« PreviousContinue »
It is-if sense deceive her not-'tis he!
“ Be taught, O faithful consort, to control And a god leads him-winged Mercury!
Rebellious passion: for the gods approve
The depth, and not the tumult of the soul;
A fervent, not ungovernable love.
Thy transports moderate; and meekly moura
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn—"
Wrest from the guardian monster of the tomb
Alcestis, a reanimated corse,
Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
And Æson stood a youth 'mid youthful peers.
“ The gods to us are merciful—and they
Yet further may relent: for mightier far
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway “ Protesilaus, lo! thy guide is gone!
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest, [bree!
And though his favourite seat be feeble womaa'i
" But if thou go'st, I follow"_“ Peace!” he saidThis precious boon,-and blest a sad abode." She looked upon him and was calmed and cheeret;
The ghastly colour from his lips had Jed; “Great Jove, Laodamia, doth not leave
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared
Elysian beauty-melancholy grace-
Brought from a pensive though a happy place.
He spake of love, such love as spirits feel
In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
No fears to beat away-no strife to heal-
Of all that is most beauteous—imaged there
In happier beauty; more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,
Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day
Yet there the soul shall enter which hath earned A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
That privilege by virtue.—“ III,” said he,
* The end of man's existence I discerned, “ But thou, though capable of sternest deed, Who from ignoble games and revelry Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
Could draw, whien we had parted, vain delight, And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed While tears were thy best pastime,-day and night: That thou shouldst cheat the malice of the grave; Redundant are thy lucks, thy lips as fair
“ And while my youthful peers, before my eyes, As when their breath enriched Thessalian air. (Each hero following his peculiar bent)
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprize “ No spectre greets me,-no vain shadow this:
By martial sports,-or, seated in the tent, Come, blooming hero, place thee by my side!
Chieftains and kings in council were detained ; Give, on this well-known couch, one nuptial kiss What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained. To me, this day, a second time thy bride!" Jove frowned in heaven; the conscious Parcæ threw “ The wish’d-for wind was given :- I then revolved Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.
The oracle, upon the silent sea;
And, if no worthier led the way, resolved “ This visage tells thee that my doom is past:
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be Know, virtue were not virtue if the joys
The foremost prow in pressing to the strand,Of sense were able to return as fast
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand. And surely as they vanish.-Earth destroys Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains:
“ Yet bitter, oft-times bitter, was the pang Calm pleasures th abide-majestic pains. When of thy loss I thought, beloved wife;
n thee too fondly did my memory hang, nd on the joys we shared in mortal life,he paths which we had trod-these fountainsflowers;
ly new-planned cities, and unfinished towers.
But should suspense permit the foe to cry, Behold they tremble!-haughty their array, et of their number no one dares to die?"—
soul I swept the indignity away:
d frailties then recurred:-but lofty thought act embodied my deliverance wrought.
And thou, though strong in love, art all too weak reason, in self-government too slow;
ounsel thee by fortitude to seek
ir blest re-union in the shades below. he invisible world with thee hath sympathized; 1 thy affections raised and solemnized.
Learn by a mortal yearning to ascend wards a higher object:-Love was given, couraged, sanctioned, chiefly for this end: r this the passion to excess was driven— at self might be annulled; her bondage prove e fetters of a dream, opposed to love."
oud she shrieked! for Hermes re-appears! [vain: und the dear shade she would have clung-'tis e hours are past,-too brief had they been years; id him no mortal effort can detain:
rift, tow'rd the realms that know not earthly day,
through the portal takes his silent way
id on the palace floor a lifeless corse she lay.
1, judge her gently who so deeply loved! r, who, in reason's spite, yet without crime, as in a trance of passion thus removed; livered from the galling yoke of time, ad these frail elements-to gather flowers blissful quiet 'mid unfading bowers.
et tears to human suffering are due; id mortal hopes defeated and o'erthrown e mourned by man, and not by man alone, fondly he believes.-Upon the side Hellespont (such faith was entertained) knot of spiry trees for ages grew om out the tomb of him for whom she died; nd ever, when such stature they had gained hat Ilium's walls were subject to their view, he trees' tall summits withered at the sight; constant interchange of growth and blight!
A PASTORAL POEM.
