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The pining Solitary turn'd aside;
Whether through manly instinct to conceal
Tender emotions spreading from the heart
To his worn cheek; or with uneasy shame
For those cold humours of habitual spleen
That, fondly seeking in dispraise of man
Solace and self-excuse, had sometimes urged
To self-abuse a not incloquent tongue.
Right toward the sacred Edifice his steps
Had been directed; and we saw him now
Intent upon a monumental stone,
Whose uncouth form was grafted on the wall,
Or rather seem'd to have grown into the side
Of the rude pile; as oft-times trunks of trees,
Where Nature works in wild and craggy spots,
Are seen incorporate with the living rock,
To endure for aye. The Vicar, taking note
Of his employment, with a courteous smile
Exclaim'd:

“ The sagest Antiquarian's eye
That task would foil;" then, letting fall his voice
While he advanced, thus spake:

“Tradition tells
That, in Eliza's golden days, a Knight
Came on a war-horse sumptuously attired,
And fix'd his home in this sequester'd vale.
'Tis left untold if here he first drew breath,
Or as a stranger reach'd this deep recess,
Unknowing and unknown. A pleasing thought
I sometimes entertain, that haply bound
To Scotland's Court in service of his Queen,
Or sent on mission to some northern Chief
Of England's realm, tbis vale he might have seen
With transient observation; and thence caught
An image fair which, brightening in his soul
When joy of war and pride of chivalry
Languish'd beneath accumulated years,
Had power to draw him from the world, resolved
To make that paradise his chosen home
To which his peaceful fancy oft had turn'd.

Vague thoughts are these; but, if belief may rest
Upon unwritten story fondly traced
From sire to son, in this obscure retreat
The Knight arrived, with spear and shield, and borno
Upon a Charger gorgeously bedeck'd
With broider'd housings. "And the lofty Steed --
His sole companion, and his faithful friend,

Whom he, in gratitude, let loose to range
In fertile pastures was beheld with eyes
Of admiration and delightful awe,
By those untravell’d Dalesmen. With less pride,
Yet free from touch of envious discontent,
They saw a mansion at his bidding rise,
Like a bright star, amid the lowly band
Of their rude homesteads. Here the Warrior dwelt
And, in that mansion, children of his own,
Or kindred, gather'd round him. As a tree
That falls and disappears, the house is gone;
And, through improvidence or want of love
For ancient worth and honourable things,
The spear and shield are vanish'd, which the Knight
Hung in his rustic hall. One ivied arch
Myself have seen, a gateway, last remains
of that foundation in domestic care
Raised by his hands. And now no trace is left
Of the mild-hearted Champion, save this stone,
Faithless memorial ! and his family name
Borne by yon clustering cottages, that sprang
From out the ruins of his stately lodge:
These, and the name and title at full length,
SIR ALFRED IRTHING, with appropriate words
Accompanied, still extant, in a wreath
Or posy, girding round the several fronts
Of three clear-sounding and harmonious bells,
That in the steeple hang, his pious gift.”

“So fails, so languishes, grows dim, and dies,”
The grey-hair'd Wanderer pensively exclaim'd,
“ All that this world is proud of, From their spheres
The stars of human glory are cast down;
Perish the roses and the flowers of kings,
Princes, and emperors, and the crowns and palms
Of all the mighty, wither'd and consumed !
Nor is power given to lowliest innocence
Long to protect her own. The man himself
Departs; and soon is spent the line of those
Who, in the bodily image, in the mind,
In heart or soul, in station or pursuit,
Did most resemble him. Degrees and ranks,

Fraternities and orders - heaping high 6 The pillars of the gateway in front of the mansion remained when we first took up our abode at Grasmere. Two or three cottages still remain, which are called Knott Houses, from the name of the gentleman (I have called him a Knight) concerning whom these traditions

survive. He was the ancestor of the knott family, for. merly considerable proprietors in the district. — Author's Notes, 1843.

New wealth upon the burthen of the old,
And placing trust in privilege confirm'd
And re-confirm'd-are scoff'd at with a smile
Of greedy foretaste, from the secret stand
Of Desolation, aim'd: to slow decline
These yield, and these to sudden overthrow:
Their virtue, service, happiness, and state
Expires; and Nature's pleasant robe of green,
Humanity's appointed shroud, en wraps
Their monuments and their memory. The vast Frame
Of social nature changes evermore
Her organs and her members with decay
Restless, and restless generation, powers
And functions dying and produced at need, -
And by this law the mighty whole subsists:
With an ascent and progress in the main;
Yet, 0, how disproportion'd to the hopes
And expectations of self-flattering minds!

The courteous Knight, whose bones are here interr’d,
Lived in an age conspicuous as our own
For strife and ferment in the minds of men;
Whence alteration in the forms of things
Various and vast. A memorable age !
Which did to him assign a pensive lot, -
To linger ’mid the last of those bright clouds
That on the steady breeze of honour sail'd
In long procession calm and beautiful.
He who had seen his own bright order fade,
And its devotion gradually decline,
(While war, relinquishing the lance and shield,
Her temper changed, and bow'd to other laws,)
Had also witness'd, in his morn of life,
That violent commotion which o’erthrew,
In town and city and sequester'd glen,
Altar, and cross, and church of solemn roof,
And old religious house, -pile after pile;
And shook their tenants out into the fields,
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 madden’d 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 doom'd
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 deliver'd; 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."

BOOK EIGHTH.

THE PARSONAGE.

THE pensive Sceptic of the lonely vale
To those acknowledgments subscribed his own,
With a sedate compliance, which the Priest
Fail'd 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 gain'd;
And, in return for sympathy bestow'd
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 wish'd 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 cross’d me that my zeal
To his might well be liken’d, who unlock's
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 th' exhibitor himself, becomes
Weary and faint, and longs to be released.
But let us hence! my dwelling is in sight,
And there”

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 disturb’d, 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 thonght,
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 thongh no higher recompense be sought Than honest maintenance, by irksome toil Full oft procured, yet may they claim respect, Among th' 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

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