Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

shall go,

son.

• When I began, my purpose was to

speak Of remedies and of a cheerful hope. Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel ; the land Shall not go from us, and it shall be free ; He shall possess it, free as is the wind That passes

over it. We have, thou know'st, Another kinsman-he will be our friend In this distress. He is a prosperous man, Thriving in trade-and Luke to him And with his kinsman's help and his own

thrift He quickly will repair this loss, and then He may return to us. If here he stay, What can be done? Where every one is

poor, What can be gained ?"

At this the old Man paused, And Isabel sat silent, for her mind Was busy, looking back into past times. There's Richard Bateman, thought she to

herself, He was a parish-boy-at the church-door They made a gathering for him, shil

lings, pence And halfpennies, wherewith the neigh

bors bought A basket, which they filled with pedlar's

wares ; And, with this basket on his arm, the lad Went up to London, found a master

there, Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy To go and overlook his merchandise Beyond the seas ; where he grew won

drous rich, And left estates and monies to the poor And, at his birthplace, built a chapel,

floored With marble which he sent from foreign

lands. These thoughts, and many others of like

sort.
Passed quickly through the mind of

Isabel,
And her face brightened. The old Man

was glad.
And thus resumed :-" Well, Isabel !

this scheme These two days, has been meat and

drink to me.
Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
--We have enough-I wish indeed that I
Were younger ;—but this hope is a good

hope.
-Make ready Luke's best garments, of

Buy for him more, and let us send him

forth To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night: -If he could go, the boy should go to

night." Here Michael ceased, and to the fields

went forth With a light heart. The Housewife for

five days Was restless morn and night, and all day

long Wrought on with her best fingers to pre

pare Things needful for the journey of her But Isabel was glad when Sunday came To stop her in her work: for, when she lay By Michael's side, she through the last

two nights Heard him, how he was troubled in his

sleep : And when they rose at morning she

could see That all his hopes were gone. That day

at noon She said to Luke, while they two by

themselves Were sitting at the door, “Thou must

not go : We have no other child but thee to lose, None to remember--do not go away, For if thou leave thy Father he will die." The Youth made answer with a jocund

voice; And Isabel, when she had told her fears, Recovered heart. That evening her

best fare Did she bring forth, and all together sat Like happy people round a Christmas

fire. With daylight Isabel resumed her

work ; And all the ensuing week the house

appeared As cheerful as a grove in Spring : at

length The expected letter from their kinsman

came, With kind assurances that he would do His utmost for the welfare of the Boy ; To which, requests were added, that

forth witin He might be sent to him. Ten times or

more

The letter was read over ; Isabel
Went forth to show it to the neighbors

round ; Nor was there at that time on English

the best

land

A prouder heart than Luke's. When

Isabel Had to her house returned, the old Man

said, “He shall depart to-morrow." To this

word The Housewife answered, talking much

of things Which, if at such short notice be should

go, Would surely be forgotten.

But at length She gave consent, and Michael was at

ease. Near the tumultuous brook of Green

head Ghyll, In that deep valley, Michael had de

signed To build a Sheepfold ; and, before he

heard The tidings of his melancholy loss, For this same purpose he had gathered

up A heap of stones, which by the stream

let's edge Lay thrown together, ready for the work. With Luke that evening thitherward he

walked : And soon as they had reached the place

he stopped, And thus the old Man spake to him :

“My Son, To-morrow thou wilt leave me : with

full heart I look upon thee, for thou art the same That wert a promise to me ere thy birth, And all thy life hast been my daily joy. I will relate to thee some little part Of our two histories ; 'twill do thee good When thou art from me, even if I should

touch On things thou canst not know of.-

After thou First cam'st into the world-as oft befalls To new-born infants—thou didst sleep

away Two days, and blessings from thy

Father's tongue Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed And still I loved thee with increasing

love. Never to living ear came sweeter sounds Than when I heard thee by our own fire

side First uttering, without words, a natural

tune : While thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy

joy

Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month fol

lowed month, And in the open fields my life was passed And on the mountains ; else I think that

thou Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's

knees. But we were playmates, Luke : among

these hills, As well thou knowest, in us the old and

young Have played together, nor with me didst

thou Lack any pleasure which a boy can

know." Luke had a manly heart; but at these

words He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped

his hand, And said, “ Nay, do not take it so- I see That these are things of which I need

not speak. -Even to the utmost I have been to thee A kind and a good Father : and herein I but repay a gift which I myself Received at others' hands ; for, though

now old Beyond the common life of man, I still Remember them who loved me in my

youth. Both of them sleep together: here they

lived, As all their Forefathers had done ; and

when At length their time was come, they

were not loth To give their bodies to the family mould. I wished that thou should'st live the life

they lived : But, 'tis a long time to look back, my

Son, And see so little gain from threescore

years. These fields were burthened when they

came to me ; Till I was forty years of age, not more Than half of my inheritance was mine. I toiled and toiled ; God blessed me in

my work, And till these three weeks past the land

was free. --It looks as if it never could endure Another Master. Heaven forgive me,

Luke, If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good That thou should'st go."

