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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
Surpassing the most fair ideal forms
My heart in genuine freedom :-all pure thoughts Which craft of delicate spirits hath composed Be with me ;--so shall thy unfailing love From earth's materials—waits upon my steps ; Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end !” Pitches her tents before me as I move, An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves Elysian, fortunate fields—like those of old Sought in th’ Atlantic main, why should they be A history only of departed things,
WILLIAM, EARL OF LONSDALE, K. G. &c. &c. Or fiction of what never was
OFT, through thy fair domains, illustrious peer! For the discerning intelleet of man,
In youth I roam'd, on youthful pleasures bent; When wedded to this goodly universe
And mused in rocky cell or sylvan tent, In love and holy passion, shall find these
Beside swift-flowing Lowther's current clear. A simple produce of the common day.
-Now, by thy care befriended, I appear --1, long before the blissful hour arrives,
Before thee, Lonsdale, and this work present, Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
A token (may it prove a monument!) Of this great consummation ;-and, by words
Of high respect and gratitude sincere. Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
Gladly would I have waited till my task Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep
Had reached its close; but life is insecure, Of death, and win the vacant and the vain
Aud hope full oft fallacious as a dream: To noble raptures; while my voice proclaims
Therefore, for what is here produced I ask How exquisitely the individual mind
Thy favour; trusting that thou wilt not deem (And the progressive powers perhaps no less
The offering, though imperfect, premature. Of the whole species) to the external world
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. Is fitted ;- and how exquisitely, too,
Rydal Mount, Westmoreland,
July 29, 1814.
A summer forenoon. The author reaches a ruined cottage And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
upon a common, and there meets with a revered friend Of madding passions mutually inflamed;
the Wanderer, of whom he gives an account. TheWan. Must hear humanity in fields and groves
derer while resting under the shade of the trees that Pipe solitary anguish ; or must hang
surround the collage relates the history of its last inhaBrooding above the fierce confederate storm
'Twas summer, and the sun had mounted high : The human soul* of universal earth,
Southward the landscape indistinctly glared Dreaming on things to come; and dost possess Through a pale steam: but all the northern downs, A metropolitan temple in the hearts
In clearest air ascending, show'd far off Of mighty poets ; upon me bestow
A surface dappled o'er with shadows Aung A gift of genuine insight; that my song
From brooding clouds : shadows that lay in spots With star-like virtue in its place may shine ; Determined and unmoved, with steady beams Shedding benignant influence,-and secure, Of bright and pleasant sunshine interposed ; Itself, from all malevolent effect
Pleasant to him who on the soft cool moss Of those mutations that extend their sway
Extends his careless limbs along the front Throughout the nether sphere !-And if with this
Of some huge cave, whose rocky ceiling casts I mix more lowly matter, with the thing
A twilight ot its own, an ample shade, Contemplated, describe the mind and man
Where the wien warbles ; while the dreaming man, Contemplating, and who, and what he was, Half conscious of the soothing melody, The transitory being that beheld
With sidelong eye looks out upon the scene, This vision,-when and where, and how he lived ;-By power of that impending covert thrown Be not this labour useless. If such theme
To finer distance. Other lot was mine; May sort with highest objects, then, dread power,
Yet with good hope that soon I should obtain Whose gracious favour is the primal source
As grateful resting-place, and livelier joy. Of all illumination, may my life
Across a bare wide common I was toiling Express the image of a better time,
With languid steps that by the slippery ground More wise desires, and simpler manners ;-nurse Were baffled ; nor could my weak arm disperse
The host of insects gathering round my face, Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
And ever with me as I paced along.
Upon that open level stood a grove,
Thither I came, and there, amid the gloom His graces unreveal'd and unproclaim'd.
But, as the mind was fill'd with inward light,
So not without distinction had he lived,
And some small portion of his eloquent speech, Him whom I sought; a man of reverend age, And something that may serve to set in view But stout and hale, for travel unimpair'd.
The feeling pleasures of his loneliness, There was he seen upon the cottage bench, His observations, and the thoughts his mind Recumbent in the shade, as if asleep ;
Had dealt with I will here record in verse ;
Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
And listening time reward with sacred praise. Detain'd for contemplation or repose,
Among the hills of Athol he was born;
His parents, with their numerous offspring, dwelt;
Pure livers were they all, austere and grave, At such unthought of meeting.–For the night And fearing God; the very children taught We parted, nothing willingly; and now
Stern self-respect, a reverence for God's word, He by appointment waited for me here,
And an habitual piety, maintain'd Beneath the shelter of these clustering elms. With strictness scarcely known on English ground.
