Page images
[ocr errors]


Towards the lamb she looked; and from that shady “ Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the st place

Night and day thou art safe, -our cottage is bando I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face: Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy ebe If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers Sleep-and at break of day I will come to the bring,

(sing. again!" Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might

-As homeward through the lane I went with a “ What ails thee, young one? What? Why pull

This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat; [ so at thy cord ?


And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by liar Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and

That but half of it was hers, and one half of its Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; mine. Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee? “ What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting

Again, and once again did I repeat the song; to thy heart?


Nay,” said I, “ more than half to the dance Thy limbs, are they not strong? And beautiful thou

must belong,

(such a tres

For she looked with such a look, and she spale wa This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have

That I almost received her heart into my own." no peers ; And that green corn, all day, is rustling in thy ears ! “ If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,

THE IDLE SHEPHERD BOYS, This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain ; For rain and mountain storms! the like thou need'st not fear[come here

I. The rain and storm are things which scarcely can

The valley rings with mirth and joy; “ Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day

Among the hills the echoes play
When my father found thee first in places far away: A never, never ending song,
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned To welcome in the May:
by none;

The magpie chatters with delight; And thy mother from thy side forevermore was gone. The mountain raven's youngling brood “ He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee

Have left the mother and the nest; home:


And they go rambling east and west A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou

In search of their own food; A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee Or through the glittering vapours dart yean

In very wantonness of heart. Upon the mountain tops no kinder could have been.

II. “ Thou know'st that twice a-day I have brought

Beneath a rock, upon thee in this can

the grass, Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran;

Two boys are sitting in the sun; And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with

It seems they have no work to do dew,


Or that their work is done. I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is, and

On pipes of sycamore they play

The fragments of a Christmas hymn; “ Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they Or with that plant which in our dale are now,

Cplough; We call stag-horn, or fox's tail,
Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the Their rusty hats they trim:
My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is And thus, as happy as the day,

[fold. Those shepherds wear the time away. Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy

III. “ It will not, will not rest!-poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in

Along the river's stony marge thee?

The sand-lark chaunts a joyous song; Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear,

The thrush is busy in the wood, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see

And carols loud and strong. nor hear.

A thousand lambs are on the rocks,

All newly born! both earth and sky “ Alas, the mountain tops that look so green and fair ! Keep jubilee; and more than all, I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come

Those boys with their green coronal; there;

They never hear the cry; The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play,

That plaintive cry! which up the hill When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey. Comes from the depth of Dungeon Ghyll.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


By chance had thither strayed ;

And there the helpless lamb be found,
Said Walter, leaping from the ground,
“ Down to the stump of yon old yew

By those huge rocks encompassed round.
We'll for our whistles run a race.”

-Away the shepherds flew.
They leapt—they ran—and when they came

He drew it gently from the pool,

And brought it forth into the light:
Right opposite to Dungeon-Ghyll,

The shepherds met him with his charge,
Seeing that he should lose the prize,

An unexpected sight!
Stop!” to his comrade Walter cries--
James stopped with no good will:

Into their arms the lamb they took,
Said Walter then, “ Your task is here,

Said they, “ He's neither maimed nor scarred.” 'Twill keep you working half a year.

Then up the steep ascent they hied,

And placed him at his mother's side;

And gently did the bard
“ Now cross where I shall cross-come on,

Those idle shepherd-boys upbraid,

And bade them better mind their trade.
And follow me where I shall lead."-
The other took him at his word;
But did not like the deed.

то н. с.
It was a spot, which you may see
If ever you to Langdale go:
Into a chasm a mighty block

O thou! whose fancies from afar are brought;
Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock :

Who of thy words dost make a mock apparel,
The gulph is deep below;

And fittest to unutterable thought
And in a basin black and small

The breeze-like motion and the self-born carol;
Receives a lofty waterfall.

Thou fairy voyager! that dost float

In such clear water, that thy boat

May rather seem
With staff in hand across the cleft

To brood on air than on an earthly stream;
The challenger began his march;

Suspended in a stream as clear as sky,
And now, all eyes and feet, hath gained

Where earth and heaven do make one imagery;
The middle of the arch.

