Page images

Along the cloudless main, he, in those hours

Of tiresome indolence would often hang

Over the vessel's side, and gaze and gaze,

And, while the broad green wave and sparkling foam

Flash'd round him images and hues, that wrought

In union with the employment of his heart,

He, thus by feverish passion overcome,

Even with the organs of his bodily eye,

Below him, in the bosom of the deep

Saw mountains, saw the forms of sheep that graz'd

On verdant hills, with dwellings among trees,

And Shepherds clad in the same country grey

Which he himself had worn.*

And now at length,
From perils manifold, with some small wealth
Acquir'd by traffic in the Indian Isles,
To his paternal home he is return'd,

* This description of the Calenture is sketched from an imperfect recollection of an admirable one in prose, by Mr. Gilbert, Author of the Hurricane.

With a determin'd purpose to resume

The life which he liv'd there, both for the saka

.Of many darling pleasures, and the love

Which to an only brother he has borne

In all his hardships, since that happy time

When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two

Were brother Shepherds on their native hills.

■ They were the last of all their race; and now,

When Leonard had approach'd his home, his heart

Fail'd in him, and, not venturing to inquire

Tidings of one whom he so dearly lov'd,

Towards the church-yard he had turn'd aside,

That, as he knew in what particular spot

His family were laid, he thence might learn

If still his Brother liv'd, or to the file

Another grave was added.—He had found

Another grave, near which a full half hour

He had remain'd, but, as he gaz'd, there grew

Such a confusion in his memory,

That he began to doubt, and he had hcpes

That he had seen this heap of turf before,

That it was not another grave, but one,

He had forgotten. He had lost his path,

As up the vale he came that afternoon,

Through fields which once had been well known to him.

And Oh! what joy the recollection now

Sent to his heart! he lifted up his eyes,

And looking round he thought that he perceiv'd

Strange alteration wrought on every side

Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks,

And the eternal hills, themselves were chang'd.

By this the Priest who down the field had come
Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate
Stopp'd short, and thence, at leisure, limb by limb
He scann'd him with a gay complacency.
Aye, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself,
'Tis one of those who needs must leave the path
Of the world's business, to go wild alone:
His arms have a perpetual holiday,

The happy man will creep about the fields

Following his fancies by the hour, to bring

Tears down his cheek, or solitary smiles

Into his face, until the setting sun

Write Fool upon his forehead. Planted thus

Beneath a shed that overarch'd the gate

Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appear'd

The good man might have commun'd with himself

But that the Stranger, who had left the grave,

Approach'd; he recogniz'd the Priest at once,

And after greetings interchang'd, and given

By Leonard to the Vicar as to one

Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued.

LEONARD. You live, Sir, in these dales, a quiet life: Your years make up one peaceful family; And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come And welcome gone, they are so like each other, They cannot be remember'd. Scarce a funeral Comes to this church-yard once in eighteen months j

And yet, some changes must take place among you.
And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks
Can trace the finger of mortality,
And see, that with our threescore years and ten

We are not all that perish. 1 remember,

For many years ago I pass'd this road,

There was a foot-way all along the fields

By the brook-side—'tis gone—and that dark cleft!

To me it does not seem to wear the face

Which then it had.


Why, Sir, for aught I know, That chasm is much the same — LEONARD.

But, surely, yonder—


Aye, there indeed, your memory is a friend
That does not play you false.—On that tall pike,
(It is the loneliest place of all these hills)
There were two Springs which bubbled side by side,

« PreviousContinue »