Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

VI.

XII.

My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought, At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
As if life's business were a summer mood; Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
As if all needful things would come unsought Upon the muddy water, which he conned,
To genial faith, still rich in genial good;

As if he had been reading in a book :
But how can He expect that others should And now a stranger's privilege I took ;
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call And, drawing to his side, to him did say,
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all? “ This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."

XI.

VII.
I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,

A gentle answer did the old Man make,
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;

In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew: Of Him who walked in glory and in joy

And him with further words I thus bespake, Following his plough, along the mountain-side:

“ What occupation do you there pursue ? By our own spirits are we deified:

This is a lonesome place for one like you." We Poets in our youth begin in gladness ; Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise But thereof come in the end despondency and Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes.

madness.

XIV.

VIII.

Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,

His words came feebly, from a feeble chest, A leading from above, a something given,

But each in solemn order followed each, Yet it befel, that, in this lonely place,

With something of a lofty utterance drestWhen I with these untoward thoughts had striven, Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven

Of ordinary men ; a stately speech; I saw a Man before me unawares :

Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use, The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs. Religious men, who give to God and man their dues

XV.

[ocr errors]

As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie

He told, that to these waters he had come Couched on the bald top of an eminence;

To gather leeches, being old and poor : Wonder to all who do the same espy,

Employment hazardous and wearisome ! By what means it could thither come, and whence; And he had many hardships to endure : So that it seems a thing endued with sense :

From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor: Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf

Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance ; Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself ; And in this way he gained an honest maintenance

XVI.

[ocr errors]

Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,

The old Man still stood talking by my side ; Nor all asleep-in his extreme old age:

But now his voice to me was like a stream His body was bent double, feet and head

Scarce heard ; nor word from word could I divide Coming together in life's pilgrimage ;

And the whole body of the Man did seem As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage

Like one whom I had met with in a dream; Of sickness felt by him in times long past,

Or like a man from some far region sent, A more than human weight upon his frame had cast. To give me human strength, by apt admonishmer

XI.

XVII.

Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,
That heareth not the loud winds when they call ;
And moveth all together, if it move at all.

My former thoughts returned: the fear that b
And hope that is unwilling to be fed ;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
-Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
My question eagerly did I renew,
“ How is it that you live, and what is it you do

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

And now,

Hart- Leap Well is a small spring of water, about five miles Upon his side the Hart was lying stretched :

from Richmond in Yorkshire, and near the side of the His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill, road that leads from Richmond to Askrigg. Its name is

And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched derived from a remarkable Chase, the memory of which is preserved by the monuments spoken of in the second The waters of the spring were trembling still. Part of the following Poem, which monuments do now exist as I have there described them.

And now, too happy for repose or rest,

(Never had living man such joyful lot !) The Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west, With the slow motion of a summer's cloud

And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot. he approached a vassal's door, “Bring forth another horse!” he cried aloud.

And climbing up the hill—(it was at least “Another horse!” –That shout the vassal heard

Four roods of sheer ascent) Sir Walter found And saddled his best Steed, a comely grey ;

Three several hoof-marks which the hunted Beast

Had left imprinted on the grassy ground.
Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third
Which he had mounted on that glorious day.

Sir Walter wiped his face, and cried, “ Till now

Such sight was never seen by human eyes :
Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes ;
The horse and horseman are a happy pair ;

Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow,

Down to the very fountain where he lies.
But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies,
There is a doleful silence in the air.

I'll build a pleasure-house upon this spot,
A rout this morning left Sir Walter's Hall,

And a small arbour, made for rural joy ; That as they galloped made the echoes roar;

"Twill be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot, But horse and man are vanished, one and all ; A place of love for damsels that are coy. Such race, I think, was never seen before.

A cunning artist will I have to frame
Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind,

A basin for that fountain in the dell !
Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain : And they who do make mention of the same,
Blanch, Swift, and Music, noblest of their kind, From this day forth, shall call it HART-LEAP WELL.
Follow, and up the weary mountain strain.

And, gallant Stag! to make thy praises known,
The Knight hallooed, he cheered and chid them on

Another monument shall here be raised ;
With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern ; Three several pillars, each a rough-hewn stone,
But breath and eyesight fail; and, one by one, And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed.
The dogs are stretched among the mountain fern.

And, in the summer-time when days are long,
Where is the throng, the tumult of the race?

I will come hither with my Paramour ; The bugles that so joyfully were blown?

And with the dancers and the minstrel's song - This chase it looks not like an earthly chase ;

We will make merry in that pleasant bower. Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone.

[ocr errors]

The poor Hart toils along the mountain-side ;
I will not stop to tell how far he fled,
Nor will I mention by what death he died ;
But now the Knight beholds him lying dead.

Till the foundations of the mountains fail
My mansion with its arbour shall endure ;-
The joy of them who till the fields of Swale,
And them who dwell among the woods of Ure !"

Dismounting, then, he leaned against a thorn;
He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy:
He neither cracked his whip, nor blew his horn,
But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy.

Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead,
With breathless nostrils stretched above the spring.
Soon did the Knight perform what he had said ;
And far and wide the fame thereof did ring.

« AnteriorContinuar »