POEMS, IN TWO VOLUMES,
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH,
AUTHOR OF THE LYRICAL BALLADS.
Posterius graviore sono tibi Musa loquetur
Nostra: dabunt cum securos mihi tempora fructus.
POEMS WRITTEN DURING A TOUR IN SCOTLAND.
1. Rob Roy's Grave
2. The solitary Reaper
3. Stepping Westward
4. Glen-Almain, or the Narrow Glen
5. The Matron of Jedborough and her Husband
6. To a Highland Girl
8. Address to the Sons of Burns after visiting
their Father's Grave, Aug. 14th, 1803
9. Yarrow unvisited
MOODS OF MY OWN MIND.
1. To a Butterfly
5. Written in March while resting on the
Bridge at the Foot of Brother's Water
6. The small Celandine
9. The Sparrow's Nest
11. To the Cuckoo
12. To a Butterfly
THE BLIND HIGHLAND BOY.
The Blind Highland Boy
The Green Linnet
To a Young Lady, who had been reproached
for taking long Walks in the Country
By their floating Mill, &c
Power of Music
To the Daisy
To the same Flower
Incident, characteristic of a favourite Dog,
which belonged to a Friend of the Author
Tribute to the Memory of the same Dog
Sonnet to Thomas Clarkson
Once in a lonely Hamlet, &c
Foresight, or the Charge of a Child to his
I am not One, &c
Yes! full surely 'twas the Echo, &c
To the Spade of a Friend
Song, at the Feast of Brougham Castle
Lines, composed at Grasmere
POEMS WRITTEN DURING A TOUR IN SCOTLAND.
ROB ROY's GRAVE.
The History of Rob Roy is sufficiently known; his Grave
is near the head of Loch Ketterine, in one of those small
Pin-fold-like Burial-grounds, of neglected and desolate
appearance, which the Traveller meets with in the
Highlands of Scotland.
A famous Man is Robin Hood,
The English Ballad-singer's joy!
And Scotland has a Thief as good,
An Outlaw of as daring mood,
She has her brave ROB ROY!
Then clear the weeds from off his Grave,
And let us chaunt a passing Stave
In honour of that Hero brave!
Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart,
And wondrous length and strength of arm: 10
Nor craved he more to quell his Foes,
Or keep his Friends from harm.
Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave;
Forgive me if the phrase be strong;—
Poet worthy of Rob Roy
Must scorn a timid song.
Say, then, that he was wise as brave;
As wise in thought as bold in deed:
For in the principles of things
He sought his moral creed. 20
Said generous Rob, "What need of Books?
Burn all the Statutes and their shelves:
They stir us up against our Kind;
And worse, against Ourselves."
"We have a passion, make a law,
Too false to guide us or controul!
And for the law itself we fight
In bitterness of soul."
"And, puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
Distinctions that are plain and few: 30
These find I graven on my heart:
That tells me what to do."
"The Creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind!
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind."
"For why?—because the good old Rule
Sufficeth them, the simple Plan,
That they should take who have the power,
And they should keep who can." 40
"A lesson which is quickly learn'd,
A signal this which all can see!
Thus nothing here provokes the Strong
To wanton cruelty."
"All freakishness of mind is check'd;
He tam'd, who foolishly aspires;
While to the measure of his might
Each fashions his desires."
"All Kinds, and Creatures, stand and fall
By strength of prowess or of wit: 50
Tis God's appointment who must sway,
And who is to submit."
"Since then," said Robin, "right is plain,
And longest life is but a day;
To have my ends, maintain my rights,
I'll take the shortest way."
And thus among these rocks he liv'd,
Through summer's heat and winter's snow:
The Eagle, he was Lord above,
And Rob was Lord below. 60
So was it—would, at least, have been
But through untowardness of fate:
For Polity was then too strong;
He came an age too late,
Or shall we say an age too soon?
For, were the bold Man living now,
How might he flourish in his pride,
With buds on every bough!
Then rents and Factors, rights of chace,
Sheriffs, and Lairds and their domains 70
Would all have seem'd but paltry things,
Not worth a moment's pains.
Rob Roy had never linger'd here,
To these few meagre Vales confin'd;
But thought how wide the world, the times
How fairly to his mind!
And to his Sword he would have said,
"Do Thou my sovereign will enact
From land to land through half the earth!
Judge thou of law and fact!" 80
"Tis fit that we should do our part;
Becoming, that mankind should learn
That we are not to be surpass'd
In fatherly concern."
"Of old things all are over old,
Of good things none are good enough:—
We'll shew that we can help to frame
A world of other stuff."
"I, too, will have my Kings that take
From me the sign of life and death: 90
Kingdoms shall shift about, like clouds,
Obedient to my breath."
And, if the word had been fulfill'd,
As might have been, then, thought of joy!
France would have had her present Boast;
And we our brave Rob Roy!
Oh! say not so; compare them not;
I would not wrong thee, Champion brave!
Would wrong thee no where; least of all
Here standing by thy Grave. 100
For Thou, although with some wild thoughts,
Wild Chieftain of a Savage Clan!
Hadst this to boast of; thou didst love
The liberty of Man.
And, had it been thy lot to live
With us who now behold the light,
Thou would'st have nobly stirr'd thyself,
And battled for the Right.
For Robin was the poor Man's stay
The poor man's heart, the poor man's hand; 110
And all the oppress'd, who wanted strength,
Had Robin's to command.
Bear witness many a pensive sigh
Of thoughtful Herdsman when he strays
Alone upon Loch Veol's Heights,
And by Loch Lomond's Braes!
And, far and near, through vale and hill,
Are faces that attest the same;
And kindle, like a fire new stirr'd,
At sound of ROB ROY's name. 120
2. THE SOLITARY REAPER.
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts, and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
So sweetly to reposing bands 10
Of Travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian Sands:
No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago: 20
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of today?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again!
Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sung
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;
I listen'd till I had my fill;
And, as I mounted up the hill, 30
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
3. STEPPING WESTWARD.
While my Fellow-traveller and I were walking by the side of
Loch Ketterine, one fine evening after sun-set, in our
road to a Hut where in the course of our Tour we had
been hospitably entertained some weeks before, we met,
in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region,
two well dressed Women, one of whom said to us, by
way of greeting, "What you are stepping westward?"
"What you are stepping westward?"—"Yea."
—'Twould be a wildish destiny,
If we, who thus together roam
In a strange Land, and far from home,
Were in this place the guests of Chance:
Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter he had none,
With such a Sky to lead him on?
The dewy ground was dark and cold;
Behind, all gloomy to behold; 10
And stepping westward seem'd to be
A kind of heavenly destiny;
I liked the greeting; 'twas a sound
Of something without place or bound;
And seem'd to give me spiritual right
To travel through that region bright.
The voice was soft, and she who spake
Was walking by her native Lake:
The salutation had to me
The very sound of courtesy: 20
It's power was felt; and while my eye
Was fixed upon the glowing sky,
The echo of the voice enwrought
A human sweetness with the thought
Of travelling through the world that lay
Before me in my endless way.
or the NARROW GLEN
In this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the NARROW GLEN;
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek Streamlet, only one:
He sang of battles, and the breath
Of stormy war, and violent death;
And should, methinks, when all was past,
Have rightfully been laid at last
Where rocks were sudely heap'd, and rent
As by a spirit turbulent; 10
Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
And every thing unreconciled;
In some complaining, dim retreat,
For fear and melancholy meet;
But this is calm; there cannot be
A more entire tranquillity.
Does then the Bard sleep here indeed?
Or is it but a groundless creed?
What matters it? I blame them not
Whose Fancy in this lonely Spot 20
Was moved; and in this way express'd
Their notion of it's perfect rest.
A Convent, even a hermit's Cell
Would break the silence of this Dell:
It is not quiet, is not ease;
But something deeper far than these:
The separation that is here
Is of the grave; and of austere
And happy feelings of the dead:
And, therefore, was it rightly said 30
That Ossian, last of all his race!
Lies buried in this lonely place.
5. THE MATRON OF JEDBOROUGH AND HER HUSBAND.
At Jedborough we went into private Lodgings for a few
days; and the following Verses were called forth by
the character, and domestic situation, of our Hostess.
Age! twine thy brows with fresh spring flowers!
And call a train of laughing Hours;
And bid them dance, and bid them sing;
And Thou, too, mingle in the Ring!
Take to thy heart a new delight;
If not, make merry in despite!
For there is one who scorns thy power.
