This poem is by Henry Glassford Bell (1803-1874), a Scottish lawyer, poet, founder of the Edinburgh Literary Journal, and an ardent defendant of the reputation of Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary Stuart (1542-1587) was Queen of Scotland from infancy and maintained a claim on the crown on England also. She resided in Scotland from 1561 to 1567, when she fled to England. Mary was taken captive by her cousin Queen Elizabeth I, held a prisoner for twenty years, and finally beheaded upon Elizabeth's order at Fotheringay Castle. In her journal (SJ III [Jan. 27, 1922]: 38), Montgomery comments: "I've always been on Elizabeth's side in that famous struggle. . . . Mary Stuart has intrigued the world's fancy by her charm, her passion, her tragedies, her misfortunes. Elizabeth, by contrast, seems sordid and shrewish. Yet in spite of all this I am glad she won. I think, though, she made a mistake in executing Mary." Yet Montgomery's heroines are sometimes identified with Mary (see Emily of New Moon, ch. 28, and Anne of Windy Poplars, ch. 5). The poem appears in the Fifth Royal Reader (38-39).

I looked far back into other years, and lo, in bright array
I saw, as in a dream, the form of ages passed away.
It was a stately convent with its old and lofty walls,
And gardens with their broad green walks, where soft the footstep falls;
And o'er the antique dial stones the creeping shadows passed,
And all around the noonday sun a drowsy radiance cast.
No sound of busy life was heard, save from the cloisters dim
The tinkling of the silver bell, or the sisters' holy hymn.
And there five noble maidens sat beneath the orchard trees,
In that first budding spring of youth, when all its prospects please;
And little recked they, when they sang, or knelt at vesper prayers,
That Scotland knew no prouder names - held none more dear than theirs;
And little even the loveliest thought, before the Virgin's shrine,
Of royal blood and high descent from the ancient Stuart line;
Calmly her happy days flew on, uncounted in their flight,
And as they flew they left behind a long-continuing light. . . . 

The scene was changed: it was an eve of raw and surly mood,
And in a turret chamber high of ancient Holyrood
Sat Mary, listening to the rain and sighing with the winds
That seemed to suit the stormy state of men's uncertain minds.
The touch of care had blanched her cheek, her smile was sadder now,
The weight of royalty had pressed too heavy on her brow;
And traitors to her councils came, and rebels to the field;
The Stuart sceptre well she swayed, but the sword she could not wield.
She thought of all her blighted hopes, the dreams of youth's brief day,
And summoned Rizzio with his lute, and bade the minstrel play
The songs she loved in early years - the songs of gay Navarre,
The songs perchance that erst were sung by gallant Chattilor.
They half beguiled her of her cares, they soothed her into smiles,
They won her thoughts from bigot zeal and fierce domestic broils;
But hark, the tramp of armed men, the Douglas' battle cry!
They come! they come! and lo, the scowl of Ruthven's hollow eye!
The swords are drawn, the daggers gleam, the tears and words are vain -
The ruffian steel is in his heart, the faithful Rizzio's slain!
Then Mary Stuart dashed aside the tears that trickling fell:
"Now for my father's arm!" she cried; "my woman's heart farewell!" . . . 

The scene was changed: it was a lake, with one small lonely isle,
And there, within the prison walls of its baronial pile,
Stern men stood menacing their queen, till she should stoop to sign
The traitorous scroll that snatched the crown from her ancestral line;
"My lords, my lords," the captive said, "were I but once more free,
With ten good knights on yonder shore to aid my cause and me,
This parchment would I scatter wide to every breeze that blows,
And once more reign a Stuart queen o'er my remorseless foes!"
A red spot burned upon her cheek, streamed her rich tresses down,
She wrote the words, she stood erect, a queen without a crown! 

The scene was changed: beside the block a sullen headsman stood,
And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that soon must drip with blood.
With slow and steady step there came a Lady through the hall,
And breathless silence chained the lips and touched the hearts of all.
I knew that queenly form again, though blighted was its bloom;
I saw that grief and decked it out - an offering for the tomb!
I knew that eye, though faint its light, that once so brightly shone; 
I knew the voice, though feeble now, that thrilled with every tone;
I knew the ringlets almost grey, once threads of living gold;
I knew that bounding grace of step, that symmetry of mould!

Even now I see her far away in that calm convent aisle,
I hear her chant her vesper hymn, I mark her holy smile;
Even now I see her bursting forth upon the bridal morn,
A new star in the firmament, to light and glory born!
Alas, the change! she placed her foot upon a triple throne,
And on the scaffold now she stands - beside the block - alone!
The little dog that licks her hand the last of all the crowd
Who sunned themselves beneath her glance, and round her footsteps bowed.
Her neck is bared - the blow is struck - the soul is passed away!
The bright - the beautiful - is now a bleeding piece of clay.
The dog is moaning piteously; and, as it gurgles o'er,
Laps the warm blood that tricking runs unheeded to the floor.
The blood of beauty, wealth and power, the heart-blood of a queen,
The noblest of the Stuart race, the fairest earth has seen,
Lapped by a dog!  Go think of it, in silence and alone;
Then weigh against a grain of sand the glories of a throne.



This poem by Bishop Thomas Percy (1729-1811) could be found in recitation and poetry books from 1878 until well past the turn of the century.

Come, follow, follow me,
You, fairy elves that be:
Which circle on the greene,
Come follow Mab your queene.
Hand in hand let's dance around,
For this place is fairye ground. 

When mortals are at rest,
And snoring in their nest;
Unheard, and unespy'd,
Through key-holes we do glide;
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
We trip it with our fairy elves. 

And, if the house be foul
With platter, dish, or bowl, 
Up stairs we nimbly creep,
And find the sluts asleep:
There we pinch their armes and thighes;
None escapes, nor none espies. 

But if the house be swept,
And from uncleaness kept,
We praise the houshold maid,
And duely she is paid:
For we use before we goe
To drop a tester in her shoe. 

Upon a mushroomes head
Our table-cloth we spread;
A grain of rye, or wheat,
Is manchet, which we eat;
Pearly drops of dew we drink
In acorn cups fill'd to the brink. 

The brains of nightingales,
With unctuous fat of snailes,
Between two cockles stew'd,
Is meat that's easily chew'd;
Tailes of wormes, and marrow of mice
Do make a dish, that's wonderous nice. 