We were tried friends : amid a pleasant vale, From his sixth year, the boy of whom I speak,
Of long-continuing winter, he repair'd,
Sole building on a mountain's dreary edge,
Remote from view of city spire, or sound For my grave looks—too thoughtful for my years. Of minster clock! From that bleak tenement As I grew up, it was my best delight
He, many an evening, to his distant home To be his chosen comrade. Many a time,
In solitude returning, saw the hills On holydays, we rambled through the woods : Grow larger in the darkness, all alone We sate—we walk'd; he pleased me with report Beheld the stars come out above his head, Of things which he had seen ; and often touch'd And travell'd through the wood, with no one near Abstrusest matter, reasonings of the mind
To whom he might confess the things he saw. Turn’d inward; or at my request would sing So the foundations of his mind were laid. Old songs—the product of his native hills ; In such communion, not from terror free, A skilful distribution of sweet sounds,
While yet a child, and long before his time, Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed
He had perceived the presence and the power As cool, refreshing water by the care
Of greatness; and deep feelings had impressid
To haunt the bodily sense. He had received
With these impressions would he still compare 0! many are the poets that are sown
All his remembrances, thoughts, shapes, and forms; By nature; men endow'd with highest gifts, And, being still unsatisfied with aught The vision and the faculty divine;
Of dimmer character, he thence attain'd
An active power to fasten images
The liveliness of dreams. Nor did he fail,
While yet a child, with a child's eagerness Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame,)
Incessantly to turn his ear and eye
To feed such appetite: nor this alone
Or from the power of a peculiar eye,
Or by predominance of thought oppress’d,
O then how beautiful, how bright appear'd E'en in their fix'd and steady lineaments
The written promise! Early had he learn’d He traced an ebbing and a flowing mind,
To reverence the volume that displays
The mystery, the life which cannot die ;
But in the mountains did he feel his faith.
Breathed immortality, revolving life, And many a legend, peopling the dark woods, And greatness still revolving; infinite; Nourish'a imagination in her growth,
There littleness was not; the least of things And gave the mind that apprehensive power Seem'd infinite; and there his spirit shaped By which she is made quick to recognise
Her prospects, nor did he believe,-he saw. The moral properties and scope of things.
What wonder if his being thus became But eagerly he read, and read again,
Sublime and comprehensive! Low desires, Whate'er the minister's old shelf supplied ; Low thoughts had there no place; yet was his heart The life and death martyrs, who sustain'd, Lowly ; for he was meek in gratitude, With will inflexible, those fearful pangs
Oft as he call'd those ecstasies to mind, Triumphantly display'd in records left
And whence they flow'd ; and from them he acquired Of persecution, and the covenant-times
Wisdom, which works through patience; thence Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour !
he learn'a And there, by lucky hap, had been preserved In oft-recurring hours of sober thought A straggling volume, torn and incomplete,
To look on nature with a humble heart, That left half told the preternatural tale,
Self-question'd where it did not understand, Romance of giants, chronicle of fiends,
And with a superstitious eye of love. Profuse in garniture of wooden cuts
So pass'd the time; yet to the nearest town Strange and uncouth ; dire faces, figures dire, He duly went with what small overplus Sharp-kneed, sharp-elbow'd, and lean-ankled too, His earnings might supply, and brought away With long and ghostly shanks-forms which once The book that most had tempted his desires
While at the stall he read. Among the bills
He gazed upon that mighty orb of song,
The divine Milton. Lore of different kind,
The annual savings of a toilsome life, Was wanting yet the pure delight of love
His schoolmaster supplied : books that explain By sound diffused, or by the breathing air, The purer elements of truth involved Or by the silent looks of happy things,
In lines and numbers, and, by charm severe, Or flowing from the universal face
(Especially perceived where nature droops Of earth and sky. But he had felt the power And feeling is suppressa) preserve the mind Of nature, and already was prepared,
Busy in solitude and poverty. By his intense conceptions, to receive
These occupations oftentimes deceived Deeply the lesson deep of love which he,
The listless hours, while in the hollow vale, Whom nature, by whatever means, has taught Hollow and green, he lay on the green turf To feel intensely, cannot but receive.
In pensive idleness. What could he do, Such was the boy—but for the growing youth Thus daily thirsting, in that lonesome life, What soul was his, when, from the naked top With blind endeavours? Yet still uppermost, Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
Nature was at his heart as if he felt, Rise up, and bathe the world in light! He look'd- Though yet he knew not how, a wasting power Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth
In all things that from her sweet influence And ocean's liquid mass, beneath him lay
Might tend to wean him. Therefore with her hues, In gladness and deep joy. The clouds were touch'd, Her forms, and with the spirit of her forms, And in their silent faces did he read
He clothed the nakedness of austere truth. Unutterable love. Sound needed none,
While yet he linger'd in the rudiments Nor any voice of joy ; his spirit drank
Of science, and among her simplest laws, The spectacle; sensation, soul, and form,
His triangles—they were the stars of heaven, All melted into him ; they swallow'd up
The silent stars! Oft did he take delight His animal being ; in them did he live,
To measure the altitude of some small crag And by them did he live; they were his life. That is the eagle's birthplace, or some peak In such access of mind, in
Familiar with forgotten years, that shows
Inscribed, as with the silence of the thought,
And thus before his eighteenth year was told,
A herdsman on the lonely mountain tops, By nature, by the turbulence subdued Such intercourse was his, and in this sort
Of his own mind ; by mystery and hope, Was his existence oftentimes possess'd.