—But dance! for under Jedborough Tower
There liveth in the prime of glee,
A Woman, whose years are seventy-three, 10
And She will dance and sing with thee!
Nay! start not at that Figure—there!
Him who is rooted to his chair!
Look at him—look again! for He
Hath long been of thy Family.
With legs that move not, if they can,
And useless arms, a Trunk of Man,
He sits, and with a vacant eye;
A Sight to make a Stranger sigh!
Deaf, drooping, that is now his doom: 20
His world is in this single room:
Is this a place for mirth and cheer?
Can merry-making enter here?
The joyous Woman is the Mate
Of Him in that forlorn estate!
He breathes a subterraneous damp,
But bright as Vesper shines her lamp:
He is as mute as Jedborough Tower;
She jocund as it was of yore,
With all it's bravery on; in times, 30
When, all alive with merry chimes,
Upon a sun-bright morn of May,
It rouz'd the Vale to Holiday.
I praise thee, Matron! and thy due
Is praise; heroic praise, and true!
With admiration I behold
Thy gladness unsubdued and bold:
Thy looks, thy gestures, all present
The picture of a life well-spent:
This do I see; and something more; 40
A strength unthought of heretofore!
Delighted am I for thy sake;
And yet a higher joy partake.
Our Human-nature throws away
It's second Twilight, and looks gay:
A Land of promise and of pride
Unfolding, wide as life is wide.
Ah! see her helpless Charge! enclos'd
Within himself, as seems; compos'd;
To fear of loss, and hope of gain, 50
The strife of happiness and pain,
Utterly dead! yet, in the guise
Of little Infants, when their eyes
Begin to follow to and fro
The persons that before them go,
He tracks her motions, quick or slow.
Her buoyant Spirit can prevail
Where common cheerfulness would fail:
She strikes upon him with the heat
Of July Suns; he feels it sweet; 60
An animal delight though dim!
'Tis all that now remains for him!
I look'd, I scann'd her o'er and o'er;
The more I look'd I wonder'd more:
When suddenly I seem'd to espy
A trouble in her strong black eye;
A remnant of uneasy light,
A flash of something over-bright!
And soon she made this matter plain;
And told me, in a thoughtful strain, 70
That she had borne a heavy yoke,
Been stricken by a twofold stroke;
Ill health of body; and had pin'd
Beneath worse ailments of the mind.
So be it! but let praise ascend
To Him who is our Lord and Friend!
Who from disease and suffering
Hath call'd for thee a second Spring;
Repaid thee for that sore distress
By no untimely joyousness; 80
Which makes of thine a blissful state;
And cheers thy melancholy Mate!
6. TO A HIGHLAND GIRL.
(At Inversneyde, upon Loch Lomond.)
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head:
And these gray Rocks; this household Lawn;
These Trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
This fall of water, that doth make
A murmur near the silent Lake;
This little Bay, a quiet Road
That holds in shelter thy Abode; 10
In truth together ye do seem
Like something fashion'd in a dream;
Such Forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep!
Yet, dream and vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart:
God shield thee to thy latest years!
I neither know thee nor thy peers;
And yet my eyes are fill'd with tears.
With earnest feeling I shall pray 20
For thee when I am far away:
For never saw I mien, or face,
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here, scatter'd like a random seed,
Remote from men, Thou dost not need
The embarrass'd look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness:
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear 30
The freedom of a Mountaineer.
A face with gladness overspread!
Sweet looks, by human kindness bred!
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts, that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech:
A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife 40
That gives thy gestures grace and life!
So have I, not unmov'd in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful?
O happy pleasure! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess! 50
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality:
Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea; and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighbourhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see!
Thy elder Brother I would be,
Thy Father, any thing to thee!
Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace 60
Hath led me to this lonely place.
Joy have I had; and going hence
I bear away my recompence.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes:
Then, why should I be loth to stir?
I feel this place was made for her;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart, 70
Sweet Highland Girl! from Thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old,
As fair before me shall behold,
As I do now, the Cabin small,
The Lake, the Bay, the Waterfall;
And Thee, the Spirit of them all!
(Composed at —— Castle.)
Degenerate Douglas! oh, the unworthy Lord!
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please,
And love of havoc (for with such disease
Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word
To level with the dust a noble horde,
A brotherhood of venerable Trees,
Leaving an ancient Dome, and Towers like these,
Beggared and outraged!—Many hearts deplor'd
The fate of those old Trees; and oft with pain
The Traveller, at this day, will stop and gaze
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed:
For shelter'd places, bosoms, nooks and bays,
And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
And the green silent pastures, yet remain.
8. ADDRESS TO THE SONS OF BURNS
after visiting their Father's Grave (August 14th, 1803.)
Ye now are panting up life's hill!
'Tis twilight time of good and ill,
And more than common strength and skill
Must ye display
If ye would give the better will
Its lawful sway.
Strong bodied if ye be to bear
Intemperance with less harm, beware!
But if your Father's wit ye share,
Then, then indeed, 10
Ye Sons of Burns! for watchful care
There will be need.
For honest men delight will take
To shew you favor for his sake,
Will flatter you; and Fool and Rake
Your steps pursue:
And of your Father's name will make
A snare for you.
Let no mean hope your souls enslave;
Be independent, generous, brave! 20
Your Father such example gave,
And such revere!
But be admonish'd by his Grave,
And think, and fear!
9. YARROW UNVISITED.
(See the various Poems the scene of which is laid upon the
Banks of the Yarrow; in particular, the exquisite Ballad
of Hamilton, beginning:
"Busk ye, busk ye my bonny, bonny Bride,
Busk ye, busk ye my winsome Marrow!"—)
From Stirling Castle we had seen
The mazy Forth unravell'd;
Had trod the banks of Clyde, and Tay,
And with the Tweed had travell'd;
And, when we came to Clovenford,
Then said my 'winsome Marrow',
"Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside,
And see the Braes of Yarrow."
"Let Yarrow Folk, frae Selkirk Town,
Who have been buying, selling, 10
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own,
Each Maiden to her Dwelling!
On Yarrow's Banks let herons feed,
Hares couch, and rabbits burrow!
But we will downwards with the Tweed,
Nor turn aside to Yarrow."
"There's Galla Water, Leader Haughs,
Both lying right before us;
And Dryborough, where with chiming Tweed
The Lintwhites sing in chorus; 20
There's pleasant Tiviot Dale, a land
Made blithe with plough and harrow;
Why throw away a needful day
To go in search of Yarrow?"
"What's Yarrow but a River bare
That glides the dark hills under?
There are a thousand such elsewhere
As worthy of your wonder."
—Strange words they seem'd of slight and scorn;
My True-love sigh'd for sorrow; 30
And look'd me in the face, to think
I thus could speak of Yarrow!
"Oh! green," said I, "are Yarrow's Holms,
And sweet is Yarrow flowing!
Fair hangs the apple frae the rock ,
But we will leave it growing.
O'er hilly path, and open Strath,
We'll wander Scotland thorough;
But, though so near, we will not turn
Into the Dale of Yarrow." 40
[Footnote 1: See Hamilton's Ballad as above.]
"Let Beeves and home-bred Kine partake
The sweets of Burn-mill meadow;
The Swan on still St. Mary's Lake
Float double, Swan and Shadow!
We will not see them; will not go,
Today, nor yet tomorrow;
Enough if in our hearts we know,
There's such a place as Yarrow."
"Be Yarrow Stream unseen, unknown!
It must, or we shall rue it: 50
We have a vision of our own;
Ah! why should we undo it?
The treasured dreams of times long past
We'll keep them, winsome Marrow!
For when we're there although 'tis fair
'Twill be another Yarrow!"
"If Care with freezing years should come,
And wandering seem but folly,
Should we be loth to stir from home,
And yet be melancholy; 60
Should life be dull, and spirits low,
'Twill soothe us in our sorrow
That earth has something yet to show,
The bonny Holms of Yarrow!"
MOODS OF MY OWN MIND.
1. TO A BUTTERFLY.
Stay near me—do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in Thee,
Historian of my Infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring'st, gay Creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My Father's Family!
Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when in our childish plays
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chaced the Butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:—with leaps and springs
I follow'd on from brake to bush;
But She, God love her! feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
The Sun has long been set:
The Stars are out by twos and threes;
The little Birds are piping yet
Among the bushes and trees;
There's a Cuckoo, and one or two thrushes;
And a noise of wind that rushes,
With a noise of water that gushes;
And the Cuckoo's sovereign cry
Fills all the hollow of the sky!
