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FIDELITY.

66 The

young man whose death gave occasion to this poem was named Charles Gough, and had come early in the spring to Patterdale for the sake of angling. While attempting to cross over Helvellyn to Grasmere, he slipped from a steep part of the rock where the ice was not thawed, and perished. His body was discovered as is told in this poem. Walter Scott heard of the accident, and both he and I, without either of us knowing that the other had taken up the subject, wrote a poem in admiration of the dog's fidelity. His contains a most beautiful stanza :

“How long didst thou think that his silence was slumber?

When the wind waved his garment how oft didst thou start ? ”

“I will add that the sentiment in the last four lines of the last stanza in my verses was uttered by a shepherd with such exactness, that a traveller, who afterwards reported his account in print, was induced to question the man whether he had read them, which he had not."

“A barking sound the shepherd hears,

A cry as of a dog or fox ;
He halts--and searches with his eyes
Among the scattered rocks :
And now at distance can discern
A stirring in a brake of fern,
And instantly a dog is seen,
Glancing through that covert green..

The dog is not of mountain breed;
Its motions, too, are wild and shy;
With something, as the shepherd thinks,
Unusual in its cry:

VOL. I.

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But hear a wonder, for whose sake
This lamentable tale I tell !
A lasting monument of words
This wonder merits well.
The dog, which still was hovering nigh,
Repeating the same timid cry,
This dog had been, through three months' space,
A dweller in that savage place.
Yes, proof was plain that, since the day
When this ill-fated traveller died,
The dog had watched about the spot,
Or by his master's side :
How nourished there through such long time
He knows, who gave that love sublime;
And gave that strength of feeling, great
Above all human estimate!”–1805.

In Payne's 'Handbook to the English Lakes' occurs the following respecting the lost traveller, which well contrasts ideal poetry with the prose realities of life. In this instance, however, the poet's tale would seem to be well founded, for Wordsworth resided in the Lake District at the time, and therefore was likely to know the facts, and the belief attached to them by the neighbouring inhabitants. Scott, Davy, and Wordsworth also visited Helvellyn together soon after the event.

" The mountain mists are really dangerous. That modest retiring lover of nature, Mr. Gough, came doubtless by his end upon Helvellyn top by their treacherous means, of wbom two poets, as we all know, made very excellent material. His dog, they relate, watched his remains for weeks, and was found at last by their side.

How nourished there through such long time?'

asks the greater bard. We inquired of a dalesman in Borrowdale his opinion on the subject, as to whether the animal could have caught sheep, birds, or foxes enough to make a subsistence, however scanty; but he replied, “Certainly not.” *Well,' persisted we, “but the dog was found alive by his master's side, that's certain.' “Aye, aye,' answered the un-, poetical shepherd, he eat him, that was how it was.'

Sir Walter Scott's celebrated hound, Maida, the original of the magnificent Bevis of Woodstock, was presented to him by the chief of Glengarry. Scott depicts him in these words, in a letter written in 1816. “I have got from my friend Glengarry the noblest dog ever seen on the Border since Johnnie Armstrong's time. He is between the wolf and deer greyhound, about six feet long from the tip of the nose to the tail, and high and strong in proportion; he is quite gentle, and a great favourite. Tell Will Erskine he will eat off his plate without being at the trouble to put a paw on the table or chair.”

Maida died in 1824, and Scott thus mentioned the event to his son: “I have little domestic news to tell you.

Old Maida died quietly in his straw last week, after a good supper; which, considering his weak state, was rather a deliverance. He is buried below his monument, on which the following epitaph is engraved, though it is great audacity to send Teviotdale Latin to Brazen-nose :

• Maida Marmoreâ dormis sub imagine Maida,
Ad januam domini sit tibi terra levis.'

“ Thus Englished by an eminent hand,

· Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore,
Sleep soundly, Maida, at your master's door.""

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