The grasshopper, gnat, and fly,
Serve for our minstrelsie;
Grace said, we dance a while,
And so the time beguile:
And if the moon doth hide her head,
The gloe-worm lights us home to bed.

On tops of dewie grasse
So nimbly do we passe,
The young and tender stalk
Ne'er bends when we do walk:
Yet in the morning may be seen
Where we the night before have been. 



A LEGEND OF 1870-1871

by Stafford MacGregor, late British Vice-Consul, late German Vice-Consul. Privately printed, Southampton, 1883. Courtesy of the English Language Collection, The British Library.

In the valley of Avranches, the vespers were ringing,
A lullaby soft at the close of the day,
The white fleecy clouds the sunset was tinging
With many hued lights fading swiftly away,
Oft darkening to purple, now brightening to crimson,
Here braiding the edges with bands of bright gold,
As though the Aurora would win from the ocean,
Once more the avow that at daylight was told,
And increase the deep love that was whispered at dawn,
By enriching in splendor her robe of the morn.

As peaceful and bright in the year's opening days,
As that sunset, O France! Was thy future portrayed,
Though dark as the thunder-fraught cloud of the night,
Was that future when rolled page by page to the light.
O! where are the legions that bled for thy fame,
In the glory of victory on Austerlitz plain?
'Tis Valhubert of Avranches who heads the death roll,
"Died as general for France," so reads the scroll
On the statue in marble which Avranches has reared,
And which from his boyhood a grandson revered.

Not the fairest of maidens was Reinette de Veer,
Graceful in form, but of features severe, 
Though equal in gifts always nature had blent,
And wreathed round her lips the smile of a saint,
And now as she hastens last adieux to hear
From that Valhubert's grandson, a young grenadier,
And nears the old abbey's ruined ivy clad aisle,
Her face wears in sadness that saintlike smile,
As kneeling she prays to our lady above
To shield from war's dangers her country and love. 

As the white maid of Avenel, who of yore would appear
When a breast free of guile to her shrine should draw near
So a mystic white vision in the moonlight did gleam,
And in accents melodious as murmuring stream
To Reinette gave response, "thou art not alone,
At the altars of Munich, of Dresden, of Cologne,
Are Germany's daughters now breathing like prayer
For those who must shortly for battle prepare,
Imploring at foot of the glory girt throne
Protection for loved ones, for country for home. 

Alas! gentle maiden, as ten moons shall wane,
Each moon by ten thousand shall number the slain,
As the billows that surge in yon bay's wide expanse,
Their green graves shall rise o'er their birthland of France.
And the blood of her sons by their kindred shall flow,
And your Paris be wrapped in a mantle of woe,
Domremy shall mourn, Vancouleurs hear the wail
That is born on the wings of the death-laden gale,
And the ramparts of Orleans all powerless shall be
To arrest the inroad of that wide spreading sea.

To far Northern Cambray the war note soon speeds,
And Laon and proud Lille hear the clattering steeds,
Whose riders bear message of bloody fields lost,
And foretell the advance of that merciless host.
The echoes of Tinchebray ten leagues from your town
Shall fling back the notes of the conqueror's drum,
From the passes of Vosges to the channel's far shore
From the forest of Ardennes to the vine-bordered Loire,
Exulting and proud with victorious glance,
Black eagles shall wave o'er one-fifth of fair France. 

The shrine of St. Genevieve desecrated shall be,
And palaces flame to the roofs topmost tree,
The Seine shall run red to Mante's ancient town,
Whose hamlets shall blaze and rafters crash down,
As in ages of yore when Duke William's bold band
Brought sword, flame and famine to ravage the land,
And whose wraith might well rise to see Calais in flames,
Rouen surrendered, Paris enchained,
And Normandy's sons, forgetting their line,
Marched by thousands as captives away to the Rhine. -

Ah! Maurice, Reine faltered as forward he sped,
Methought that a vision appeared from the dead,
And grimly foreshadowed destruction and shame 
To the sons of our country, but if with the slain
'Tis thy fate to be numbered, hear but my vow,
Ne'er at the high altar the knee I will bow,
As bride to another, but weep thee till death,
Encircle my brow with a funereal wreath,
And to another my troth I will plight,
Or cease to forget the adieu of to-night.

The forest of Scissy shall start from their bed,
Those forests that now deep in ocean are hid,
And the floods that surge hoarse in yonder broad bay,
Shall cease to spread shoreward their murmuring lay,
And St. Michael's weird towers that loom through the mist
Shall quake to their basement and crumble to dust,
And - but derisive and sharp o'er the deep shadowed glade
The notes of departure a bugle now played,
Proclaiming the hour of their parting was near,
To young Maurice Valhubert and Reinette de Veer.

On Mars la Tour high shone the sun and flashed again the Prussian Guns,
That swiftly wheel across the plain to wake the echoes of Lorraine,
And when towards the waning light had ceased their vengeful roar,
The Prussian sentries pace the heights of conquered Mars la Tour,
And as the roll was called that night by Metz's watch fires glare,
No answer to the name was heard of Maurice Valhubert
For why? the grandsire's scroll so terse, spoke not of when to fly,
But only taught to Valhubert, the lesson how to die,
And though no tablet marks the Grave of that young Grenadier,
To love and country true, he died for France and Reine de Veer. 



I HEARD the trailing garments of the Night
  Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
  From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
  Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
  As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
  The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night,
  Like some old poet's rhymes.

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
  My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, -
  From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
  What man bas borne before:
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
  And they complain no more.

Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer;
  Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
  The best-beloved Night!



THOUGH old the thought and oft exprest,
'Tis his at last who says it best, -
I'll try my fortune with the rest.

Life is a leaf of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.

'Lo, time and space enough,' we cry;
'To write an epic!' so we try
Our nibs upon the edge, and die.

Muse not which way the pen to hold,
Luck hates the slow and loves the bold,
Soon come the darkness and the cold.

Greatly begin! though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime, - 
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.

Ah, with what lofty hope we came!
But we forget it, dream of fame,
And scrawl, as I do here, a name.