Who would go "parading" 10
In London, and "masquerading,"
On such a night of June?
With that beautiful soft half-moon,
And all these innocent blisses,
On such a night as this is!
O Nightingale! thou surely art
A Creature of a fiery heart—
These notes of thine they pierce, and pierce;
Tumultuous harmony and fierce!
Thou sing'st as if the God of wine
Had help'd thee to a Valentine;
A song in mockery and despite
Of shades, and dews, and silent Night,
And steady bliss, and all the Loves
Now sleeping in these peaceful groves! 10
I heard a Stockdove sing or say
His homely tale, this very day.
His voice was buried among trees,
Yet to be come at by the breeze:
He did not cease; but coo'd—and coo'd;
And somewhat pensively he woo'd:
He sang of love with quiet blending,
Slow to begin, and never ending;
Of serious faith, and inward glee;
That was the Song, the Song for me! 20
My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a Man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is Father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
5. WRITTEN IN MARCH,
While resting on the Bridge at the Foot of Brother's Water.
The cook is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising;
There are forty feeding like one! 10
Like an army defeated
The Snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The Plough-boy is whooping—anon—anon:
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone! 20
6. THE SMALL CELANDINE.
There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!
When hailstones have been falling swarm on swarm,
Or blasts the green field and the trees distress'd,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.
But lately, one rough day, this Flower I pass'd,
And recognized it, though an alter'd Form, 10
Now standing forth an offering to the Blast,
And buffetted at will by Rain and Storm,
I stopp'd, and said with inly muttered voice,
"It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
This neither is it's courage nor it's choice,
But it's necessity in being old."
The sunshine may not bless it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in it's decay;
Stiff in it's members, wither'd, changed of hue.
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey. 20
To be a Prodigal's Favorite—then, worse truth,
A Miser's Pensioner—behold our lot!
O Man! that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodills;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:—
A Poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company: 10
I gaz'd—and gaz'd—but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:
For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.
Who fancied what a pretty sight
This Rock would be if edged around
With living Snowdrops? circlet bright!
How glorious to this Orchard ground!
Who loved the little Rock, and set
Upon its Head this Coronet?
Was it the humour of a Child?
Or rather of some love-sick Maid,
Whose brows, the day that she was styled
The Shepherd Queen, were thus arrayed?
Of Man mature, or Matron sage?
Or old Man toying with his age?
I ask'd—'twas whisper'd, The device
To each or all might well belong.
It is the Spirit of Paradise
That prompts such work, a Spirit strong,
That gives to all the self-same bent
Where life is wise and innocent.
9. THE SPARROW'S NEST.
Look, five blue eggs are gleaming there!
Few visions have I seen more fair,
Nor many prospects of delight
More pleasing than that simple sight!
I started seeming to espy
The home and shelter'd bed,
The Sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by
My Father's House, in wet or dry,
My Sister Emmeline and I
Together visited. 10
She look'd at it as if she fear'd it;
Still wishing, dreading to be near it:
Such heart was in her, being then
A little Prattler among men.
The Blessing of my later years
Was with me when a Boy;
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
And humble cares, and delicate fears;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
And love, and thought, and joy. 20
Yet are they here?—the same unbroken knot
Of human Beings, in the self-same spot!
Men, Women, Children, yea the frame
Of the whole Spectacle the same!
Only their fire seems bolder, yielding light:
Now deep and red, the colouring of night;
That on their Gipsy-faces falls,
Their bed of straw and blanket-walls.
—Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours, are gone while I
Have been a Traveller under open sky, 10
Much witnessing of change and chear,
Yet as I left I find them here!
The weary Sun betook himself to rest.
—Then issued Vesper from the fulgent West,
Outshining like a visible God
The glorious path in which he trod.
And now, ascending, after one dark hour,
And one night's diminution of her power,
Behold the mighty Moon! this way
She looks as if at them—but they 20
Regard not her:—oh better wrong and strife,
Better vain deeds or evil than such life!
The silent Heavens have goings on;
The stars have tasks—but these have none.
11. TO THE CUCKOO.
O blithe New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice:
O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
While I am lying on the grass,
I hear thy restless shout:
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
About, and all about!
To me, no Babbler with a tale
Of sunshine and of flowers, 10
Thou tellest, Cuckoo! in the vale
Of visionary hours.
Thrice welcome, Darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No Bird; but an invisible Thing,
A voice, a mystery.
The same whom in my School-boy days
I listen'd to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways;
In bush, and tree, and sky. 20
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still long'd for, never seen!
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain.
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be 30
An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!
12. TO A BUTTERFLY.
I've watch'd you now a full half hour,
Self-pois'd upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep, or feed.
How motionless! not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
This plot of Orchard-ground is ours; 10
My trees they are, my Sister's flowers;
Stop here whenever you are weary,
And rest as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song;
And summer days, when we were young,
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now!
It is no Spirit who from Heaven hath flown,
And is descending on his embassy;
Nor Traveller gone from Earth the Heavens to espy!
'Tis Hesperus—there he stands with glittering crown,
First admonition that the sun is down!
For yet it is broad day-light: clouds pass by;
A few are near him still—and now the sky,
He hath it to himself—'tis all his own.
O most ambitious Star! an inquest wrought
Within me when I recognised thy light;
A moment I was startled at the sight:
And, while I gazed, there came to me a thought
That I might step beyond my natural race
As thou seem'st now to do; might one day trace
Some ground not mine; and, strong her strength above,
My Soul, an Apparition in the place,
Tread there, with steps that no one shall reprove!
THE BLIND HIGHLAND BOY; WITH OTHER POEMS.
THE BLIND HIGHLAND BOY.
(A Tale told by the Fire-side.)
Now we are tired of boisterous joy,
We've romp'd enough, my little Boy!
Jane hangs her head upon my breast,
And you shall bring your Stool and rest,
This corner is your own.
There! take your seat, and let me see
That you can listen quietly;
And as I promised I will tell
That strange adventure which befel
A poor blind Highland Boy. 10
A Highland Boy!—why call him so?
Because, my Darlings, ye must know,
In land where many a mountain towers,
Far higher hills than these of ours!
He from his birth had liv'd.
He ne'er had seen one earthly sight;
The sun, the day; the stars, the night;
Or tree, or butterfly, or flower,
Or fish in stream, or bird in bower,
Or woman, man, or child. 20
And yet he neither drooped nor pined,
Nor had a melancholy mind;
For God took pity on the Boy,
And was his friend; and gave him joy
Of which we nothing know.
His Mother, too, no doubt, above
Her other Children him did love:
For, was she here, or was she there,
She thought of him with constant care,
And more than Mother's love. 30
And proud she was of heart, when clad
In crimson stockings, tartan plaid,
And bonnet with a feather gay,
To Kirk he on the sabbath day
Went hand in hand with her.
A Dog, too, had he; not for need,
But one to play with and to feed;
Which would have led him, if bereft
Of company or friends, and left
Without a better guide. 40
And then the bagpipes he could blow;
And thus from house to house would go,
And all were pleas'd to hear and see;
For none made sweeter melody
Than did the poor blind Boy.
Yet he had many a restless dream;
Both when he heard the Eagles scream,
And when he heard the torrents roar,
And heard the water beat the shore
Near which their Cottage stood. 50
Beside a lake their Cottage stood,
Not small like ours, a peaceful flood;
But one of mighty size, and strange;
That, rough or smooth, is full of change,
And stirring in its bed.
For to this Lake, by night and day,
The great Sea-water finds its way
Through long, long windings of the hills;
And drinks up all the pretty rills
And rivers large and strong: 60
Then hurries back the road it came—
Returns, on errand still the same;
This did it when the earth was new;
And this for evermore will do,
As long as earth shall last.
And, with the coming of the Tide,
Come Boats and Ships, that sweetly ride,
Between the woods and lofty rocks;
And to the Shepherds with their Flocks
Bring tales of distant Lands. 70
And of those tales, whate'er they were,
The blind Boy always had his share;
Whether of mighty Towns, or Vales
With warmer suns and softer gales,
Or wonders of the Deep.
Yet more it pleased him, more it stirr'd,
When from the water-side he heard
The shouting, and the jolly cheers,
The bustle of the mariners
In stillness or in storm. 80
But what do his desires avail?
For He must never handle sail;
Nor mount the mast, nor row, nor float
In Sailor's ship or Fisher's boat
Upon the rocking waves.
