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How that neglected pensioner was sent

Frail life' possessions, that even they whose fate Before his time into a quiet grave,

Yields no peculiar reason of complaint, Had done to her humanity no wrong:

Might, by the promise that is here, be won But we are kindly welcomed-promptly served To steal from active duties, and embrace With ostentatious zeal. Along the floor

Obscurity, and calm forgetfulness. Of the small cottage in the lonely dell

Knowledge, methinks in these disorder'd times, A grateful couch was spread for our repose ; Should be allow'd a privilege to have Where, in the guise of mountaineers, we slept, Her anchorites, like piety of old; Stretch'd upon fragrant heath, and lull'a by sound Men, who, from faction sacred, and unstain'd Of far-off torrents charming the still night,

By war, might, is so minded, turn aside
And to tired limbs and over-busy thoughts Uncensured, and subsist, a scatter'd few
Inviting sleep and soft forgetfulness.

Living to God and nature, and content
With that communion. Consecrated be
The spots where such abide! But bappier still

The man, whom, furthermore, a hope attends

That meditation and research may guide

His privacy to principles and powers

Discover'd or invented : or set forth,

Through his acquaintance with the ways of truth, Farewell to the valley. Reflections. Sight of a large and populous vale. Solitary consents to go forward. In lucid order ; so that, when his course Vale described. The pastor's dwelling, and some Is run, some faithful eulogist may say, account of him. The churchyard. Church and monu- | He sought not praise, and praise did overlook ments. The solitary musing, and where. Roused. His unobtrusive merit; but his life, In the churchyand the solitary communicates the

Sweet to himself, was exercised in good thoughts which had recently passed through his mind. Lofty tone of the wanderer's discourse of yesterday

av | That shall survive his name and memory. adverted to. Rite of baptism, and the professions Acknowledgments of gratitude sincere accompanying it, contrasted with the real state of Accompanied these musings: fervent thanks human life. Inconsistency of the best men. Acknow. For my own peaceful lot and happy choice ; lelgment that practice falls far below the injunctions

A choice that from the passions of the world of duty as existing in the mind. General complaint of

Withdrew, and fix'd me in a still retreat, a falling off in the value of life after the time of youth, Outward appearances of content and happiness in Shelter'd, but not to sucia] duties lost, degree illusive. Pastor appmaches Appeal made to Secluded, but not buried; and with song him. His answer. Wanderer in sympathy with him. Cheering my days, and with industrious thought, Su vaestion that the Icast ambitious inquirers may be With ever-welcome company of books, must free from error. The rastor is desired to give

By virtuous fiiendship's soul-sustaining aid, some portraits of the living or dead from his own ob. servation of life among these mountains. And for

for And with the blessings of domestic love. what purpose. Pastar consents Mountain cottave 1 Thus occupied in mind I paced along, Excellent qualities of its inhabitants. Solitary ex. Following the rugged road, by sledge or wheel presses his pleasure ; but denies the praise of virtuel Worn in the moorland, till I overtook to worth of this kind. Feelings of the priest before

My two associates, in the morning sunshine he enters upon his account of persons interred in the

flalting together on a rocky knoll, churchyard. Graves of unbaptized infants. What sensations they excite. Funeral and serulchral ob | From which the road descended rapidly servances, whence. Ecclesias'ical establishments, To the green meadows of another vale. whence derived. Profession of belief in the doctrine Here did our pensive host put forth his hand of immortality.

In sign of farewell. “Nay,” the old man said, FAREWELL, deep valley, with thy one rude house,

“ The fragrant air its coolness still retains; And its small lot of life-supporting fields,

The herds and socks are yet abroad to crop And guardian rocks! Farewell, attractive seat! The dewy grass; you cannot leave us now, To the still influx of the morning light

We must not part at this inviting hour." Open, and day's pure cheerfulness, but veild He yielded, though reluctant; for his mind From human observation, as if yet

Instinctively disposed him to retire Primeval forests wrapp'd thee round with dark To his own covert; as a billow, heaved Impenetrable shade ; once more farewell,

Upon the beach, rolls back into the sea, Majestic circuit, beautiful abyss,

So we descend ; and winding round a rock
By nature destined from the birth of things Attain a point that show'd the valley--stretch'd
For quietness profound!