And the first virgin passion of a soul
Communing with the glorious universe.
Their manners, their enjoyments and pursuits, Full often wish'd he that the winds might rage Their passions and their feelings; chiefly those When they were silent; far more fondly now Essential and eternal in the heart, Than in his earlier season did he love
That, mid the simpler forms of rural life, Tempestuous nights—the conflict and the sounds Exist more simple in their elements, That live in darkness :—from his intellect
And speak a plainer language. In the woods, And from the stillness of abstracted thought A lone enthusiast, and among the fields, He ask'd repose; and, failing oft to win
Itinerant in this labour, he had pass'd The peace required, he scann'd the laws of light The better portion of his time, and there Amid the roar of torrents, where they send Spontaneously had his affections thriven From hollow clefts up to the clearer air
Amid the bounties of the year, the peace
And liberty of nature ; there he kept
His mind in a just equipoise of love.
Serene it was, unclouded by the cares
No wild varieties of joy and grief.
His heart lay open ; and, by nature tuned
And all that was endured; for in himself
Happy, and quiet in his cheerfulness,
He had no painful pressure from without
With coward fears. He could afford to suffer A task he was unable to perform.
With those whom he saw suffer. Hence it came That stern yet kindly spirit, who constrains That in our best experience he was rich, The Savoyard to quit his naked rocks
And in the wisdom of our daily life. The freeborn Swiss to leave his narrow vales, (Spirit attach'd to regions mountainous
“ We learn from Cæsar and other Roman writers, that Like their own steadfast clouds,) did now impel
the travelling merchants who frequented Gaul and other His restless mind to look abroad with hope.
barbarous countries, either newly conquered by the Roman An irksome drudgery seems it to plod on,
arms, or bordering on the Roman conquests, were ever the
first to make the inhabitants of those countries familiarly Through hot and dusty ways, or pelting storm, acquainted with the Roman modes of life, and to inspire A vagrant merchant bent beneath his load! them with an inclination to follow the Roman fashions, Yet do such travellers find their own delight; and to enjoy Roman conveniencies. In North America, And their hard service, deem'd debasing now,
travelling merchants from the seulements have done and Gain'd merited respect in simpler times;
continue to do much more toward civilizing the Indian When squire, and priest, and they who round them who have ever been sent among them.
natives, than all the missionaries, Papist or Protestani, dwelt
“ It is farther to be observed, for the credit of this most In rustic sequestration all dependent
useful class of men, that they commonly contribute, by Upon the pedlar's toil-supplied their wants,
their personal manners, no less than by the sale of their Or pleased their fancies with the wares he brought. wares, to the refinement of the people among whom they
travel. Their dealings form them to great quickness of Not ignorant was the youth that still no few
wit and acuteness of judgment. Having constant occaOf his adventurous countrymen were led
sion to recommend themselves and their goods, they acBy perseverance in this track of life
quire habits of the most obliging attention and the most To competence and ease ;--for him it bore insinuating address. As in their peregrinations they have Attractions manifold ;-and this he chose.
opportunity of contemplating the manners of various men His parents on the enterprise bestow'd
and various cities, they become eminently skilled in the
knowledge of the world. As they wander, cach alone, Their farewell benediction, but with hearts
through thinly-inhabited districts, they form habits of reForeboding evil. From his native hills
flection and of sublime contemplation. With all these He wander'd far; much did he see of men,* qualifications, no wonder, that they should often be, in
remote parts of the country, the best mirrors of fashion, * At the risk of giving a shock to the prejudices of arti- and censors of manners: and should contribute much to ficial society, I have ever been ready to pay homage to the polish the roughness, and soften the rusticity of our pea. aristocracy of nature ; under a conviction that vigorous santry. It is not more than twenty or thirty years, since a human-heartedness is the constituent principle of true young man going from any part of Scotland to England, laste. It may still, however, be satisfactory to have prose of purpose to carry the pack, was considered, as going to testimony how far a character, employed for purposes lead the life, and acquire the fortune of a gentleman. of imagination, is founded upon general fact. I, therefore, When, after twenty years' absence, in that honourable subjoin an extract from an author who had opportunities line of employment, he returned with his acquisitions 10 of being well acquainted with a class of men, from whom his native country, he was regarded as a gentleman to all my own personal knowledge imboldened me to draw this intents and purposes.”-Heron's Journey in Scotland, portrait
vol. i. p. 89.
