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Burn to the socket. Many a passenger

Had fill'd with plenty, and possess'd in peace, Hath bless'd poor Margaret for her gentle looks, This lonely cottage. At his door he stood, When she upheld the cool refreshment drawn And whistled many a snatch of merry tunes From that forsaken spring: and no one came That had no mirth in them; or with his knife But he was welcome; no one went away

Carved uncouth figures on the heads of sticksBut that it seem'd she loved him. She is dead, Then, not less idly, sought, through every nook The light extinguish'd of her lonely hut,

In house or garden, any casual work The hut itself abandon’d to decay,

Of use or ornament; and with a strange, And she forgotten in the quiet grave!

Amusing, yet uneasy novelty, “I speak," continued he,“ of one whose stock He blended, where he might, the various tasks Of virtues bloom'd beneath this lowly roof. Of summer, autumn, winter, and the spring. She was a woman of a steady mind,

But this endured not ; his good humour soon Tender and deep in her excess of love,

Became a weight in which no pleasure was : Not speaking much, pleased rather with the joy And poverty brought on a petted mood Of her own thoughts : by some especial care And a sore temper : day by day he droop'd, Her temper had been framed, as if to make And he would leave his work and to the town, A being-who by adding love to peace

Without an errand, would direct his steps Might live on earth a life of happiness.

Or wander here and there among the fields. Her wedded partner lack'd not on his side One while he would speak lightly of his babes, The humble worth that satisfied her heart : And with a cruel tongue : at other times Frugal, affectionate, sober, and withal

He toss'd them with a false unnatural joy: Keenly industrious. She with pride would tell And 'twas a rueful thing to see the looks That he was often seated at his loom,

Of the poor, innocent children. Every smile,' In summer, ere the mower was abroad

Said Margaret to me, here beneath these trees, Among the dewy grass,-in early spring,

Made my heart bleed.'” Ere the last star had vanishd.—They who pass'd

At this the wanderer paused; At evening, from behind the garden fence And, looking up to those enormous elms, Might hear his busy spade, which he would ply, He said, “ 'Tis now the hour of deepest noon.After his daily work, until the light

At this still season of repose and peace,
Had fail'd, and every leaf and flower were lost This hour when all things which are not at rest
In the dark hedges. So their days were spent Are cheerful; while this multitude of flies
In peace and comfort; and a pretty boy

Is filling all the air with melody ;
Was their best hope,-next to the God in heaven. Why should a tear be in an old man's eye?

“ Not twenty years ago, but you I think Why should we thus, with an untoward mind,
Can scarcely bear it now in mind, there came And in the weakness of humanity,
Two blighting seasons, when the fields were left From natural wisdom turn our hearts away,
With half a harvest. It pleased Heaven to add To natural comfort shut out eyes and ears,
A worse affliction in the plague of war;

And, feeding on disquiet, thus disturb This happy land was stricken to the heart ! The calm of nature with our restless thoughts ?” A wanderer then among the cottages 1, with my freight of winter raiment, saw He spake with somewhat of a solemn tone: The hardships of that season; many rich

But, when he ended, there was in his face Sank down, as in a dream, among the poor ; Such easy cheerfulness, a look so mild, And of the poor did many cease to be,

That for a little time it stole away And their place knew them not. Meanwhile, All recollection, and that simple tale abridged

Pass'd from my mind like a forgotten sound. Of daily comforts, gladly reconciled

Awhile on trivial things we held discourse, To numerous self-denials, Margaret

To me soon tasteless. In my own despite, Went struggling on through those calamitous years I thought of that poor woman as of one With cheerful hope, until the second autumn, Whom I had known and loved. He had rehearsed When her life's helpmate on a sick-bed lay, Her homely tale with such familiar power, Smitten with perilous fever. In disease

With such an active countenance, an eye He linger'd long: and when his strength return'd, So busy, that the things of which he spake He found the little he had stored, to meet

Seem'd present; and attention now relax'd, The hour of accident or crippling age,

A heartfelt chillness crept along my veins. Was all consumed. A second infant now

I rose ; and, having left the breezy shade, Was added to the troubles of a time

Stood drinking comfort from the warmer sun, Laden, for them and all of their degree,