His Mother often thought, and said,
What sin would be upon her head
If she should suffer this: "My Son,
Whate'er you do, leave this undone;
The danger is so great." 90
Thus lived he by Loch Levin's side
Still sounding with the sounding tide,
And heard the billows leap and dance,
Without a shadow of mischance,
Till he was ten years old.
When one day (and now mark me well,
You soon shall know how this befel)
He's in a vessel of his own,
On the swift water hurrying down
Towards the mighty Sea. 100
In such a vessel ne'er before
Did human Creature leave the shore:
If this or that way he should stir,
Woe to the poor blind Mariner!
For death will be his doom.
Strong is the current; but be mild,
Ye waves, and spare the helpless Child!
If ye in anger fret or chafe,
A Bee-hive would be ship as safe
As that in which he sails. 110
But say, what was it? Thought of fear!
Well may ye tremble when ye hear!
—A Household Tub, like one of those
Which women use to wash their clothes,
This carried the blind Boy.
Close to the water he had found
This Vessel, push'd it from dry ground,
Went into it; and, without dread,
Following the fancies in his head,
He paddled up and down. 120
A while he stood upon his feet;
He felt the motion—took his seat;
And dallied thus, till from the shore
The tide retreating more and more
Had suck'd, and suck'd him in.
And there he is in face of Heaven!
How rapidly the Child is driven!
The fourth part of a mile I ween
He thus had gone, ere he was seen
By any human eye. 130
But when he was first seen, oh me!
What shrieking and what misery!
For many saw; among the rest
His Mother, she who loved him best,
She saw her poor blind Boy.
But for the Child, the sightless Boy,
It is the triumph of his joy!
The bravest Traveller in balloon,
Mounting as if to reach the moon,
Was never half so bless'd. 140
And let him, let him go his way,
Alone, and innocent, and gay!
For, if good Angels love to wait
On the forlorn unfortunate,
This Child will take no harm.
But now the passionate lament,
Which from the crowd on shore was sent,
The cries which broke from old and young
In Gaelic, or the English tongue,
Are stifled—all is still. 150
And quickly with a silent crew
A Boat is ready to pursue;
And from the shore their course they take,
And swiftly down the running Lake
They follow the blind Boy.
With sound the least that can be made
They follow, more and more afraid,
More cautious as they draw more near;
But in his darkness he can hear,
And guesses their intent. 160
"Lei-gha—Lei-gha"—then did he cry
Thus did he cry, and thus did pray,
And what he meant was, "Keep away,
And leave me to myself!"
Alas! and when he felt their hands—
You've often heard of magic Wands,
That with a motion overthrow
A palace of the proudest shew,
Or melt it into air. 170
So all his dreams, that inward light
With which his soul had shone so bright,
All vanish'd;—'twas a heartfelt cross
To him, a heavy, bitter loss,
As he had ever known.
But hark! a gratulating voice
With which the very hills rejoice:
'Tis from the crowd, who tremblingly
Had watch'd the event, and now can see
That he is safe at last. 180
And then, when he was brought to land,
Full sure they were a happy band,
Which gathering round did on the banks
Of that great Water give God thanks,
And welcom'd the poor Child.
And in the general joy of heart
The blind Boy's little Dog took part;
He leapt about, and oft did kiss
His master's hands in sign of bliss,
With sound like lamentation. 190
But most of all, his Mother dear,
She who had fainted with her fear,
Rejoiced when waking she espies
The Child; when she can trust her eyes,
And touches the blind Boy.
She led him home, and wept amain,
When he was in the house again:
Tears flow'd in torrents from her eyes,
She could not blame him, or chastise:
She was too happy far. 200
Thus, after he had fondly braved
The perilous Deep, the Boy was saved;
And, though his fancies had been wild,
Yet he was pleased, and reconciled
To live in peace on shore.
THE GREEN LINNET.
The May is come again:—how sweet
To sit upon my Orchard-seat!
And Birds and Flowers once more to greet,
My last year's Friends together:
My thoughts they all by turns employ;
A whispering Leaf is now my joy,
And then a Bird will be the toy
That doth my fancy tether.
One have I mark'd, the happiest Guest
In all this covert of the blest: 10
Hail to Thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion,
Thou, Linnet! in thy green array,
Presiding Spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While Birds, and Butterflies, and Flowers
Make all one Band of Paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment; 20
A Life, a Presence like the Air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too bless'd with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perch'd in ecstasies,
Yet seeming still to hover;
There! where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings 30
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
While thus before my eyes he gleams,
A Brother of the Leaves he seems;
When in a moment forth he teems
His little song in gushes:
As if it pleas'd him to disdain
And mock the Form which he did feign,
While he was dancing with the train
Of Leaves among the bushes. 40
TO A YOUNG LADY,
Who had been reproached for taking long
Walks in the Country.
Dear Child of Nature, let them rail!
—There is a nest in a green dale,
A harbour and a hold,
Where thou a Wife and Friend, shalt see
Thy own delightful days, and be
A light to young and old.
There, healthy as a Shepherd-boy,
As if thy heritage were joy,
And pleasure were thy trade,
Thou, while thy Babes around thee cling,
Shalt shew us how divine a thing
A Woman may be made.
Thy thoughts and feelings shall not die,
Nor leave thee, when grey hairs are nigh,
A melancholy slave
But an old age, alive and bright,
And lovely as a Lapland night,
Shall lead thee to thy grave.
"—Pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claim'd by whoever shall find."
* * * * *
By their floating Mill,
Which lies dead and still,
Behold yon Prisoners three!
The Miller with two Dames, on the breast of the Thames;
The Platform is small, but there's room for them all;
And they're dancing merrily.
From the shore come the notes
To their Mill where it floats,
To their House and their Mill tether'd fast;
To the small wooden isle where their work to beguile 10
They from morning to even take whatever is given;—
And many a blithe day they have past.
In sight of the Spires
All alive with the fires
Of the Sun going down to his rest,
In the broad open eye of the solitary sky,
They dance,—there are three, as jocund as free,
While they dance on the calm river's breast.
Man and Maidens wheel,
They themselves make the Reel, 20
And their Music's a prey which they seize;
It plays not for them,—what matter! 'tis their's;
And if they had care it has scattered their cares,
While they dance, crying, "Long as ye please!"
They dance not for me,
Yet mine is their glee!
Thus pleasure is spread through the earth
In stray gifts to be claim'd by whoever shall find;
Thus a rich loving-kindness, redundantly kind,
Moves all nature to gladness and mirth. 30
The Showers of the Spring
Rouze the Birds and they sing;
If the Wind do but stir for his proper delight,
Each Leaf, that and this, his neighbour will kiss,
Each Wave, one and t'other, speeds after his Brother;
They are happy, for that is their right!
What crowd is this? what have we here! we must not pass it by;
A Telescope upon its frame, and pointed to the sky:
Long is it as a Barber's Poll, or Mast of little Boat,
Some little Pleasure-Skiff, that doth on Thames's waters float.
The Show-man chuses well his place, 'tis Leicester's busy Square;
And he's as happy in his night, for the heavens are blue and fair;
Calm, though impatient is the Crowd; Each is ready with the fee,
And envies him that's looking—what an insight must it be!
Yet, Show-man, where can lie the cause? Shall thy Implement have
A Boaster, that when he is tried, fails, and is put to shame? 10
Or is it good as others are, and be their eyes in fault?
Their eyes, or minds? or, finally, is this resplendent Vault?
Is nothing of that radiant pomp so good as we have here?
Or gives a thing but small delight that never can be dear?
The silver Moon with all her Vales, and Hills of mightiest fame,
Do they betray us when they're seen? and are they but a name?
Or is it rather that Conceit rapacious is and strong,
And bounty never yields so much but it seems to do her wrong?
Or is it, that when human Souls a journey long have had,
And are returned into themselves, they cannot but be sad? 20
Or must we be constrain'd to think that these Spectators rude,
Poor in estate, of manners base, men of the multitude,
Have souls which never yet have ris'n, and therefore prostrate lie?
No, no, this cannot be—Men thirst for power and majesty!
Does, then, a deep and earnest thought the blissful mind employ
Of him who gazes, or has gazed? a grave and steady joy,
That doth reject all shew of pride, admits no outward sign,
Because not of this noisy world, but silent and divine!
Whatever be the cause, 'tis sure that they who pry & pore
Seem to meet with little gain, seem less happy than before: 30
One after One they take their turns, nor have I one espied
That doth not slackly go away, as if dissatisfied.
POWER OF MUSIC.
An Orpheus! An Orpheus!—yes, Faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old;—
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same,
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.
