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To sympathise with vulgar coppice birds
That, for protection from the nipping blast,
Hither repaired. A single beech-tree grew
Within this grove of firs! and, on the fork
Of that one beech, appeared a thrush's nest;
A last year's nest, conspicuously built
At such small elevation from the ground
As gave sure sign that they, who in that house
Of nature and of love had made their home
Amid the fir-trees, all the summer long
Dwelt in a tranquil spot. And oftentimes
A few sheep, stragglers from some mountain-flock,
Would watch my motions with suspicious stare,
From the remotest outskirts of the grove,
Some nook where they had made their final stand,
Huddling together from two fears, the fear
Of me and of the storm. Full many an hour
Here did I lose. But in this grove the trees
Had been so thickly planted and had thriven
In such perplexed and intricate array,
That vainly did I seek beneath their stems
A length of open space, where to and fro
My feet might move without concern or care;
And, baffled thus, though earth from day to day
Was fettered, and the air by storm disturbed,
I ceased the shelter to frequent,—and prized,
Less than I wished to prize, that calm recess.

The snows dissolved, and genial Spring returned
To clothe the fields with verdure. Other haunts
Meanwhile were mine; till one bright April day,
By chance retiring from the glare of noon
To this forsaken covert, there I found
A hoary pathway traced between the trees,
And winding on with such an easy line
Along a natural opening, that I stood
Much wondering at my own simplicity
How I could e'er have made a fruitless search
For what was now so obvious. To abide,
For an allotted interval of ease,

Under my cottage-roof, had gladly come
From the wild sea a cherished visitant;
And with the sight of this same path begun,
Begun and ended, in the shady grove,
Pleasant conviction flashed upon my mind
That, to this opportune recess allured,
He had surveyed it with a finer eye,

A heart more wakeful; and had worn the track
By pacing here, unwearied and alone,
In that habitual restlessness of foot

With which the sailor measures o'er and o'er
His short domain upon the vessel's deck,
While she is travelling through the dreary sea.

When thou hadst quitted Esthwaite's pleasant shore,

And taken thy first leave of those green hills
And rocks that were the play-ground of thy youth,
Year followed year, my brother! and we two,
Conversing not, knew little in what mould.
Each other's mind was fashioned; and at length,
When once again we met in Grasmere vale,
Between us there was little other bond
Than common feelings of fraternal love.
But thou, a school-boy, to the sea hadst carried
Undying recollections; Nature there

Was with thee; she, who loved us both, she still
Was with thee; and even so didst thou become
A silent poet; from the solitude

Of the vast sea didst bring a watchful heart

Still couchant, an inevitable ear,

And an eye practised like a blind man's touch.
Back to the joyless ocean thou art gone;
Nor from this vestige of thy musing hours
Could I withhold thy honoured name, and now
I call the pathway by thy name

And love the fir-grove with a perfect love.
Thither do I withdraw when cloudless suns
Shine hot, or wind blows troublesome and strong;
And there I sit at evening, when the steep

Of Silver-how, and Grasmere's peaceful lake
And one green island, gleam between the stems
Of the dark firs, a visionary scene!

And while I gaze upon the spectacle

Of clouded splendour, on this dream-like sight
Of solemn loveliness, I think on thee,
My brother, and on all which thou hast lost.
Nor seldom, if I rightly guess, while thou,
Muttering the verses which I muttered first
Among the mountains, through the midnight watch
Art pacing thoughtfully the vessel's deck
In some far region, here, while o'er my head,
At every impulse of the moving breeze,

The fir-grove murmurs with a sea-like sound,
Alone I tread this path; for aught I know,
Timing my steps to thine; and, with a store
Of undistinguishable sympathies,

Mingling most earnest wishes for the day
When we, and others whom we love, shall meet
A second time, in Grasmere's happy vale.

NOTE. This wish was not granted; the lamented Person not long after perished by shipwreck, in discharge of his duty as Commander of the Honourable East India Company's vessel, the Earl of Abergavenny.

"FORTH FROM A JUTTING RIDGE,
AROUND WHOSE BASE."

FORTH from a jutting ridge, around whose base Winds our deep vale, two heath-clad rocks ascend In fellowship, the loftiest of the pair

Rising to no ambitious height; yet both,

O'er lake and stream, mountain and flowery mead,
Unfolding prospects fair as human eye
Ever beheld. Up-led with mutual help,
To one or other brow of those twin peaks

Were two adventurous sisters wont to climb,

And took no note of the hour while thence they gazed,

The blooming heath their couch, gazed side by side,
In speechless admiration. I, a witness
And frequent sharer of their calm delight
With thankful heart, to either eminence
Gave the baptismal name each sister bore.
Now are they parted, far as death's cold hand
Hath power to part the Spirits of those who love
As they did love. Ye kindred pinnacles
That, while the generations of mankind
Follow each other to their hiding-place
In time's abyss, are privileged to endure
Beautiful in yourselves, and richly graced
With like command of beauty, grant your aid
For MARY'S humble, SARAH's silent claim,
That their pure joy in nature may survive
From age to age in blended memory.

POEMS OF THE FANCY

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