Слике страница
PDF
ePub

This is the freedom of the universe;

In like removal tranquil though severe, Unfolded still the more, more visible,

We are not so removed for utter loss; The more we know; and yet is reverenced least, But for some favour, suited to our need? And least respected, in the human mind,

What more than that the severing should confer Its most apparent home. The food of hope Fresh power t'commune with the invisible world, Is meditated action; robb’d of this

And hear the mighty stream of tendency Her sole support, she languishes and dies.

Uttering, for elevation of our thought, We perish also; for we live by hope

A clear sonorous voice, inaudible And by desire; we see by the glad light,

To the vast multitude : whose doom it is And breathe the sweet air of futurity,

To run the giddy round of vain delight,
And so we live, or else we have no life.

Or fret and labour on the plain below.
To-morrow--nay, perchance this very hour, “But, if to such sublime ascent the hopes
(For every moment hath its own to-morrow!) Of man may rise, as to a welcome close
Those blooming boys, whose hearts are almost sick And termination of his mortal course,
With present triumph, will be sure to find

Them only can such hope inspire whose minds A field before them freshen’d with the dew Have not been starved by absolute neglect; of other expectations ;--in which course

Nor bodies crush'd by unremitting toil ; Their happy year spins round. The youth obeys To whom kind nature, therefore, may afford A like glad impulse; and so moves the man Proof of the sacred love she bears for all ; 'Mid all his apprehensions, cares, and fears; Whose birthright reason, therefore, may ensure. Or so he ought to move. Ah! why in age

For me, consulting what I feel within
Do we revert so fondly to the walks

In times when most existence with herself
Of childhood, but that there the soul discerns Is satisfied, I cannot but believe,
The dear memorial footsteps unimpair’d

That, far as kindly nature hath free scope
Of her own native vigour, thence can hear And reason's sway predominates, e'en so far,
Reverberations, and a choral song,

Country, society, and time itself,
Commingling with the incense that ascends That saps the individual's bodily frame,
Undaunted, toward the imperishable heavens, And lays the generations low in dust,
From her own lonely altar? Do not think Do, by the Almighty Ruler's grace, partake
That good and wise ever will be allow'd,

Of one maternal spirit, bringing forth
Though strength decay, to breathe in such estate And cherishing with ever-constant love,
As shall divide them wholly from the stir

That tires not, nor betrays. Our life is turn'd Of hopeful nature. Rightly is it said

Out of her course, wherever man is made
That man descends into the vale of years ; An offering or a sacrifice, a tool
Yet have I thought that we might also speak, Or implement, a passive thing employ'd
And not presumptuously, I trust, of age,

As a brute mean, without acknowledgment
As of a final EMINENCE, though bare

Of common right or interest in the end; In aspect and forbidding, yet a point

Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt. On which 'tis not impossible to sit

Say, what can follow for a rational soul In awful sovereignty-a place of power Perverted thus, but weakness in all good, A throne, that may be liken'd unto his,

And strength in evil? Hence an after call Who, in some placid day of summer, looks For chastisement, and custody, and bonds, Down from a mountain top-say one of those And oft-times death, avenger of the past, High peaks that bound the vale where now we are, And the sole gua in whose hands we dare Faint, and diminish'd to the gazing eye,

Intrust the future. Not for these sad issues Forest and field, and hill and dale appear,

Was man created; but t'obey the law With all the shapes upon their surface spread : Of life, and hope, and action. And 'tis known But, while the gross and visible frame of things That when we stand upon our native soil, Relinquishes its hold upon the sense,

Unelbow'd by such objects as oppress Yea almost on the mind herself, and seems

Our active powers, those powers themselves become All unsubstantialized, how loud the voice

Strong to subvert our noxious qualities : Of waters, with invigorated peal

They sweep distemper from the busy day, From the full river in the vale below,

And make the chalice of the big round year Ascending! For on that superior height

Run o'er with gladness; whence the being moves Who sits, is disencumber'd from the press

In beauty through the world; and all who see Of near obstructions, and is privileged

Bless him, rejoicing in his neighbourhood." To breathe in solitude above the host

“Then,” said the solitary, “by what force Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air

Of language shall a feeling heart express That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves, Her sorrow for that multitude in whom Many and idle, visits not his ear;

We look for health from seeds that have been sown This he is freed from, and from thousand notes In sickness, and for increase in a power Not less unceasing, not less vain than these, That works but by extinction ? On themselves By which the finer passages of sense

They cannot lean, nor turn to their own hearts Are occupied ; and the soul, that would incline To know what they must do: their wisdom is To listen, is prevented or deterr'd.

