor, that time,
When Nature had subdued him to herself,
Would he forget those beings, to whose minds,
Warm from the labours of benevolence,
The world, and man himself, appeared a scene
Of kindred loveliness : then he would sigh
With mournful joy, to think that others felt
What he must never feel : and so, lost Man !
On visionary views would fancy feed,
Till his eye streamed with tears.
In this deep vale He died,--this seat his only monument.
If Thou be one whose heart the holy forms
Of young imagination have kept pure,
Stranger! henceforth be warned ; and know, that
pride, Howe'er disguised in its own majesty, Is littleness; that he who feels contempt For any living thing hath faculties Which he has never used; that thought with him Is in its infancy. The man whose eye Is ever on himself doth look on one, The least of Nature's works, one who might move The wise man to that scorn which wisdon holds Unlawful, ever. O be wiser, Thou ! Instructed that true knowledge leads to love, True dignity abides with him alone Who, in the silent hour of inward thought, Can still suspect, and still revere himself, In lowliness of heart.
A Narration in Dramatic Blank Verse.
But that entrance, Mother!
FOSTER-MOTHER. Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale !
My husband's father told it me, Poor old Leoni !-Angels rest his soul ! He was a woodman, and could fell and saw With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel ;