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Leaving, in quest of other scenes, the shore
Of one day's pleasure, and all mortal joys!
Of that which is no longer needed, see
The common course of human gratitude!"
This plaintive note disturbed not the repose Of the still evening. Right across the lake
Through their ethereal texture pierced—ere we,
Scattered through half the circle of the sky;
While from the grassy mountain's open side We gazed, in silence hushed, with eyes intent On the refulgent spectacle, diffused
Our pinnace moves; then, coasting creek and bay, Through earth, sky, water, and all visible space,
Glades we behold, and into thickets peep,
Where couch the spotted deer; or raised our eyes
Alert to follow as the Pastor led,
We clomb a green hill's side; and, as we clomb,
Of the smooth lake, in compass seen:-far off,
And habitations seemingly preserved
From all intrusion of the restless world
By rocks impassable and mountains huge.
Soft heath this elevated spot supplied,
And choice of moss-clad stones, whereon we couched
The Priest in holy transport thus exclaimed:
"Eternal Spirit! universal God!
Power inaccessible to human thought,
Save by degrees and steps which thou hast deigned
To the infirmity of mortal sense
Of thy paternal splendours, and the pomp
Such as they are who in thy presence stand
And cruel wars expire. The way is marked,
So fare the many; and the thoughtful few, Who in the anguish of their souls bewail This dire perverseness, cannot choose but ask, Shall it endure?-Shall enmity and strife, Falsehood and guile, be left to sow their seed; And the kind never perish? Is the hope Fallacious, or shall righteousness obtain A peaceable dominion, wide as earth,
And ne'er to fail? Shall that blest day arrive When they, whose choice or lot it is to dwell In crowded cities, without fear shall live Studious of mutual benefit; and he,
Whom Morn awakens, among dews and flowers
Of every clime, to till the lonely field,
Be happy in himself?-The law of faith
Bedimmed with smoke, in wreaths voluminous,
And full assemblage of a barbarous host;
The existing worship; and with those compared,
Whence but from thee, the true and only God,
And from the faith derived through Him who bled Upon the cross, this marvellous advance
Of good from evil; as if one extreme
Working through love, such conquest shall it gain, Were left, the other gained.—O ye, who come
Such triumph over sin and guilt achieve?
Once," and with mild demeanour, as he spake, On us the venerable Pastor turned
His beaming eye that had been raised to Heaven,
Or to propitiate. And, if living eyes
The thing that hath been as the thing that is,
To kneel devoutly in yon reverend Pile,
Your very poorest rich in peace of thought
The shadowy vale, the sunny mountain-top;
Audible praise, to thee, omniscient Mind,
This vesper-service closed, without delay, From that exalted station to the plain Descending, we pursued our homeward course, In mute composure, o'er the shadowy lake, Under a faded sky. No trace remained Of those celestial splendours; grey the vaultPure, cloudless, ether; and the star of eve Was wanting; but inferior lights appeared Faintly, too faint almost for sight; and some Above the darkened hills stood boldly forth In twinkling lustre, ere the boat attained Her mooring-place; where, to the sheltering tree, Our youthful Voyagers bound fast her prow, With prompt yet careful hands. This done, we paced The dewy fields; but ere the Vicar's door Was reached, the Solitary checked his steps; Then, intermingling thanks, on each bestowed A farewell salutation; and, the like Receiving, took the slender path that leads To the one cottage in the lonely dell:
But turned not without welcome promise made
To enfeebled Power,
From this communion with uninjured Minds,
To seek, in degradation of the Kind,
Nave h 15
'And, hovering, round it often did a raven fly.'
From a short MS. poem read to me when an undergraduate, by my schoolfellow and friend, Charles Farish, long since deceased. The verses were by a brother of his, a man of promising genius, who died young.
This Dramatic Piece, as noticed in its title-page, was composed in 1795-6. It lay nearly from that time till within the last two or three months unregarded among my papers, without being mentioned even to my most intimate friends. Having, however, impressions upon my mind which made me unwilling to destroy the MS., I determined to undertake the responsibility of publishing it during my own life, rather than impose upon my successors the task of deciding its fate. Accordingly it has been revised with some care; but, as it was at first written, and is now published, without any view to its exhibition upon the stage, not the slightest alteration has been made in the conduct of the story, or the composition of the characters; above all, in respect to the two leading Persons of the Drama, I felt no inducement to make any change. The study of human nature suggests this awful truth, that, as in the trials to which life subjects us, sin and crime are apt to start from their very opposite qualities, so are there no limits to the hardening of the heart, and the perversion of the understanding to which they may carry their slaves. During my long residence in France, while the Revolution was rapidly advancing to its extreme of wickedness, I had frequent opportunities of being an eye-witness of this process, and it was while that knowledge was fresh upon my memory, that the Tragedy of The Borderers" was composed.
The Norman boy.'
'Among ancient Trees there are few, I believe, at least in France, so worthy of attention as an Oak which may be seen in the Pays de Caux,' about a league from Yvetot, close to the church, and in the burial-ground of Allonville.
The height of this Tree does not answer to its girth; the trunk, from the roots to the summit, forms a complete cone; and the inside of this cone is hollow throughout the whole of its height.
Such is the Oak of Allonville, in its state of nature. The hand of Man, however, has endeavoured to impress upon it a character still more interesting, by adding a religious feeling to the respect which its age naturally inspires.
The lower part of its hollow trunk has been transformed into a Chapel of six or seven feet in diameter,
I carefully wainscotted and paved, and an open iron gate guards the humble Sanctuary.
Leading to it there is a staircase, which twists round the body of the Tree. At certain seasons of the year divine service is performed in this Chapel.
The summit has been broken off many years, but there is a surface at the top of the trunk, of the diameter of a very large tree, and from it rises a pointed roof, covered with slates, in the form of a steeple, which is surmounted with an iron Cross, that rises in a picturesque manner from the middle of the leaves, like an ancient Hermitage above the surrounding Wood.
Over the entrance to the Chapel an Inscription appears, which informs us it was erected by the Abbé du Détroit, Curate of Allonville in the year 1696; and over a door is another, dedicating it To Our Lady of Peace.'' Vide 14 No. Saturday Magazine.
To the Daisy.'
This Poem, and two others to the same Flower, were written in the year 1802; which is mentioned, because in some of the ideas, though not in the manner in which those ideas are connected, and likewise even in some of the expressions, there is a resemblance to passages in a Poem (lately published) of Mr. Montgomery's, entitled, a Field Flower. This being said, Mr. Montgomery will not think any apology due to him; I cannot, however, help addressing him in the words of the Father of English Poets.
Several years after the event that forms the subject of the Poem, in company with my friend, the late Mr. Coleridge, I happened to fall in with the person to whom the name of Benjamin is given. Upon our expressing regret that we had not, for a long time, seen upon the road either him or his waggon, he said :-" They could not do without me; and as to the man who was put in my place, no good could come out of him; he was a man of no ideas."
The fact of my discarded hero's getting the horses out of a great difficulty with a word, as related in the poem, was told me by an eye-witness.