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From which she draws her meagre sustenance.
There in commodious shelter may we rest.
Or let us trace this streamlet to its source ;
Feebly it tinkles with an earthy sound,
And a few steps may bring us to the spot
Where, haply, crowned with flowerets and green

herbs,
The mountain infant to the sun comes forth,
Like human life from darkness.”—A quick turn
Through a strait passage of encumbered ground,
Proved that such hope was vain :—for now we stood
Shut out from prospect of the open vale,
And saw the water, that composed this rill,
Descending, disembodied, and diffused
O’er the smooth surface of an ample crag,
Lofty, and steep, and naked as a tower.
All further progress here was barred ;-And who,
Thought I, if master of a vacant hour,
Here would not linger, willingly detained ?
Whether to such wild objects he were led
When copious rains have magnified the stream
Into a loud and white-robed waterfall,
Or introduced at this more quiet time.

Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground, The hidden nook discovered to our view A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay Right at the foot of that moist precipice, A stranded ship, with keel upturned, that rests Fearless of winds and waves. Three several stones Stood near, of smaller size, and not unlike To monumental pillars : and, from these Some little space disjoined, a pair were seen, That with united shoulders bore aloft A fragment, like an altar, flat and smooth: Barren the tablet, yet thereon appeared A tall and shining holly, that had found A hospitable chink, and stood upright,

As if inserted by some human hand
In mockery, to wither in the sun,
Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
The first that entered. But no breeze did now
Find entrance ;-high or low appeared no trace
Of motion, save the water that descended,
Diffused adown that barrier of steep rock,
And softly creeping, like a breath of air,
Such as is sometimes seen, and hardly seen,
To brush the still breast of a crystal lake.

“Behold a cabinet for sages built, Which kings might envy!—Praise to this effect Broke from the happy old Man's reverend lip; Who to the Solitary turned, and said, “In sooth, with love's familiar privilege, You have decried the wealth which is your own. Among these rocks and stones, methinks, I see More than the heedless impress that belongs To lonely nature's casual work: they bear A semblance strange of power intelligent, And of design not wholly worn away. Boldest of plants that ever faced the wind, How gracefully that slender shrub looks forth From its fantastic birth-place! And I own, Some shadowy intimations haunt me here, That in these shows a chronicle survives Of purposes akin to those of Man, But wrought with mightier arm than now prevails. -Voiceless the stream descends into the gulf With timid lapse ;—and lo! while in this strait I stand-the chasm of sky above my head Is heaven's profoundest azure ; no domain For fickle, short-lived clouds to occupy, Or to pass through ; but rather an abyss In which the everlasting stars abide ; And whose soft gloom, and boundless depth, might

tempt

The curious eye to look for them by day.
-Hail Contemplation! from the stately towers,
Reared by the industrious hand of human art
To lift thee high above the misty air
And turbulence of murmuring cities vast;
From academic groves, that have for thee
Been planted, hither come and find a lodge
To which thou mayst resort for holier peace,
From whose calm centre thou, through height or

depth,
Mayst penetrate, wherever truth shall lead ;
Measuring through all degrees, until the scale
Of time and conscious nature disappear,
Lost in unsearchable eternity!"

A pause ensued ; and with minuter care
We scanned the various features of the scene :
And soon the Tenant of that lonely vale
With courteous voice thus spake-

" I should have grieved
Hereafter, not escaping self-reproach,
If from my poor retirement ye had gone
Leaving this nook unvisited: but, in sooth,
Your unexpected presence had so roused
My spirits, that they were bent on enterprise ;
And, like an ardent hunter, I forgot,
Or, shall I say ?-disdained, the game that lurks
At my own door. The shapes before our eyes
And their arrangement, doubtless must be deemed
The sport of Nature, aided by blind Chance
Rudely to mock the works of toiling Man.
And hence, this upright shaft of unhewn stone,
From Fancy, willing to set off her stores
By sounding titles, hath acquired the name
Of Pompey's pillar ; that I gravely style
My Theban obelisk; and, there, behold
A Druid cromlech !-thus I entertain
The antiquarian humour, and am pleased

To skim along the surfaces of things,
Beguiling harmlessly the listless hours.
But if the spirit be oppressed by sense
Of instability, revolt, decay,
And change, and emptiness, these freaks of Nature
And her blind helper Chance, do then suffice
To quicken, and to aggravate—to feed
Pity and scorn, and melancholy pride,
Not less than that huge Pile (from some abyss
Of mortal power unquestionably sprung)
Whose hoary diadem of pendent rocks
Confines the shrill-voiced whirlwind, round and

round
Eddying within its vast circumference,
On Sarum's naked plain—than pyramid
Of Egypt, unsubverted, undissolved-
Or Syria's marble ruins towering high
Above the sandy desert, in the light
Of sun or moon.-Forgive me, if I say
That an appearance which hath raised your minds
To an exalted pitch (the self-same cause
Different effect producing) is for me
Fraught rather with depression than delight,
Though shame it were, could I not look around,
By the reflection of your pleasure, pleased.
Yet happier in my judgment, even than you
With your bright transports fairly may be deemed,
The wandering Herbalist, who, clear alike
From vain, and, that worse evil, vexing thoughts,
Casts, if he ever chance to enter here,
Upon these uncouth Forms a slight regard
Of transitory interest, and peeps round
For some rare floweret of the hills, or plant
Of craggy fountain ; what he hopes for wins,
Or learns, at least, that 'tis not to be won :
Then, keen and eager, as a fine-nosed hound
By soul-engrossing instinct driven along
Through wood or open field, the harmless Man

Departs, intent upon his onward quest !
Nor is that Fellow-wanderer, so deem I,
Less to be envied, (you may trace him oft
By scars which his activity has left
Beside our roads and pathways, though, thank

Heaven!
This covert nook reports not of his hand)
He who with pocket-hammer smites the edge
Of luckless rock or prominent stone, disguised
In weather-stains or crusted o'er by Nature
With her first growths, detaching by the stroke
A chip or splinter- to resolve his doubts;
And, with that ready answer satisfied,
The substance classes by some barbarous name,
And hurries on; or from the fragments picks
His specimen, if but haply interveined
With sparkling mineral, or should crystal cube
Lurk in its cells—and thinks himself enriched,
Wealthier, and doubtless wiser, than before !
Intrusted safely each to his pursuit,
Earnest alike, let both from hill to hill
Range ; if it please them, speed from clime to clime;
The mind is full—and free from pain their pastime.”

“ Then,” said I, interposing, “ One is near, Who cannot but possess in your esteem Place worthier still of envy. May I name, Without offence, that fair-faced cottage-boy? Dame Nature's pupil of the lowest form, Youngest apprentice in the school of art ! Him, as we entered from the open glen, You might have noticed, busily engaged, Heart, soul, and hands,-in mending the defects Left in the fabric of a leaky dam Raised for enabling this penurious stream To turn a slender mill (that new-made plaything) For his delight—the happiest he of all !”

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