To look into the eyes of others, thence “And may it not be hoped, that, placed by age To be instructed what they must avoid:

Or rather, let us say, how least observed,

Fix'd within the reach of every human eye; How with most quiet and most silent death, The sleepless ocean murmurs for all ears ; With the least taint and injury to the air

The vernal field infuses fresh delight Th' oppressor breathes, their human form divine Into all hearts. Throughout the world of sense, And their immortal soul may waste away.” E’en as an object is sublime or fair, The sage rejoin'd, “I thank you; you have that object is laid open to the view spared

Without reserve or veil; and as a power My voice the utterance of a keen regret,

Is salutary, or an influence sweet, A wide compassion which with you I share. Are each and all enabled to perceive When, heretofore, I placed before your sight That power, that influence, by impartial law. A little one, subjected to the arts

Gifts nobler are vouchsafed alike to all; Of modern ingenuity, and made

Reason,-and, with that reason, smiles and tears; The senseless member of a vast machine,

Imagination, freedom in the will, Serving as doth a spindle or a wheel;

Conscience to guide and check ; and death to be Think not, that, pitying him, I could forget Foretasted, immortality presumed. The rustic boy, who walks the fields, untaught Strange, then, nor less than monstrous might be The slave of ignorance, and oft of want

deem'd And miserable hunger. Much, too much

The failure, if th’ Almighty, to this point
Of this unhappy lot, in early youth

Liberal and undistinguishing, should hide
We both have witness’d, lot which I myself The excellence of moral qualities
Shared, though in mild and merciful degree; From common understanding; leaving truth
Yet was the mind to hinderances exposed,

And virtue difficult, abstruse, and dark ; Through which I struggled, not without distress Hard to be won, and only by a few; And sometimes injury, like a lamb enthrallid Strange, should he deal herein with nice respects, 'Mid thorns and brambles; or a bird that breaks And frustrate all the rest! Believe it not: Through a strong net, and mounts upon the wind, The primal duties shine aloft, like stars ; Though with her plumes impair'd. If they, whose The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, souls

Are scatter'd at the feet of man, like flowers; Should open while they range the richer fields The generous inclination, the just rule, Of merry England, are obstructed less

Kind wishes, and good actions, and pure thoughts, By indigence, their ignorance is not less,

No mystery is here; no special boon
Nor less to be deplored. For who can doubt For high and not for low, for proudly graced
That tens of thousands at this day exist

And not for meek of heart. The smoke ascends Such as the boy you painted, lineal heirs

To heaven as lightly from the cottage hearth Of those who once were vassals of her soil, As from the haughty palace. He, whose soul Following its fortunes like the beast or trees Ponders this true equality, may walk Which it sustain'd. But no one takes delight

The fields of earth with gratitude and hope ; In this oppression ; none are proud of it;

Yet, in that meditation, will he find It bears no sounding name, nor ever bore;

Motive to sadder grief, as we have found, A standing grievance, an indigenous vice

Lamenting ancient virtues overthrown, Of every country under heaven. My thoughts And for th' injustice grieving, that hath made Were turn'd to evils that are new and chosen, So wide a difference betwixt man and man. A bondage lurking under shape of good,

“But let us rather turn our gladden'd thoughts Arts in themselves beneficent and kind,

Upon the brighter scene. How blest the pair But all too fondly follow'd and too far;

Of blooming boys (whom we beheld e'en now) To victims, which the merciful can see

Blest in their several and their common lot!
Nor think that they are victims; turn’d to wrongs? A few short hours of each returning day
By women, who have children of their own, The thriving prisoners of their village school:
Beheld without compassion, yea with praise ! And thence let loose, to seek their pleasant homes
I spake of mischief by the wise diffused

Or range the grassy lawn in vacancy,
With gladness, thinking that the more it spreads To breathe and to be happy, run and shout
The healthier, the securer we become;

Idle,-but no delay, no harm, no loss :
Delusion which a moment may destroy!

