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It is-if sense deceive her not-'tis he!
And a god leads him-winged Mercury!

Mild Hermes spake-and touched her with his wand
That calms all fear," Such grace hath crowned thy
Laodamia, that at Jove's command [prayer,

Thy husband walks the paths of upper air:
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space;
Accept the gift, behold him face to face!"


Forth sprang the impassioned queen her lord to
Again that consummation she essayed;
But unsubstantial form eludes her grasp
As often as that eager grasp was made.
The phantom parts-but parts to re-unite,
And re-assume his place before her sight.
"Protesilaus, lo! thy guide is gone!
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice:
This is our palace,―yonder is thy throne;
Speak, and the floor thou tread'st on will rejoice.
Not to appal me have the gods bestowed
This precious boon,-and blest a sad abode."

"Great Jove, Laodamia, doth not leave
His gifts imperfect:-Spectre though I be,
I am not sent to scare thee or deceive;
But in reward of thy fidelity.
And something also did my worth obtain ;
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain.

"Thou know'st, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand
Should die; but me the threat could not withhold:
A generous cause a victim did demand;
And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain;
A self-devoted chief-by Hector slain."
"Supreme of heroes-bravest, noblest, best!
Thy matchless courage I bewail no more,
Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest
By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore:
Thou found'st-and I forgive thee-here thou art—
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.

"But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed
That thou shouldst cheat the malice of the grave;
Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair

As when their breath enriched Thessalian air.

"No spectre greets me,-no vain shadow this:
Come, blooming hero, place thee by my side!
Give, on this well-known couch, one nuptial kiss
To me, this day, a second time thy bride!"
Jove frowned in heaven; the conscious Parcæ threw
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.

"This visage tells thee that my doom is past:
Know, virtue were not virtue if the joys
Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish.-Earth destroys
Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains:

Calm pleasures there abide-majestic pains.

"Be taught, O faithful consort, to control
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 mourn
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn—”

"Ah, wherefore?-Did not Hercules by force
Wrest from the guardian monster of the tomb
Alcestis, a reanimated corse,

Given back to dwell on earth in beauty's bloom?
Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
And son 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
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble womasi


"But if thou go'st, I follow"-" Peace!" he said-
She looked upon him and was calmed and cheeret;
The ghastly colour from his lips had Jed;
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-
The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
Spake, as a witness, of a second birth
For all that is most perfect upon earth:

Of all that is most beauteous-imaged there
In happier beauty; more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,

And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.

Yet there the soul shall enter which hath earned
That privilege by virtue.-" Ill," said he,
"The end of man's existence I discerned,
Who from ignoble games and revelry
Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight,
While tears were thy best pastime,-day and night:
"And while my youthful peers, before my eyes,
(Each hero following his peculiar bent)
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprize
By martial sports,—or, seated in the tent,
Chieftains and kings in council were detained;
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained.

"The wish'd-for wind was given:--I then revolved The oracle, upon the silent sea;

And, if no worthier led the way, resolved
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be
The foremost prow in pressing to the strand,—
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.
"Yet bitter, oft-times bitter, was the pang
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;

{y 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?'1 soul I swept the indignity away: Old frailties then recurred:-but lofty thought 1 act embodied my deliverance wrought.

And thou, though strong in love, art all too weak in self-government too slow;

1 reason,

counsel thee by fortitude to seek

Our blest re-union in the shades below.

The invisible world with thee hath sympathized;
le thy affections raised and solemnized.

Learn by a mortal yearning to ascend
Towards a higher object:-Love was given,
Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for this end:
For this the passion to excess was driven-
That self might be annulled; her bondage prove
The fetters of a dream, opposed to love."

Aloud she shrieked! for Hermes re-appears! [vain:
Round the dear shade she would have clung-'tis
The hours are past,-too brief had they been years;
And him no mortal effort can detain:

Swift, tow'rd the realms that know not earthly day,
He through the portal takes his silent way-
And on the palace floor a lifeless corse she lay.

Ah, judge her gently who so deeply loved!
Her, who, in reason's spite, yet without crime,
Was in a trance of passion thus removed;
Delivered from the galling yoke of time,
And these frail elements-to gather flowers
Of blissful quiet 'mid unfading bowers.

