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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 forlorn,
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 recognise
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 thro' 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 orh of song,
The divine Milton. Lore of different kind,
The annual savings of a toilsome life,
His School-master 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 birth-place, 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.

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