For every genial power of heaven and earth, Lastly, I mourn'd for those whom I had seen Though all the seasons of the changeful year, Corrupted and cast down, on favour'd ground, Obsequiously doth take upon herself Where circumstance and nature had combined To labour for them; bringing each in turn To shelter innocence, and cherish love;

The tribute of enjoyment, knowledge, health, Who, but for this intrusion, would have lived, Beauty, or strength! Such privilege is theirs Possess'd of health, and strength, and peace of mind, Granted alike in th' outset of their course Thus would have lived, or never have been born. To both ; and, if that partnership must cease,

“Alas! what differs more than man from man! I gricve not,” to the pastor here he turn'a, And whence that difference? whence but from “ Much as I glory in that child of yours, himself?

Repine not, for his cottage comrade, whom
For see the universal race endow'd

Belike no higher destiny awaits
With the same upright form! The sun is fix'd, Than the old hereditary wish fulfillid,
And th' infinite magnificence of heaven,

The wish for liberty to live, content

With what Heaven grants, and dic, in peace of Long-reverenced titles cast away as weeds; mind,

Laws overturn'd; and territory split, Within the bosom of his native vale.

Like fields of ice rent by the polar wind, At least, whatever fate the noon of life

And forced to join in less obnoxious shapes, Reserves for either, this is sure, that both

Which, ere they gain consistence, by a gust Have been permitted to enjoy the dawn;

Of the same breath are shatter'd and destroy'd. Whether regarded as a jocund time,

Meantime the sovereignty of these fair isles That in itself may terminate, or lead

Remains entire and indivisible : In course of nature to a sober eve.

And, if that ignorance were removed, which breeds Both have been fairly dealt with ; looking back, Within the compass of their several shores They will allow that justice has in them

Dark discontent, or loud commotion, each Been shown, alike to body and to mind.”

Might still preserve the beautiful repose
He paused, as if revolving in his soul

Of heavenly bodies shining in their spheres.-
Some weighty matter, then, with fervent voice The discipline of slavery is unknown
And an impassioned majesty, exclaim'd,

Amongst us,-hence the more do we require “O for the coming of that glorious time

The discipline of virtue ; order else
When, prizing knowledge as her noblest wealth Cannot subsist, nor confidence, nor peace.
And best protection, this imperial realm,

Thus, duties rising out of good possess'd,
While she exacts allegiance, shall admit

And prudent caution needful to avert An obligation, on her part, to teach

Impending evil, equally require Them who are born to serve her and obey ; That the whole people should be taught and train'd. Binding herself by statute* to secure

So shall licentiousness and black resolve For all the children whom her soil maintains Be rooted out, and virtuous habits take The rudiments of letters, and inform

Their place ; and genuine piety descend, The mind with moral and religious truth,

Like an inheritance, from age to age. Both understood and practised, --so that none, “ With such foundations laid, avaunt the fear However destitute, be left to droop

Of numbers crowded on their native soil, By timely culture unsustain'd, or run

To the prevention of all healthful growth
Into a wild disorder ; or be forced

Through mutual injury! Rather in the law
To drudge through weary life without the aid Of increase and the mandate from above
Of intellectual implements and tools ;

Rejoice !-and ye have special cause for joy.
A savage

horde
among
the civilized,

For as the element of air affords
A servile band among the lordly free!