At this the old Man paused: Then, pointing to the stones near wlicki

they stood,

on,

Thus, after a short silence, he resumed : ** This was a work for us; and now, my

Son, It is a work for me. But. lay one stoneHere, lay it for me, Luke, with thine

own hands. Nay, Boy, be of good hope ;-we both

may live To see a better day. At eighty-four I still am strong and bale ;-do thou thy

part; I will do mine.--I will begin again With many tasks that were resigned to

thee : Up to the heights, and in among the

storms, Will I without thee go again, and do All works which I was wont to do alone, Before I knew thy face.--Heaven bless

thee, Boy! Thy heart these two weeks has been

beating fast With many hopes; it should be so-yes

yesI knew that thou could'st never have a

wish To leave me, Luke: thou hast been

bound to me Only by links of lore: when thou art

gone. What will be left to us !-But, I forget My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone, As I requested ; and hereafter, Luke, When thou art gone away, should evil

men Be thy companions, think of me, my Son, And of this moment; hither turn thy

thoughts, And God will strengthen thee: amid all

fear And all temptation, Luke, I pray that

thou May'st bear in mind the life thy Fathers

lived, Who, being innocent, did for that cause Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare

thee wellWhen thou return'st, thou in this place

wilt see A work which is not here: a covenant *Twill be between us ; but, whatever fate Befall thee, I shall love thee to the last, And bear thy memory with me to the

grave. The Shepherd ended here ; and Luke

stooped down, And, as his Fath

had requested, laid The first stone of the Sheepfold. At the

sight

The old Man's grief broke from him ; to

his heart He pressed his Son, he kissed him and

wept ; And to the house together they returned. -Hushed was that House in peace, or

seeming peace, Ere the night fell :-with morrow's dawn

the Boy Began his journey, and when he had

reached The public way, he put on a bold face ; And all the neighbors, as he passed their

doors, Came forth with wishes and with fare

well prayers, That followed him till he was out of

sight. A good report did from their Kinsman

come, Of Luke and his well-doing: and the Boy Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous

news, Which, as the Housewife phrased it,

were throughout “ The prettiest letters that were ever

seen." Both parents read them with rejoicing

hearts. So, many months passed on : and once

again The Shepherd went about his daily work With confident and cheerful thoughts ;

and now Sometimes when he could find a leisure

hour He to that valley took his way, and there Wrought at the Sheepfold. Meantime

Luke began To slacken in his duty; and, at length, He in the dissolute city gave himself To evil courses : ignominy and shame Fell on him, so that he was driven at last To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas. There is a comfort in the strength of

love; 'Twill make a thing endurable, which

else Would overset the brain, or break the

heart : I have conversed with more than one

who well Remember the old Man, and what he was Years after he had heard this heavy

news. His bodily frame had been from youth Of an unusual strength. Among the

rocks

to age

The Sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by
My Father's house, in wet or dry
My sister Emmeline 1 and I

Together visited.,
She looked at it and seemed to fear it;
Dreading, tho’ wishing, to be near it :
Such heart was in her, being then
A little Prattler among men.
The Blessing of my later years
Was with me when a boy :
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears ;
And humble cares, and delicate fears ;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears :
And love, and thought, and joy.

1801, 1807.

X MY HEART LEAPS UP WHEN I

BEHOLD

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky :
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man ;
So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die !
The Child is father of the Man ;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

1802. 1807.