That had not cheer'd me long-ere, looking round With care and sorrow : shoals of artisans

Upon that tranquil ruin, I return'd, From ill requitted labour turn'd adrift,

And begg'd of the old man that, for my sake, Sought daily bread from public charity,

He would resume his story. They, and their wives and children-happier far

He replied, Could they have lived as do the little birds “ It were a wantonness, and would demand That peck along the hedge-rows, or the kite Severe reproof, if we were men whose hearts That makes her dwelling on the mountain rocks ! Could hold vain dalliance with the misery

“ A sad reverse it was for him who long Even of the dead : contented thence to draw

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A momentary pleasure, never mark'd

With tender cheerfulness; and with a voice By reason, barren of all future good.

That seem'd the very sound of happy thoughts. But we have known that there is often found

“ I roved o'er many a hill and many a dale, In mournful thoughts, and always might be found, With my accustom'd load ; in heat and cold, A power to virtue friendly: were 't not so, Through many a wood, and many an open ground, I am a dreamer among men, indeed,

In sunshine and in shade, in wet and fair, An idle dreamer ! 'tis a common tale,

Drooping or blithe of heart, as might befall; An ordinary sorrow of man's life,

My best companions now the driving winds, A tale of silent suffering, hardly clothed

And now the trotting brooks’and whispering trees, In bodily form. But without further bidding And now the music of my own sad steps, I will proceed.

With many a shortlived thought that pass'd be“While thus it fared with them,

tween, To whom this cottage, till those hapless years, And disappear'd.— I journey'd back this way, Had been a blessed home, it was my chance When, in the warmth of midsummer, the wheat To travel in a country far remote ;

Was yellow: and the soft and bladed grass, And when these lofty elms once more appear'd, Springing afresh, had o'er the hay-field spread What pleasant expectations lured me on

Its tender verdure. At the door arrived,
O'er the flat common S-With quick step I reach'd I found that she was absent. In the shade,
The threshold, lifted with light hand the latch; Where now we sit, I waited her return.
But, when I enter'd, Margaret look'd at me Her cottage, then a cheerful object, wore
A little while ; then turn'd her head away Its customary look,-only, it seem'd,
Speechless,--and, sitting down upon a chair, The honeysuckle, crowding round the porch,
Wept bitterly. I wist not what to do,

Hung down in heavier tufts : and that bright weed,
Nor how to speak to her. Poor wretch ! at last The yellow stonecrop, suffer'd to take root
She rose from off her seat, and then,- sir ! Along the window's edge, profusely grew,
I cannot tell how she pronounced my name : Blinding the lower panes. I turn'd aside,
With fervent love, and with a face of grief, And stroll'd into her garden. It appear'd
Unutterably helpless, and a look

To lag behind the season, and had lost That seem'd to cling upon me, she inquired Its pride of neatness. Daisy flowers and thrift If I had seen her husband. As she spake

Had broken their trim lines, and straggled o’er A strange surprise and fear came to my heart, The paths they used to deck :-carnations, once Nor had I power to answer ere she told

Prized for surpassing beauty, and no less That he had disappear'd-not two months gone. For the peculiar pains they had required, He left his house : two wretched days had past, Declined their languid heads, wanting support. And on the third, as wistfully she raised

The cuinbrous bindweed, with its wreaths and Her head from off her pillow, to look forth,

bells, Like one in trouble, for returning light,

Had twined about her two small rows of pease, Within her chamber casement she espied

And dragg'd them to the earth.-Ere this an hour A folded paper, lying as if placed

Was wasted.-Back I turn'd my restless steps ; To meet her waking eyes. This tremblingly A stranger pass'd ; and, guessing whom I sought, She open'd--found no writing, but beheld

He said that she was used to ramble far. Pieces of money carefully enclosed,

The sun was sinking in the west ; and now Silver and gold. I shudder'd at the sight,' I sate with sad impatience. From within Said Margaret, for I knew it was his hand Her solitary infant cried aloud ; Which placed it there : and ere that day was ended, Then, like a blast that dies away self-still’d, That long and anxious day! I learn'd from one The voice was silent. From the bench I rose; Sent hither by my husband to impart

But neither could divert nor soothe my thoughts.
The heavy news,-that he had join'd a troop The spot, though fair, was very desolate-
Of soldicrs, going to a distant land.