A summer forenoon. - The Author reaches a ruined Cottage 
upon a Common, and there meets with a revered Friend, the 
Wanderer, of whose education and course of life he gives an 
account. - The Wanderer, while resting under the shade of the 
Trees that surround the Cottage, relates the History of its last 

'Twas summer, and the sun had mounted high:
Southward the landscape indistinctly glared
Through a pale steam; but all the northern downs,
In clearest air ascending, showed far off
A surface dappled o'er with shadows flung
From brooding clouds; shadows that lay in spots
Determined and unmoved, with steady beams
Of bright and pleasant sunshine interposed;
To him most pleasant who on soft cool moss 
Extends his careless limbs along the front 

Of some huge cave, whose rocky ceiling casts
A twilight of its own, an ample shade,
Where the wren warbles, while the dreaming man,
Half conscious of the soothing melody,
With side-long eye looks out upon the scene,
By power of that impending covert thrown
To finer distance. Mine was at that hour
Far other lot yet with good hope that soon
Under a shade as grateful I should find
Rest, and be welcomed there to livelier joy.
Across a bare wide Common I was toiling
With languid steps that by the slippery turf
Were baffled; nor could my weak arm disperse
The host of insects gathering round my face,
And ever with me as I paced along.

  Upon that open moorland stood a grove,
The wished-for port to which my course was bound.
Thither I came, and there, amid the gloom
Spread by a brotherhood of lofty elms,
Appeared a roofless Hut; four naked walls
That stared upon each other ! - I looked round,
And to my wish and to my hope espied
The Friend I sought; a Man of reverend age,
But stout and hale, for travel unimpaired,
There was he seen upon the cottage-bench,
Recumbent in the shade, as if asleep; 
An iron-pointed staff lay at his side.

  Him had I marked the day before - alone
And stationed in the public way, with face
Turned toward the sun then setting, while that staff
Afforded, to the figure of the man
Detained for contemplation or repose,
Graceful support; his countenance as he stood
Was hidden from my view, and he remained
Unrecognized; but, stricken by the sight;
With slackened footsteps I advanced, and soon
A glad congratulation we exchanged
At such unthought-of meeting. - For the night
We parted, nothing willingly; and now
He by appointment waited for me here,
Under the covert of these clustering elms.

  We were tried Friends: amid a pleasant vale,
In the antique market-village where was passed
My school-time, an apartment he had owned,
To which at intervals the Wanderer drew,
And found a kind of home or harbour there.
He loved me; from a swarm of rosy boys 
Singled out me, as he in sport would say,
For my grave looks, too thoughtful for my years.
As I grew up, it was my best delight
To be his chosen comrade. Many a time,
On holidays, we rambled through the woods:
We sate - we walked; he pleased me with report
Of things which he had seen; and often touched
Abstrusest matter, reasonings of the mind
Turned inward; or at my request would sing
Old songs, the product of his native hills;
A skilful distribution of sweet sounds,
Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed
As cool refreshing water, by the care
Of the industrious husbandman, diffused
Through a parched meadow-ground, in time of drought.
Still deeper welcome found his pure discourse:
How precious when in riper days I learned
To weigh with care his words, and to rejoice
In the plain presence of his dignity!

  Oh! many are the Poets that are sown
By Nature; men endowed with highest gifts,
The vision and the faculty divine; 
Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse,
(Which, in the docile season of their youth,
It was denied them to acquire; through lack
Of culture and the inspiring aid of books,
Or haply by a temper too severe,
Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame)
Nor having e'er, as life advanced, been led 
By circumstance to take unto the height 
The measure of themselves, these favoured Beings, 
All but a scattered few, live out their time, 
Husbanding that which they possess within, 
And go to the grave, unthought of. Strongest minds 
Are often those of whom the noisy world 
Hears least; else surely this Man had not left 
His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.
But, as the mind was filled with inward light,
So not without distinction had he lived.
Beloved and honoured - far as he was known.
And some small portion of his eloquent speech,
And something that may serve to set in view
The feeling pleasures of his loneliness,
His observations, and the thoughts his mind
Had dealt with - I will here record in verse;
Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
Or rise as venerable Nature leads,
The high and tender Muses shall accept
With gracious smile, deliberately pleased,
And listening Time reward with sacred praise.

  Among the hills of Athol he was born; 
Where, on a small hereditary farm.
An unproductive slip of rugged ground,
His Parents, with their numerous offspring, dwelt; 
A virtuous household, though exceeding poor!
Pure livers were they all austere and grave,
And fearing God; the very children tanght
Stern self-respect, a reverence for God's word,
And an habitual piety, maintained
With strictness scarcely known on English ground.

  From his sixth year, the Boy of whom I speak,
In summer, tended cattle on the hills;
But, through the inclement and the penlous days 
Of long-continuing winter, he repaired,
Equipped with satchel, to a school, that stood
Sole building on a mountain's dreary edge,
Remote from view of city spire, or sound
Of minster clock! From that bleak tenement
He, many an evening, to his distant home
In solitude returning, saw the hills
Grow larger in the darkness; all alone
Beheld the stars come out above his head,
And travelled through the wood, with no one near
To whom he might confess the things he saw.

  So the foundations of his mind were laid.
In such communion, not from terror free, 
While yet a child, and long before his time, 
Had he perceived the presence and the power 
Of greatness; and deep feelings had impressed 
So vividly great objects that they lay 
Upon his mind like substances, whose presence 
Perplexed the bodily sense. He had received
A precious gift; for, as he grew in years,
With these impressions would he still compare
All his remembrances, thoughts, shapes, and forms;
And, being still unsatisfied with aught
Of dimmer character, he thence attained
An active power to fasten images
Upon his brain; and on their pictured lines
Intensely brooded, even till they acquired
The liveliness of dreams. Nor did he fail,
While yet a child, with a child's eagerness
Incessantly to turn his ear and eye
On all things which the moving seasons brought
To feed such appetite - nor this alone.
Appeased his yearning: in the after-day
Of boyhood, many an hour in caves forloin,
And 'mid the hollow depths, of naked crags
He sate, and even in their fixed lineaments,
Or from the power of a peculiar eye,
Or by creative feeling overborne,
Or by predominance of thought oppressed,
Even in their fixed and steady lineaments
He traced an ebbing and a flowing mind,
Expression ever varying!

                          Thus informed,
He had small need of books; for many a tale
Traditionary, round the mountains hung,
And many a legend, peopling the dark woods,
Nourished Imagination in her growth,
And gave the Mind that apprehensive power
By which she is made quick to recognize
The moral properties and scope of things.
But eagerly he read, and read again,
Whate'er the minister's old shelf supplied;
The life and death of martyrs, who sustained,
With will inflexible, those fearful pangs
Triumphantly displayed in records left
Of persecution, and the Covenant - times
Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour!
And there, by lucky hap, had been preserved
A straggling volume, torn and incomplete,
That left half-told the preternatural tale,
Romance of giants, chronicle of fiends,
Profuse in garniture of wooden cuts
Strange and uncouth; dire faces, figures dire,
Sharp-kneed, sharp-elbowed, and lean-ankled too,
With long and ghostly shanks - forms which once seen
Could never be forgotten!