For hence, minutely, in his various rounds, Upon that cottage bench reposed his limbs,
Screen'd from the sun. Supine the wanderer lay, Of many minds, of minds and bodies too
His eyes as if in drowsiness half shut, The history of many families,
The shadows of the breezy elms above How they had prosper'd ; how they were o'er- Dappling his face. He had not heard the sound thrown
Of my approaching steps, and in the shade By passion or mischance ; or such misrule Unnoticed did I stand, some minutes' space. Among the unthinking masters of the earth At length I hail'd him, seeing that his hat As makes the nations groan.--This active course
Was moist with water-drops, as if the brim He follow'd till provision for his wants
Had newly scoop'd a running stream. He rose, Had been obtain'd ;-the wanderer then resolved
And ere our lively greeting into peace
My lips are parch'd with thirst, but you, it seems, His calling laid aside, he lived at ease.
Have somewhere found relief.” He, at the word, But still he loved to pace the public roads
Pointing towards a sweet-brier, bade me climb And the wild paths; and by the summer's warmth The fence where that aspiring shrub look'd out Invited, often would he leave his home
Upon the public way. It was a plot And journey far, revisiting the scenes
Of garden ground run wild, its matted weeds That to his memory were most endear'd.
Mark'd with the steps of those, whom, as they Vigorous in health, of hopeful spirits, undamp'd
pass’d, By worldly-mindedness or anxious care ;
The gooseberry trees that shot in long lank slips, Observant, studious, thoughtful, and refresh'd Or currants, hanging from their leafless stems By knowledge gather'd up from day to day ;
In scanty strings, had tempted to o'erleap Thus had he lived a long and innocent life.
The broken wall. I look'd around, and there, The Scottish church, both on himself and those
Where too tall hedge-rows of thick alder boughs With whom from childhood he grew up, had held
Join'd in a cold, damp nook, espied a well The strong hand of her purity; and still
Shrouded with willow nowers and plumy fern. Had watch'd him with an unrelenting eye.
My thirst I slaked, and from the cheerless spot This he remember'd in his riper age
Withdrawing, straightway to the shade return'd With gratitude, and reverential thoughts.
Where sate the old man on the cottage bench ; But by the native vigour of his mind,
And, while beside him, with uncover'd head,
I yet was standing, freely to respire,
Thus did he speak. “ I see around me here
Things which you cannot see: we die, my friend, Was melted all away: so true was this,
Nor we alone, but that which each man loved That sometimes his religion seem'd to me
And prized in his peculiar nook of earth Self-taught, as of a dreamer in the woods ; Dies with him, or is changed; and very soon Who to the model of his own pure heart
Even of the good is no memorial left.Shaped his belief as grace divine inspired,
The poets, in their elegies and songs Or human reason dictated with awe.
Lamenting the departed, call the groves, And surely never did there live on earth
They call upon the hills and streams to mourn, A man of kindlier nature. The rough sports And senseless rocks ; nor idly ; for they speak, And teasing ways of children vex'd not him ; In these their invocations, with a voice Indulgent listener was he to the tongue
Obedient to the strong creative power
More tranquil, yet perhaps of kindred birth,
That steal upon the meditative mind,
And grow with thought. Beside yon spring I stood, Such as might suit a rustic sire, prepared
And eyed its waters till we seem'd to feel For Sabbath duties; yet he was a man
One sadness, they and I. For them a bond Whom no one could have pass'd without remark. Of brotherhood is broken : time has been Active and nervous was his gait ; his limbs When, every day, the touch of human hand And his whole figure breathed intelligence. Dislodged the natural sleep that binds them up Time had compress'd the freshness of his cheek In mortal stillness; and they minister'd Into a narrower circle of deep red,
To human comfort. Stooping down to drink, But had not tamed his eye ; that, under brows Upon the slimy footstone I espied Shaggy and gray, had meanings which it brought The useless fragment of a wooden bowl, From years of youth ; which, like a being made Green with the moss of years, and subject only Of many beings, he had wondrous skill
To the soft handling of the elements : To blend with knowledge of the years to come, There let the relic lie--fond thought-vain words : Human, or such as lie beyond the grave.
Forgive them ;-never-never did my steps
Approach this door but she who dwelt within So was he framed ; and such his course of life A daughter's welcome gave me, and I loved her Who now, with no appendage but a staff,
As my own child. O, sir ! the good die first, The prized memorial of relinquish'd toils,
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust