Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Him from my childhood have I known, and then
He was so old, he seems not older now;
He travels on, a solitary man,
So helpless in appearance, that for him
The sauntering horseman-traveller does not throw
With careless hand his alms upon the ground,
But stops, that he may safely lodge the coin
Within the old man's hat; nor quits him so,
But still when he has given his horse the rein,
Towards the aged beggar turns a look,
Side-long and half-reverted. She who tends
The toll-gate, when in summer at her door
She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees
The aged beggar coming, quits her work,
And lifts the latch for him that he may pass.
The post-boy, when his rattling wheels o’ertake
The aged beggar in the woody lane,
Shouts to him from behind, and, if perchance
The old man does not change his course, the boy
Turns with less noisy wheels to the road-side,
And

passes gently by, without a curse
Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.
He travels on, a solitary man,
His age has no companion. On the ground
His eyes are turned, and, as he moves along,
They move along the ground; and evermore,

Instead of common and habitual sight
Of fields with rural works, of hill and dale,
And the blue sky, one little span of earth
Is all his prospect. Thus, from day to day,
Bowbent, his

eyes for ever on the ground,
He plies his weary journey, seeing still,
And never knowing that he sees, some straw,
Some scattered leaf, or marks, which in one track,
The nails of cart or chariot wheel have left
Impressed on the wbite road, in the same line,
At distance still the same. Poor traveller!
His staff trails with him, scarcely do his feet
Disturb the summer dust; he is so still
In look and motion, that the cottage curs,
Ere he have passed the door, will turn away
Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls,
The vacant and the busy, maids and youths,
And urchins newly breeched, all pass him by :
Him even the slow-paced waggon leaves behind.

But deem not this man useless.Statesmen! ye Who are so restless in yonr wisdom, ye Who have a broom still ready in your hands To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud, Heart-swoln, while in your pride ye contemplate Your talents, power, and wisdom, deem him not

A burthen of the earth. 'Tis nature's law
That none, the meanest of created things,
Of forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good, a spirit and pulse of good,
A life and soul, to every mode of being
Inseparably linked. While thus he creeps
From door to door, the villagers in him
Behold a record which together binds
Past deeds and offices of charity,
Else unremembered, and so keeps alive
The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years,
And that half-wisdom half-experience gives,
Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets, and thinly scattered villages,
Where'er the aged beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of youth compels
To acts of love; and habit does the work
Of reason; yet prepares that after-joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,
Doth find itself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness. Some there are,
By their good works exalted, lofty minds

And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which to the end of time
Will live, and spread, and kindle; minds like these,
In childhood, from this solitary being,
This helpless wanderer, have perchance received,
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of love can do !)
That first mild touch of sympathy and thought,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man
Who sits at his own door, and, like the pear
Which overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine ; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Sheltered, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred, -all behold in him
A silent monitor, which on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters and exemptions; and perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.

Yet further.-Many, I believe, there are Who live a life of virtuous decency, Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel No self-reproach, who of the moral law Established in the land where they abide Are strict observers; and not negligent, Meanwhile, in any tenderness of heart Or act of love to those with whom they dwell, Their kindred, and the children of their blood. Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace ! -But of the poor man ask, the abject poor, Go, and demand of him, if there be here, In this cold abstinence from evil deeds, And these inevitable charities, Wherewith to satisfy the human soul ? Norman is dear to man : the poorest poor Long for some moments in a weary life When they can know and feel that they have been Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out Of some small blessings ; have been kind to such As needed kindness, for this single cause, That we have all of us one human heart. --Such pleasure is to one kind being knownMy neighbour, when with punctual care, each week Duly as Friday comes, though pressed herself By her own wants, she from her chest of meal

« AnteriorContinuar »