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[ADDRESSED TO A FRIEND; THE GOLD AND SILVER FISHES HAVING BEEN REMOVED TO A POOL IN THE PLEASUREGROUND OF RYDAL MOUNT.]
The liberty of a people consists in being governed by laws which they have made for themselves, under whatever form it be of government. The liberty of a private man, in being master of his own time and actions, as far as may consist with the laws of God and of his country. Of this latter we are here to discourse.'-COWLEY.
THOSE breathing Tokens of your kind regard,
(Suspect not, Anna, that their fate is hard;
Not soon does aught to which mild fancies cling
In lonely spots, become a slighted thing;)
Those silent Inmates now no longer share,
Nor do they need, our hospitable care,
Removed in kindness from their glassy Cell
To the fresh waters of a living Well-
An elfin pool so sheltered that its rest
No winds disturb; the mirror of whose breast
Is smooth as clear, save where with dimples small
A fly may settle, or a blossom fall.
-There swims, of blazing sun and beating shower
Fearless (but how obscured!) the golden Power,
That from his bauble prison used to cast
Gleams by the richest jewel unsurpast;
And near him, darkling like a sullen Gnome,
The silver Tenant of the crystal dome;
Dissevered both from all the mysteries
Of hue and altering shape that charmed all eyes.
Alas! they pined, they languished while they shone;
And, if not so, what matters beauty gone
And admiration lost, by change of place
That brings to the inward creature no disgrace?
But if the change restore his birthright, then,
Whate'er the difference, boundless is the gain.
Who can divine what impulses from God
Reach the caged lark, within a town-abode,
From his poor inch or two of daisied sod?
O yield him back his privilege!--No sea
Swells like the bosom of a man set free;
A wilderness is rich with liberty.
Roll on, ye spouting whales, who die or keep
Your independence in the fathomless Deep!
Spread, tiny nautilus, the living sail;
Dive, at thy choice, or brave the freshening gale!
If unreproved the ambitious eagle mount
Sunward to seek the daylight in its fount,
Bays, gulfs, and ocean's Indian width, shall be,
Till the world perishes, a field for thee!
While musing here I sit in shadow cool,
And watch these mute Companions, in the pool,
(Among reflected boughs of leafy trees)
By glimpses caught-disporting at their ease,
Enlivened, braced, by hardy luxuries,
I ask what warrant fixed them (like a spell
Of witchcraft fixed them) in the crystal cell;
To wheel with languid motion round and round,
Beautiful, yet in mournful durance bound.
Their peace, perhaps, our lightest footfall marred;
On their quick sense our sweetest music jarred;
And whither could they dart, if seized with fear!
No sheltering stone, no tangled root was near.
When fire or taper ceased to cheer the room,
They wore away the night in starless gloom;
And, when the sun first dawned upon the streams,
How faint their portion of his vital beams!
Thus, and unable to complain, they fared,
While not one joy of ours by them was shared
Is there a cherished bird (I venture now To snatch a sprig from Chaucer's reverend brow)Is there a brilliant fondling of the cage, Though sure of plaudits on his costly stage, Though fed with dainties from the snow-white hand Of a kind mistress, fairest of the land, But gladly would escape; and, if need were, Scatter the colours from the plumes that bear The emancipated captive through blithe air Into strange woods, where he at large may live On best or worst which they and Nature give The beetle loves his unpretending track, The snail the house he carries on his back; The far-fetched worm with pleasure would disown The bed we give him, though of softest down; A noble instinct; in all kinds the same, All ranks! What Sovereign, worthy of the nate, If doomed to breathe against his lawful will An element that flatters him-to kill, But would rejoice to barter outward show For the least boon that freedom can bestow!
But most the Bard is true to inborn right, Lark of the dawn, and Philomel of night, Exults in freedom, can with rapture vouch For the dear blessings of a lowly couch, A natural meal-days, months, from Nature's band; Time, place, and business, all at his command!Who bends to happier duties, who more wise Than the industrious Poet, taught to prize, Above all grandeur, a pure life uncrossed By cares in which simplicity is lost! That life-the flowery path that winds by stealthWhich Horace needed for his spirit's health;
Sighed for, in heart and genius, overcome
By noise and strife, and questions wearisome,
And the vain splendours of Imperial Rome ?-
Let easy mirth his social hours inspire,
And fiction animate his sportive lyre,
Attuned to verse that, crowning light Distress
With garlands, cheats her into happiness;
Give me the humblest note of those sad strains
Drawn forth by pressure of his gilded chains,
As a chance-sunbeam from his memory fell
Upon the Sabine farm he loved so well;
Or when the prattle of Blandusia's spring
Haunted his ear-he only listening-
He proud to please, above all rivals, fit
To win the palm of gaiety and wit;
He, doubt not, with involuntary dread,
Shrinking from each new favour to be shed,
By the world's Ruler, on his honoured head!