His station is there;—and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim—
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him!
What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
The weary have life and the hungry have bliss; 10
The mourner is cheared, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthened Soul is no longer opprest.
As the Moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
So he where he stands is a center of light;
It gleams on the face, there, of dusky-faced Jack,
And the pale-visaged Baker's, with basket on back.
That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste—
What matter! he's caught—and his time runs to waste—
The News-man is stopped, though he stops on the fret,
And the half-breathless Lamp-lighter he's in the net! 20
The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store;—
If a Thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!
He stands, back'd by the Wall;—he abates not his din;
His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
From the Old and the Young, from the Poorest; and there!
The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.
O blest are the Hearers and proud be the Hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a Band; 30
I am glad for him, blind as he is!—all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.
That tall Man, a Giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
There's a Cripple who leans on his Crutch; like a Tower
That long has lean'd forward, leans hour after hour!—
Mother, whose Spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound. 40
Now, Coaches and Chariots, roar on like a stream;
Here are twenty souls happy as Souls in a dream:
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, or what ye pursue!
TO THE DAISY.
The two following Poems were overflowings of the mind in
composing the one which stands first in the first Volume.
With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Sweet Daisy! oft I talk to thee,
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming Common-place
Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace,
Which Love makes for thee!
Oft do I sit by thee at ease,
And weave a web of similies, 10
Loose types of Things through all degrees,
Thoughts of thy raising:
And many a fond and idle name
I give to thee, for praise or blame,
As is the humour of the game,
While I am gazing.
A Nun demure of lowly port,
Or sprightly Maiden of Love's Court,
In thy simplicity the sport
Of all temptations; 20
A Queen in crown of rubies drest,
A Starveling in a scanty vest,
Are all, as seem to suit thee best,
A little Cyclops, with one eye
Staring to threaten and defy,
That thought comes next—and instantly
The freak is over,
The shape will vanish, and behold!
A silver Shield with boss of gold, 30
That spreads itself, some Faery bold
In fight to cover.
I see thee glittering from afar;—
And then thou art a pretty Star,
Not quite so fair as many are
In heaven above thee!
Yet, like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem'st to rest;—
May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee! 40
Sweet Flower! for by that name at last,
When all my reveries are past,
I call thee, and to that cleave fast,
Sweet silent Creature!
That breath'st with me in sun and air,
Do thou, as thou art wont, repair
My heart with gladness, and a share
Of thy meek nature!
TO THE SAME FLOWER.
Bright Flower, whose home is every where!
A Pilgrim bold in Nature's care,
And all the long year through the heir
Of joy or sorrow,
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other Flower I see
The forest thorough!
Is it that Man is soon deprest?
A thoughtless Thing! who, once unblest, 10
Does little on his memory rest,
Or on his reason,
And Thou would'st teach him how to find
A shelter under every wind.
A hope for times that are unkind
And every season?
Thou wander'st the wide world about,
Uncheck'd by pride or scrupulous doubt,
With friends to greet thee, or without,
Yet pleased and willing; 20
Meek, yielding to the occasion's call,
And all things suffering from all,
Thy function apostolical
In peace fulfilling.
Characteristic of a favourite Dog, which belonged
to a Friend of the Author.
On his morning rounds the Master
Goes to learn how all things fare;
Searches pasture after pasture,
Sheep and Cattle eyes with care;
And, for silence or for talk,
He hath Comrades in his walk;
Four Dogs, each pair of different breed,
Distinguished two for scent, and two for speed.
See, a Hare before him started!
—Off they fly in earnest chace; 10
Every Dog is eager-hearted,
All the four are in the race!
And the Hare whom they pursue
Hath an instinct what to do;
Her hope is near: no turn she makes;
But, like an arrow, to the River takes.
Deep the River was, and crusted
Thinly by a one night's frost;
But the nimble Hare hath trusted
To the ice, and safely crost; 20
She hath crost, and without heed
All are following at full speed,
When, lo! the ice, so thinly spread,
Breaks—and the Greyhound, DART, is over head!
Better fate have PRINCE and SWALLOW—
See them cleaving to the sport!
Music has no heart to follow,
Little Music, she stops short.
She hath neither wish nor heart.
Her's is now another part: 30
A loving Creature she, and brave!
And doth her best her struggling Friend to save.
From the brink her paws she stretches,
Very hands as you would say!
And afflicting moans she fetches,
As he breaks the ice away.
For herself she hath no fears,
Him alone she sees and hears,
Makes efforts and complainings; nor gives o'er
Until her Fellow sunk, and reappear'd no more. 40
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF THE SAME DOG.
Lie here sequester'd:—be this little mound
For ever thine, and be it holy ground!
Lie here, without a record of thy worth,
Beneath the covering of the common earth!
It is not from unwillingness to praise,
Or want of love, that here no Stone we raise;
More thou deserv'st; but this Man gives to Man,
Brother to Brother, this is all we can.
Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
Shall find thee through all changes of the year: 10
This Oak points out thy grave; the silent Tree
Will gladly stand a monument of thee.
I pray'd for thee, and that thy end were past;
And willingly have laid thee here at last:
For thou hadst liv'd, till every thing that chears
In thee had yielded to the weight of years;
Extreme old age had wasted thee away,
And left thee but a glimmering of the day;
Thy ears were deaf; and feeble were thy knees,—
saw thee stagger in the summer breeze, 20
Too weak to stand against its sportive breath,
And ready for the gentlest stroke of death.
It came, and we were glad; yet tears were shed;
Both Man and Woman wept when Thou wert dead;
Not only for a thousand thoughts that were,
Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share;
But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee,
Found scarcely any where in like degree!
For love, that comes to all; the holy sense,
Best gift of God, in thee was most intense; 30
A chain of heart, a feeling of the mind,
A tender sympathy, which did thee bind
Not only to us Men, but to thy Kind:
Yea, for thy Fellow-brutes in thee we saw
The soul of Love, Love's intellectual law:—
Hence, if we wept, it was not done in shame;
Our tears from passion and from reason came,
And, therefore, shalt thou be an honoured name!
(Intended more particularly for the Perusal of those who may have
happened to be enamoured of some beautiful Place of Retreat, in
the Country of the Lakes.)
Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye!
—The lovely Cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirr'd thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not th' Abode—oh! do not sigh,
As many do, repining while they look,
Sighing a wish to tear from Nature's Book
This blissful leaf, with worst impiety.
Think what the home would be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants!—Roof, window, door,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine:
Yea, all, that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touch'd, would melt, and melt away!
… "gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name."
Though narrow be that Old Man's cares, and near
The poor Old Man is greater than he seems:
For he hath waking empire, wide as dreams;
An ample sovereignty of eye and ear.
Rich are his walks with supernatural chear;
The region of his inner spirit teems
With vital sounds, and monitory gleams
Of high astonishment and pleasing fear.
He the seven birds hath seen that never part,
Seen the SEVEN WHISTLERS in their nightly rounds,
And counted them: and oftentimes will start—
For overhead are sweeping GABRIEL'S HOUNDS,
Doom'd, with their impious Lord, the flying Hart
To chase for ever, on aerial grounds.
High deeds, O Germans, are to come from you!
Thus in your Books the record shall be found,
"A Watchword was pronounced, a potent sound,
ARMINIUS!—all the people quaked like dew
Stirr'd by the breeze—they rose, a Nation, true,
True to itself—the mighty Germany,
She of the Danube and the Northern sea,
She rose,—and off at once the yoke she threw.
All power was given her in the dreadful trance—
Those new-born Kings she wither'd like a flame."
—Woe to them all! but heaviest woe and shame
To that Bavarian, who did first advance
His banner in accursed league with France,
First open Traitor to her sacred name!
TO THOMAS CLARKSON,
On the final passing of the Bill for the Abolition of the Slave
Trade, March, 1807.
Clarkson! it was an obstinate Hill to climb;
How toilsome, nay how dire it was, by Thee
Is known,—by none, perhaps, so feelingly;
But Thou, who, starting in thy fervent prime,
Didst first lead forth this pilgrimage sublime,
Hast heard the constant Voice its charge repeat,
Which, out of thy young heart's oracular seat,
First roused thee.—O true yoke-fellow of Time
With unabating effort, see, the palm
Is won, and by all Nations shall be worn!
The bloody Writing is for ever torn,
And Thou henceforth shalt have a good Man's calm,
A great Man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm Friend of human kind!