An easy passage to th' industrious bees This sacred right, the lisping babe proclaims Fraught with their burdens; and a way as smooth To be inherent in him, by Heaven's will,

For those ordain'd to take their sounding flight For the protection of his innocence:

From the throng'd hive, and settle where they list And the rude boy-who having overpast

In fresh abodes, their labour to renew; The sinless age, by conscience is enroll'd,

So the wide waters, open to the power,
Yet mutinously knits his angry brow,

The will, the instincts, and appointed needs
And lifts his wilful hand on mischief bent, of Britain, do invite her to cast off
Or turns the godlike faculty of speech

Her swarms, and in succession send them forth ; To impious use—by process indirect

Bound to establish new communities Declares his due, while he makes known his need. On every shore whose aspect favours hope This sacred right is fruitlessly announced, Or bold adventure ; promising to skill This universal plea in vain address'd,

And perseverance their deserved reward. To eyes and ears of parents who themselves Yes,” he continued, kindling as he spake, Did, in the time of their necessity,

“ Change wide, and deep, and silently performid, Urge it in vain ; and, therefore, like a prayer This land shall witness; and as days roll on, That from the humblest floor ascends to heaven, Earth's universal frame shall feel th' effect, It mounts to reach the state's parental ear ; E'en till the smallest habitable rock, Who, if indeed she own a mother's heart,

Beaten by lonely billows, hear the songs And be not most unfeelingly devoid

Of humanized society ; and bloom Of gratitude to Providence, will grant

With civil arts, that send their fragrance forth, Th’unquestionable good; which England, safe A grateful tribute to all-ruling Heaven. From interference of external force,

From culture, unexclusively bestow'd May grant at leisure ; without risk incurr'd On Albion's noble race in freedom born, That what in wisdom for herself she doth,

Expect these mighty issues: from the pains Others shall e'er be able to undo.

And faithful care of unambitious schools “ Look ! and behold, from Calpe's sunburnt cliffs Instructing simple chiidhood's ready ear: To the fat margin of the Baltic sea,

Thence look for these magnificent results!
Vast the circumference of hope ; and ye

Are at its centre. British lawgivers ; * The discovery of Dr. Bell affords marvello:is facilities Ah! sieep not there in shame! Shall wisdom's for carrying this into effect; and it is impossible to over.

voice rate the benefits which might accrue lo humanity from the universal application of this simple engine under an

From out the bosom of these troubled times enlightened and conscientious government.

Repeat the dictates of her calmer mind,

And shall the venerable halls ye fill

Then, with a sigh, sometimes I feel, as now, Refuse to echo the sublime decree?

That combinations so serene and bright, Trust not to partial care a general good;

Like those reflected in yon quiet pool,
Transfer not to futurity a work

Cannot be lasting in a world like ours,
Of urgent need. Your country must complete To great and small disturbances exposed.”
Her glorious destiny. Begin e'en now,

More had she said, but sportive shouts were heard ;
Now, when oppression, like th’Egyptian plague Sent from the jocund hearts of those two boys,
Of darkness, stretch'd o'er guilty Europe, makes Who, bearing each a basket on his arm,
The brightness more conspicuous that invests Down the green field came tripping after us.-
The happy island where ye think and act;

When we had cautiously embark'd, the pair
Now, when destruction is a prime pursuit, Now for a prouder service were addrest.
Show to the wretched nations for what end But an inexorable law forbade,
The powers of civil polity were given !"

And each resign'd the oar which he had seized. Abruptly here, but with a graceful air,

Whereat, with willing hand I undertook
The sage broke off. No sooner had he ceased The needful labour ; grateful task !--to me
Than, looking forth, the gentle lady said,

Pregnant with recollections of the time
“ Behold the shades of afternoon have fallen When, on thy bosom, spacious Windermere !
Upon this flowery slope ; and see-beyond A youth, I practised this delightful art;
The lake, though bright, is of a placid blue ; Toss'd on the waves alone, or ’mid a crew
As if preparing for the peace of evening.

Of joyous comrades. Now, the reedy marge How temptingly the landscape shir The air Clear'd, with a strenuous arm I dipp'd the oar, Breathes invitation ; easy is the walk

Free from obstruction, and the boat advanced To the lake's margin, where a boat lies moor'd Through crystal water smoothly as a hawk, Beneath her sheltering tree.” Upon this hint That, disentangled from the shady boughs We rose together : all were pleased, but most Of some thick wood, her place of covert, cleaves The beauteous girl, whose cheek was flush'd with With correspondent wings th' abyss of air. joy.