from the public way you turn your steps o the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, ou will suppose that with an upright path our feet must struggle; in such bold ascent e pastoral mountains front you, face to face. t courage! for beside that boisterous brook
The mountains have all opened out themselves,
As journey thither find themselves alone
It is in truth an utter solitude;
Nor should I have made mention of this dell
For passions that were not my own, and think
UPON the forest-side in Grasmere Vale There dwelt a shepherd, Michael was his name; An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb. His bodily frame had been from youth to age Of an unusual strength: his mind was keen, Intense and frugal, apt for all affairs, And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt And watchful more than ordinary men. Hence he had learned the meaning of all winds, Of blasts of every tone, and, oftentimes, When others heeded not, he heard the south Make subterraneous music, like the noise Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills. The shepherd, at such warning, of his flock Bethought him, and he to himself would say, "The winds are now devising work for me!" And truly, at all times, the storm-that drives The traveller to a shelter-summoned him Up to the mountains: he had been alone Amid the heart of many thousand mists, That came to him and left him on the heights. So lived he till his eightieth year was past. And grossly that man errs, who should suppose That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks Were things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughts. Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed The common air; the hills, which he so oft [pressed Had climbed with vigorous steps; which had im
So many incidents upon his mind
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies. Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
This light was famous in its neighbourhood, Which like a book preserved the memory
And was a public symbol of the life Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,
The thrifty pair had lived. For, as it chanced, Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts,
Their cottage on a plot of rising ground So grateful in themselves, the certainty
Stood single, with large prospect, north and south, Of honourable gain; these fields, these hills, High into Easedale, up to Dunmal-Raise, Which were his living being, even more
And westward to the village near the lake; Than his own blood—what could they less? had laid And from this constant light, so regular Strong hold on his affections, were to him
And so far seen, the house itself, by all A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
Who dwelt within the limits of the vale, The pleasure which there is in life itself.
Both old and young, was named The Evening Star. His days had not been passed in singleness. Thus living on through such a length of years, His helpmate was a comely matron, old
The shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs Though younger than himself full twenty years. Have loved his help-mate; but to Michael's heart She was a woman of a stirring life,
This son of his old age was yet more dearWhose heart was in her house: two wheels she had Effect which might perhaps have been produced Of antique form, this large for spinning wool, By that instinctive tenderness, the same That small for tlax; and if one wheel had rest, Blind spirit, which is in the blood of allIt was because the other was at work.
Or that a child, more than all other gifts, The pair had but one inmate in their house, Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts, An only child, who had been born to them
And stirrings of inquietude, when they
By tendency of nature needs must fail.
Of the old man his only son was now
Exceeding was the love he bare to him,
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
Had done him female service, not alone And from their occupations out of doors
For dalliance and delight, as is the use
To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
Had work by his own door, or when he sat
With sheep before him on his shepherd's stool, Their hands by the fire-side; perhaps to card Beneath that large old oak, which near their door Wool for the housewife's spindle, or repair
Stood,-and, from its enormous breadth of shade Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe, Chosen for the shearer's covert from the sun, Or other implement of house or field.
Thence in our rustic dialect was called Down from the cieling, by the chimney's edge, The Clipping Tree, a name which yet it bears. Which in our ancient uncouth country style There, while they two were sitting in the shade, Did with a huge projection overbrow
With others round them, earnest all and blithe, Large space beneath, as duly as the light
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
Upon the child, if he disturbed the sheep
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts Early at evening did it burn and late,
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears. Surviving comrade of uncounted hours,
And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up Which going by from year to year had found A healthy lad, and carried in his check And left the couple neither gay perhaps
Two steady roses that were five years old,
With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped
And gave it to the boy, wherewith equipt
And, to his office prematurely called,
Another kinsman-he will be our friend There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
In this distress. He is a prosperous man, Something between a hindrance and a help; Thriving in trade—and Luke to him shall go, And for this cause not always, I believe,
And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift Receiving from his father hire of praise;
He quickly will repair this loss, and then Though nought was left undone which staff or voice, May come again to us. If here he stay, Or looks, or threatening gestures could perform. What can be done? Where every one is poor
But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand What can be gained ?" At this the old man paused, Against the mountain blasts, and to the heights, And Isabel sat silent, for her mind Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways,
Was busy, looking back into past times. He with his father daily went, and they
There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself, Were as companions, why should I relate
He was a parish-boy-at the church-door That objects which the shepherd loved before They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence, Were dearer now? that from the boy there came And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought Feelings and emanations—things which were A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares; Light to the sun and music to the wind;
And with this basket on his arm, the lad And that the old man's heart seemed born again. Went up to London, found a master there, Thus in his father's sight the boy grew up:
Who out of many chose the trusty boy And now when he had reached his eighteenth year, To go and overlook his merchandize He was his comfort and his daily hope.
Beyond the seas, where he grew wondrous rich,
And left estates and monies to the poor, While in this sort the simple household lived And at his birth-place built a chapel Moored From day to day, to Michael's ear there came With marble, which he sent from foreign lands. Distressful tidings. Long before the time
These thoughts, and many others of like sort, Of which I speak, the shepherd had been bound Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel, In surety for his brother's son, a man
And her face brightened. The old man was glad, Of an industrious life, and ample means,
And thus resumed :—" Well, Isabel! this scheme But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
These two days has been meat and drink to me. Had pressed upon him,-and old Michael now Far more than we have lost is left us yet. Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture,
-We have enough-I wish indeed that I A grievous penalty, but little less
Were younger,--but this hope is a good hope. Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim, - Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best At the first hearing, for a moment took
Buy for him more, and let us send him forth More hope out of his life than he supposed
To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night: That any old man ever could have lost.