Yet tears to human suffering are due;
And mortal hopes defeated and o'erthrown
Are mourned by man, and not by man alone,
As fondly he believes.-Upon the side
Of Hellespont (such faith was entertained)
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew

From out the tomb of him for whom she died;
And ever, when such stature they had gained
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view,
The trees' tall summits withered at the sight;
A constant interchange of growth and blight!



If from the public way you turn your steps
Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll,
You will suppose that with an upright path
Your feet must struggle; in such bold ascent
The pastoral mountains front you, face to face.
But courage! for beside that boisterous brook

The mountains have all opened out themselves,
And made a hidden valley of their own.

No habitation there is seen; but such
As journey thither find themselves alone
With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites
That overhead are sailing in the sky.

It is in truth an utter solitude;

Nor should I have made mention of this dell
But for one object which you might pass by,
Might see and notice not. Beside the brook
There is a straggling heap of unhewn stones!
And to that place a story appertains,
Which, though it be ungarnished with events,
Is not unfit, I deem, for the fireside,
Or for the summer shade. It was the first,
The earliest of those tales that spake to me
Of shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men
Whom I already loved;—not verily

For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills
Where was their occupation and abode.
And hence this tale, while I was yet a boy
Careless of books, yet having felt the power
Of Nature, by the gentle agency
Of natural objects led me on to feel

For passions that were not my own, and think
(At random and imperfectly indeed)
On man, the heart of man, and human life.
Therefore, although it be a history
Homely and rude, I will relate the same
For the delight of a few natural hearts;
And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake
Of youthful poets, who among these hills
Will be my second self when I am gone.

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

Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
Which like a book preserved the memory
Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,
Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts,
So grateful in themselves, the certainty
Of honourable gain; these fields, these hills,
Which were his living being, even more
Than his own blood-what could they less? had laid
Strong hold on his affections, were to him
A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
The pleasure which there is in life itself.

His days had not been passed in singleness.
His helpmate was a comely matron, old—
Though younger than himself full twenty years.
She was a woman of a stirring life,

Whose heart was in her house: two wheels she had
Of antique form, this large for spinning wool,
That small for flax; and if one wheel had rest,
It was because the other was at work.
The pair had but one inmate in their house,
An only child, who had been born to them
When Michael telling o'er his years began
To deem that he was old,-in shepherd's phrase,
With one foot in the grave. This only son,
With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a storm,
The one of an inestimable worth,

Made all their household. I may truly say,
That they were as a proverb in the vale,
For endless industry. When day was gone,
And from their occupations out of doors
The son and father were come home, even then
Their labour did not cease; unless when all
Turned to their cleanly supper-board, and there,
Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk,
Sat round their basket piled with oaten cakes,
And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when their
Was ended, Luke (for so the son was named) [meal
And his old father both betook themselves
To such convenient work as might employ
Their hands by the fire-side; perhaps to card
Wool for the housewife's spindle, or repair
Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,'
Or other implement of house or field.

Down from the cieling, by the chimney's edge,
Which in our ancient uncouth country style
Did with a huge projection overbrow
Large space beneath, as duly as the light
Of day grew dim the housewife hung a lamp;
An aged utensil, which had performed
Service beyond all others of its kind.
Early at evening did it burn and late,
Surviving comrade of uncounted hours,
Which going by from year to year had found
And left the couple neither gay perhaps
Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes,
Living a life of eager industry.

And now, when Luke was in his eighteenth year,
There by the light of this old lamp they sat,
Father and son, while late into the night
The housewife plied her own peculiar work,
Making the cottage through the silent hours

Murmur as with the sound of summer flies.
This light was famous in its neighbourhood,
And was a public symbol of the life

The thrifty pair had lived. For, as it chanced,
Their cottage on a plot of rising ground
Stood single, with large prospect, north and south,
High into Easedale, up to Dunmal-Raise,
And westward to the village near the lake;
And from this constant light, so regular
And so far seen, the house itself, by all
Who dwelt within the limits of the vale,
Both old and young, was named The Evening Star.
Thus living on through such a length of years,
The shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs
Have loved his help-mate; but to Michael's heart
This son of his old age was yet more dear-
Effect which might perhaps have been produced
By that instinctive tenderness, the same
Blind spirit, which is in the blood of all—
Or that a child, more than all other gifts,
Brings hope with it, and forward-locking thoughts,
And stirrings of inquietude, when they

By tendency of nature needs must fail.
From such, and other causes, to the thoughts
Of the old man his only son was now
The dearest object that he knew on earth.
Exceeding was the love he bare to him,
His heart and his heart's joy! For oftentimes
Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
Had done him female service, not alone
For dalliance and delight, as is the use
Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced
To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
His cradle with a woman's gentle hand.

