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Of our migration.—Ere the welcome dawn
Had from the east her silver star withdrawn,
The Wain stood ready, at our Cottage-door,
Thoughtfully freighted with a various store;
And long or e'er the uprising of the Sun
O'er dew-damped dust our journey was begun,
A needful journey, under favouring skies,
Through peopled Vales; yet something in the guise
Of those old Patriarchs when from well to well
They roamed through Wastes where now the tented
Say first, to whom did we the charge confide, Who promptly undertook the Wain to guide Up many a sharply-twining road and down, And over many a wide hill's craggy crown, Through the quick turns of many a hollow nook, And the rough bed of many an unbridged brook ; A blooming Lass—who in her better hand Bore a light switch, her sceptre of command When, yet a slender Girl, she often led, Skilful and bold, the horse and burthened sled, * From the peat-yielding Moss on Gowdar's head. What could go wrong with such a Charioteer For goods and chattels, or those Infants dear, A Pair who smilingly sate side by side, Our hope confirming that the salt-sea tide, Whose free embraces we were bound to seek, Would their lost strength restore and freshen the pale
cheek? Such hope did either Parent entertain Pacing behind along the silent lane.
Blithe hopes and happy musings soon took flight,
For lo! an uncouth melancholy sight-
On a green bank a creature stood forlorn
Just half protruded to the light of morn,
Its hinder part concealed by hedge-row thorn.
The Figure called to mind a beast of prey
Stript of its frightful powers by slow decay,
And, though no longer upon rapine bent,
Dim memory keeping of its old intent.
We started, looked again with anxious eyes,
And in that griesly object recognised
The Curate's Dog—his long-tried friend, for they,
As well we knew, together had grown grey.
The Master died, his drooping servant's grief
Found at the Widow's feet some sad relief ; 1
Yet still he lived in pining discontent,
Sadness which no indulgence could prevent;
Hence whole day wanderings, broken nightly sleeps
And lonesome watch that out of doors he keeps;
Not oftentimes, I trust, as we, poor brute !
Espied him on his legs sustained, blank, mute,
And of all visible motion destitute,
So that the very heaving of his breath
Seemed stopt, though by some other power than death.
Long as we gazed upon the form and face,
A mild domestic pity kept its place,
Unscared by thronging fancies of strange hue
That haunted us in spite of what we knew.
1 Inserted in edition 1842.
Until the vale she quitted, and this door
Was closed, to which she will return no more ;
But first old Faithful to the neighbour's care
Was given in charge ; nor lacked he dainty fare,
And in the Chimney Nook was free to lie
And doze, or, if his turn was come, to die.
Even now I sometimes think of him as lost
In second-sight appearances, or crost
By spectral shapes of guilt, or to the ground,
On which he stood, by spells unnatural bound,
Like a gaunt shaggy Porter forced to wait
In days of old romance at Archimago's gate.
Advancing Summer, Nature's law fulfilled,
The choristers in every grove had stilled ;
But we, we lacked not music of our own,
For lightsome Fanny had thus early thrown,
Mid the gay prattle of those infant tongues,
Some notes prelusive, from the round of songs
With which, more zealous than the liveliest bird
That in wild Arden's brakes was ever heard,
Her work and her work's partners she can cheer,
The whole day long, and all days of the year.
Thus gladdened from our own dear vale we pass
And soon approach Diana's Looking-glass !
To Loughrigg-tarn, round clear and bright as heaven,
Such name Italian fancy would have given,
Ere on its banks the few grey cabins rose
That yet disturbed not its concealed repose
More than the feeblest wind that idly blows.
Ah, Beaumont ! when an opening in the road
Stopped me at once by charm of what it showed,
The encircling region vividly exprest
Within the mirror's depth, a world at rest-
Sky streaked with purple, grove and craggy bield,*
And the smooth green of many a pendent field,
* A word common in the country, signifying shelter, as in Scotland.
And, quieted and soothed, a torrent small,
A little daring would-be waterfall,
One chimney smoking and its azure wreath,
Associate all in the calm Pool beneath,
With here and there a faint imperfect gleam
Of water-lilies veiled in misty steam-
What wonder at this hour of stillness deep,
A shadowy link ’tween wakefulness and sleep,
When Nature's self, amid such blending, seems
To render visible her own soft dreams,
If, mixed with what appeared of rock, lawn, wood,
Fondly embosomed in the tranquil flood,
A glimpse I caught of that Abode, by Thee
Designed to rise in humble privacy,
A lowly Dwelling, here to be outspread,
Like a small Hamlet, with its bashful head
Half hid in native trees. Alas 'tis not,
Nor ever was; I sighed, and left the spot
Unconscious of its own untoward lot,
And thought in silence, with regret too keen,
Of unexperienced joys that might have been ;
Of neighbourhood and intermingling arts,
And golden summer days uniting cheerful hearts.
But time, irrevocable time, is flown,
And let us utter thanks for blessings sown
And reaped—what hath been, and what is, our own.
Not far we travelled ere a shout of glee,
Startling us all, dispersed my reverie;
Such shout as many a sportive echo meeting
Oft-times from Alpine chalets sends a greeting.
Whence the blithe hail ? behold a Peasant stand
On high, a kerchief waving in her hand !
Not unexpectant that by early day
Our little Band would thrid this mountain way,
Before her cottage on the bright hill side
She hath advanced with hope to be descried.
Right gladly answering signals we displayed,
Moving along a tract of morning shade,
And vocal wishes sent of like good will
To our kind Friend high on the sunny hill-
Luminous region, fair as if the prime
Were tempting all astir to look aloft or climb;
Only the centre of the shining cot
With door left open makes a gloomy spot,
Emblem of those dark corners sometimes found
Within the happiest breast on earthly ground.
Rich prospect left behind of stream and vale, And mountain-tops, a barren ridge we scale ; Descend and reach, in Yewdale's depths, a plain With haycocks studded, striped with yellowing grainAn area level as a Lake and spread Under a rock too steep for man to tread, Where sheltered from the north and bleak north-west Aloft the Raven hangs à visible nest, Fearless of all assaults that would her brood molest. Hot sunbeams fill the steaming vale; but hark, At our approach, a jealous watch-dog's bark, Noise that brings forth no liveried Page of state, But the whole household, that our coming wait. With Young and Old warm greetings we exchange, And jocund smiles, and toward the lowly Grange Press forward by the teasing dogs unscared. Entering, we find the morning meal prepared : So down we sit, though not till each had cast Pleased looks around the delicate repast