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Were ready comrades whom he could not tire ;
Of whose society the blameless man

Was never satiate. Their familiar voice,

Even to old age, with unabated charm

Beguiled his leisure hours; refreshed his thoughts;
Beyond its natural elevation raised

His introverted spirit; and bestowed
Upon his life an outward dignity

Which all acknowledged. The dark winter night,
The stormy day, each had its own resource;
Song of the muses, sage historic tale,
Science severe, or word of holy writ
Announcing immortality and joy

To the assembled spirits of just men
Made perfect, and from injury secure.
Thus soothed at home, thus busy in the field,
To no perverse suspicion he gave way,

No languor, peevishness, nor vain complaint:
And they, who were about him, did not fail
In reverence, or in courtesy; they prized
His gentle manners: and his peaceful smiles,
The gleams of his slow-varying countenance,
Were met with answering sympathy and love.

"At length, when sixty years and five were told, A slow disease insensibly consumed

The powers of nature: and a few short steps
Of friends and kindred bore him from his home
(Yon cottage shaded by the woody crags)
To the profounder stillness of the grave.
Nor was his funeral denied the grace

Of many tears, virtuous and thoughtful grief;
Heart-sorrow rendered sweet by gratitude.
And now that monumental stone preserves
His name, and unambitiously relates
How long, and by what kindly outward aids,
And in what pure contentedness of mind,
The sad privation was by him endured.
And yon tall pine-tree, whose composing sound
Was wasted on the good man's living ear,

Hath now its own peculiar sanctity;

And, at the touch of every wandering breeze,
Murmurs, not idly, o'er his peaceful grave.

"Soul-cheering Light, most bountiful of things! Guide of our way, mysterious comforter !

Whose sacred influence, spread through earth and heaven,

We all too thanklessly participate,

Thy gifts were utterly withheld from him
Whose place of rest is near yon ivied porch.
Yet, of the wild brooks ask if he complained;
Ask of the channelled rivers if they held
A safer, easier, more determined, course.
What terror doth it strike into the mind
To think of one, blind and alone, advancing
Straight toward some precipice's airy brink!
But, timely warned, He would have stayed his steps,
Protected, say enlightened, by his ear;
And on the very edge of vacancy

Not more endangered than a man whose eye
Beholds the gulf beneath. No floweret blooms
Throughout the lofty range of these rough hills,
Nor in the woods, that could from him conceal
Its birthplace; none whose figure did not live
Upon his touch. The bowels of the earth
Enriched with knowledge his industrious mind;
The ocean paid him tribute from the stores
Lodged in her bosom; and, by science led,
His genius mounted to the plains of heaven.
Methinks I see him, how his eye-balls rolled,
Beneath his ample brow, in darkness paired,
But each instinct with spirit; and the frame
Of the whole countenance alive with thought,
Fancy, and understanding; while the voice
Discoursed of natural or moral truth
With eloquence, and such authentic power,
That, in his presence, humbler knowledge stood
Abashed, and tender pity overawed.”



"WHEN Soothing darkness spreads

O'er hill and vale," the Wanderer thus expressed
His recollections, "and the punctual stars,
While all things else are gathering to their homes,
Advance, and in the firmament of heaven
Glitter, but undisturbing, undisturbed;
As if their silent company were charged
With peaceful admonitions for the heart
Of all-beholding man, earth's thoughtful lord;
Then, in full many a region, once like this
The assured domain of calm simplicity
And pensive quiet, an unnatural light
Prepared for never-resting labour's eyes
Breaks from a many-windowed fabric huge;
And at the appointed hour a bell is heard,
Of harsher import than the curfew-knoll
That spake the Norman conqueror's stern behest,
A local summons to unceasing toil!
Disgorged are now the ministers of day;

And, as they issue from the illumined pile,
A fresh band meets them at the crowded door,
And in the courts, and where the rumbling stream,
That turns the multitude of dizzy wheels,

Glares, like a troubled spirit, in its bed

Among the rocks below. Men, maidens, youths,
Mother and little children, boys and girls,
Enter, and each the wonted task resumes
Within this temple, where is offered up
To gain, the master-idol of the realm,
Perpetual sacrifice. Even thus of old
Our ancestors, within the still domain
Of vast cathedral or conventual church,

Their vigils kept; where tapers day and night
On the dim altar burned continually,

In token that the house was evermore

Watching to God.

Religious men were they;

Nor would their reason, tutored to aspire

Above this transitory world, allow

That there should pass a moment of the year, When in their land the Almighty's service ceased."



"To every Form of being is assigned,"
Thus calmly spake the venerable Sage,
"An active Principle: howe'er removed
From sense and observation, it subsists
In all things, in all natures; in the stars
Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds,
In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
The moving waters, and the invisible air.
Whate'er exists hath properties that spread
Beyond itself, communicating good,
A simple blessing, or with evil mixed ;
Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
No chasm, no solitude; from link to link
It circulates, the soul of all the worlds.
This is the freedom of the universe;
Unfolded still the more, more visible,

The more we know; and yet is reverenced least,
And least respected in the human mind,
Its most apparent home. The food of hope
Is meditated action; robbed of this

Her sole support, she languishes and dies.
We perish also; for we live by hope
And by desire; we see by the glad light
And breathe the sweet air of futurity;
And so we live, or else we have no life.

Ah! why in age

Do we revert so fondly to the walks

Of childhood, but that there the soul discerns
The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired
Of her own native vigour; thence can hear
Reverberations; and a choral song,
Commingling with the incense that ascends,
Undaunted, toward the imperishable heavens,
From her own lonely altar?

Do not think

That good and wise ever will be allowed,
Though strength decay, to breathe in such estate
As shall divide them wholly from the stir
Of hopeful nature. Rightly it is said
That man descends into the VALE of years;
Yet have I thought that we might also speak,
And not presumptuously, I trust, of age,
As of a final EMINENCE; though bare
In aspect and forbidding, yet a point
On which 'tis not impossible to sit
In awful sovereignty; a place of power,
A throne, that may be likened unto his,
Who, in some placid day of summer, looks
Down from a mountain-top, say one of those

High peaks, that bound the vale where now we are.
Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye,
Forest and field, and hill and dale appear,

With all the shapes over their surface spread :
But, while the gross and visible frame of things
Relinquishes its hold upon the sense,

Yea almost on the mind herself, and seems
All unsubstantialized, how loud the voice
Of waters, with invigorated peal

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