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For he was busy, dealing, from a store
Upon a broad leaf carried, choicest strings
Of red ripe currants; gift by which he strove,
With intermixture of endearing words,
To soothe a Child, who walked beside him, weeping
As if disconsolate.—“They to the grave
Are bearing him, my Little-one,” he said,
“ To the dark pit; but he will feel no pain;
His body is at rest, his soul in heaven.”

More might have followed—but my honoured

Friend
Broke in upon the Speaker with a frank
And cordial greeting.–Vivid was the light
That flashed and sparkled from the other's eyes ;
He was all fire : no shadow on his brow
Remained, nor sign of sickness on his face.
Hands joined he with his Visitant,-a grasp,
An eager grasp; and many moments' space-
When the first glow of pleasure was no more,
And, of the sad appearance which at once
Had vanished, much was come and coming back-
An amicable smile retained the life
Which it had unexpectedly received,
Upon his hollow cheek. «How kind," he said,
“ Nor could your coming have been better timed;
For this, you see, is in our narrow world
Å day of sorrow. I have here a charge”-
And, speaking thus, he patted tenderly
The sun-burnt forehead of the weeping child
“A little mourner, whom it is my task
To comfort ;-but how came ye !--if yon track
(Which doth at once befriend us and betray)
Conducted hither your most welcome feet,
Ye could not miss the funeral train-they yet
Have scarcely disappeared.” “This blooming

Child,"
Said the old Man, “is of an age to weep

At any grave or solemn spectacle,
Inly distressed or overpowered with awe,
He knows not wherefore ;—but the boy to-day,
Perhaps is shedding orphan's tears; you also
Must have sustained a loss.”—“The hand of Death,"
He answered, “has been here; but could not well
Have fallen more lightly, if it had not fallen
Upon myself.”—The other left these words
Unnoticed, thus continuing.--.

“From yon crag,
Down whose steep sides we dropped into the vale,
We heard the hymn they sang--a solemn sound
Heard any where; but in a place like this
'Tis more than human! Many precious rites
And customs of our rural ancestry
Are gone, or stealing from us; this, I hope,
Will last for ever. Oft on my way have I
Stood still, though but a casual passenger,
So much I felt the awfulness of life,
In that one moment when the corse is lifted
In silence, with a hush of decency;
Then from the threshold moves with song of peace,
And confidential yearnings, tow'rds its home,
Its final home on earth. What traveller--who-
(How far soe'er a stranger) does not own
The bond of brotherhood, when he sees them go,
A mute procession on the houseless road ;
Or passing by some single tenement
Or Clustered dwellings, where again they raise
The monitory voice? But most of all
It touches, it confirms, and elevates,
Then, when the body, soon to be consigned
Ashes to ashes, dust bequeathed to dust,
Is raised from the church-aisle, and forward borne
Upon the shoulders of the next in love,
The nearest in affection or in blood;
Yea, by the very mourners who had knelt
Beside the coffin, resting on its lid

In silent grief their unuplifted heads,
And heard meanwhile the Psalmist's mournful

plaint, And that most awful scripture which declares We shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed !

-Have I not seen-ye likewise may have seenSon, husband, brothers-brothers side by side, And son and father also side by side, Rise from that posture :—and in concert move, On the green turf following the vested Priest, Four dear supporters of one senseless weight, From which they do not shrink, and under which They faint not, but advance towards the open grave Step after step-together, with their firm Unhidden faces : he that suffers most, He outwardly, and inwardly perhaps, The most serene, with most undaunted eye!Oh! blest are they who live and die like these, Loved with such love, and with such sorrow

mourned!”

“That poor Man taken hence to-day,” replied The Solitary, with a faint sarcastic smile Which did not please me, “must be deemed, I fear, Of the unblest ; for he will surely sink Into his mother earth without such pomp Of grief, depart without occasion given By him for such array of fortitude. Full seventy winters hath he lived, and mark ! This simple Child will mourn his one short hour, And I shall miss him; scanty tribute ! yet, This wanting, he would leave the sight of men, If love were his sole claim upon their care, Like a ripe date which in the desert falls Without a hand to gather it.”

At this I interposed, though loth to speak, and said, “Can it be thus among so small a band

As ye must needs be here ? in such a place
I would not willingly, methinks, lose sight
Of a departing cloud.”-“'Twas not for love"
Answered the sick Man with a careless voice-
That I came hither; neither have I found
Among associates who have power of speech,
Nor in such other converse as is here,
Temptation so prevailing as to change
That mood, or undermine my first resolve.”
Then, speaking in like careless sort, he said
To my benign Companion,–“ Pity 'tis
That fortune did not guide you to this house
A few days earlier; then would you have seen
What stuff the Dwellers in a solitude,
That seems by Nature hollowed out to be
The seat and bosom of pure innocence,
Are made of; an ungracious matter this !
Which, for truth's sake, yet in remembrance too
Of past discussions with this zealous friend
And advocate of humble life, I now
Will force upon his notice ; undeterred
By the example of his own pure course,
And that respect and deference which a soul
May fairly claim, by niggard age enriched
In what she most doth value, love of God
And his frail creature Man;—but ye shall hear.
I talk—and ye are standing in the sun
Without refreshment!”

Quickly had he spoken,
And, with light steps still quicker than his words,
Led toward the Cottage. Homely was the spot ;
And, to my feeling, ere we reached the door,
Had almost a forbidding nakedness;
Less fair, I grant, even painfully less fair,
Than it appeared when from the beetling rock
We had looked down upon it. All within,
As left by the departed company,
Was silent; save the solitary clock

That on mine ear ticked with a mournful sound.
Following our Guide, we clomb the cottage-stairs
And reached a small apartment dark and low,
Which was no sooner entered than our Host
Said gaily,“ This is my domain, my cell,
My hermitage, my cabin, what you will
I love it better than a snail his house.
But now ye shall be feasted with our best.”

So, with more ardour than an unripe girl Left one day mistress of her mother's stores, He went about his hospitable task. My eyes were busy, and my thonghts no less, And pleased I looked upon my grey-haired Friend, As if to thank him; he returned that look, Cheered, plainly, and yet serious. What a wreck Had we about us! scattered was the floor, And, in like sort, chair, window-seat, and shelf, With books, maps, fossils, withered plants and

flowers, And tufts of mountain moss. Mechanic tools Lay intermixed with scraps of paper, some Scribbled with verse: a broken angling-rod And shattered telescope, together linked By cobwebs, stood within a dusty nook ; And instruments of music, some half-nade, Some in disgrace, hung dangling from the walls. But speedily the promise was fulfilled ; A feast before us, and a courteous Host Inviting us in glee to sit and eat. A napkin, white as foam of that rough brook By which it had been bleached, o'erspread the

board ; And was itself half-covered with a store Of dainties,—oaten bread, curd, cheese, and cream; And cakes of butter curiously embossed, Butter that had imbibed from meadow-flowers A golden hue, delicate as their own

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