                          In his heart, 
Where Fear sate thus, a cherished visitant,
Was wanting yet the pure delight of love
By sound diffused, or by the breathing air,
Or by the silent looks of happy things,
Or flowing from the universal face
Of earth and sky. But he had felt the power
Of Nature, and already was prepared,
By his intense conceptions, to receive
Deeply the lesson deep of love which he,
Whom Nature, by whatever means, has taught
To feel intensely, cannot but receive.

  Such was the Boy - but for the growing Youth
What soul was his, when, from the naked top
Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
Rise up, and bathe the world in light! He looked -
Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth
And ocean's liquid mass, in gladness lay
Beneath him: - Far and wide the clouds were touched,
And in their silent faces could he read
Unutterable love. Sound needed none,
Nor any voice of joy; his spirit drank
The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form,
All melted into him; they swallowed up
His animal being; in them did he live,
And by them did he live; they were his life.
In such access of mind, in such high hour
Of visitation from the living God,
Thought was not; in enjoyment it expired.
No thanks he breathed, he proffered no request;
Rapt into still communion that transcends
The imperfect offices of prayer and praise,
His mind was a thanksgiving to the power
That made him; it was blessedness and love!

  A Herdsman on the lonely mountain tops,
Such intercourse was his, and in this sort
Was his existence oftentimes possessed.
O then how beautiful, how bright, appeared
The written promise! Early had he learned
To reverence the volume that displays
The mystery, the life which cannot die;
But in the mountains did he feel his faith.
All things, responsive to the writing, there 
Breathed immortality, revolving life,
And greatness still revolving; infinite:
There littleness was not; the least of things
Seemed infinite; and there his spirit shaped 
Her prospects, nor did he believe, - he saw
What wonder if his being thus became
Sublime and comprehensive! Low desires,
Low thoughts had there no place; yet was his heart
Lowly; for he was meek in gratitude,
Oft as he called those ecstasies to mind,
And whence they flowed; and from them he acquired
Wisdom, which works through patience ; thence he learned
In oft-recurring hours of sober thought
To look on Nature with a humble heart,
Self-questioned where it did not understand,
And with a superstitious eye of love.

  So passed the time; yet to the nearest town
He duly went with what small overplus
His earnings might supply, and brought away
The book that most had tempted his desires
While at the stall he read. Among the hills
He gazed upon that mighty orb of song,
The divine Milton. Lore of different kind,
The annual savings of a toilsome life,
His Schoolmaster supplied; books that explain
The purer elements of truth involved
In lines and numbers, and, by charm severe,
(Especially perceived where nature droops
And feeling is suppressed) preserve the mind
Busy in solitude and poverty.
These occupations oftentimes deceived
The listless hours, while in the hollow vale,
Hollow and green, he lay on the green turf
In pensive idleness. What could he do,
Thus daily thirsting, in that lonesome life,
With blind endeavours? Yet, still uppermost,
Nature was at his heart as if he felt,
Though yet he knew not how, a wasting power
In all things that from her sweet influence
Might tend to wean him. Therefore with her hues,
Her forms, and with the spirit of her forms,
He clothed the nakedness of austere truth.
While yet he lingered in the rudiments
Of science, and among her simplest laws,
His triangles - they were the stars of heaven,
The silent stars! Oft did he take delight 
To measure the altitude of some tall crag
That is the eagle's birthplace, or some peak
Familiar with forgotten years, that shows
Inscribed upon its visionary sides,
The history of many a winter storm,
Or obscure records of the path of fire.

  And thus before his eighteenth year was told,
Accumulated feelings pressed his heart
With still increasing weight; he was o'erpowered
By Nature; by the turbulence subdued
Of his own mind; by mystery and hope,
And the first virgin passion of a soul
Communing with the glorious universe.
Full often wished he that the winds might rage
When they were silent: far more fondly now
Than in his earlier season did he love
Tempestuous nights - the conflict and the sounds
That live in darkness. From his intellect
And from the stillness of abstracted thought
He asked repose; and, failing oft to win
The peace required, he scanned the laws of light
Amid the roar of torrents, where they send
From hollow clefts up to the clearer air
A cloud of mist, that smitten by the sun
Varies its rainbow hues. But vainly thus,
And vainly by all other means, he strove
To mitigate the fever of his heart.

  In dreams, in study, and in ardent thought,
Thus was he reared; much wanting to assist
The growth of intellect, yet gaining more,
And every moral feeling of his soul
Strengthened and braced, by breathing in content
The keen, the wholesome, air of poverty,
And drinking from the well of homely life. 
- But, from past liberty, and tried restraints, 
He now was summoned to select the course 
Of humble industry that promised best
To yield him no unworthy maintenance.
Urged by his Mother, he essayed to teach
A village-school - but wandering thoughts were then
A misery to him; and the Youth resigned
A task he was unable to perform.