He went, and still looked up to sun and

cloud, And listened to the wind; and, as before, Performed all kinds of labor for his

sheep, And for the land, his small inheritance. And to that hollow dell from time to time Did he repair, to build the Fold of which His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet The pity which was then in every heart For the old Man and 'tis believed by all That many and many a day he thither

went, And never lifted up a single stone. There, by the Sheepfold, sometimes

was he seen Sitting aloue, or with his faithful Dog, Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. The length of full seven years, from

time to time, He at the building of this Sheepfold

wrought, And left the work unfinished when he

died. Three years, or little more, did Isabel Survive her Husband : at her death the

estate Was sold, and went into a stranger's

hand. The Cottage which was named the EVEN

ING STAR Is gone--the ploughshare has been

through the ground On which it stood ; great changes have

been wrought In all the neighborhood :--yet the oak is

left That grew beside their door ; and the

remains Of the unfinished Sheepfold may be seen Beside the boisterous brook of Greenhead Ghyll.

WRITTEN IN MARCH

WHILE RESTING ON THE BRIDGE AT THE

FOOT OF BROTHER'S WATER Extempore. This little poem was a favorite with Joanna Baillie. (Wordsworth)

Compare the description of the same scene by Wordsworth's sister: “There was the gentle flowing of the stream, the glittering, lively lake, green fields without a living creature to be seen on them ; behind us, a flat pasture with fortytwo cattle feeding ; to our left, the road leading to the hamlet. No smoke there, the sun shone on the bare roofs. The people were at work ploughing, harrowing, and sowing: . . . a dog barking now and then, cocks crowing, birds twittering, the snow in patches at the top of the highest bills, yellow palms, purple and green twigs on the birches, ashes with their glittering spikes, stems quite bare. The hawthorn & bright green, with black stems under the oak. The moss of the oak glossy. We went on . William finished his poem before we got to the foot of Kirkstone." (Dorothy Wordsworth's Jour. nal, April 16, 1802.)

THE Cock is crowing, The stream is flowing, The small birds twitter, The lake doth glitter, 1 Dorothy Wordsworth, called Emmeline also in the poem To a Butterfly. See the beautiful lines To my Sister, p. 8, the last lines of the Sounet p. 31, and notes on the Sonnets of 1802.

1800. 1800. THE SPARROWS' NEST Written in the Orchard, Town-end, Grasmere. At the end of the garden of my father's house at Cockermouth was a high terrace that commanded a fine view of the river Derwent and Cockermouth Castle. This was our favorite play-ground. The terrace-wall, a low one, was covered with closely-clipt privet and roses, which gave an almost impervious shelter to birds that built their nests there. The latter of these stanzas alludes to one of those (Wordsworth.) BEHOLD, within the leafy shade, Those bright blue eggs together laid ! On me the chance-discovered sight Gleamed like a vision of delight. I started-seeming to espy The liome and sheltered bed,

nests.

Has a thought about her nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal ;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.

The green field sleeps in the sun;

The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest ;
The cattle are grazing,
Their

heads never raising; There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill ;
The ploughboy is whooping-anon-

anon :
There's joy in the mountains ;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,

Blue sky prevailing ;
The rain is over and gone !

1802. 1807.

Poets, vain men in their mood !
Travel with the multitude :
Never heed them ; I aver
That they all are wanton wooers;
But the thrifty cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near her home;
Spring is coming, Thou art come!

Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming Spirit !
Careless of thy neighborhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane ; there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.

TO THE SMALL CELANDINE

Written at Town-end, Grasmere.

It is remarkable that this flower, coming out so early in the spring as it does, and so bright and beauti. ful, and in such profusion, should not have been noticed earlier in English verse. What adds much to the interest that attends it is its habit of shutting itself up and opening out according to the degree of light and temperature of the air. (Wordswoorth.)

PANSIES, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;
Long as there's a sun that sets,
Primroses will have their glory ;
Long as there are violets,
They will have a place in story :
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'Tis the little Celandine.

Ill befall the yellow flowers,
Children of the flaring hours !
Buttercups, that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no ;
Others, too, of lofty mien ;
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine!

Prophet of delight and mirth,
Ill-requited upon earth ;
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Serving at my heart's command,
Tasks that are no tasks renewing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love !

1802. 1807.

Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star ;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Men that keep a mighty rout!
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little Flower !--I'll make a stir,
Like a sage astronomer.
Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself ;
Since we needs must first have met
I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
'Twas a face I did not know ;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.

TO THE SAME FLOWER PLEASURES newly found are sweet When they lie about our feet : February last, my heart First at sight of thee was glad ; All unheard of as thou art, Thou must needs, I think, have had, Celandine ! and long ago, Praise of which I nothing know. I have not a doubt but he, Whosoe'er the man might be, Who the first with pointed rays (Workman worthy to be sainted)

Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the thrush

« AnteriorContinuar »