In a deep vision's intellectual scene, Such earnest longings and regrets as keen Depressed the melancholy Cowley, laid Under a fancied yew-tree's luckless shade; A doleful bower for penitential song,
Now when the primrose makes a splendid show,
And lilies face the March-winds in full blow,
And humbler growths as moved with one desire
Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire,
Poor Robin is yet flowerless; but how gay
With his red stalks upon this sunny day!
And, as his tufts of leaves he spreads, content
With a hard bed and scanty nourishment,
Mixed with the green, some shine not lacking power
To rival summer's brightest scarlet flower;
And flowers they well might seem to passers-by
If looked at only with a careless eye;
Flowers-or a richer produce (did it suit
The season) sprinklings of ripe strawberry fruit.
But while a thousand pleasures come unsought,
Why fix upon his wealth or want a thought?
Is the string touched in prelude to a lay
Of pretty fancies that would round him play
Where Man and Muse complained of mutual wrong; When all the world acknowledged elfin sway?
While Cam's ideal current glided by,
And antique towers nodded their foreheads high,
Citadels dear to studious privacy.
But Fortune, who had long been used to sport
With this tried Servant of a thankless Court,
Relenting met his wishes; and to you
The remnant of his days at least was true;
You, whom, though long deserted, he loved best;
You, Muses, books, fields, liberty, and rest!
Far happier they who, fixing hope and aim
the humanities of peaceful fame,
Ecter betimes with more than martial fire
The generous course, aspire, and still aspire;
pheld by warnings heeded not too late
Sf the contradictions of their fate,
Or does it suit our humour to commend
Poor Robin as a sure and crafty friend,
Whose practice teaches, spite of names to show
Bright colours whether they deceive or no?—
Nay, we would simply praise the free good-will
With which, though slighted, he, on naked hill
Cheerful alike if bare of flowers as now,
Or in warm valley, seeks his part to fill;
Or when his tiny gems shall deck his brow:
Yet more, we wish that men by men despised,
And such as lift their foreheads overprized,
Should sometimes think, where'er they chance to spy
This child of Nature's own humility,
nor were the verses ever seen by the Individual for whom they were intended. She accompanied her husband, the
And to one purpose cleave, their Being's godlike Rev. Wm. Fletcher, to India, and died of cholera, at
Thus, gifted Friend, but with the placid brow That woman ne'er should forfeit, keep thy vow; With modest scorn reject whate'er would blind The ethereal eyesight, cramp the winged mind! Then, with a blessing granted from above Is every act, word, thought, and look of love, Life's book for Thee may lie unclosed, till age Sea with a thankful tear bedrop its latest page
• Torre is now, alas! no possibility of the anticipation, th which the above Epistle concludes, being realised:
the age of thirty-two or thirty-three years, on her way from Shalapore to Bombay, deeply lamented by all who
Her enthusiasm was ardent, her piety steadfast; and her great talents would have enabled her to be eminently useful in the difficult path of life to which she had been called. The opinion she entertained of her own performances, given to the world under her maiden name, Jewsbury, was modest and humble, and, indeed, far below their merits; as is often the case with those who are making trial of their powers, with a hope to discover what they are best fitted for. In one quality, viz., quickness in the motions of her mind, she had, within the range of the Author's acquaintance, no equal.
*The small wild Geranium known by that naine.
Once did I see a slip of earth
(By throbbing waves long undermined)
Loosed from its hold; how, no one knew,
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind;
Might see it, from the mossy shore
Dissevered, float upon the Lake,
Float with its crest of trees adorned
On which the warbling birds their pastime take.
Food, shelter, safety, there they find ;
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;
There insects live their lives, and die;
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.
And thus through many seasons' space
This little Island may survive;
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away, may cease to give.
Young, like the Crescent that above me shone,
Nought I perceived within it dull or dim;
All that appeared was suitable to One
Whose fancy had a thousand fields to skim;
To expectations spreading with wild growth,
And hope that kept with me her plighted troth.
I saw (ambition quickening at the view)
A saver boat launched on a boundless flood;
A pearly crest, like Dian's when it threw
Its brightest splendour round a leafy wood;
But not a hint from under-ground, no sign
Fit for the glimmering brow of Proserpine.
Or was it Dian's self that seemed to move
Before me-nothing blemished the fair sight;
Un her I looked whom jocund Fairies love,
Cynthia, who puts the little stars to flight,
And by that thinning magnifies the great,
For exaltation of her sovereign state.
And when I learned to mark the spectral Shape
As each new Moon obeyed the call of Time,
If gloom fell on me, swift was my escape ;
Such hat py privilege hath life's gay Prime,
To see or not to see, as best may please
A bouyant Spirit, and a heart at ease.
Now, dazzling Stranger! when thou meet'st my
Thy dark Associate ever I discern;
ON SEEING THE FOUNDATION PREPARING FOR THE ERECTION OF RYDAL CHAPEL, WESTMORELAND.
BLEST is this Isle-our native Land;
Where battlement and moated gate
Are objects only for the hand
Of hoary Time to decorate;
Where shady hamlet, town that breathes
Its busy smoke in social wreaths,
No rampart's stern defence require,
Nought but the heaven-directed spire,
And steeple tower (with pealing bells
Far-heard) our only citadels.