-If he could go, the boy should go to-night.” As soon as he had gathered so much strength Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth That he could look his trouble in the face,
With a light heart. The housewife for five days It seemed that his sole refuge was to sell
Was restless morn and night, and all day long A portion of his patrimonial fields.
Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare Such was his first resolve; he thought again, Things needful for the journey of her son. And his heart failed him. Isabel,” said he, But Isabel was glad wheu Sunday came Two evenings after he had heard the news,
To stop her in her work: for, when she lay “ I have been toiling more than seventy years,
By Michael's side, she through the two last nights And in the open sunshine of God's love
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep: Have we all lived; yet if these fields of ours And when they rose at morning she could see Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon That I could not lie quiet in my grave.
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves Our lot is a hard lot; the sun itself
Were sitting at the door, " Thou must not go: Has scarcely been more diligent than I,
We have no other child but thee to lose, And I have lived to be a fool at last
None to remember-do not go away, To my own family. An evil man
For if thou leave thy father he will die." That was, and made an evil choice, if he
The youth made answer with a jocund voice; Were false to us; and, if he were not false,
And Isabel, when she had told her fears, There are ten thousand to whom loss like this Recovered heart. That evening her best fare Had been no sorrow. I forgive him—but
Did she bring forth, and all together sat "Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.
Like happy people round a Christmas fire. When I began, my purpose was to speak
With daylight Isabel resumed her work; Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
And all the ensuing week the house appeared Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land
As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length Shall not go from us, and it shall be free.
The expected letter from their kinsman came, He shall possess it, free as is the wind
With kind assurances that he would do That passes over it. We have, thou know'st, His utmost for the welfare of the boy;
To which requests were added that forthwith But 'tis a long time to look back, my son,
These fields were burthened when they came to me;
Than half of my inheritance was mine. A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my work, Had to her house returned, the old man said, And till these three weeks past the land was free. “ He shall depart to-morrow.” To this word - It looks as if it never could endure The housewife answered, talking much of things Another master. Heaven forgive me, Luke, Which, if at such short notice he should go, If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good Would surely be forgotten. But at length
That thou shouldst go.” At this the old man paus'd; She gave consent, and Michael was at ease. Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood,
Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, Thus, after a short silence, he resumed: In that deep valley, Michael had designed
“ This was a work for us; and now, my son, To build a sheep-fold; and, before he heard It is a work for me. But, lay one stoneThe tidings of bis melancholy loss,
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands. For this same purpose he had gathered up
Nay, boy, be of good hope ;-we both may live A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge To see a better day. At eighty-four Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
I still am strong and stout;—do thou thy part, With Luke that evening thitherward he walked; I will do mine.-I will begin again And soon as they had reached the place he stopped, With many tasks that were resigned to thee; And thus the old man spake to him:-“ My son, Up to the heights, and in among the storms, To-morrow thou wilt leave me: with full heart Will I without thee go again, and do I look upon thee, for thou art the same
All works which I was wont to do alone, That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
Before I knew thy face.-Heaven bless thee, boy! And all thy life hast been my daily joy.
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast I will relate to thee some little part
With many hopes—It should be so—Yes-yesOf our two histories; 'twill do thee good
I knew that thou couldst never have a wish
What will be left to us !-But, I forget
Be thy companions, think of me, my son,
And of this moment; hither turn thy thoughts, Than when I heard thee by our own fire-side And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear First uttering, without words, a natural tune; And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy Mayst bear in mind the life thy fathers lived, Sing at thy mother's breast. Month followed month, Who, being innocent, did for that cause And in the open fields my life was passed
Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee wellAnd on the mountains, else I think that thou When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see Hadst been brought up upon thy father's knees. A work which is not here: a covenant But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills, 'Twill be between us- -But, whatever fate As well thou know'st, in us the old and young Befal thee, I shall love thee to the last, Have played together, nor with me didst thou And bear thy memory with me to the grave." Lack any pleasure which a boy can know."
The shepherd ended here; and Luke stooped Luke had a manly heart; but at these words And, as his father had requested, laid (down, He sobbed aloud. The old man grasped his hand, The first stone of the sheep-fold. At the sight And said, “ Nay, do not take it so I see
The old man's grief broke from him, to his heart That these are things of which I need not speak. He pressed his son, he kissed him and wept; -Even to the utmost I have been to thee
And to the house together they returned. A kind and a good father: and herein
-Hushed was that house in peace, or seeming peace, I but repay a gift which I myself
Ere the night fell:-with morrow's dawn the boy Received at other's hands; for, though now old Began his journey, and when he had reached Beyond the common life of man, I still
The public way, he put on a bold face; Remember them who loved me in my youth. And all the neighbours as he passed their doors Both of them sleep together: here they lived, Came forth with wishes and with farewell prayers, As all their forefathers had done; and when That followed him till he was out of sight. At length their time was come, they were not loth A good report did from their kinsman come, To give their bodies to the family mold.
Of Luke and his well-doing: and the boy I wished that thou shouldst live the life they lived. Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news,