O blessed vision! happy child!
When list! he hears a piteous moan-

That art so exquisitely wild,
Again!—his heart within him dies-

I think of thee with many fears
His pulse is stopped, his breath is lost,

For what may be thy lot in future years.
He totters, pale as any ghost,

I thought of times when pain might be thy guest,
And, looking down, he spies

Lord of thy house and hospitality;
A lamb, that in the pool is pent

And grief, uneasy lover! never rest
Within that black and frightful rent.

But when she sate within the touch of thee.

Oh! too industrious folly!

Oh! vain and causeless melancholy!
The lamb had slipped into the stream,

Nature will either end thee quite;
And safe without a bruise or wound

Or, lengthening out thy season of delight,
The cataract had borne him down

Preserve for thee, by individual right,
Into the gulph profound.

A young lamb's leart among the full-grown flocks.
His dam had seen him when he fell,

What hast thou to do with sorrow,
She saw him down the torrent borne;

Or the injuries of to-morrow?
And, while with all a mother's love

Thou art a dew-drop, which the morn brings forth,
She from the lofty rocks above

Not framed to undergo unkindly shocks;
Sent forth a cry forlorn,

Or to be trailed along the soiling earth;
The lamb, still swimming round and round, A gem that glitters while it lives,
Made answer to that plaintive sound,

And no forewarning gives;

But, at the touch of wrong, without a strife

Slips in a moment out of life.
When he learnt what thing it was,
That sent this rueful cry; I ween,

The boy recovered heart, and told
The sight which he had seen.

My father was a good and pious man,
Both gladly now deferred their task;

An honest man by honest parents bred,
Nor was there wanting other aid,-

And I believe that, soon as I began
A poet, one who loves the brooks

To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed,
Far better than the sages' books,

And in his hearing there my prayers I said:

And afterwards, by my good father taught, He well could love in grief: his faith he kept;
I read, and loved the books in which I read; And in a quiet home once more my father slept
For books in every neighbouring house I sought,

We lived in peace and comfort; and were blest And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought.

With daily bread, by constant toil supplied. Can I forget what charm did once adorn

Three lovely infants lay upon my breast; My garden, stored with pease, and mint, and thyme, And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed, And rose, and lily, for the sabbath morn?

And knew not why. My happy father died The sabbath bells, and their delightful chime; When sad distress reduced the children's Heal: The gambols and wild freaks at shearing time; Thrice happy! that for him the grave did hide My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied; The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel, The cowslip-gathering in June's dewy prime; And tears which flowed for ills which patience osa't The swans, that, when I sought the water-side,

not heal. From far to meet me came, spreading their snowy

'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come; pride?

We had no hope, and no relief could gain. The staff I yet remember which upbore

But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum The bending body of my active sire;

Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pais. His seat beneath the honeyed sycamore

My husband's arms now only served to strain Where the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire; Me and his children hungering in his view: When market-morning came, the neat attire In such dismay my prayers and tears were rain: With which, though bent on haste, myself I deck'd; To join those miserable meu he flew; (drez, My watchful dog, whose starts of furious ire, And now to the sea-coast with numbers more se When stranger passed, so often I have checked; The red-breast known for years, which at my case

There long were we neglected, and we bore ment pecked.

Much sorrow, ere the fleet its anchor weigbed;

Green fields before us, and our natire shore, The suns of twenty summers danced along, We breathed a pestilential air, that made Ah! little marked how fast they rolled away: Ravage for which no knell was heard. We prayed But, through severe mischance, and cruel wrong, For our departure; wished and wished-nor knet My father's substance fell into decay;

'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes delayed We toiled, and struggled-hoping for a day That happier days we never more must siev: When fortune should put on a kinder look;

The parting signal streamed, at last the land withBut vain were wishes-efforts vain as they:

drew. He from his old hereditary nook

(we took. Must part,—the summons came,-our final leave

But the calm summer season now was past.

On as we drove, the equinoctial deep
It was indeed a miserable hour
When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,

Ran mountains-high before the howling blast; Peering above the trees, the steeple tower

And many perished in the whirlwind's sweep.

We gazed with terror on their gloomy sleep, That on his marriage day sweet music made!

Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue, Till then, he hoped his bones might there be laid,

Our hopes such barvest of affliction reap, Close by my mother in their native bowers;

That we the mercy of the waves should rue: Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,

We reached the western world, a poor, devoted crer. I could not pray:-through tears that fellin showers, Glimmered our dear-loved home, alas! no longer The pains and plagues that on our heads came ours!