* * * * *
Once in a lonely Hamlet I sojourn'd
In which a Lady driv'n from France did dwell;
The big and lesser griefs, with which she mourn'd,
In friendship she to me would often tell.
This Lady, dwelling upon English ground,
Where she was childless, daily did repair
To a poor neighbouring Cottage; as I found,
For sake of a young Child whose home was there.
Once did I see her clasp the Child about,
And take it to herself; and I, next day, 10
Wish'd in my native tongue to fashion out
Such things as she unto this Child might say:
And thus, from what I knew, had heard, and guess'd,
My song the workings of her heart express'd.
"Dear Babe, thou Daughter of another,
One moment let me be thy Mother!
An Infant's face and looks are thine;
And sure a Mother's heart is mine:
Thy own dear Mother's far away,
At labour in the harvest-field: 20
Thy little Sister is at play;—
What warmth, what comfort would it yield
To my poor heart, if Thou wouldst be
One little hour a child to me!"
"Across the waters I am come,
And I have left a Babe at home:
A long, long way of land and sea!
Come to me—I'm no enemy:
I am the same who at thy side
Sate yesterday, and made a nest 30
For thee, sweet Baby!—thou hast tried.
Thou know'st, the pillow of my breast:
Good, good art thou; alas! to me
Far more than I can be to thee."
"Here little Darling dost thou lie;
An Infant Thou, a Mother I!
Mine wilt thou be, thou hast no fears;
Mine art thou—spite of these my tears.
Alas! before I left the spot,
My Baby and its dwelling-place; 40
The Nurse said to me, 'Tears should not
Be shed upon an Infant's face,
It was unlucky'—no, no, no;
No truth is in them who say so!"
"My own dear Little-one will sigh,
Sweet Babe! and they will let him die.
'He pines,' they'll say, 'it is his doom,
And you may see his hour is come.'
Oh! had he but thy chearful smiles,
Limbs stout as thine, and lips as gay, 50
Thy looks, thy cunning, and thy wiles,
And countenance like a summer's day,
They would have hopes of him—and then
I should behold his face again!"
"'Tis gone—forgotten—let me do
My best—there was a smile or two,
I can remember them, I see
The smiles, worth all the world to me.
Dear Baby! I must lay thee down;
Thou troublest me with strange alarms; 60
Smiles hast Thou, sweet ones of thy own;
I cannot keep thee in my arms,
For they confound me: as it is,
I have forgot those smiles of his."
"Oh! how I love thee! we will stay
Together here this one half day.
My Sister's Child, who bears my name,
From France across the Ocean came;
She with her Mother cross'd the sea;
The Babe and Mother near me dwell: 70
My Darling, she is not to me
What thou art! though I love her well:
Rest, little Stranger, rest thee here;
Never was any Child more dear!"
"—I cannot help it—ill intent
I've none, my pretty Innocent!
I weep—I know they do thee wrong,
These tears—and my poor idle tongue.
Oh what a kiss was that! my cheek
How cold it is! but thou art good; 80
Thine eyes are on me—they would speak,
I think, to help me if they could.
Blessings upon that quiet face,
My heart again is in its place!"
"While thou art mine, my little Love,
This cannot be a sorrowful grove;
Contentment, hope, and Mother's glee.
I seem to find them all in thee:
Here's grass to play with, here are flowers;
I'll call thee by my Darling's name; 90
Thou hast, I think, a look of ours,
Thy features seem to me the same;
His little Sister thou shalt be;
And, when once more my home I see,
I'll tell him many tales of Thee."
Or the Charge of a Child to his younger Companion.
That is work which I am rueing—
Do as Charles and I are doing!
Strawberry-blossoms, one and all,
We must spare them—here are many:
Look at it—the Flower is small,
Small and low, though fair as any:
Do not touch it! summers two
I am older, Anne, than you.
Pull the Primrose, Sister Anne!
Pull as many as you can. 10
—Here are Daisies, take your fill;
Pansies, and the Cuckow-flower:
Of the lofty Daffodil
Make your bed, and make your bower;
Fill your lap, and fill your bosom;
Only spare the Strawberry-blossom!
Primroses, the Spring may love them—
Summer knows but little of them:
Violets, do what they will,
Wither'd on the ground must lie; 20
Daisies will be daisies still;
Daisies they must live and die:
Fill your lap, and fill your bosom,
Only spare the Strawberry-blossom!
There is a change—and I am poor;
Your Love hath been, nor long ago,
A Fountain at my fond Heart's door,
Whose only business was to flow;
And flow it did; not taking heed
Of its own bounty, or my need.
What happy moments did I count!
Bless'd was I then all bliss above!
Now, for this consecrated Fount
Of murmuring, sparkling, living love,
What have I? shall I dare to tell?
A comfortless, and hidden WELL.
A Well of love—it may be deep—
I trust it is, and never dry:
What matter? if the Waters sleep
In silence and obscurity.
—Such change, and at the very door
Of my fond Heart, hath made me poor.
* * * * *
I am not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,
About Friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or Neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
And, for my chance-acquaintance, Ladies bright,
Sons, Mothers, Maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like Forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire; 10
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
By my half-kitchen my half-parlour fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle, whispering it's faint undersong.
"Yet life," you say, "is life; we have seen and see,
And with a living pleasure we describe;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.
Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and glee,
Are foster'd by the comment and the gibe." 20
Even be it so: yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true Worldlings, rank not me!
Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet,
And part far from them:—sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet;
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes
He is a Slave; the meanest we can meet!
Wings have we, and as far as we can go
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood, 30
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low:
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There do I find a never-failing store
Of personal themes, and such as I love best;
Matter wherein right voluble I am:
Two will I mention, dearer than the rest; 40
The gentle Lady, married to the Moor;
And heavenly Una with her milk-white Lamb.
Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine: for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking; rancour, never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous thought:
And thus from day to day my little Boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably. 50
Blessings be with them, and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares,
The Poets, who on earth have made us Heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.
* * * * *
Yes! full surely 'twas the Echo,
Solitary, clear, profound,
Answering to Thee, shouting Cuckoo!
Giving to thee Sound for Sound.
Whence the Voice? from air or earth?
This the Cuckoo cannot tell;
But a startling sound had birth,
As the Bird must know full well;
Like the voice through earth and sky
By the restless Cuckoo sent; 10
Like her ordinary cry,
Like—but oh how different!
Hears not also mortal Life?
Hear not we, unthinking Creatures!
Slaves of Folly, Love, or Strife,
Voices of two different Natures?
Have not We too? Yes we have
Answers, and we know not whence;
Echoes from beyond the grave,
Recogniz'd intelligence? 20
Such within ourselves we hear
Oft-times, ours though sent from far;
Listen, ponder, hold them dear;
For of God, of God they are!
TO THE SPADE OF A FRIEND, (AN AGRICULTURIST.)
Composed while we were labouring together in his Pleasure-Ground.
Spade! with which Wilkinson hath till'd his Lands,
And shap'd these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honour in my hands;
I press thee through the yielding soil with pride.
Rare Master has it been thy lot to know;
Long hast Thou serv'd a Man to reason true;
Whose life combines the best of high and low,
The toiling many and the resting few;
Health, quiet, meekness, ardour, hope secure,
And industry of body and of mind; 10
And elegant enjoyments, that are pure
As Nature is; too pure to be refined.
Here often hast Thou heard the Poet sing
In concord with his River murmuring by;
Or in some silent field, while timid Spring
Is yet uncheer'd by other minstrelsy.
Who shall inherit Thee when Death hath laid
Low in the darksome Cell thine own dear Lord?
That Man will have a trophy, humble, Spade!
More noble than the noblest Warrior's sword. 20
If he be One that feels, with skill to part
False praise from true, or greater from the less,
Thee will he welcome to his hand and heart,
Thou monument of peaceful happiness!
With Thee he will not dread a toilsome day,
His powerful Servant, his inspiring Mate!
And, when thou art past service, worn away,
Thee a surviving soul shall consecrate.
His thrift thy uselessness will never scorn;
An Heir-loom in his cottage wilt thou be:— 30
High will he hang thee up, and will adorn
His rustic chimney with the last of Thee!
SONG, AT THE FEAST OF BROUGHAM CASTLE,
Upon the RESTORATION OF LORD CLIFFORD, the SHEPHERD,
to the Estates and Honours of his Ancestors.
High in the breathless Hall the Minstrel sate.
And Emont's murmur mingled with the Song.—
The words of ancient time I thus translate,
A festal Strain that hath been silent long.
From Town to Town, from Tower to Tower,
The Red Rose is a gladsome Flower.