  That stern yet kindly Spirit, who constrains
The Savoyard to quit his naked rocks, 
The freeborn Swiss to leave his narrow vales,
(Spirit attached to regions mountainous
Like their own stedfast clouds) did now impel
His restless mind to look abroad with hope.
- An irksome drudgery seems it to plod on,
Through hot and dusty ways, or pelting storm,
A vagrant Merchant under a heavy load
Bent as he moves, and needing frequent rest;
Yet do such travellers find their own delight;
And their hard service, deemed debasing now,
Gained merited respect in simpler times;
When squire, and priest, and they who round them dwelt
In rustic sequestration - all dependent
Upon the PEDLAR'S toil - supplied their wants,
Or pleased their fancies, with the wares he brought
Not ignorant was the Youth that still no few
Of his adventurous countrymen were led
By perseverance in this track of life
To competence and ease: - to him it offered
Attractions manifold; - and this he chose.
- His Parents on the enterprise bestowed
Their farewell benediction, but with hearts
Foreboding evil. From his native hills
He wandered far; much did he see of men,
Their manners, their enjoyments, and pursuits,
Their passions and their feelings; chiefly those
Essential and eternal in the heart,
That, 'mid the simpler forms of rural life,
Exist more simple in their elements,
And speak a plainer language. In the woods,
A lone Enthusiast, and among the fields,
Itinerant in this labour, he had passed
The better portion of his time; and there
Spontaneously had his affections thriven
Amid the bounties of the year, the peace
And liberty of nature; there he kept
In solitude and solitary thought
His mind in a just equipoise of love.
Serene it was, unclouded by the cares
Of ordinary life; unvexed, unwarped
By partial bondage. In his steady course,
No piteous revolutions had he felt,
No wild varieties of joy and grief.
Unoccupied by sorrow of its own,
His heart lay open; and, by nature tuned
And constant disposition of his thoughts
To sympathy with man, he was alive
To all that was enjoyed where'er he went,
And all that was endured; for, in himself
Happy, and quiet in his cheerfulness,
He had no painful pressure from within
That made him turn aside from wretchedness
With coward fears. He could afford to suffer
With those whom he saw suffer. Hence it came
That in our best experience he was rich,
And in the wisdom of our daily life.
For hence, minutely, in his various rounds,
He had observed the progress and decay
Of many minds, of minds and bodies too;
The history of many families;
How they had prospered; how they were o'erthrown
By passion or mischance, or such misrule
Among the unthinking masters of the earth
As makes the nations groan.

                         This active course
He followed till provision for his wants
Had been obtained; - the Wanderer then resolved
To pass the remnant of his days, untasked
With needless services, from hardship free.
His calling laid aside, he lived at ease:
But still he loved to pace the public roads
And the wild paths; and, by the summer's warmth
Invited, often would he leave his home
And journey far, revisiting the scenes
That to his memory were most endeared.
- Vigorous in health, of hopeful spirits, undamped
By worldly-naindedness or anxious care;
Observant, studious, thoughtful, and refreshed
By knowledge gathered up from day to day;
Thus had he lived a long and innocent life.

  The Scottish Church, both on himself and those
With whom from childhood he grew up, had held
The strong hand of her purity; and still
Had watched him with an unrelenting eye.
This he remembered in his riper age
With gratitude, and reverential thoughts.
But by the native vigour of his mind;
By his habitual wanderings out of doors,
By loneliness, and goodness, and kind works,
Whate'er, in docile childhood or in youth,
He had imbibed of fear or darker thought 
Was melted all away; so true was this, 
That sometimes his religion seemed to me 
Self-taught, as of a dreamer in the woods; 
Who to the model of his own pure heart 
Shaped his belief, as grace divine inspired, 
And human reason dictated with awe. 
- And surely never did there live on earth 
A man of kindlier nature. The rough sports 
And teasing ways of children vexed not him; 
Indulgent listener was he to the tongue 
Of garrulous age; nor did the sick man's tale, 
To his fraternal sympathy addressed, 
Obtain reluctant hearing. 

                        Plain his garb; 
Such as might suit a rustic Sire, prepared 
For sabbath duties; yet he was a man 
Whom no one could have passed without remark. 
Active and nervous was his gait; his limbs 
And his whole figure breathed intelligence. 
Time had compressed the freshness of his cheek 
Into a narrower circle of deep red, 
But had not tamed his eye; that, under brows 
Shaggy and grey, had meanings which it brought 
From years of youth; which, like a Being made 
Of many Beings, he had wondrous skill 
To blend with knowledge of the years to come, 
Human, or such as lie beyond the grave. 


  So was He framed; and such his course of life 
Who now, with no appendage but a staff, 
The prized memorial of relinquished toils, 
Upon that cottage-bench reposed his limbs, 
Screened from the sun. Supine the Wanderer lay, 
His eyes as if in drowsiness half shut, 
The shadows of the breezy elms above 
Dappling his face. He had not heard the sound 
Of my approaching steps, and in the shade 
Unnoticed did I stand some minutes' space. 
At length I hailed him, seeing that his hat 
Was moist with water-drops, as if the brim 
Had newly scooped a running stream. He rose, 
And ere our lively greeting into peace 
Had settled, "Tis,' said I, 'a burning day: 
My lips are parched with thirst but you, it seems, 
Have somewhere found relief.' He, at the word, 
Pointing towards a sweet-briar, bade me climb 
The fence where that aspiring shrub looked out 
Upon the public way. It was a plot 
Of garden ground run wild, its matted weeds 
Marked with the steps of those, whom, as they passed, 
The gooseberry trees that shot in long lank slips, 
Or currants, hanging from their leafless stems, 
In scanty strings, had tempted to o'erleap 
The broken wall. I looked around, and there, 
Where two tall hedge-rows of thick alder boughs 
Joined in a cold damp nook, espied a well 
Shrouded with willow-flowers and plumy fern. 
My thirst I slaked, and, from the cheerless spot 
Withdrawing, straightway to the shade returned 
Where sate the old Man on the cottage-bench; 
And, while, beside him, with uncovered head, 
I yet was standing, freely to respire, 
And cool my temples in the fanning air, 
Thus did he speak 'I see around me here 
Things which you cannot see: we die, my Friend, 
Nor we alone, but that which each man loved 
And prized in his peculiar nook of earth 
Dies with him, or is changed; and very soon 
Even of the good is no memorial left. 
- The Poets, in their elegies and songs 
Lamenting the departed, call the groves, 
They call upon the hills and streams to mourn, 
And senseless rocks; nor idly; for they speak, 
In these their invocations, with a voice 
Obedient to the strong creative power 
Of human passion. Sympathies there are 
More tranquil, yet perhaps of kindred birth, 
That steal upon the meditative mind, 
And grow with thought. Beside yon spring I stood, 
And eyed its waters till we seemed to feel 
One sadness, they and I. For them a bond 
Of brotherhood is broken: time has been 
When, every day, the touch of human hand 
Dislodged the natural sleep that binds them up 
In mortal stillness; and they ministered 
To human comfort. Stooping down to drink, 
Upon the slimy foot-stone I espied 
The useless fragment of a wooden bowl, 
Green with the moss of years, and subject only 
To the soft handling of the elements: 
There let it lie - how foolish are such thoughts ! 
Forgive them; - never - never did my steps 
Approach this door but she who dwelt within 
A daughter's welcome gave me, and I loved her 
As my own child. Oh, Sir! the good die first, 
And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust 
Burn to the socket. Many a passenger 
Hath blessed poor Margaret for her gentle looks, 
When she upheld the cool refreshment drawn 
From that forsaken spring; and no one came 
But he was welcome; no one went away 
But that it seemed she loved him. She is dead, 
The light extinguished of her lonely hut, 
The hut itself abandoned to decay, 
And she forgotten in the quiet grave. 

