Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Profusion bright! and every flower assuming
A more than natural vividness of hue,
From unaffected contrast with the gloom
Of sober cypress, and the darker foil
Of yew, in which survived some traces, here
Not unbecoming, of grotesque device
And uncouth fancy. From behind the roof
Rose the slim ash and massy sycamore,
Blending their diverse foliage with the green
Of ivy, flourishing and thick, that clasped
The huge round chimneys, harbour of delight
For wren and redbreast,—where they sit and sing
Their nder ditties when the trees are bare.
Nor must I leave untouched (the picture else
Were incomplete) a relique of old times
Happily spared, a little Gothic niche
Of nicest workmanship; that once had held
The sculptured image of some patron-saint,
Or of the blessed Virgin, looking down
On all who entered those religious doors.

But lo! where from the rocky garden-mount Crowned by its antique summer-house-descends, Light as the silver fawn, a radiant Girl ; For she hath recognised her honoured friend, The Wanderer ever welcome! A prompt kiss The gladsome Child bestows at his request ; And, up the flowery lawn as we advance, Hangs on the old Man with a happy look,

And with a pretty restless hand of love.
-We enter-by the Lady of the place
Cordially greeted. Graceful was her port:
A lofty stature undepressed by time,
Whose visitation had not wholly spared
The finer lineaments of form and face ;
To that complexion brought which prudence trusts in
And wisdom loves.—But when a stately ship
Sails in smooth weather by the placid coast
On homeward voyage, what—if wind and wave,
And hardship undergone in various climes,
Have caused her to abate the virgin pride,
And that full trim of inexperienced hope
With which she left her haven-not for this,
Should the sun strike her, and the impartial breeze
Play on her streamers, fails she to assume
Brightness and touching beauty of her own,
That charm all eyes. So bright, so fair, appeared
This goodly Matron, shining in the beams
Of unexpected pleasure.-Soon the board
Was spread, and we partook a plain repast.

Here, resting in cool shelter, we beguiled
The mid-day hours with desultory talk ;
From trivial themes to general argument
Passing, as accident or fancy led,
Or courtesy prescribed. While question rose
And answer flowed, the fetters of reserve
Dropping from every mind, the Solitary

Resumed the manners of his happier days;
And in the various conversation bore
A willing, nay, at times, a forward part;
Yet with the grace of one who in the world
Had learned the art of pleasing, and had now
Occasion given him to display his skill,
Upon the steadfast 'vantage-ground of truth.
He gazed, with admiration unsuppressed,
Upon the landscape of the sun-bright vale,
Seen, from the shady room in which we sate,
In softened perspective ; and more than once
Praised the consummate harmony serene
Of gravity and elegance, diffused
Around the mansion and its whole domain ;
Not, doubtless, without help of female taste
And female care.—“A blessed lot is yours !”
The words escaped his lip, with a tender sign
Breathed over them : but suddenly the door
Flew open, and a pair of lusty Boys
Appeared, confusion checking their delight.
-Not brothers they in feature or attire,
But fond companions, so I guessed, in field,
And by the river's margin-whence they come,
Keen anglers with unusual spoil elated.
One bears a willow-pannier on his back,
The boy of plainer garb, whose blush survives
More deeply tinged. Twin might the other be
To that fair girl who from the garden-mount
Bounded :-triumphant entry this for him !

Between his hands he holds a smooth blue stone,
On whose capacious surface see outspread
Large store of gleaming crimson-spotted trouts ;
Ranged side by side, and lessening by degrees
Up to the dwarf that tops the pinnacle.
Upon the board he lays the sky-blue stone
With its rich freight; their number he proclaims;
Tells from what pool the noblest had been dragged ;
And where the very monarch of the brook,
After long struggle, had escaped at last-
Stealing alternately at them and us
(As doth his comrade too) a look of pride :
And, verily, the silent creatures made
A splendid sight, together thus exposed ;
Dead—but not sullied or deformed by death,
That seemed to pity what he could not spare.

But 0, the animation in the mien
Of those two boys ! yea in the very words
With which the young narrator was inspired,
When, as our questions led, he told at large
Of that day's prowess! Him might I compare,
His looks, tones, gestures, eager eloquence,
To a bold brook that splits for better speed,
And at the self-same moment, works its way
Through many channels, ever and anon
Parted and re-united : his compeer
To the still lake, whose stillness is to sight
As beautiful—as grateful to the mind.

- But to what object shall the lovely girl
Be likened ? She whose countenance and air
Unite the graceful qualities of both,
Even as she shares the pride and joy of both.

My grey-haired Friend was moved ; his vivid eye Glistened with tenderness; his mind, I knew, Was full; and had, I doubted not, returned, Upon this impulse, to the theme—erewhile Abruptly broken off. The ruddy boys Withdrew, on summons to their well-earned meal ; And He-to whom all tongues resigned their rights With willingness, to whom the general ear Listened with readier patience than to strain Of music, lute or harp, a long delight That ceased not when his voice had ceased—as One Who from truth's central point serenely views The compass of his argument—began Mildly, and with a clear and steady tone.

END OF THE EIGHTH BOOK.

« ПредишнаНапред »