The longer I remaind more desolate
He left me thus—he could not gather heart And, looking round me, now I first observed
To take a farewell of me; for he fear'd

The corner-stones, on either side the porch, That I should follow with my babes, and sink With dull red stains discolour'd and stuck o'er Beneath the misery of that wandering life.' With tufts and hairs of wool, as if the sheep

“ This tale did Margaret tell with many tears : That fed upon the common, thither came And, when she ended, I had little power

Familiarly; and found a couching-place To give her comfort, and was glad to take Even at her threshold. Deeper shadows fell Such words of hope from her own mouth as served From these tall elms ;-the cottage clock struck To cheer us both:—but long we had not talk'd

eight:Ere we built up a pile of better thoughts

I turn'd, and saw her distant a few steps. And with a brighter eye she look'd around Her face was pale and thin-her figure, too, As if she had been shedding tears of joy.

Was changed. As she unlock'd the door, she said, We parted.—'Twas the time of early spring; • It grieves me you have waited here so long, I left her busy with her garden tools ;

But, in good truth, I've wander'd much of late, And well remember, o'er that fence she look'd, And, sometimes—to my shame I speak-have need And, while I paced along the footway path, Of my best prayers to bring me back again.' Call'd out, and sent a blessing after me,

While on thc board she spread our evening meal,

She told meminterrupting not the work

The floor was neither dry nor neat, the hearth Which gave employment to her listless hands Was comfortless, and her small lot of books, That she had parted with her elder child;

Which in the cottage window, heretofore To a kind master on a distant farm

Had been piled up against the corner panes
Now happily apprenticed.— I perceive

In seemly order, now, with straggling leaves
You look at me, and you have cause; to-day Lay scatter'd here and there, open or shut,
· I have been travelling far; and many days As they had chanced to fall. Her infant babe
About the fields I wander, knowing this

Had from its mother caught the trick of grief,
Only, that what I seek I cannot find;

And sigh'd among its playthings. Once again
And so I waste my time : for I am changed ; I turn'd towards the garden gate, and saw,
And to myself,' said she,' have done much wrong More plainly still, that poverty and grief
And to this helpless infant. I have slept

Were now come nearer to her: weeds defaced Weeping, and weeping have I waked ; my tears The harden'd soil, and knots of wither'd grass : Have flow'd as if my body were not such

No ridges there appeard of clear, black mould, As others are ; and I could never die.

No winter greenness ; of her herbs and flowers, But I am now in mind and in my heart

It seem'd the better part were gnaw'd away More easy, and I hope,' said she, 'that God Or trampled into earth ; a chain of straw, Will give me patience to endure the things Which had been twined about the slender stem Which I behold at home. It would have grieved of a young apple tree, lay at its root, Your very soul to see her; sir, I feel

The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep. The story linger in my heart; I fear

Margaret stood near, her infant in her arms, 'Tis long and tedious; but my spirit clings And noting that my eye was on the tree, To that poor woman :-so familiarly

She said, 'I fear it will be dead and gone Do I perceive her manner, and her look

Ere Robert come again.' Towards the house
And presence,
and so deeply do I feel

Together we return'd; and she inquired
Her goodness, that, not seldom, in my walks If I had any hope :--but for her babe
A momentary trance comes over me;

And for her little orphan boy, she said,
And to myself I seem to muse on one

She had no wish to live, that she must die By sorrow laid asleep :-or borne away,

Of sorrow. Yet I saw the idle loom A human being destined to awake

Still in its place; his Sunday garments hung To human life, or something very near

Upon the selfsame nail ; his very staff To human life, when he shall come again

Stood undisturb'd behind the door. And when, For whom she suffer'd. Yes, it would have grieved in bleak December, I retraced this way, Your very soul to see her: evermore

She told me that her little babe was dead, Her eyelids droop'd, her eyes were downward cast; And she was left alone. She now, released And, when she at her table gave me food,