Her thirty years of Winter past;
The Red Rose is revived at last;
She lifts her head for endless spring,
For everlasting blossoming! 10
Both Roses flourish, Red and White.
In love and sisterly delight
The two that were at strife are blended,
And all old sorrows now are ended.—
Joy! joy to both! but most to her
Who is the Flower of Lancaster!
Behold her how She smiles to day
On this great throng, this bright array!
Fair greeting doth she send to all
From every corner of the Hall; 20
But, chiefly, from above the Board
Where sits in state our rightful Lord,
A Clifford to his own restored.
They came with banner, spear, and shield;
And it was proved in Bosworth-field.
Not long the Avenger was withstood,
Earth help'd him with the cry of blood:
St. George was for us, and the might
Of blessed Angels crown'd the right.
Loud voice the Land hath utter'd forth, 30
We loudest in the faithful North:
Our Fields rejoice, our Mountains ring,
Our Streams proclaim a welcoming;
Our Strong-abodes and Castles see
The glory of their loyalty.
How glad is Skipton at this hour
Though she is but a lonely Tower!
Silent, deserted of her best,
Without an Inmate or a Guest,
Knight, Squire, or Yeoman, Page, or Groom; 40
We have them at the Feast of Brough'm.
How glad Pendragon though the sleep
Of years be on her!—She shall reap
A taste of this great pleasure, viewing
As in a dream her own renewing.
Rejoiced is Brough, right glad I deem
Beside her little humble Stream;
And she that keepeth watch and ward
Her statelier Eden's course to guard;
They both are happy at this hour, 50
Though each is but a lonely Tower:—
But here is perfect joy and pride
For one fair House by Emont's side,
This day distinguished without peer
To see her Master and to cheer;
Him, and his Lady Mother dear.
Oh! it was a time forlorn
When the Fatherless was born—
Give her wings that she may fly,
Or she sees her Infant die! 60
Swords that are with slaughter wild
Hunt the Mother and the Child.
Who will take them from the light?
—Yonder is a Man in sight—
Yonder is a House—but where?
No, they must not enter there.
To the Caves, and to the Brooks,
To the Clouds of Heaven she looks;
She is speechless, but her eyes
Pray in ghostly agonies. 70
Blissful Mary, Mother mild,
Maid and Mother undefiled,
Save a Mother and her Child!
Now Who is he that bounds with joy
On Carrock's side, a Shepherd Boy?
No thoughts hath he but thoughts that pass
Light as the wind along the grass.
Can this be He who hither came
In secret, like a smothered flame?
O'er whom such thankful tears were shed 80
For shelter, and a poor Man's bread?
God loves the Child; and God hath will'd
That those dear words should be fulfill'd,
The Lady's words, when forc'd away,
The last she to her Babe did say,
"My own, my own, thy Fellow-guest
I may not be; but rest thee, rest,
For lowly Shepherd's life is best!"
Alas! when evil men are strong
No life is good, no pleasure long. 90
The Boy must part from Mosedale's Groves,
And leave Blencathara's rugged Coves,
And quit the Flowers that Summer brings
To Glenderamakin's lofty springs;
Must vanish, and his careless cheer
Be turned to heaviness and fear.
—Give Sir Lancelot Threlkeld praise!
Hear it, good Man, old in days!
Thou Tree of covert and of rest
For this young Bird that is distrest, 100
Among thy branches safe he lay,
And he was free to sport and play,
When Falcons were abroad for prey.
A recreant Harp, that sings of fear
And heaviness in Clifford's ear!
I said, when evil Men are strong,
No life is good, no pleasure long,
A weak and cowardly untruth!
Our Clifford was a happy Youth,
And thankful through a weary time, 110
That brought him up to manhood's prime.
—Again he wanders forth at will,
And tends a Flock from hill to hill:
His garb is humble; ne'er was seen
Such garb with such a noble mien;
Among the Shepherd-grooms no Mate
Hath he, a Child of strength and state!
Yet lacks not friends for solemn glee,
And a chearful company,
That learn'd of him submissive ways; 120
And comforted his private days.
To his side the Fallow-deer
Came, and rested without fear;
The Eagle, Lord of land and sea,
Stoop'd down to pay him fealty;
And both the undying Fish that swim
Through Bowscale-Tarn did wait on him,
The pair were Servants of his eye
In their immortality,
They moved about in open sight, 130
To and fro, for his delight.
He knew the Rocks which Angels haunt
On the Mountains visitant;
He hath kenn'd them taking wing:
And the Caves where Faeries sing
He hath entered; and been told
By Voices how Men liv'd of old.
Among the Heavens his eye can see
Face of thing that is to be;
And, if Men report him right, 140
He can whisper words of might.
—Now another day is come,
Fitter hope, and nobler doom:
He hath thrown aside his Crook,
And hath buried deep his Book;
Armour rusting in his Halls
On the blood of Clifford calls;—
"Quell the Scot," exclaims the Lance,
"Bear me to the heart of France,
Is the longing of the Shield— 150
Tell thy name, thou trembling Field;
Field of death, where'er thou be,
Groan thou with our victory!
Happy day, and mighty hour,
When our Shepherd, in his power,
Mail'd and hors'd, with lance and sword,
To his Ancestors restored,
Like a reappearing Star,
Like a glory from afar,
First shall head the Flock of War!" 160
Alas! the fervent Harper did not know
That for a tranquil Soul the Lay was framed,
Who, long compell'd in humble walks to go,
Was softened into feeling, sooth'd, and tamed.
Love had he found in huts where poor Men lie,
His daily Teachers had been Woods and Rills,
The silence that is in the starry sky,
The sleep that is among the lonely hills.
In him the savage Virtue of the Race,
Revenge, and all ferocious thoughts were dead: 170
Nor did he change; but kept in lofty place
The wisdom which adversity had bred.
Glad were the Vales, and every cottage hearth;
The Shepherd Lord was honour'd more and more:
And, ages after he was laid in earth,
"The Good Lord Clifford" was the name he bore.
Composed at GRASMERE, during a walk, one Evening, after
a stormy day, the Author having just read in a Newspaper
that the dissolution of MR. FOX was hourly expected.
Loud is the Vale! the Voice is up
With which she speaks when storms are gone,
A mighty Unison of streams!
Of all her Voices, One!
Loud is the Vale;—this inland Depth
In peace is roaring like the Sea;
Yon Star upon the mountain-top
Is listening quietly.
Sad was I, ev'n to pain depress'd,
Importunate and heavy load! 10
The Comforter hath found me here,
Upon this lonely road;
And many thousands now are sad,
Wait the fulfilment of their fear;
For He must die who is their Stay,
Their Glory disappear.
A Power is passing from the earth
To breathless Nature's dark abyss;
But when the Mighty pass away
What is it more than this, 20
That Man, who is from God sent forth,
Doth yet again to God return?—
Such ebb and flow must ever be,
Then wherefore should we mourn?
Suggested by a Picture of PEELE CASTLE, in a Storm,
painted BY SIR GEORGE BEAUMONT.
I was thy Neighbour once, thou rugged Pile!
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee:
I saw thee every day; and all the while
Thy Form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air!
So like, so very like, was day to day!
Whene'er I look'd, thy Image still was there;
It trembled, but it never pass'd away.
How perfect was the calm! it seem'd no sleep;
No mood, which season takes away, or brings: 10
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle Things.
Ah! THEN, if mine had been the Painter's hand,
To express what then I saw; and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land,
The consecration, and the Poet's dream;
I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile!
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss: 20
Thou shouldst have seem'd a treasure-house, a mine
Of peaceful years; a chronicle of heaven:—
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.
A Picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond delusion of my heart,
Such Picture would I at that time have made: 30
And seen the soul of truth in every part;
A faith, a trust, that could not be betray'd.
So once it would have been,—'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new controul:
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humaniz'd my Soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea and be what I have been:
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene. 40
Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the Friend,
If he had lived, of Him whom I deplore,
This Work of thine I blame not, but commend;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
Oh 'tis a passionate Work!—yet wise and well;
Well chosen is the spirit that is here;
That Hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear!
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves, 50
Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time,
The light'ning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.
Farewell, farewell the Heart that lives alone,
Hous'd in a dream, at distance from the Kind!
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
But welcome fortitude, and patient chear,
And frequent sights of what is to be born!
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here.—
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn. 60
Paulo majora canamus.
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it has been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The Rainbow comes and goes, 10
And lovely is the Rose,
The Moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the Birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young Lambs bound 20
As to the tabor's sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong.
The Cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep,
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the Echoes through the mountains throng,
The Winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay,
Land and sea 30
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every Beast keep holiday,
Thou Child of Joy
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd Boy!
Ye blessed Creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath it's coronal, 40
The fullness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
Oh evil day! if I were sullen
While the Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the Children are pulling,
On every side,
In a thousand vallies far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the Babe leaps up on his mother's arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear! 50
—But there's a Tree, of many one,
A single Field which I have look'd upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere it's setting, 60
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home;
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But He beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy; 70
The Youth, who daily farther from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a Mother's mind,
And no unworthy aim, 80
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.
Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
A four year's Darling of a pigmy size!
See, where mid work of his own hand he lies,
Fretted by sallies of his Mother's kisses,
With light upon him from his Father's eyes!
See, at his feet, some little plan or chart, 90
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shap'd by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral;
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
But it will not be long
Ere this be thrown aside, 100
And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part,
Filling from time to time his "humourous stage"
With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,
That Life brings with her in her Equipage;
As if his whole vocation
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thy Soul's immensity;
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep 110
Thy heritage, thou Eye among the blind,
That, deaf and silent, read'st the eternal deep,
Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,—
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find;
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the Day, a Master o'er a Slave,
A Presence which is not to be put by;
To whom the grave 120
Is but a lonely bed without the sense or sight
Of day or the warm light,
A place of thought where we in waiting lie;
Thou little Child, yet glorious in the might
Of untam'd pleasures, on thy Being's height,
Why with such earnest pains dost thou provoke
The Years to bring the inevitable yoke,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
Full soon thy Soul shall have her earthly freight,
And custom lie upon thee with a weight, 130
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
O joy! that in our embers
Is something that doth live,
That nature yet remembers
What was so fugitive!
The thought of our past years in me doth breed
Perpetual benedictions: not indeed
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether fluttering or at rest, 140
With new-born hope for ever in his breast:—
Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realiz'd,
High instincts, before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty Thing surpriz'd: 150
But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish us, and make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truths that wake,
To perish never;
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, 160
Nor Man nor Boy,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence, in a season of calm weather,
Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore. 170
Then, sing ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour 180
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind,
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be,
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering,
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And oh ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves, 190
Think not of any severing of our loves!
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquish'd one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripp'd lightly as they;
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye 200
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
NOTES to the SECOND VOLUME.
PAGE 4 (177); line 2.—"And wondrous length and strength of arm."
The people of the neighbourhood of Loch Ketterine, in order to prove
the extraordinary length of their Hero's arm, tell you that
"he could garter his Tartan Stockings below the knee when standing
upright." According to their account he was a tremendous Swordsman;
after having sought all occasions of proving his prowess, he was
never conquered but once, and this not till he was an Old Man.
PAGE 11 (185).—The solitary Reaper. This Poem was suggested by a
beautiful sentence in a MS Tour in Scotland written by a Friend, the
last line being taken from it verbatim.
PAGE 65 (239).—THE BLIND HIGHLAND BOY. The incident upon which
this Poem is founded was related to me by an eye witness.
PAGE 106 (280); line 10.—"Seen the Seven Whistlers, &c." Both these
superstitions are prevalent in the midland Counties of England: that
of "Gabriel's Hounds" appears to be very general over Europe; being
the same as the one upon which the German Poet, Burger, has founded
his Ballad of the Wild Huntsman.
PAGE 128 (302).—Song, at the Feast of Brougham Castle. Henry Lord
Clifford, &c. &c., who is the subject of this Poem, was the son of
John, Lord Clifford, who was slain at Towton Field, which John, Lord
Clifford, as is known to the Reader of English History, was the
person who after the battle of Wakefield slew, in the pursuit, the
young Earl of Rutland, Son of the Duke of York who had fallen in the
battle, "in part of revenge" (say the Authors of the History of
Cumberland and Westmorland); "for the Earl's Father had slain his."
A deed which worthily blemished the author (saith Speed); But who, as
he adds, "dare promise any thing temperate of himself in the heat of
martial fury? chiefly, when it was resolved not to leave any branch
of the York line standing; for so one maketh this Lord to speak."
This, no doubt, I would observe by the bye, was an action
sufficiently in the vindictive spirit of the times, and yet not
altogether so bad as represented; for the Earl was no child, as
some writers would have him, but able to bear arms, being sixteen or
seventeen years of age, as is evident from this (say the Memoirs of
the Countess of Pembroke, who was laudably anxious to wipe away, as
far as could be, this stigma from the illustrious name to which she
was born); that he was the next Child to King Edward the Fourth,
which his mother had by Richard Duke of York, and that King was then
eighteen years of age: and for the small distance betwixt her
Children, see Austin Vincent in his book of Nobility, page 622,
where he writes of them all. It may further be observed, that Lord
Clifford, who was then himself only twenty-five years of age, had
been a leading Man and Commander, two or three years together in the
Army of Lancaster, before this time; and, therefore, would be less
likely to think that the Earl of Rutland might be entitled to mercy
from his youth.—But, independent of this act, at best a cruel and
savage one, the Family of Clifford had done enough to draw upon them
the vehement hatred of the House of York: so that after the Battle
of Towton there was no hope for them but in flight and concealment.
Henry, the subject of the Poem, was deprived of his estate and
honours during the space of twenty-four years; all which time he
lived as a shepherd in Yorkshire, or in Cumberland, where the estate
of his Father-in-law (Sir Lancelot Threlkeld) lay. He was restored
to his estate and honours in the first year of Henry the Seventh. It
is recorded that, "when called to parliament, he behaved nobly and
wisely; but otherwise came seldom to London or the Court; and rather
delighted to live in the country, where he repaired several of his
Castles, which had gone to decay during the late troubles." Thus far
is chiefly collected from Nicholson and Burn; and I can add, from my
own knowledge, that there is a tradition current in the village of
Threlkeld and its neighbourhood, his principal retreat, that, in the
course of his shepherd life, he had acquired great astronomical
knowledge. I cannot conclude this note without adding a word upon
the subject of those numerous and noble feudal Edifices, spoken of
in the Poem, the ruins of some of which are, at this day, so great an
ornament to that interesting country. The Cliffords had always been
distinguished for an honorable pride in these Castles; and we have
seen that after the wars of York and Lancaster they were rebuilt; in
the civil Wars of Charles the First, they were again laid waste, and
again restored almost to their former magnificence by the celebrated
Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, &c. &c. Not more than 25
years after this was done, when the Estates of Clifford had passed
into the family of Tufton, three of these Castles, namely Brough,
Brougham, and Pendragon, were demolished, and the timber and other
materials sold by Thomas Earl of Thanet. We will hope that, when
this order was issued, the Earl had not consulted the text of Isaiah,
58th Chap. 12th Verse, to which the inscription placed over the
gate of Pendragon Castle, by the Countess of Pembroke (I believe his
Grandmother) at the time she repaired that structure, refers the
reader. "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste
places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and
thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of
paths to dwell in." The Earl of Thanet, the present possessor of
the Estates, with a due respect for the memory of his ancestors, and
a proper sense of the value and beauty of these remains of antiquity,
has (I am told) given orders that they shall be preserved from all
PAGE 130 (304); line 2.—"Earth helped him with the cry of blood."
This line is from The Battle of Bosworth Field by Sir John Beaumont
(Brother to the Dramatist), whose poems are written with so much
spirit, elegance, and harmony, that it is supposed, as the Book is
very scarce, a new edition of it would be acceptable to Scholars and
Men of taste, and, accordingly, it is in contemplation to give one.
PAGE 135 (309); line 15.—
"And both the undying Fish that swim
Through Bowscale-Tarn," &c.
It is imagined by the people of the Country that there are two
immortal Fish, Inhabitants of this Tarn, which lies in the mountains
not far from Threlkeld.—Blencathara, mentioned before, is the old
and proper name of the mountain vulgarly called Saddle-back.
PAGE 136 (310); lines 17 and 18.—
"Armour rusting in his Halls
On the blood of Clifford calls."
The martial character of the Cliffords is well known to the readers
of English History; but it may not be improper here to say, by way of
comment on these lines and what follows, that, besides several
others who perished in the same manner, the four immediate
Progenitors of the person in whose hearing this is supposed to be
spoken, all died in the Field.
PAGE 140 (314).—
"Importunate and heavy load!"
* * * * *
'Importuna e grave salma.'
END OF THE SECOND VOLUME.