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Like wild beasts without home! Their hour was come;
But why no softening thought of gratitude,
No just remembrance, scruple, or wise doubt?
Benevolence is mild; nor borrows help,
Save at worst need, from bold impetuous force,
Fitliest allied to anger and revenge.
But Human-kind rejoices in the might
Of mutability; and airy hopes,
Dancing around her, hinder and disturb
Those meditations of the soul that feed
The retrospective virtues. Festive songs
Break from the maddened nations at the sight
Of sudden overthrow; and cold neglect
Is the sure consequence of slow decay.
Even," said the Wanderer, "as that courteous Knight, Bound by his vow to labour for redress Of all who suffer wrong, and to enact By sword and lance the law of gentleness, (If I may venture of myself to speak, Trusting that not incongruously I blend Low things with lofty) I too shall be doomed To outlive the kindly use and fair esteem Of the poor calling which my youth embraced With no unworthy prospect. But enough;
– Thoughts crowd upon me—and 'twere seemlier now To stop, and yield our gracious Teacher thanks For the pathetic records which his voice Hath here delivered; words of heartfelt truth, Tending to patience when affliction strikes; To hope and love; to confident repose In God; and reverence for the dust of Man.”
ARGUMENT. Pastor's apology and apprehensions that he might have detained his
Auditors too long, with the Pastor's invitation to his house-Solitary disinclined to comply-rallies the Wanderer-and playfully draws a comparison between his itinerant profession and that of the Knighterrant-which leads to Wanderer's giving an account of changes in the Country from the manufacturing spirit-Favourable effects—The other side of the picture, and chiefly as it has affected the humbler classes—Wanderer asserts the hollowness of all national grandeur if unsupported by moral worth-Physical science unable to support itself—Lamentations
excess of manufacturing industry among the humbler Classes of Society-Picture of a Child employed in a Cotton-mill-Ignorance and degradation of Children among the agricultural Population reviewed-Conversation broken off by a renewed Invitation from the Pastor-Path leading to his House-Its appearance described - His Daughter-His Wife-His Son (a Boy) enters with his Companion—Their happy appearance-The Wan
derer how affected by the sight of them.
THE pensive Sceptic of the lonely vale
To those acknowledgments subscribed his own,
With a sedate compliance, which the Priest
Failed not to notice, inly pleased, and said :-
"If ye, by whom invited I began
These narratives of calm and humble life,
Be satisfied, 'tis well,—the end is gained;
And, in return for sympathy bestowed
And patient listening, thanks accept from me.
-Life, death, eternity! momentous themes
Are they-and might demand a seraph's tongue,
Were they not equal to their own support;
And therefore no incompetence of mine
Could do them wrong. The universal forms
Of human nature, in a spot like this,
Present themselves at once to all men's view :
Ye wished for act and circumstance, that make
The individual known and understood ;
And such as my best judgment could select
From what the place afforded, have been given;
Though apprehensions crossed me that my zeal
To his might well be likened, who unlocks
A cabinet stored with gems and pictures-draws
His treasures forth, soliciting regard
To this, and this, as worthier than the last,
Till the spectator, who awhile was pleased
More than the exhibitor himself, becomes
Weary and faint, and longs to be released.
-But let us hence ! my dwelling is in sight,
At this the Solitary shrunk
With backward will ; but, wanting not address
That inward motion to disguise, he said
To his Compatriot, smiling as he spake ;
-“ The peaceable remains of this good Knight
Would be disturbed, I fear, with wrathful scorn,
If consciousness could reach him where he lies
That one, albeit of these degenerate times,
Deploring changes past, or dreading change
Foreseen, had dared to couple, even in thought,
The fine vocation of the sword and lance
With the gross aims and body-bending toil
Of a poor brotherhood who walk the earth
Pitied, and, where they are not known, despised.
Yet, by the good Knight's leave, the two estates
Are graced with some resemblance. Errant those,
Exiles and wanderers—and the like are these ;
Who, with their burthen, traverse hill and dale,
Carrying relief for nature's simple wants.
- What though no higher recompense be sought
Than honest maintenance, by irksome toil
Full oft procured, yet may they claim respect,
Among the intelligent, for what this course
Enables them to be and to perform.
Their tardy steps give leisure to observe,
While solitude permits the mind to feel;
Instructs, and prompts her to supply defects
By the division of her inward self
For grateful converse : and to these poor men
Nature (I but repeat your favourite boast)
Is bountiful-go wheresoe'er they may ;
Kind nature's various wealth is all their own.
Versed in the characters of men; and bound,
By ties of daily interest, to maintain
Conciliatory manners and smooth speech;
Such have been, and still are in their degree,
Examples efficacious to refine
Rude intercourse; apt agents to expel,
By importation of unlooked-for arts,
Barbarian torpor, and blind prejudice;
Raising, through just gradation, savage life
To rustic, and the rustic to urbane.
-Within their moving magazines is lodged
Power that comes forth to quicken and exalt
Affections seated in the mother's breast,
And in the lover's fancy; and to feed
The sober sympathies of long-tried friends.
-By these Itinerants, as experienced men,
Counsel is given ; contention they appease
With gentle language; in remotest wilds,
Tears wipe away, and pleasant tidings bring ;
Could the proud quest of chivalry do more ? "
“ Happy,” rejoined the Wanderer, “they who gain A panegyric from your generous tongue! But, if to these Wayfarers once pertained Aught of romantic interest, it is gone. Their purer service, in this realm at least, Is past for ever.-An inventive Age Has wrought, if not with speed of magic, yet To most strange issues. I have lived to mark A new and unforeseen creation rise From out the labours of a peaceful Land Wielding her potent enginery to frame And to produce, with appetite as keen As that of war, which rests not night or day, Industrious to destroy! With fruitless pains Might one like me now visit many a tract Which, in his youth, he trod, and trod again, A lone pedestrian with a scanty freight, Wished-for, or welcome, wheresoe'er he cameAmong the tenantry of thorpe and vill; Or straggling burgh, of ancient charter proud, And dignified by battlements and towers Of some stern castle, mouldering on the brow Of a
green hill or bank of rugged stream. The foot-path faintly marked, the horse-track wild, And formidable length of plashy lane, (Prized avenues ere others had been shaped Or easier links connecting place with place) Have vanished-swallowed up by stately roads