  'I speak,' continued he, 'of One whose stock 
Of virtues bloomed beneath this lowly roof. 
She was a Woman of a steady mind, 
Tender and deep in her excess of love; 
Not speaking much, pleased rather with the joy 
Of her own thoughts: by some especial care 
Her temper had been framed, as if to make 
A Being, who by adding love to peace 
Might live on earth a life of happiness. 
Her wedded Partner lacked not on his side 
The humble worth that satisfied her heart: 
Frugal, affectionate, sober, and withal 
Keenly industrious. She with pride would tell 
That he was often seated at his loom, 
In summer, ere the mower was abroad 
Among the dewy grass, - in early spring, 
Ere the last star had vanished. - They who passed 
At evening, from behind the garden fence 
Might hear his busy spade, which he would ply, 
After his daily work, until the light 
Had failed, and every leaf and flower were lost 
In the dark hedges. So their days were spent 
In peace and comfort; and a pretty boy 
Was their best hope, next to the God in heaven. 

  'Not twenty years ago, but you I think 
Can scarcely bear it now in mind, there came 
Two blighting seasons, when the fields were left 
With half a harvest. It pleased Heaven to add 
A worse affliction in the plague of war: 
This happy Land was stricken to the heart! 
A Wanderer then among the cottages, 
I, with my freight of winter raiment, saw 
The hardships of that season: many rich 
Sank down, as in a dream, among the poor; 
And of the poor did many cease to be, 
And their place knew them not. Meanwhile, abridged 
Of daily comforts, gladly reconciled 
To numerous self-denials, Margaret 
Went struggling on through those calamitous years 
With cheerful hope, until the second autumn, 
When her life's Helpmate on a sick-bed lay, 
Smitten with perilous fever. In disease 
He lingered long; and, when his strength returned, 
He found the little he had stored, to meet 
The hour of accident or crippling age, 
Was all consumed. A second infant now 
Was added to the troubles of a time 
Laden, for them and all of their degree, 
With care and sorrow: shoals of artisans 
From ill-requited labour turned adrift 
Sought daily bread from public charity. 
They, and their wives and children - happier far 
Could they have lived as do the little birds 
That peck along the hedge-rows, or the kite 
That makes her dwelling on the mountain rocks ! 

  'A sad reverse it was for him who long 
Had filled with plenty, and possessed in peace, 
This lonely Cottage. At the door he stood, 
And whistled many a snatch of merry tunes 
That had no mirth in them; or with his knife 
Carved uncouth figures on the heads of sticks -
Then, not less idly, sough, through every nook 
In house or garden, any casual work 
Of use or ornament; and with a strange, 
Amusing, yet uneasy, novelty, 
He mingled, where he might, the various tasks 
Of summer, autumn, winter, and of spring. 
But this endured not; his good humour soon 
Became a weight in which no pleasure was: 
And poverty brought on a petted mood 
And a sore temper: day by day he drooped, 
And he would leave his work - and to the town 
Would turn without an errand his slack steps; 
Or wander here and there among the fields. 
One while he would speak lightly of his babes, 
And with a cruel tongue: at other times 
He tossed them with a false unnatural joy: 
And 'twas a rueful thing to see the looks 
Of the poor innocent children. "Every smile," 
Said Margaret to me, here beneath these trees, 
"Made my heart bleed." ' 

                       At this the Wanderer paused; 
And, looking up to those enormous elms, 
He said, "Tis now the hour of deepest noon. 
At this still season of repose and peace, 
This hour when all thing which are not at rest 
Are cheerful; while this multitude of flies 
With tuneful hum is filling all the air; 
Why should a tear be on an old Man's cheek? 
Why should we thus, with an untoward mind, 
And in the weakness of humanity, 
From natural wisdom turn our hearts away; 
To natural comfort shut our eyes and ears; 
And, feeding on disquiet, thus disturb 
The calm of nature with our restless thoughts? ' 


  He spake with somewhat of a solemn tone: 
But, when he ended, there was in his face 
Such easy cheerfulness, a look so mild, 
That for a little time it stole away 
All recollection; and that simple tale 
Passed from my mind like a forgotten sound. 
A while on trivial things we held discourse, 
To me soon tasteless. In my own despite, 
I thought of that poor Woman as of one 
Whom I had known and loved. He had rehearsed 
Her homely tale with such familiar power, 
With such an active countenance, an eye 
So busy, that the things of which he spake 
Seemed present; and, attention now relaxed, 
A heart-felt chillness crept along my veins. 
I rose; and, having left the breezy shade, 
Stood drinking comfort from the warmer sun, 
That had not cheered me long - ere, looking round 
Upon that tranquil Ruin, I returned, 
And begged of the old Man that, for my sake, 
He would resume his story. 

                              He replied, 
'It were a wantonness, and would demand 
Severe reproof, if we were men whose hearts 
Could hold vain dalliance with the misery 
Even of the dead; contented thence to draw 
A momentary pleasure, never marked 
By reason, barren of all future good. 
But we have known that there is often found 
In mournful thoughts, and always might be found, 
A power to virtue friendly; were't not so, 
I am a dreamer among men, indeed 
An idle dreamer! 'Tis a common tale, 
An ordinary sorrow of man's life, 
A tale of silent suffering, hardly clothed 
In bodily form. - But without further bidding 
I will proceed. 

