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The Author describes his travels with the Wanderer, whose character is further illustrated.-Morning scene, and view of a Village Wake.-Wanderer's account of a Friend whom he purposes to visit.- View, from an eminence, of the Valley which his Friend had chosen for his retreat.-Sound of singing from below.- A funeral procession.-Descent into the Valley.-Observations drawn from the Wanderer at sight of a book accidentally discovered in a recess in the Valley.--Meeting with the Wanderer's friend, the Solitary-Wanderer's description of the mode of burial in this mountainous district.- Solitary contrasts with this, that of the individual carried a few minutes before from the cottage. The cottage entered.--Description of the Solitary's apartment.--Repast there.- View, from the window, of two mountain summits; and the Solitary's description of the companionship they afford him.-- Account of the departed inmate of the cottage.-Description of a grand spectacle upon the mountains, with its effect upon the Solitary's mind.-Leave the house.
In days of yore how fortunately fared
What wonder, then, if I, whose favourite school Hath been the fields, the roads, and rural lanes, Looked on this guide with reverential love? Each with the other pleased, we now pursued Our journey, under favourable skies. Turn wheresoe'er we would, he was a light Unfailing : not a hamlet could we pass, Rarely a house, that did not yield to him Remembrances; or from his tongue call forth Some way-beguiling tale. Nor less regard Accompanied those strains of apt discourse, Which nature's various objects might inspire ; And in the silence of his face I read His overflowing spirit. Birds and beasts, And the mute fish that glances in the stream, And harmless reptile coiling in the sun, And gorgeous insect hovering in the air, The fowl domestic, and the household dogIn his capacious mind, he loved them all : Their rights acknowledging he felt for all. Oft was occasion given me to perceive How the calm pleasures of the pasturing herd To happy contemplation soothed his walk; How the poor brute's condition, forced to run Its course of suffering in the public road, Sad contrast ! all too often smote his heart With unavailing pity. Rich in love And sweet humanity, he was, himself, To the degree that he desired, beloved. Smiles of good-will from faces that he knew Greeted us all day long; we took our seats By many a cottage-hearth, where he received The welcome of an Inmate from afar, And I at once forgot, I was a Stranger. -Nor was he loth to enter ragged huts, Huts where his charity was blest ; his voice Heard as the voice of an experienced friend. And, sometimes—where the poor man held dispate
With his own mind, unable to subdue
Such intercourse I witnessed, while we roved, Now as his choice directed, now as mine ; Or both, with equal readiness of will, Our course submitting to the changeful breeze Of accident. But when the rising sun Had three times called us to renew our walk, My Fellow-traveller, with earnest voice, As if the thought were but a moment old, Claimed absolute dominion for the day. We started—and he led me toward the hills, Up through an ample vale, with higher hills Before us, mountains stern and desolate ; But, in the majesty of distance, now Set off, and to our ken appearing fair Of aspect, with aërial softness clad, And beautified with morning's purple beams.
The wealthy, the luxurious, by the stress Of business roused, or pleasure, ere their time, May roll in chariots, or provoke the hoofs Of the fleet coursers they bestride, to raise From earth the dust of morning, slow to rise ;
And they, if blest with health and hearts at ease,
Mount slowly, sun! that we may journey long, By this dark hill protected from thy beams! Such is the summer pilgrim's frequent wish ; But quickly from among our morning thoughts 'Twas chased away : for, toward the western side, Of the broad vale, casting a casual glance, We saw a throng of people ;—wherefore met ? Blithe notes of music, suddenly let loose On the thrilled ear, and flags uprising, yield Prompt answer; they proclaim the annual Wake, Which the bright season favours.— Tabor and
pipe In purpose join to hasten or reprove The laggard Rustic; and repay with boons Of merriment a party-coloured knot, Already formed upon the village-green. - Beyond the limits of the shadow cast By the broad hill, glistened upon our sight That gay assemblage. Round them and above, Glitter, with dark recesses interposed, Casement, and cottage-roof, and stems of trees Half-veiled in vapoury cloud, the silver steam Of dews fast melting on their leafy boughs By the strong sunbeams smitten. Like a mast Of gold, the Maypole shines; as if the rays Of morning, aided by exhaling dew, With gladsome influence could re-animate The faded garlands dangling from its sides.