« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets and thinly-scatter'd villages,
Where'er the agèd Beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels
To acts of love; and habit does the work
Of reason; yet prepares that after-joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,"
Doth find herself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness.
Some there are,
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which to the end of time
Will live, and spread, and kindle: even such minds
In childhood, from this solitary Being,
Or from like wanderer, haply have received
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of love can do)
That first mild touch of sympathy and thought
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man
Who sits at his own door, and, like the pear
That overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Shelter'd, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred ; — all behold in him
A silent monitor, which on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
. Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters 1 and exemptions; and perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service,-makes them felt.
Yet further. — Many, I believe, there are
Who live a life of virtuous decency,
Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel
No self-reproach ; who of the moral law
Establish'd in the land where they abide
Are strict observers; and not negligent
In acts of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace!
But of the poor man ask, the abject poor;
Go, and demand of him, if there be here
In this cold abstinence from evil deeds,
And these inevitable charities,
Wherewith to satisfy the human soul?
No! man is dear to man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have been,
Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out
Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness; for this single cause
That we have all of us one human heart.
Such pleasure is to one kind Being known,
My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week
Duly as Friday comes, though press’d herself
By her own wants, she from her store of meal
Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door
Returning with exhilarated heart,
Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in Heaven.
Then let him pass, á blessing on his head!
And while, in that vast solitude to which
The tide of things has borne him, he appears
To breathe and live but for himself alone,
Unblamed, uninjured, let him bear about
The good which the benignant law of Heaven
Has hung around him: and, while life is his,
Still let him prompt th' unletter'd villagers
To tender offices and pensive thoughts.
Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And, long as he can wander, let him breathe
The freshness of the valleys; let his blood
Struggle with frosty air and winter snows;
And let the charter'd wind that sweeps the heath
Beat his grey locks against his wither'd face.
Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness
Gives the last human interest to his heart.
May never HOUSE, misnamed of INDUSTRY,
Make him a captive! for that pent-up din,
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air,
Be his the natural silence of old age !
Let him be free of mountain solitudes;
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds.
Few are his pleasures: if his eyes have now
Been doom'd so long to settle upon earth
That not without some effort they behold
The countenance of the horizontal Sun,
Rising or setting, let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.
And let him, where and when he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or on a grassy bank
Of highway side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gather'd meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die!
THE FARMER OF TILSBURY VALE."
'Tis not for the unfeeling, the falsely refined,
The squeamish in taste, and the narrow of mind,
And the small critic wielding his delicate pen,
That I sing of old Adam, the pride of old men.
He dwells in the centre of London's wide Town;
His staff is a sceptre, his grey hairs a crown;
And his bright eyes look brighter, set off by the streak
Of the unfaded rose that still blooms on his cheek.
'Mid the dews, in the sunshine of morn, - 'mid the joy
Of the fields, he collected that bloom, when a boy;
That countenance there fashion’d, which, spite of a stain
That his life hath received, to the last will remain.
A Farmer he was; and his house far and near
Was the boast of the country for excellent cheer:
How oft have I heard in sweet Tilsbury Vale
Of the silver-rimm'd horn whence he dealt his mild ale!
Yet Adam was far as the farthest from ruin;
His fields seem'd to know what their Master was doing;
And turnips, and corn-land, and meadow, and lea,
All caught the infection, — as generous as he.
Yet Adam prized little the feast and the bowl, –
The fields better suited the ease of his soul:
He stray'd through the fields like an indolent wight,
The quiet of Nature was Adam's delight.
For Adam was simple in thought; and the poor,
Familiar with him, made an inn of his door:
them the best that he had; or, to say
What less may mislead you, they took it away.
Thus thirty smooth years did he thrive on his farm:
The Genius of plenty preserved him from harm:
At length, what to most is a season of sorrow,
His means are run out, — he must beg, or must borrow.
To the neighbours he went,--all were free with their money,
For his hive had so long been replenish'd with honey,
That they dreamt not of dearth: he continued his rounds,
Knock'd here and knock’d there, pounds sti!l adding to
pounds. He paid what he could with his ill-gotten pelf, And something, it might be, reserved for himself: Then, (what is too true,) without hinting a word, Turn’d his back on the country, and off like a bird. You lift up your eyes; but I guess that you frame A judgment too harsh of the sin and the shame: In him it was scarcely a business of art, For this he did all in the ease of his heart. To London - a sad emigration I weenWith his grey hairs he went from the brook and the green; And there, with small wealth but his legs and his hands, As lonely he stood as a crow on the sands. All trades, as need was, did old Adam assume, Served as stable-boy, errand-boy, porter, and groom; But Nature is gracious, necessity kind, And, in spite of the shame that may lurk in his mind,
He seems ten birthdays younger, is green and is stout;
Twice as fast as before does his blood run about;
You would say that each hair of his beard was alive,
And his fingers are busy as bees in a hive.
For he's not like an Old Man that leisurely goes
About work that he knows, in a track that he knows;
But often his mind is compellid to demur,
And you guess that the more then his body must stir.
In the throng of the town like a stranger is he,
Like one whose own country's far over the sea;
And Nature, while through the great city he hies,
Full ten times a day takes his heart by surprise.
This gives him the fancy of one that is young,
More of soul in his face than of words on his tongue;
Like a maiden of twenty he trembles and sighs,
And tears of fifteen will come into his eyes.
What's a tempest to him, or the dry parching heats?
Yet he watches the clouds that pass over the streets;
With a look of such earnestness often will stand,
You might think he'd twelve reapers at work in the Strand.8
Where proud Covent-garden, in desolate hours
Of snow and hoar-frost, spreads her fruits and her flowers,
Old Adam will smile at the pains that have made
Poor Winter look fine in such strange masquerade.
'Mid coaches and chariots, a waggon of straw,
Like a magnet, the heart of old Adam can draw;
With a thousand soft pictures his memory will teem,
And his hearing is touch'd with the sounds of a dream.
Up the Haymarket-hill he oft whistles his way,
Thrusts his hands in a waggon, and smells at the hay;
He thinks of the fields he so often hath mown,
And is happy as if the rich freight were his own.
But chiefly to Smithfield he loves to repair, —
If you pass by at morning, you'll meet with him there.
The breath of the cows you may see him inhale,
And his heart all the while is in Tilsbury Vale.
Now farewell, old Adam! when low thou art laid,
May one blade of grass spring up over thy head;
8 The Strand is one of the most thronged and crowded thoroughfares in London