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In silence Matthew lay, and eyed
The spring beneath the tree;
And thus the dear old man replied,
The gray-hair'd man of glee:
‘No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears, How merrily it goes ! 'Twill murmur on a thousand years And flow as now it flows.
. And here, on this delightful day,
I cannot choose but think
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay
Beside this fountain's brink.
“My eyes are dim with childish tears,
My heart is idly stirr'd,
For the same sound is in my ears
Which in those days I heard.
.Thus fares it still in our decay:
And yet the wiser mind
Mourns less for what Age takes away,
Than what it leaves behind.
“The blackbird amid leafy trees,
The lark above the hill,
Let loose their carols when they please,
Are quiet when they will.
• With Nature never do they wage
A foolish strife; they see
A happy youth, and their old age
Is beautiful and free:
'But we are press’d by heavy laws;
And often, glad no more,
We wear a face of joy, because
We have been glad of yore.
"If there be one who need bemoan
His kindred laid in earth,
The household hearts that were his own,
It is the man of mirth.
‘My days, my friend, are almost gone,
My life has been approved,
And many love me; but by none
Am I enough beloved.'
• Now both himself and me he wrongs,
The man who thus complains !
I live and sing my idle songs
Upon these happy plains:
' And Matthew, for thy children dead
I'll be a son to thee!!
At this he grasp'd my hand and said,
* Alas! that cannot be.'
We rose up from the fountain-side;
And down the smooth descent
Of the green sheep-track did we glide,
And through the wood we went;
And ere we came to Leonard's rock
He sang those witty rhymes
About the crazy old church-clock,
And the bewilder'd, chimes.
While resting on the Bridge at the foot of Brother's Water
The cock 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!
Like an army defeated
The Snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill;
The Ploughboy 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!
NATURE AND THE POET
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:
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.
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 illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made;
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A steadfast peace that might not be betray'd.
So once it would have been,—'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control:
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humanized 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.
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.
O'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,
-Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time-
The lightning, the fierce wind and trampling waves.
-Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed 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 cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne !
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here:-
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
RUTH: OR THE INFLUENCES OF NATURE
When Ruth was left half desolate
Her father took another mate;
And Ruth, not seven years old,
A slighted child, at her own will
Went wandering over dale and hill,
In thoughtless freedom bold.
And she had made a pipe of straw,
And music from that pipe could draw
Like sounds of wind and floods;
Had built a bower upon the green,
As if she from her birth had been
An infant of the woods.
Beneath her father's roof, alone
She seem'd to live; her thoughts her own;
Herself her own delight:
Pleased with herself, nor sad nor gay,
She passed her time; and in this way
Grew up to woman's height.
There came a youth from Georgia's shore-
A military casque he wore
With splendid feathers drest;
He brought them from the Cherokees;
The feathers nodded in the breeze
And made a gallant crest.