And, in a later time, ere yet the boy
Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love,
Albeit of a stern unbending mind,

To have the young one in his sight, when he
Had work by his own door, or when he sat
With sheep before him on his shepherd's stool,
Beneath that large old oak, which near their door
Stood, and, from its enormous breadth of shade
Chosen for the shearer's covert from the sun,
Thence in our rustic dialect was called
The Clipping Tree, a name which yet it bears.
There, while they two were sitting in the shade,
With others round them, earnest all and blithe,
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
of fond correction and reproof bestowed
Upon the child, if he disturbed the sheep
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts
Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears.
And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up
A healthy lad, and carried in his cheek
Two steady roses that were five years old,
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut
With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped
With iron, making it throughout in all
Due requisites a perfect shepherd's staff,
And gave it to the boy, wherewith equipt
He as a watchman oftentimes was placed
At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock;

And, to his office prematurely called,
There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
Something between a hindrance and a help;
And for this cause not always, I believe,
Receiving from his father hire of praise;
Though nought was left undone which staff or voice,
Or looks, or threatening gestures could perform.
But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand
Against the mountain blasts, and to the heights,
Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways,
He with his father daily went, and they
Were as companions, why should I relate
That objects which the shepherd loved before
Were dearer now? that from the boy there came
Feelings and emanations-things which were
Light to the sun and music to the wind;

And that the old man's heart seemed born again.
Thus in his father's sight the boy grew up:
And now when he had reached his eighteenth year,
He was his comfort and his daily hope.

WHILE in this sort the simple household lived
From day to day, to Michael's ear there came
Distressful tidings. Long before the time
Of which I speak, the shepherd had been bound
In surety for his brother's son, a man
Of an industrious life, and ample means,-
But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
Had pressed upon him,-and old Michael now
Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture,
A grievous penalty, but little less
Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim,
At the first hearing, for a moment took
More hope out of his life than he supposed
That any old man ever could have lost.

As soon as he had gathered so much strength
That he could look his trouble in the face,
It seemed that his sole refuge was to sell
A portion of his patrimonial fields.
Such was his first resolve; he thought again,
And his heart failed him. "Isabel," said he,
Two evenings after he had heard the news,

I have been toiling more than seventy years,
And in the open sunshine of God's love
Have we all lived; yet if these fields of ours
Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think
That I could not lie quiet in my grave.
Our lot is a hard lot; the sun itself
Has scarcely been more diligent than I,
And I have lived to be a fool at last
To my own family. An evil man
That was, and made an evil choice, if he
Were false to us; and, if he were not false,
There are ten thousand to whom loss like this
Had been no sorrow. I forgive him-but
"Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.
When I began, my purpose was to speak
Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free.
He shall possess it, free as is the wind
That passes over it. We have, thou know'st,

Another kinsman-he will be our friend
In this distress. He is a prosperous man,
Thriving in trade-and Luke to him shall go,
And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift
He quickly will repair this loss, and then
May come again to us. If here he stay,
What can be done? Where every one is poor
What can be gained?" At this the old man paused,
And Isabel sat silent, for her mind

Was busy, looking back into past times.
There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself,
He was a parish-boy-at the church-door
They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence,
And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours bought
A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares;
And with this basket on his arm, the lad
Went up to London, found a master there,
Who out of many chose the trusty boy
To go and overlook his merchandize
Beyond the seas, where he grew wondrous rich,
And left estates and monies to the poor,
And at his birth-place built a chapel floored
With marble, which he sent from foreign lands.
These thoughts, and many others of like sort,
Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel,
And her face brightened. The old man was glad,
And thus resumed:-" Well, Isabel! this scheme
These two days has been meat and drink to me.
Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
-We have enough-I wish indeed that I
Were younger,-but this hope is a good hope.
-Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best
Buy for him more, and let us send him forth
To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night:
-If he could go, the boy should go to-night."
Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth
With a light heart. The housewife for five days
Was restless morn and night, and all day long
Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare
Things needful for the journey of her son.
But Isabel was glad when Sunday came
To stop her in her work: for, when she lay
By Michael's side, she through the two last nights
Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep:
And when they rose at morning she could see
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go:
We have no other child but thee to lose,
None to remember-do not go away,
For if thou leave thy father he will die."
The youth made answer with a jocund voice;
And Isabel, when she had told her fears,
Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
Did she bring forth, and all together sat
Like happy people round a Christmas fire.