In length before us; and, not distant far,
Upon the side

Upon a rising ground a gray church tower,
Of that brown slope, the outlet of the vale,

Whose battlements were screen'd by tufted trees Lingering behind my comrades, thus I breathed And, towards a crystal mere, that lay beyond A parting tribute to a spot that seern'd

Among steep hills and woods erbosom'd, flow'd Like the fix'd centre of a troubled world.

A copious stream with boldly winding course ; And now, pursuing leisurely my way,

Here traceable, there hidden-there again How vain, thought I, it is by change of place

To sight restored, and glittering in the sun, To seek that comfort which the mind denies;

On the stream's bank, and every where, appear'd Yet trial and temptation oft are shunn'd

Fair dwellings, single, or in social knots ; Wisely; and by such tenure do we hold

| Some scatter'd o'er the level, others perch'd

On the hill sides, a cheerful quiet scene,
Now in its morning purity array'd.

“As, ʼmid some happy valley of the Alps,"
Said I, “ once happy, ere tyrannic power
Wantonly breaking in upon the Swiss,
Destroy'd their unoffending commonwealth,
A popular equality reigns here,
Save for one house of state beneath whose roof
A rural lord might dwell.” “No feudal pomp,"
Replied our friend, a chronicler who stood
Where'er he moved upon familiar ground,
“ Nor feudal power is there, but there abides,
In his allotted home, a genuine priest,
The shepherd of his flock; or, as a king
Is styled, when most affectionately praised,
The father of his people. Such is he;
And rich and poor, and young and old, rejoice
Under his spiritual sway. He hath vouchsafed
To me some portion of a kind regard ;
And something also of his inner mind
Hath he imparted—but I speak of him
As he is known to all. The calm delights
Of unambitious piety he chose,
And learning's solid dignity; though born
Of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends.
Hither, in prime of manhood, he withdrew
From academic bowers. He loved the spot,
Who does not love his native soil ? he prized
The ancient rural character, composed
Of simple manners, feelings unsuppress'd
And undisguised, and strong and serious thought;
A character reflected in himself,
With such embellishment as well beseems
His rank and sacred function. This deep vale
Winds far in reaches hidden from our eyes,
And one a turreted manorial hall
Adorns, in which the good man's ancestors
Have dwelt through ages, patrons of this cure.
To them, and to his own judicious pains,
The vicar's dwelling, and the whole domain,
Owes that presiding aspect which might well
Attract your notice; statelier than could else
Have been bestow'd, through course of common

chance, On an unwealthy mountain benefice."

This said, oft halting we pursued our way; Nor reach'd the village churchyard till the sun, Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen Above the summits of the highest hills, And round our path darted oppressive beams.

As chanced, the portals of the sacred pile Stood open, and we enter’d. On my frame, At such transition from the fervid air, A grateful coolness fell, that seem'd to strike The heart, in concert with that temperate awe And natural reverence, which the place inspired. Not raised in nice proportions was the pile, But large and massy; for duration built; With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld By naked rafters intricately cross'd, Like leafless underboughs, 'mid some thick grove, All wither'd by the depth of shade above. Admonitory texts inscribed the walls, Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed, Each also crown'd with winged heads, a pair Of rudely painted cherubim. The floor

Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise,
Was occupied by oaken benches, ranged
In seemly rows; the chancel only show'd
Some inoffensive marks of earthly state
And vain distinction. A capacious pew
Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined;
And marble monuments were here display'd
Thronging the walls; and on the floor beneath
Sepulchral stones appear'd, with emblems graven
And foot-worn epitaphs, and some with small
And shining effigies of brass inlaid.
The tribute by these various records claim'd,
Without reluctance did we pay ; and read
The ordinary chronicle of birth,
Office, alliance, and promotion, all
Ending in dust; of upright magistrates,
Grave doctors strenuous for the mother churc!
And uncorrupted senators, alike
To king and people true. A brazen plate,
Not easily decipher'd, told of one
Whose course of earthly honour was begun
In quality of page among the train
Of the eighth Henry, when he cross'd the seas
His royal state to show, and prove his strength
In tournament, upon the fields of France.
Another tablet register'd the death,
And praised the gallant bearing, of a knight
Tried in the sea fights of the second Charles.
Near this brave knight his father lay entomb'd ;
And, to the silent language giving voice,
I read, how in his manhood's earlier day
He, 'mid th' afflictions of intestine war
And rightful government subverted, found
One only solace ; that he had espoused
A virtuous lady tenderly beloved
For her benign perfections; and yet more
Endear'd to him, for this, that in her state
Of wedlock richly crown'd with Heaven's regard,
She with a numerous issue fill'd his house,
Who throve, like plants, uninjured by the storm
That laid their country waste. No need to speak
Of less particular notices assign'd
To youth or maiden gone before their time,
And matrons and unwedded sisters old ;
Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed
In modest panegyric. “These dim lines,
What would they tell ?” said I ; but from the task
Of puzzling out that faded narrative,
With whispers soft my venerable friend
Call'd me; and, looking down the darksome aisle
I saw the tenant of the lonely vale
Standing apart; with curved arm reclined
On the baptismal font; his pallid face
Upturn'd, as if his mind were wrapt, or lost
In some abstraction ; gracefully he stood,
The semblance bearing of a sculptured form
That leans upon a monumental urn
In peace, from morn to night, from year to year.

Him from that posture did the sexton rouse;
Who enter'd, humming carelessly a tune,
Continuation haply of the notes
That had beguiled the work from which he came,
With spade and mattock o'er his shoulder hung,
To be deposited, for future need,
In their appointed place. The pale recluse
Withdrew; and straight we follow'd, to a spot

Where sun and shade were intermix'd; for there

"You cannot blame," A broad oak, stretching forth its leafy arms Here interposing fervently I said, From an adjoining pasture, overhung

“ Rites which attest that man by nature lies Small space of that green churchyard with a light | | Bedded for good and evil in a gult And pleasant awning. On the moss-grown wall Fearfully low ; nor will your judgment scorn My ancient friend and I together took

Those services, whereby attempt is made Our seats; and thus the solitary spake,

To lift the creature toward that eminence Standing before us. “Did you note the mien On which, now fall’n, erewhile in majesty Of that self-solaced, easy-hearted churl,

He stood; or if not so, whose top serene Death's hireling, who scoops out his neighbour's At least he feels 'tis given him to descry; grave,

Not without aspirations, evermore Or wraps an old acquaintance up in clay,

Returning, and injunctions from within As unconcern'd as when he plants a tree?

Doubt to cast off and weariness; in trust I was abruptly summon’d by his voice

That what the soul perceives, if glory lost, From some affecting images and thoughts,

May be, through pains and persevering hope, And from the company of serious words.

Recover'd; or, if hitherto unknown, Much, yesterday, was said in glowing phrase Lies within reach, and one day shall be gain'd." Of our sublime dependencies, and hopes

“I blame them not,” he calmly answer'd, “no; For future states of being; and the wings

The outward ritual and establish'd forms Of speculation, joyfully outspread,

With which communities of men invest Hover'd above our destiny on earth;

These inward feelings, and th' aspiring vows But stoop, and place the prospect of the soul To which the lips give public utterance, In sober contrast with reality,

Arc both a natural process; and by me And man's substantial life. If this mute earth Shall pass uncensured ; though the issue prove, Of what it holds could speak, and every grave Bringing from age to age its own reproach, Were as a volume, shut, yet capable

Incongruous, impotent, and blank. But, oh! Of yielding its contents to eye and ear,

If to be weak is to be wretched-miserable, We should recoil, stricken with sorrow and shame As the lost angel by a human voice To see disclosed, by such dread proof, how ill Hath mournfully pronounced, then, in my mind, That which is done accords with what is known Far better not to move at all than move To reason, and by conscience is enjoin'd;

By impulse sent from such illusive power, How idly, how perversely, life's whole course, That finds and cannot fasten down ; that grasps To this conclusion, deviates from the line,

And is rejoiced, and loses while it grasps; Or of the end stops short, proposed to all