Disease and famine, agony and fear, There was a youth whom I had loved so long,

In wood or wilderness, in camp or town, That when I loved him not I cannot say.

It would thy brain unsettle even to hear. 'Mid the green mountains many and many a song

All perished-all, in one remorseless year, We two had sung, like gladsome birds in May.

Husband and children! one by one, by sword When we began to tire of childish play

And ravenous plague, all perished: every tear We seemed still more and more to prize each other;

Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board We talked of marriage and our marriage day;

A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored And I in truth did love him like a brother, For never could I hope to meet with such another.

Peaceful as some immeasurable plain

By the first beams of dawning light impsest, Two years were passed since to a distant town In the calm sunshine slept the glittering (21. He had repaired to ply the artist's trade.

The very ocean has its hour of rest. What tears of bitter grief till then unknown! I too was calm, though heavily distrest What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed ! Oh me, how quiet sky and ocean were ! To him we turned:-we had no other aid.

My heart was hushed within me, I wa Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,

And looked, and looked along the sil... And her whom he had loved in joy, he said

Until it seemed to bring a joy to my d iespai.

For me


Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps,

My memory and my strength returned; and, thence
And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke! Dismissed, again on open day I gazed,
The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps ! At houses, men, and common light, amazed.
The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke! The lanes I sought, and, as the sun retired,
The shriek that from the distant battle broke! Came where beneath the trees a faggot blazed;
The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host The travellers saw me weep, my fate inquired,
Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke And gave ine food,-and rest, more welcome, more
Toloathsome vaults,where heart-sick anguish toss'd, desired.
Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!

They with their panniered asses semblance made
Some mighty gulf of separation past,

Of potters wandering on from door to door:
I seemed transported to another world :-

But life of happier sort to me pourtrayed,
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast And other joys my fancy to allure;
The impatient mariner the sail unfurled,

The bag-pipe, dinning on the midnight moor,
And, whistling, called the wind that hardly curled In barn uplighted, and companions boon
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home

Well met from far with revelry secure,
And from all hope I was for ever hurled.

Among the forest glades, when jocund June
-farthest from earthly port to roam

Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon, Was best, could I but shun the spot where man

But ill they suited me; those journies dark might come.

O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch! And oft I thought (my fancy was so strong)

To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark, That I, at last, a resting-place had found;

Or hang on tip-toe at the lifted latch. “Here will I dwell,” said I, “ my whole life long, The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match, Roaming the illimitable waters round:

The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
Here will I live:-of every friend disowned,

And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
And end my days upon the ocean flood."-

Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill: [still.
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound: Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,

What could I do, unaided and unblest?
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted fooil.

My father! gone was every friend of thine:
By grief enfeebled, was I turned adrift,

And kindred of dead husband are at best
Helpless as sailor cast on desert rock;

Small help; and, after marriage such as mine,
Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,

With little kindness would to me incline.
Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.

Ill was I then for toil or service fit:
I lay where, with his drowsy mates, the cock

With tears whose course no effort could confine,
From the cross timber of an out-house hung :

By the road-side forgetful would I sit
Dismally tolled, that night, the city clock!

Whole hours, my idle arms in moping sorrow knit.
At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,

I led a wandering life among the fields;
Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my

Contentedly, yet sometimes self-accused,

I lived upon what casual bounty yields,
So passed another day, and so the third ;

Now coldly given, now utterly refused.
Then did I try in vain the crowd's resort.

The ground I for my bed have often used:
-In deep despair, by frightful wishes stirred,

But, what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth
Near the sea-side I reached a ruined fort:

Is, that I have my inner self abused,
There, pains which nature could no more support,

Forgone the home delight of constant truth,
With blindness link’d, did on my vitals fall,

And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth.
And I had many interruptions short

Three years thus wandering, often have I viewed,
Of hideous sense; I sank, por step could crawl,

In tears, the sun towards that country tend
And thence was carried to a neighbouring hospital.

Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude:
Recovery came with food: but still my brain

And now across this moor my steps I bend
Was weak, nor of the past had memory.