With daylight Isabel resumed her work;
And all the ensuing week the house appeared
As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
The expected letter from their kinsman came,
With kind assurances that he would do
His utmost for the welfare of the boy;

To which requests were added that forthwith
He might be sent to him. Ten times or more
The letter was read over; Isabel

Went forth to shew it to the neighbours round;
Nor was there at that time on English land
A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel
Had to her house returned, the old man said,
"He shall depart to-morrow." To this word
The housewife answered, talking much of things
Which, if at such short notice he should go,
Would surely be forgotten. But at length
She gave consent, and Michael was at ease.
Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll,
In that deep valley, Michael had designed
To build a sheep-fold; and, before he heard
The tidings of his melancholy loss,
For this same purpose he had gathered up
A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge
Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
With Luke that evening thitherward he walked;
And soon as they had reached the place he stopped,
And thus the old man spake to him:-" My son,
To-morrow thou wilt leave me: with full heart
I look upon thee, for thou art the same
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
And all thy life hast been my daily joy.
I will relate to thee some little part
Of our two histories; 'twill do thee good
When thou art from me, even if I should speak
Of things thou canst not know of.After thou
First cam'st into the world-as it befalls
To new-born infants-thou didst sleep away
Two days, and blessings from thy father's tongue
Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on,
And still I loved thee with increasing love.
Never to living ear came sweeter sounds
Than when I heard thee by our own fire-side
First uttering, without words, a natural tune;
When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
Sing at thy mother's breast. Month followed month,
And in the open fields my life was passed
And on the mountains, else I think that thou
Hadst been brought up upon thy father's knees.
But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills,
As well thou know'st, in us the old and young
Have played together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know."
Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
He sobbed aloud. The old man grasped his hand,
And said, " Nay, do not take it so I see
That these are things of which I need not speak.
-Even to the utmost I have been to thee
A kind and a good father: and herein
I but repay a gift which I myself
Received at other's hands; for, though now old
Beyond the common life of man, I still
Remember them who loved me in my youth.
Both of them sleep together: here they lived,
As all their forefathers had done; and when
At length their time was come, they were not loth
To give their bodies to the family mold.

I wished that thou shouldst live the life they lived.

But 'tis a long time to look back, my son,
And see so little gain from sixty years.
These fields were burthened when they came to me;
Till I was forty years of age, not more
Than half of my inheritance was mine.

I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my work,
And till these three weeks past the land was free.
-It looks as if it never could endure

Another master. Heaven forgive me, Luke,
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good
That thou shouldst go." At this the old man paus'd;
Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood,
Thus, after a short silence, he resumed:
"This was a work for us; and now, my son,

It is a work for me. But, lay one stone-
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands.
Nay, boy, be of good hope;-we both may live
To see a better day. At eighty-four

I still am strong and stout;-do thou thy part,
I will do mine.-I will begin again

With many tasks that were resigned to thee;
Up to the heights, and in among the storms,
Will I without thee go again, and do
All works which I was wont to do alone,
Before I knew thy face.-Heaven bless thee, boy!
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast
With many hopes-It should be so—Yes—yes—
I knew that thou couldst never have a wish
To leave me, Luke: thou hast been bound to me
Only by links of love: when thou art gone,
What will be left to us!-But, I forget
My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone,
As I requested; and hereafter, Luke,
When thou art gone away, should evil men
Be thy companions, think of me, my son,
And of this moment; hither turn thy thoughts,
And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear
And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou
Mayst bear in mind the life thy fathers lived,
Who, being innocent, did for that cause
Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well-
When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see
A work which is not here: a covenant
"Twill be between us-But, whatever fate
Befal thee, I shall love thee to the last,
And bear thy memory with me to the grave."


The shepherd ended here; and Luke stooped And, as his father had requested, laid The first stone of the sheep-fold. At the sight The old man's grief broke from him, to his heart He pressed his son, he kissed him and wept; And to the house together they returned. -Hushed was that house in peace, or seeming peace, Ere the night fell:-with morrow's dawn the boy Began his journey, and when he had reached The public way, he put on a bold face; And all the neighbours as he passed their doors Came forth with wishes and with farewell prayers, That followed him till he was out of sight.

A good report did from their kinsman come, Of Luke and his well-doing: and the boy Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news,

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