That tempts, imboldens--doth a while sustain, At her aspiring outset. Mark the babe

And then betrays; accuses and inflicts
Not long accustom'd to this breathing world; Remorseless punishment; and so retreads
One that hath barely learn'd to shape a smile; Th’inevitable circle : better far
Though yet irrational of soul to grasp

Than this, to graze the herb in thoughtless peace, With tiny fingers, to let fall a tear;

By foresight or reinembrance, undisturbed ! And, as the heavy cloud of sleep dissolves,

“ Philosophy! and thou more vaunted name, To stretch his limbs, bemocking, as might seem, Religion! with thy statelier retinue, Th' outward functions of intelligent man;

Faith, hope, and charity-from the visible world A grave proficient in amusive feats

Choose for your emblems whatsoe'er ye find Of puppetry, that from the lap declare

Of safest guidance and of firmest trust,-
His expectations, and announce his claims The torch, the star, the anchor; nor except
To that inheritance which millions rue

The cross itself, at whose unconscious feet
That they were ever born to! In due time The generations of mankind have knelt
A day of solemn ceremonial comes;

Ruefully seized, and shedding bitter tears, When they, who for this minor hold in trust And through that conflict seeking rest-of you Rights that transcend the humblest heritage High titled powers, am I constrain'd to ask, Of mere humanity, present their charge.

Here standing, with th' un voyageable sky
For this occasion daintily adornd,

In faint reflection of infinitude
At the baptismal font. And when the pure Stretch'd overhead, and at my pensive feet
And consecrating element hath cleansed

A subterraneous magazine of bones,
Th' original stain, the child is there received In whose dark vaults my own shall soon be laid,
Into the second ark, Christ's church, with trust Where are your triumphs ? your dominion where?
That he, from wrath redeem'd, therein shall float And in what age admitted and confirm’d?
Over the billows of this troublesome world

Not for a happy land do I inquire, To the fair land of everlasting life.

Island or grove, that hides a blessed few
Corrupt affections, covetous desires,

Who, with obedience willing and sincere,
Are all renounced; high as the thought of man To your serene authorities conform ;
Can carry virtue, virtue is profess'd ;

But whom, 1 ask, of individual souls,
A dedication made, a promise given

Have ye withdrawn from passion's crooked ways, For due provision to control and guide,

Inspired, and thoroughly fortified? If the heart And unremitting progress to ensure

Could be inspected to its inmost folds In holiness and truth.”

By sight undazzled with the glare of praise,

Who shall be named--in the resplendent line

On humble life, forbid the judging mind Of sages, martyrs, confessors—the man

To trust the smiling aspect of this fair Whom the best might of conscience, truth and hope, And noiseless commonwealth. The simple race For one day's little compass has preserved Of mountaineers (by nature's self removed From painful and discreditable shocks

From foul temptations, and by constant care Of contradiction, from some vague desire

Of a good shepherd tended as themselves Culpably cherish'd, or corrupt relapse

Do tend their flocks) partake man's general lot To some unsanction'd fear?”

With little mitigation. They escape, “If this be so,

Perchance, guilt's heavier woes; and do not feel And man,” said I, “ be in his noblest shape

The tedium of fantastic idleness;
Thus pitiably infirm; then, He who made, Yet life, as with the multitude, with them,
And who shall judge the creature, will forgive. Is fashion'd like an ill-constructed tale ;
Yet, in its general tenor, your complaint

That on the outset wastes its gay desires,
Is all too true; and surely not misplaced : Its fair adventures, its enlivening hopes,
For, from this pregnant spot of ground, such And pleasant interests for the sequel leaving

Old things repeated with diminish'd grace ; Rise to the notice of a serious mind

And all the labour'd novelties at best By natural exhalation. With the dead

Imperfect substitutes, whose use and power In their repose, the living in their mirth,

Evince the want and weakness whence they spring." Who can reflect, unmoved, upon the round

While in this serious mood we held discourse, Of smooth and solemnized complacencies,

The reverend pastor toward the churchyard gate By which, on Christian lands, from age to age

Approach'd; and, with a mild, respectful air Profession mocks performance. Earth is sick, Of native cordiality, our friend And heaven is weary, of the hollow words Advanced to greet him. With a gracious mien Which states and kingdoms utter when they talk

Was he received, and mutual joy prevail'd. Of truth and justice. Turn to private life

Awhile they stood in conference, and I guess And social neighbourhood; look we to ourselves; That he, who now upon the mossy wall A light of duty shines on every day

Sate by my side, had vanish'd, if a wish For all; and yet how few are warm'd or cheer'd !