Oh! tell me whither--for no earthly friend
I heard my neighbours, in their beds, complain

Have I.”-Sheceased, and weeping turned away;

As if because her tale was at an end
Of many things which never troubled me;
Of feet still bustling round with busy glee;

She wept;-because she had no more to say
Of looks where common kindness had no part;

Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay.
Of service done with careless cruelty,
Fretting the fever round the languid heart;

'TIS SAID, THAT SOME ILAVE DIED And groans, which, as they said, might make a dead

These things just served to stir the torpid sepse, 'Tis said, that some have died for love:
Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised.

And here and there a church-yard grave is found

[ocr errors]

man start.

In the cold north's unhallowed ground,

I heard, and saw the flashes drive; Because the wretched man himself had slain,

And yet they are upon my eyes,
His love was such a grievous pain.

And yet I am alive.
And there is one whom I five years have known; Before I see another day,
He dwells alone

Oh let my body die away!
Upon Helvellyn's side:

My fire is dead: it knew no pain;
He loved the pretty Barbara died,
And thus he makes his moan:

Yet is it dead, and I remain.

All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
Three years had Barbara in her grave been laid,
When thus his moan he made;

And they are dead, and I will die.

When I was well, I wished to live, “Oh, move, thou cottage, from behind that oak! For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fre; Or let the aged tree uprooted lie,

But they to me no joy can give, That in some other way yon smoke

No pleasure now,

and no desire. May mount into the sky!

Then here contented will I lie!
The clouds pass on; they from the heavens depart: Alone I cannot fear to die.
I look-the sky is empty space;
I know not what I trace;

Alas! ye might have dragged me on But, when I cease to look, my hand is on my heart.

Another day, a single one!

Too soon I yielded to despair; “ 0! what a weight is in these shades! Ye leaves, Why did ye listen to my prayer? When will that dying murmur be supprest?

When ye were gone my limbs were stronger; Your sound my heart of peace bereaves,

And oh how grievously I rue, It robs my heart of rest.

That, afterwards, a little longer, Thou thrush, that singest loud-and loud and free, My friends, I did not follow you! Into yon row of willows flit,

For strong and without pain I lay, Upon that alder sit;

My friends, when ye were gone away. Or sing another song, or choose another tree.

My child! they gave thee to another, “Roll back, sweetrill! back to thy mountain bounds, A woman who was not thy mother. And there for ever be thy waters chained!

When from my arms my babe they took, For thou dost haunt the air with sounds

On me how strangely did he look! That cannot be sustained;

Through his whole body something rall, If still beneath that pine-tree's ragged bough

A most strange working did I see; Headlong yon waterfall must come,

-As if he strove to be a man, Oh let it then be dumb!

That he might pull the sledge for me. Be any thing, sweet rill, but that which thou art now. And then he stretched his arms, how wild! “ Thou eglantine, whose arch so proudly towers,

Oh mercy! like a helpless child. (Even like a rainbow spanning half the vale)

My little joy! my little pride! Thou one fair shrub, oh! shed thy flowers,

In two days more I must have died. And stir not in the gale.

Then do not weep and grieve for me ; For thus to see thee nodding in the air,

I feel I must have died with thee. To see thy arch thus stretch and bend,

Oh wind, that o'er my head art flying Thus rise and thus descend,

The way my friends their course did bead, Disturbs me, till the sight is more than I can bear." I should not feel the pain of dying,

Could I with thee a message send! The man who makes this feverish complaint

Too soon, my friends, ye went away; Is one of giant stature, who could dance

For I had many things to say.
Equipped from head to foot in iron mail.
Ah gentle Love! if ever thought was thine

I'll follow you across the snow;
To store up kindred hours for me, thy face

Ye travel heavily and slow; Turn from me, gentle Love! nor let me walk

In spite of all my weary pain, Within the sound of Emma's voice, or know

I'll look upon your tents again.
Such happiness as I have known to-day.

-My fire is dead, and snowy white
The water which beside it stood;

The wolf has come to me to-night,

And he has stolen away my food.

For ever left alone am I,
Before I see another day,

Then wherefore should I fear to die? Oh let my body die away! In sleep I heard the northern gleams;

THE LAST OF THE FLOCK. The stars were mingled with my dreams;

In distant countries have I been, In rustling conflict, through the skies,

And yet I have not often seen

« PreviousContinue »