“ Observe," the vicar said, “ yon rocky isle Light as a sunbeam glides along the hills

With birch trees fringed; my hand shall guide the She vanished, eager to impart the scheme

helm, To her beloved brother and his shy compeer. While thitherward we bend our course; or while Now was there bustle in the vicar's house

We seek that other, on the western shore,-And earnest preparation. Forth we went,

Where the bare columns of those lofty firs, And down the vale along the streamlet's edge Supporting gracefully a massy dome Pursued our way, a broken company,

Of sombre foliage, seem to imitate Mute or conversing, single or in pairs.

A Grecian temple rising from the deep.” Thus having reach'd a bridge, that overarch'd “ Turn where we may,” said I, “ we cannot err The hasty rivulet where it lay becalm'd

In this delicious region.” Cultured slopes, In a deep pool, by happy chance we saw

Wild tracts of forest ground, and scatter'd groves, A twofold image ; on a grassy bank

And mountains bare or clothed with ancient woods A snow-white ram, and in the crystal flood Surrounded us; and, as we held our way Another and the same! Most beautiful,

Along the level of the glassy food, On the green turf, with his imperial front

They ceased not to surround us : change of place, Shaggy and bold, and wreathed horns superb, From kindred features diversely combined, The breathing creature stood; as beautiful, Producing change of beauty ever new. Beneath him, show'd his shadowy counterpart. Ah! that such beauty, varying in the light Each had his glowing mountains, each his sky, Of living nature, cannot be portray'd And each seem'd centre of his own fair world : By words, nor by the pencil's silent skill; Antipodes unconscious of each other,

But is the property of him alone Yet, in partition, with their several spheres,

Who hath beheld it, noted it with care, Blended in perfect stillness, to our sight!

And in his mind recorded it with love! “Ah! what a pity were it to disperse,

Suffice it, therefore, if the rural muse Or to disturb, so fair a spectacle ;

Vouchsafe sweet influence, while her poet speaks And yet a breath can do it!"

Of trivial occupations well devised,

These few words And unsought pleasures springing up by chance; The lady whisper'd, while we stood and gazed As if some friendly genius had ordaind Gather'd together, all, in still delight,

That, as the day thus far had been enrich'd Not without awe. Thence passing on,

she said By acquisition of sincere delight, In like low voice to my particular ear,

The same should be continued to its close. “ I love to hear that eloquent old man

One spirit animating old and

young, Pour forth his meditations, and descant

A gipsy fire we kindled on the shore On human life from infancy to age.

of the fair isle with birch trees fringed; and there How pure his spirit! in what vivid hues

Merrily seated in a ring, partook His mind gives back the various forms of things, The beverage drawn from China's fragrant herb. Caught in their fairest, happiest attitude !

Launch'd from our hand, the smooth stone skimm'l While he is speaking, I have power to see

the lake; E'en as he sees ; but when his voice hath ceased, With shouts we roused the echoes : stiller sounds

The lovely girl supplied, a simple song,

Vivid as fire--clouds separately poised,
Whose low tones reach'd not to the distant rocks Innumerable multitudes of forms
To be repeated thence, but gently sank

Scatter'd through half the circle of the sky; Into our hearts, and charm'd the peaceful flood. And giving back, and shedding each on each Rapaciously we gather'd flowery spoils

With prodigal communion, the bright hues From land and water ; lilies of each hue Which from the unapparent fount of glory Golden and white, that float upon the waves, They had imbibed, and ceased not to receive. And court the wind; and leaves of that shy plant, That which the heavens display'd, the liquid deep (Her flowers were shed,) the lily of the vale, Repeated; but with unity sublime ! That loves the ground, and from the sun withholds While from the grassy mountain's open side Her pensive beauty, from the breeze her sweets. We gazed, in silence hush'd, with eyes intent

Such product and such pastime did the place On the refulgent spectacle,-diffused And season yield; but, as we re-embarked, Through earth, sky, water, and all visible space, Leaving, in quest of other scenes, the shore The priest in holy transport thus exclaim'd:Of that wild spot, the solitary said