Could have transferr'd him to his lonely house How few who mingle with their fellow men

Within the circuit of those guardian rocks. And still remain self-govern'd, and apart,

For me, I look'd upon the pair, well pleased Like this our honour'd friend: and thence acquire Nature had framed them both, and both were mark'd Right to expect his vigorous decline,

By circumstance, with intermixture fine That promises to th' end a blest old age !"

Of contrast and resemblance. To an oak “ Yet,” with a smile of triumph thus exclaim'd Hardy and grand, a weather-beaten oak, The solitary,“ in the life of man,

Fresh in the strength and majesty of age, If to the poetry of common speech

One might be liken'd: Nourishing appear'd, Faith may be given, we see as in a glass

Though somewhat past the fulness of his prime, A true reflection of the circling year,

The other-like a stately sycamore, With all its seasons. Grant that spring is there, That spreads, in gentler pomp, its honey'd shade. In spite of many a rough, untoward blast,

A general greeting was exchanged: and soon Hopeful and promising with buds and flowers; The pastor learn’d that his approach had given Yet where is glowing summer's long rich day, A welcome interruption to discourse That ought to follow faithfully express'a ? Grave, and in truth too often sad.“ Is man And mellow autumn, charged with bounteous fruit, A child of hope? Do generations press Where is she imaged ? in what favour'd clime On generations, without progress made ? Her lavish pomp, and ripe magnificence ?

Halts the individual, ere his hairs be gray, Yet, while the better part is miss'd, the worse Perforce ? Are we a creature in whom good In man's autumnal season is set forth

Preponderates, or evil? Doth the will With a resemblance not to be denied,

Acknowledge reason's law. A living power And that contents him ; bowers that hear no more Is virtue, or no better than a name, The voice of gladness, less and less supply Fleeting as health, or beauty, and unsound? Of outward sunshine and internal warmth ; So that the only substance which remains, And, with this change, sharp air and falling leaves, (For thus the tenor of complaint hath run,) Foretelling total winter, blank and cold.

Among so many shadows, are the pains “How gay the habitations that bedeck

And penalties of miserable life,
This fertile valley! Not a house but seems Doom'd to decay, and then expire in dust!
To give assurance of content within ;

Our cogitations this way have been drawn,
Imbosom'd happiness, and placid love ;

These are the points," the wanderer said, a on As if the sunshine of the day were met

which With answering brightness in the hearts of all Our inquest turns. Accord, good sir! the light Who walk this favour'd ground. But chance of your experience to dispel this gloom : regards,

By your persuasive wisdom shall the heart And notice forced upon incurious ears ;

That frets, or languishes, be still'd and cheer'd." These, if these only, acting in despite

“ Our nature," said the priest, in mild reply, Of the encomiums by my friend pronounced “ Angels may weigh and fathom : they perceive,

With undistemper'd and unclouded spirit,

Is to that other state more apposite, The object as it is; but, for ourselves,

Death and its twofold aspect; wintry-one, That speculative height we may not reach.

Cold, sullen, blank, from hope and joy shut out; The good and evil are our own; and we

The other, which the ray divine hath touch'd, Are that which we would contemplate from far. Replete with vivid promise, bright as spring." Knowledge, for us, is difficult to gain

• We see, then, as we feel,” the wanderer thus Is difficult to gain, and hard to keep

With a complacent animation spake, As virtue's self ; like virtue is beset

“And in your judgment, sir! the mind's repose With snares; tried, tempted, subject to decay. On evidence is not to be ensured Love, admiration, fear, desire, and hate,

By act of naked reason. Moral truth Blind were we without these : through these alone Is no mechanic structure, built by rule ; Are capable to notice or discern,

And which, once built, retains a steadfast shape Or to record; we judge, but cannot be

And undisturbid proportions ; but a thing Indifferent judges. 'Spite of proudest boast, Subject, you deem, to vital accidents ; Reason, best reason, is t’imperfect man

And, like the water-lily, lives and thrives, An effort only, and a noble aim ;

Whose root is fix'd in stable earth, whose head A crown, an attribute of sovereign power,

Floats on the tossing waves. With joy sincere Still to be courted-never to be won !

