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In the last sanctity of fame is laid.
There, though by right the excelling painter sleep
Where death and glory a joint sabbath keep,
Yet not the less his spirit would hold dear
Self-hidden praise, and friendship's private tear:
Hence, on my patrimonial grounds, have I
Raised this frail tribute to his memory;
From youth a zealous follower of the art
That he professed; attached to him in heart ;
Admiring, loving, and with grief and pride
Feeling what England lost when Reynolds died.
FOR A SEAT IN THE GROVES OF
BENEATH yon eastern ridge, the craggy bound,
Rugged and high, of Charnwood's forest ground,
Stand yet, but, stranger! hidden from thy view,
The ivied ruins of forlorn GRACE DIEU;
Erst a religious house, which day and night
With hymns resounded, and the chanted rite:
And when those rites had ceased, the spot gave birth
To honourable men of various worth:
There, on the margin of a streamlet wild,
Did Francis Beaumont sport, an eager child;
There, under shadow of the neighbouring rocks,
Sang youthful tales of shepherds and their flocks;
Unconscious prelude to heroic themes,
Heart-breaking tears, and melancholy dreams
Of slighted love, and scorn, and jealous rage,
With which his genius shook the buskined stage.
Communities are lost, and empires die,
And things of holy use unhallowed lie;
They perish; but the intellect can raise,
From airy words alone, a pile that ne'er decays.
WITH A PENCIL UPON A
STONE IN THE WALL OF THE HOUSE (AN OUT-HOUSE), ON THE ISLAND OF
RUDE is this edifice, and thou hast seen,
Buildings, albeit rude, that have maintained
Proportions more harmonious, and approached
To closer fellowship with ideal grace.
But take it in good part: alas! the poor
Vitruvius of our village had no help
From the great city; never, upon leaves
Of red Morocco folio saw displayed,
In long succession, pre-existing ghosts
Of beauties yet unborn; the rustic lodge
Antique, and cottage with verandah graced ;
Nor lacking, for fit company, alcove,
Green-house, shell-grot, and moss-lined hermitage.
Thou see'st a homely pile, yet to these walls
The heifer comes in the snow-storm, and here
The new-dropped lamb finds shelter from the wind.
And hither does one poet sometimes row
His pinnace, a small vagrant barge, up-piled
With plenteous store of heath and withered fern,
(A lading which he with his sickle cuts,
Among the mountains) and beneath this roof
He makes his summer couch, and here at noon
Spreads out his limbs, while, yet unshorn, the sheep,
Panting beneath the burthen of their wool,
Lie round him, even as if they were a part
Of his own household: nor, while from his bed He looks, through the open door-place, towards the lake
And to the stirring breezes, does he want
Creations lovely as the work of sleep,
Fair sights, and visions of romantic joy!
WRITTEN WITH A SLATE PENCIL ON A STONE, ON THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN OF BLACK COMB
STAY, bold adventurer; rest awhile thy limbs
On this commodious seat! for much remains
Of hard ascent before thou reach the top
Of this huge eminence-from blackness named—
And, to far-travelled storms of sea and land,
A favourite spot of tournament and war!
But thee may no such boisterous visitants
Molest; may gentle breezes fan thy brow;
And neither cloud conceal, nor misty air
Bedim, the grand terraqueous spectacle,
From centre to circumference, unveiled!
Know, if thou grudge not to prolong thy rest,
That on the summit whither thou art bound,
A geographic labourer pitched his tent,
With books supplied and instruments of art,
To measure height and distance; lonely task,
Week after week pursued! To him was given
Full many a glimpse (but sparingly bestowed
On timid man) of Nature's processes
He made report
That once, while there he plied his studious work
Within that canvas dwelling, colours, lines,
And the whole surface of the out-spread map,
Became invisible for all around
Had darkness fallen-unthreatened, unproclaimed-
As if the golden day itself had been
Extinguished in a moment; total gloom,
In which he sate alone, with unclosed eyes,
Upon the blinded mountain's silent top!
WRITTEN WITH A SLATE PENCIL UPON A STONE, THE LARGEST OF A HEAP LYING NEAR A DESERTED QUARRY, UPON ONE OF THE ISLANDS AT RYDAL
STRANGER! this hillock of mis-shapen stones
Is not a ruin spared or made by time,
Nor, as perchance thou rashly deem'st, the cairn
Of some old British chief: 'tis nothing more
Than the rude embryo of a little dome
Or pleasure-house, once destined to be built
Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle.
But, as it chanced, Sir William having learned
That from the shore a full-grown man might wade,
And make himself a freeman of this spot
At any hour he chose, the knight forthwith
Desisted, and the quarry and the mound
Are monuments of his unfinished task.
The block on which these lines are traced, perhaps,
Was once selected as the corner-stone
Of that intended pile, which would have been
Some quaint odd plaything of elaborate skill,
So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush,
And other little builders who dwell here,
Had wondered at the work. But blame him not,
For old Sir William was a gentle knight,
Bred in this vale, to which he appertained
With all his ancestry. Then peace to him,
And for the outrage which he had devised
Entire forgiveness! But, if thou art one
On fire with thy impatience to become
An inmate of these mountains, if disturbed
By beautiful conceptions, thou hast hewn
Out of the quiet rock the elements
Of thy trim mansion destined soon to blaze
In snow-white splendour, think again; and, taught
By old Sir William and his quarry, leave
Thy fragments to the bramble and the rose;
There let the vernal slow-worm sun himself,
And let the redbreast hop from stone to stone.
INSCRIPTIONS SUPPOSED TO BE FOUND IN AND NEAR A HERMIT'S CELL
HOPES what are they? Beads of morning
Strung on slender blades of grass;
Or a spider's web adorning
In a strait and treacherous pass.
What are fears but voices airy?
Whispering harm where harm is not;
And deluding the unweary
Till the fatal bolt is shot!
What is glory? In the socket
See how dying tapers fare!
What is pride? A whizzing rocket
That would emulate a star.
What is friendship? Do not trust her,
Nor the vows which she has made;
Diamonds dart their brightest lustre
From a palsy-shaken head.
What is truth? A staff rejected;
Duty? An unwelcome clog;
Joy? A moon by fits reflected
In a swamp or watery bog;
Bright, as if through ether steering,
To the traveller's eye it shone :
He hath hailed it re-appearing,
And as quickly it is gone;