                     While thus it fared with them, 
To whom this cottage, till those hapless years, 
Had been a blessed home, it was my chance 
To travel in a country far remote; 
And when these lofty elms once more appeared 
What pleasant expectations lured me on 
O'er the flat Common! - With quick step I reached 
The threshold, lifted with light hand the latch; 
But, when I entered, Margaret looked at me 
A little while; then turned her head away 
Speechless, - and, sitting down upon a chair, 
Wept bitterly. I wist not what to do, 
Nor how to speak to her. Poor Wretch! at last 
She rose from off her seat, and then, - O Sir! 
I cannot tell how she pronounced my name: -
With fervent love, and with a face of grief 
Unutterably helpless, and a look 
That seemed to cling upon me, she enquired 
If I had seen her husband. As she spake 
A strange surprise and fear came to my heart, 
Nor had I power to answer ere she told 
That he had disappeared - not two months gone. 
He left his house: two wretched days had past, 
And on the third, as wistfully she raised 
Her head from off her pillow, to look forth, 
Like one in trouble, for returning light, 
Within her chamber-casement she espied 
A folded paper, lying as if placed 
To meet her waking eyes. This tremblingly 
She opened - found no writing, but beheld 
Pieces of money carefully enclosed, 
Silver and gold. "I shuddered at the sight,''
Said Margaret, "for I knew it was his hand 
That must have placed it there; and ere that day 
Was ended, that long anxious day, I learned,
From one who by my husband had been sent 
With the sad news, that he had joined a troop 
Of soldiers, going to a distant land. 
- He left me thus - he could not gather heart 
To take a farewell of me; for he feared 
That I should follow with my babes, and sink 
Beneath the misery of that wandering life." 

  'This tale did Margaret tell with many tears: 
And, when she ended, I had little power 
To give her comfort, and was glad to take 
Such words of hope from her own mouth as served 
To cheer us both. But long we had not talked 
Ere we built up a pile of better thoughts, 
And with a brighter eye she looked around 
As if she had been shedding tears of joy. 
We parted. - 'Twas the time of early spring; 
I left her busy with her garden tools; 
And well remember, o'er that fence she looked, 
And, while I paced along the foot-way path, 
Called out, and sent a blessing after me, 
With tender cheerfulness, and with a voice 
That seemed the very sound of happy thoughts. 

  'I roved o'er many a hill and many a dale, 
With my accustomed load; in heat and cold, 
Through many a wood and many an open ground, 
In sunshine and in shade, in wet and fair, 
Drooping or blithe of heart, as might befall; 
My best companions now the driving winds, 
And now the "trotting brooks " and whispering trees, 
And now the music of my own sad steps, 
With many a short-lived thought that passed between, 
And disappeared. 

                 I journeyed back this way, 
When, in the warmth of midsummer, the wheat 
Was yellow; and the soft and bladed grass, 
Springing afresh, had o'er the hay-field spread 
Its tender verdure. At the door arrived, 
I found that she was absent. In the shade, 
Where now we sit, I waited her return. 
Her cottage, then a cheerful object, wore 
Its customary look, - only, it seemed, 
The honeysuckle, crowding round the porch, 
Hung down in heavier tufts; and that bright weed, 
The yellow stone-crop, suffered to take root 
Along the window's edge, profusely grew 
Blinding the lower panes. I turned aside, 
And strolled into her garden. It appeared 
To lag behind the season, and had lost 
Its pride of neatness. Daisy-flowers and thrift 
Had broken their trim border-lines, and straggled 
O'er paths they used to deck: carnations, once 
Prized for surpassing beauty, and no less 
For the peculiar pains they had required, 
Declined their languid heads, wanting support. 
The cumbrous bind-weed, with its wreaths and bells, 
Had twined about her two small rows of peas, 
And dragged them to the earth. 

                             Ere this an hour 
Was wasted. - Back I turned my restless steps; 
A stranger passed; and, guessing whom I sought, 
He said that she was used to ramble far. -
The sun was sinking in the west; and now 
I sate with sad impatience. From within 
Her solitary infant cried aloud; 
Then, like a blast that dies away self-stilled, 
The voice was silent From the bench I rose; 
But neither could divert nor soothe my thoughts. 
The spot, though fair, was very desolate -
The longer I remained, more desolate: 
And, looking round me, now I first observed 
The corner stones, on either side the porch, 
With dull red stains discoloured, and stuck o'er 
With tufts and hairs of wool, as if the sheep, 
That fed upon the Common, thither came 
Familiarly, and found a couching-place 
Even at her threshold. Deeper shadows fell 
From these tall elms; the cottage-clock struck eight; -
I turned; and saw her distant a few steps. 
Her face was pale and thin - her figure, too, 
Was changed. As she unlocked the door, she said, 
"It grieves me you have waited here so long; 
But, in good truth, I've wandered much of late; 
And; sometimes - to my shame I speak - have need 
Of my best prayers to bring me back again." 
While on the board she spread our evening meal, 
She told me - interrupting not the work 
Which gave employment to her listless hands -
That she had parted with her elder child; 
To a kind master on a distant farm 
Now happily apprenticed. - "I perceive 
You look at me, and you have cause; today 
I have been travelling far; and many days 
About the fields I wander, knowing this 
Only, that what I seek I cannot find; 
And so I waste my time: for I am changed; 
And to myself," said she, "have done much wrong 
And to this helpless infant. I have slept 
Weeping, and weeping have I waked; my tears 
Have flowed as if my body were not such 
As others are; and I could never die. 
But I am now in mind and in my heart 
More easy; and I hope," said she, "that God 
Will give me patience to endure the things 
Which I behold at home.'' 

                        It would have grieved
Your very soul to see her. Sir, I feel 
The story linger in my heart; I fear 
'Tis long and tedious; but my spirit clings 
To that poor Woman: - so familiarly 
Do I perceive her manner, and her look, 
And presence; and so deeply do I feel 
Her goodness, that, not seldom, in my walks 
A momentary trance comes over me; 
And to myself I seem to muse on One 
By sorrow laid asleep; or borne away, 
A human being destined to awake 
To human life, or something very near 
To human life, when he shall come again 
For whom she suffered. Yes, it would have grieved 
Your very soul to see her: evermore 
Her eyelids drooped, her eyes downward were cast; 
And, when she at her table gave me food, 
She did not look at me. Her voice was low, 
Her body was subdued. In every act 
Pertaining to her house-affairs, appeared 
The careless stillness of a thinking mind 
Self-occupied; to which all outward things
Are like an idle matter. Still she sighed, 
But yet no motion of the breast was seen, 
No heaving of the heart. While by the fire 
We sate together, sighs came on my ear, 
I knew not how, and hardly whence they came. 

  'Ere my departure, to her care I gave, 
For her son's use, some tokens of regard, 
Which with a look of welcome she received; 
And I exhorted her to place her trust 
In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer. 
I took my staff, and, when I kissed her babe, 
The tears stood in her eyes. I left her then 
With the best hope and comfort I could give: 
She thanked me for my wish; - but for my hope 
It seemed she did not thank me. 