“Eternal Spirit ! universal God ! In a low voice, yet careless who might hear, Power inaccessible to human thought, “ The fire, that burned so brightly to our wish, Save by degrees and steps which thou hast deign'd Where is it now? Deserted on the beach, To furnish; for this effluence of thyself, It seems extinct; nor shall the fanning breeze To the infirmity of mortal sense Revive its ashes. What care we for this,

Vouchsafed; this local transitory type Whose ends are gain'd? Behold an emblem here Of thy paternal splendours, and the pomp Of one day's pleasure, and all mortal joys ! Of those who fill thy courts in highest heaven, And, in this unpremeditated slight

The radiant cherubim ;-accept the thanks Of that which is no longer needed, see

Which we, thy humble creatures, here convened, The common course of human gratitude !" Presume to offer; we, who from the breast

This plaintive note disturb'd not the repose Of the frail earth, permitted to behold
Of the still evening. Right across the lake The faint reflections only of thy face,
Our pinnace moves: then, coasting creek and bay, Are yet exalted, and in soul adore !
Glades we behold, and into thickets peep,

Such as they are who in thy presence stand
Where couch the spotted deer; or raised our eyes Unsullied, incorruptible, and drink
To shaggy steeps on which the careless goat Imperishable majesty stream'd forth
Browsed by the side of dashing waterfalls.

From thy empyreal throne, th'elect of earth
Thus did the bark, meandering with the shore, Shall be-divested at th' appointed hour
Pursue her voyage, till a natural pier

Of all dishonour-cleansed from mortal stain. Of jutting rock invited us to land.

Accomplish, then, their number; and conclude Alert to follow as the pastor led,

Time's weary course! Or if, by thy decree, We clomb a green hill's side; and as we clomb, The consummation that will come by stealth The valley, opening out her bosom, gave

Be yet far distant, let thy word prevail, Fair prospect, intercepted less and less,

0! let thy word prevail, to take away Of the flat meadows and indented coast

The sting of human nature. Spread the law, Of the smooth lake, in compass seen,

far off. As it is written in thy holy book, And yet conspicuous stood the old church tower Throughout all lands: let every nation hear In majesty presiding over fields

The high behest, and every heart obey ; And habitations, seemingly preserved

Both for the love of purity, and hope From the intrusion of a restless world,

Which it affords, to such as do thy will By rocks impassable and mountains huge.

And persevere in good, that they shall rise, Soft heath this elevated spot supplied,

To have a nearer view of thee, in heaven.
And choice of moss-clad stones, whereon we couchd Father of good! this prayer in bounty grant,
Or sate reclined-admiring quietly

In mercy grant it to thy wretched sops.
The general aspect of the scene ; but each Then, nor till then, shall persecution cease,
Not seldom over-anxious to make known

And cruel wars expire. The way is mark'd,
His own discoveries; or to favourite points The guide appointed, and the ransom paid.
Directing notice, merely from a wish

Alas! the nations, who of yore received T'impart a joy, imperfect while unshared. These tidings, and in Christian temples meet That rapturous moment ne'er shall I forget, The sacred truth t’ acknowledge, linger still; When these particular interests were effaced Preferring bonds and darkness to a state From every mind! Already had the sun,

Of holy freedom, by redeeming love Sinking with less than ordinary state,

Proffer'd to all, while yet on earth detain'd. Attain'd his western bound; but rays of light “So fare the many; and the thoughtful few, Now suddenly diverging from the orb

Who in the anguish of their souls bewail "Retired behind the mountain tops or veil'd This dire perverseness, cannot choose but ask, 13y the dense air-shot upwards to the crown Shall it endure? Shall enmity and strife, Of the blue firmament-aloft and wide:

Falsehood and guile, be left to sow their seed And multitudes of little floating clouds,

And the kind never perish? Is the hope L're we, who saw, of change were conscious, pierced Fallacious, or shall righteousness obtain T'hrough their ethereal texture, had become A peaccable dominion, wide as earth,

« ПретходнаНастави »