I re-salute these sentiments confirm’d Look forth, or each man dive into himself; By your authority. But how acquire What sees he but a creature too perturbid,

The inward principle that gives effect That is transported to excess; that yearns,

To outward argument: the passive will Regrets, or trembles, wrongly, or too much ; Meek to admit; the active energy, Hopes rashly, in disgust as rash recoils ;

Strong and unbounded to embrace, and firm Battens on spleen, or moulders in despair

To keep and cherish? How shall man unite
Thus truth is miss'd, and comprehension fails; With self-forgetting tenderness of heart
And darkness and delusion round our path

An earth despising dignity of soul?
Spread, from disease, whose subtile injury lurks Wise in that union, and without it blind !”
Within the very faculty of sight.

“ The way,” said I, “ to court, if not obtain “ Yet for the general purposes of faith

Th' ingenuous mind, apt to be set aright, In providence, for solace and support,

This, in the lonely dell discoursing, you We may not doubt that who can best subject Declared at large ; and by what exercise The will to reason's law, and strictliest live From visible nature or the inner self And act in that obedience, he shall gain

Power may be train'd, and renovation brought The clearest apprehension of those truths,

To those who need the gift. But, after all, Which unassisted reason's utmost power

Is aught so certain as that man is doom'd Is tov infirm to reach. But-waiving this,

To breathe beneath a vault of ignorance? And our regards confining within bounds

The natural roof of that dark house in which Of less exalted consciousness-through which His soul is pent! How little can be knownThe very multitude are free to range

This is the wise man's sigh : how far we errWe safely may affirm that human life

This is the good man's not unfrequent pang! Is either fair and tempting, a soft scene

And they perhaps err least, the lowly class Grateful to sight, refreshing to the soul,

Whom a benign necessity compels
Or a forbidding tract of cheerless view;

To follow reason's least ambitious course :
E’en as the same is look'd at or approach'd. Such do I mean who, unperplex'd by doubt,
Thus, when in changeful April snow has fall'n, And unincited by a wish to look
And fields are white, if from the sullen north Into high objects farther than they may,
Your walk conduct you hither, ere the sun

Pace to and fro, from morn till eventide,
Hath gain'd his noontide height, this churchyard, The narrow avenue of dai y toil

For daily bread.” With mounds transversely lying side by side

“ Yes,” buoyantly exclaim'd From east to west, before you will appear

The pale recluse—“ praise to the sturdy plough, An unillumined, blank, and dreary plain,

And patient spade, and shepherd's simple crook, With more than wintry cheerlessness and gloom And ponderous loom-resounding while it holds Saddening the heart. Go forward, and look back, Body and mind in one captivity ; Look, from the quarter whence the Lord of light, And let the light mechanic tool be hail'd Of life, of love, and gladness doth dispense

With honour; which, encasing by the power His beams; which, unexcluded in their fall. Of long companionship, the artist's hand, Upon the southern side of every grave

Cuts off that hand, with all its world of nerves, Have gently exercised a melting power,

From a too busy commerce with the heart ! Then will a vernal prospect greet your eye, Inglorious implements of craft and toil, All fresh and beautiful, and green and bright, Both ye that shape and build, and ye that force, Hopeful and cheerful: vanish'd is the snow, By slow solicitation, earth to yield Vanish'd or hidden; and the whole domain, Her annual bounty, sparingly dealt forth To some too lightly minded might appear

With wise reluctance, you would I extol, A meadow carpet for the dancing hours.

Not for gross good alone which ye produce, This contrast, not unsuitable to life,

| But for th' impertinent and ceaseless strife

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