Page images

Along the cloudless main, he, in those hours
Of tiresome indolence would often hang
Over the vessel's side, and


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 returnd,

* 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 sako
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 hopes

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,

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.


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;

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. I 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


But, surely, yonder

PRIEST. 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 »