From her maternal cares, had taken up She did not look at me. Her voice was low, Th’employment common through these wilds, and Her hody was subdued. In every act

gain'd, Pertaining to her house affairs, appear’d

By spinning hemp, a pittance for herself; The careless stillness of a thinking mind

And for this end had hired a neighbour's boy
Self occupied ; to which all outward things To give her needful help. That very time
Are like an idle matter. Still she sigh’d,

Most willingly she put her work aside,
But yet no motion of the breast was seen, And walk'd with me along the miry road,
No heaving of the heart. While by the tire Heedless how far; and in such piteous sort
We sate together, sighs came on my ear,

That any heart had ached to hear her, begg'd
I knew not how, and hardly whence they came. That, wheresoe'er I went, I still would ask
“ Ere my departure, to her care I gave,

For him whom she had lost. We parted thenFor her son's use, some tokens of regard,

Our final parting; for from that time forth
Which with a look of welcome she received ; Did many seasons pass ere I return'd
And I exhorted her to place her trust

Into this track again.
In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer.

“ Nine tedious years; I took my staff, and when I kiss'd her babe From their first separation, nine long years, The tears stood in her eyes. I left her then She linger'd in unquiet widowhood; With the best hope and comfort I could give; A wife and widow. Needs must it have been She thank'd me for my wish ;-but for my hope A sore heart-wasting! I have heard, my friend, Methought, she did not thank me.

That in yon arbour oftentimes she sate

“ I return’d, Alone, through half the vacant Sabbath day ; And took my rounds along this road again

And, a dog pass'd by, she still would quit Ere on its sunny bank the primrose flower The shade, and look abroad. On this old bench Peep'd forth, to give an earnest of the spring. For hours she sate ; and evermore her eye I found her sad and drooping; she had learn'd Was busy in the distance, shaping things No tidings of her husband; if he lived,

That made her heart beat quick. You see that path, She knew not that he lived ; if he were dead, Now faint,-the grass has crept o'er its gray line She knew not he was dead. She seem'd the same There, to and fro, she paced through many a day In person and appearance ; but her house

Of the warm summer, from a belt of hemp Bespake a sleepy hand of negligence ;

That girt her waist, spinning the long-drawn thread

ARGUMENT.

With backward steps. Yet ever as there pass'd To fall upon us, while, beneath the trees,
A man whose garments show'd the soldier's red, We sate on that low bench : and now we felt,
Or crippled mendicant in sailor's garb,

Admonish'd thus, the sweet hour coming on.
The little child who sate to turn the wheel A linnet warbled from those lofty elms,
Ceased from his task; and she with faltering voice A thrush sang loud, and other melodies,
Made many a fond inquiry; and when they, At distance heard, peopled the milder air.
Whose presence gave no comfort, were gone by, The old man rose, and, with a sprightly mien
Her heart was still more sad. And by yon gate, Of hopeful preparation, grasp'd his staff:
That bars the traveller's road, she often stood, Together casting then a farewell look
And when a stranger horseman came, the latch Upon those silent walls, we left the shade ;
Would lift, and in his face look wistfully: And, ere the stars were visible, had reach'd
Most happy, if, from aught discovered there A village inn,-our evening resting place.
Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat
The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor hut
Sank to decay: for he was gone, whose hand,

BOOK II.
At the first nipping of October frost,
Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of straw

THE SOLITARY.
Checker'd the green-grown thatch. And so she

lived Through the long winter, reckless and alone;

The author describes his travels with the wanderer,

whose character is further illustrated. Morning scene, Until the house by frost, and thaw, and rain,

and view of a village wake. Wanderer's account of Was sapp'd; and while she slept, the nightly damps a friend whom he purposes to visit. View, from an Did chill her breast: and in the stormy day

eminence, of the valley which his friend had chosen Her tatter'd clothes were ruffled by the wind; for his retreat. Feelings of the author at the sight of E'en at the side of her own fire. Yet still

it. Sound of singing from below. A funeral proces

sion. Descent into the valley. Observations drawn She loved this wretched spot, nor would for worlds

from the wanderer at sight of a book accidentally Have parted hence: and still that length of road,

discovered in a recess in the valley. Meeting with And this rude bench, one torturing hope endear'd, the wanderer's friend, the solitary. Wanderer's deFast rooted at her heart: and here, my friend, scription of the mode of burial in this mountainous In sickness she remaind; and here she died, district. Solitary contrasts with this, thal of the in

dividual carried a few minutes before from the collage. Last human tenant of these ruin'd walls."