                              I returned, 
And took my rounds along this road again 
When on its sunny bank the primrose flower 
Peeped forth, to give an earnest of the Spring. 
I found her sad and drooping: she had learned 
No tidings of her husband; if he lived. 
She knew not that he lived; if he were dead, 
She knew not he was dead. She seemed the same 
In person and appearance; but her house 
Bespake a sleepy hand of negligence; 
The floor was neither dry nor neat, the hearth 
Was comfortless, and her small lot of books, 
Which, in the cottage-window, heretofore 
Had been piled up against the corner panes 
In seemly order, now, with straggling leaves 
Lay scattered here and there, open or shut, 
As they had chanced to fall. Her infant Babe 
Had from its mother caught the trick of grief, 
And sighed among its playthings. I withdrew, 
And once again entering the garden saw, 
More plainly still, that poverty and grief 
Were now come nearer to her: weeds defaced 
The hardened soil, and knots of withered grass: 
No ridges there appeared of clear black mould, 
No winter greenness; of her herbs and flowers, 
It seemed the better part were gnawed away 
Or trampled into earth; a chain of straw, 
Which had been twined about the slender stem 
Of a young apple-tree, lay at its root; 
The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep. 
- Margaret stood near, her infant in her arms, 
And, noting that my eye was on the tree, 
She said, "I fear it will be dead and gone 
Ere Robert come again." When to the House 
We had returned together, she enquired 
If I had any hope: - but for her babe 
And for her little orphan boy, she said, 
She had no wish to live, that she must die 
Of sorrow. Yet I saw the idle loom 
Still in its place; his Sunday garments hung 
Upon the self-same nail; his very staff 
Stood undisturbed behind the door. 
                                 And when, 
In bleak December, I retraced this way, 
She told me that her little babe was dead, 
And she was left alone. She now, released 
From her maternal cares, had taken up 
The employment common through these wilds, and gained, 
By spinning hemp, a pittance for herself; 
And for this end had hired a neighbour's boy 
To give her needful help. That very time 
Most willingly she put her work aside, 
And walked with me along the miry road, 
Heedless how far; and, in such piteous sort 
That any heart had ached to hear her, begged 
That wheresoe'er I went, I still would ask 
For him whom she had lost. We parted then -
Our final parting; for from that time forth 
Did many seasons pass ere I returned 
Into this tact again. 
                   Nine tedious years; 
From their first separation, nine long years, 
She lingered in unquiet widowhood; 
A Wife and Widow. Needs must it have been 
A sore heart-wasting! I have heard, my Friend, 
That in yon arbour oftentimes she sate 
Alone, through half the vacant sabbath day; 
And, if a dog passed by, she still would quit 
The shade, and look abroad. On this old bench 
For hours she sate; and evermore her eye 
Was busy in the distance, shaping things 
That made her heart beat quick. You see that path, 
Now faint, - the grass has crept o'er its grey line; 
There, to and fro, she paced through many a day 
Of the wan summer, from a belt of hemp 
That girt her waist, spinning the long-drawn thread 
With backward steps. Yet ever as there passed 
A man whose garments showed the soldier's red, 
Or crippled mendicant in sailor's garb, 
The little child who sate to turn the wheel 
Ceased from his task; and she with faltering voice 
Made many a fond enquiry; and when they, 
Whose presence gave no comfort; were gone by, 
Her heart was still more sad. And by yon gate, 
That bars the traveller's road, she often stood, 
And when a stranger horseman came, the latch 
Would lift, and in his face look wistfully: 
Most happy, if, from aught discovered there 
Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat 
The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor Hut 
Sank to decay; for he was gone; whose hand, 
At the first nipping of October frost, 
Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of straw 
Chequered the green-grown thatch. And so she lived 
Through the long winter, reckless and alone; 
Until her house by frost, and thaw, and rain, 
Was sapped; and while she slept; the nightly damps 
Did chill her breast; and in the stormy day 
Her tattered clothes were ruffled by the wind, 
Even at the side of her own fire. Yet still 
She loved this wretched spot, nor would for worlds 
Have parted hence; and still that length of road, 
And this rude bench, one torturing hope endeared, 
Fast rooted at her heart: and here, my Friend, -
In sickness she remained; and here she died; 
Last human tenant of these ruined walls!' 

  The old Man ceased: he saw that I was moved; 
From that low bench, rising instinctively 
I turned aside in weakness, nor had power 
To thank him for the tale which he had told. 
I stood, and leaning o'er the garden wall 
Reviewed that Woman's sufferings; and it seemed 
To comfort me while with a brother's love 
I blessed her in the impotence of grief. 
Then towards the cottage I returned; and traced 
Fondly, though with an interest more mild; 
That secret spirit of humanity 
Which, 'mid the calm oblivious tendencies 
Of nature, 'mid her plants, and weeds, and flowers, 
And silent overgrowings, still survived. 
The old Man, noting this, resumed, and said, 
'My Friend! enough to sorrow you have given, 
The purposes of wisdom ask no more: 
Nor more would she have craved as due to One 
Who, in her worst distress, had ofttimes felt 
The unbounded might of prayer; and learned, with soul 
Fixed on the Cross, that consolation springs, 
From sources deeper far than deepest pain, 
For the meek Sufferer. Why then should we read 
The forms of things with an unworthy eye? 
She sleeps in the calm earth, and peace is here. 
I well remember that those very plumes, 
Those weeds, and the high spear-grass on that wall, 
By mist and silent rain-drops silvered o'er, 
As once I passed; into my heart conveyed 
So still an image of tranquillity; 
So calm and still, and looked so beautiful 
Amid the uneasy thoughts which filled my mind, 
That what we feel of sorrow and despair 
From ruin and from change, and all the grief 
That passing shows of Being leave behind, 
Appeared an idle dream, that could maintain, 
Nowhere, dominion o'er the enlightened spirit 
Whose meditative sympathies repose 
Upon the breast of Faith. I turned away, 
And walked along my road in happiness.' 

  He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot 
A slant and mellow radiance, which began 
To fall upon us, while, beneath the trees, 
We sate on that low bench: and now we felt, 
Admonished thus, the sweet hour coming on. 
A linnet warbled from those lofty elms, 
A thrush sang loud, and other melodies, 
At distance heard, peopled the milder air. 
The old Man rose, and, with a sprightly mien 
Of hopeful preparation, grasped his staff; 
Together casting then a farewell look 
Upon those silent walls, we left the shade; 
And, ere the stars were visible, had reached 
A village-inn, our evening resting-place.