Brief conversation. The collage entered. Description The old man ceased : he saw that I was moved ;

of the solitary's apartment. Kepast there.

View From that low bench, rising instinctively

from the window of two mountain summits and I turn'd aside in weakness, nor had power

the solitary's description of the companionship they To thank him for the tale which he had told. afforu him. Account of the deparied inmate of the I stood, and leaning o'er the garden wall,

collage. Description of a grand spectacle upon the

mountains, with its effect upon the solitary's mind. Review'd that woman's sufferings; and it seem'd

Quit the house.
To comfort me while with a brother's love
I bless'd her-in the impotence of grief.

In days of yore how fortunately fared
At length towards the cottage I return'd

The minstrel! wandering on from hall to hall, Fondly,--and traced, with interest more mild, Baronial court or royal! cheer'd with gifts That secret spirit of humanity

Munificent, and love, and ladies' praise;
Which, 'mid the calm, oblivious tendencies Now meeting on his road an armed knight,
Of nature, 'mid her plants, and weeds, and fowers, Now resting with a pilgrim by the side
And silent overgrowings, still survived.

Of a clear brook ;-beneath an abbey's roof
The old man, noting this, resumed, and said, One evening sumptuously lodged ; the next
“My friend ! enough to sorrow you have given, Humbly in a religious hospital;
The purposes of wisdom ask no more ;

Or with some merry outlaws of the wood;
Be wise and cheerful; and no longer read Or haply shrouded in a hermit's cell.
The forms of things with an unworthy eye. Him, sleeping or awake, the robber spared ;
She sleeps in the calm earth, and peace is here. He walk’d-protected from the sword of war
I well remember that those very plumes,

By virtue of that sacred instrument
Those weeds, and the high speargrass on that wall, His harp, suspended at the traveller's side:
By mist and silent rain-drops silver'd o'er,

His dear companion wheresoe'er he went
As once I pass'd, did to my heart convey

Opening from land to land an easy way So still an image of tranquillity,

By melody, and by the charm of verse. So calm and still, and look'd so beautiful

Yet not the noblest of that honour'd race Amid th' uneasy thoughts which fill'd my mind, Drew happier, loftier, more impassion'd thoughts That what we feel of sorrow and despair

From his long journeyings and eventful life, From ruin and from change, and all the grief

Than this obscure itinerant had skill The passing shows of being leave behind, To gather, ranging through the tamer ground Appear'd an idle dream, that could not live Of these our unimaginative days; Where meditation was. I turn'd away,

Both while he trod the earth in humblest guise And walk'd along my road in happiness."

Accoutred with his burden and his staff; He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot And now, when free to move with lighter pace. A slant and mellow radiance, which began

What wonder, then, if I, whose favourite school 64

2 x 2

Hath been the fields, the roads, and rural lanes, Of aspect, with aërial softness clad,
Look'd on this guide with reverential love? And beautified with morning's purple beams.
Each with the other pleased, we now pursued The wealthy, the luxurious, by the stress
Our journey-beneath favourable skies.

Of business roused, or pleasure, ere their time, Turn wheresoe'er we would, he was a light May roll in chariots, or provoke the hoofs Unfailing : not a hamlet could we pass,

Of the fleet coursers they bestride, to raise Rarely a house, that did not yield to him

From earth the dust of morning, slow to rise; Remembrances : or from his tongue call forth And they, if blest with health and hearts at ease, Some way-beguiling tale. Nor less regard Shall lack not their enjoyment:—but how faint Accompanied those strains of apt discourse, Compared with ours ! who, pacing side by side Which nature's various objects might inspire; Could, with an eye of leisure, look on all And in the silence of his face I read

That we beheld; and lend the listening sense His overflowing spirit. Birds and beasts,

To every grateful sound of earth and air ; And the mute fish that glances in the stream, Pausing at will—our spirits braced, our thoughts And harmless reptile coiling in the sun,

Pleasant as roses in the thickets blown, And gorgeous insect hovering in the air,

And pure as dew bathing their crimson leaves. The fowl domestic, and the household dog,

Mount slowly, sun! that we may journey long, In his capacious mind-he loved them all: By this dark hill protected from thy beams ! Their rights acknowledging he felt for all. Such is the summer pilgrim's frequent wish; Oft was occasion given me to perceive

But quickly from among our morning thoughts How the calm pleasures of the pasturing herd 'Twas chased away : for, toward the western side To happy contemplation sooth'd his walk; Of the broad vale, casting a casual glance, How the poor brute's condition, forced to run We saw a throng of people ;-wherefore met? Its course of suffering in the public road,

Blithe notes of music, suddenly let loose Sad contrast ! all too often smote his heart On the thrill'd ear, and flags uprising, yield With unavailing pity. Rich in love

Prompt answer: they proclaim the annual wake, And sweet humanity, he was, himself,

Which the bright season favours.--Tabor and pipe To the degree that he desired, beloved.

In purpose join to hasten and reprove
Greetings and smiles we met with all day long The laggard rustic ; and repay with boon
From faces that he knew; we took our seats Of merriment a party-colour'd knot,
By many a cottage hearth, where he received Already form'd upon the village green.
The welcome of an inmate come from far.

Beyond the limits of the shadow cast
Nor was he loath to enter ragged huts,

By the broad hill, glisten’d upon our sight Huts where his charity was blest ; his voice That gay assemblage. Round them and above Heard as the voice of an experienced friend. Glitter, with dark recesses interposed, And, sometimes, where the poor man held dis- Casement, and cottage-roof, and stenis of trees pute

Half-veil'd in vapory cloud, the silver steam With his own mind, unable to subdue

Of dews fast melting on their leafy boughs Impatience through inaptness to perceive

By the strong sunbeams smitten. Like a mast General distress in his particular lot ;

Of gold, the maypole shines ; as if the rays Or cherishing resentment, or in vain

Of morning, aided by exhaling dew, Struggling against it, with a soul perplex'd, With gladsome influence could reanimate And finding in herself no steady power

The faded garlands dangling from its sides. To draw the line of comfort that divides

Said I,“ the music and the sprightly scene Calamity, the chastisement of heaven,

Invite us ; shall we quit our road, and join From the injustice of our brother men ;

These festive matins ?”—He replied, “ not loath To him appeal was made as to a judge !

Here would I linger, and with you partake, Who, with an understanding heart, allay'd Not one hour merely, but till evening's close The perturbation ; listen'd to the plea ;

The simple pastimes of the day and place.
Resolved the dubious point; and sentence gave By the fleet racers, ere the sun be set,
So grounded, so applied, that it was heard

The turf of yon large pasture will be skimm'd; With soften'd spirit-even when it condemn'd. There, too, the lusty wrestlers shall contend :

Such intercourse I witness'd, while we roved, But know we not that he, who intermits Now as his choice directed, now as mine ;

Th' appointed task and duties of the day,
Or both, with equal readiness of will,

Untunes full oft the pleasures of the day ;
Our course submitting to the changeful breeze Checking the finer spirits that refuse
Of accident. But when the rising sun

To flow, when purposes are lightly changed ? Had three times call'd us to renew our walk, We must proceed—a length of journey yet My fellow traveller, with earnest voice,

Remains untraced.” Then, pointing with his staff As if the thought were but a moment old, Raised toward those craggy summits, his intent Claim'd absolute dominion for the day.

He thus imparted. We started—and be led towards the hills

“ In a spot that lies Up through an ample vale, with higher hills Among yon mountain fastnesses conceal'd Before us, mountains stern and desolate ;

You will receive, before the hour of noon, But, in the majesty of distance, now

Good recompense, I hope, for this day's toilSet off, and to our ken appearing fair

From sight of one who lives secluded there,

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