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As if they had been made that they might be
Companions for each other : ten years back,
Close to those brother fountains, the huge crag
Was rent with lightning -- one is dead and gone,
The other, left behind, is flowing still.
For accidents and changes such as these,
Why we have store of them! a water-spout
Will bring down half a mountain ; what a feast
For folks that wander up and down like you,
To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff
One roaring cataract-a sharp May storm
Will come with loads of January snow,
And in one night send twenty score of sheep
To feed the ravens, or a Shepherd dies
By some untoward death among the rocks :
The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge
A wood is felld :-and then for our own homes !
A child is born or christen'd, a field plough'd,
A daughter sent to service, a web spun,
The old house cloth is deck'd with a new face ;
And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates
To chronicle the time, we all have here
A pair of diaries, one serving, Sir,
For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side,
Your's was a stranger's judgment : for historians
Commend me to these vallies.
Yet your church-yard Seems, if such freedom may be used with you, To say
that you are heedless of the past. Here's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass, Cross-bones or skull, type of our earthly state Or emblem of our hopes : the dead man's home Is but a fellow to that pasture field.
Why there, Sir, is a thought that's new to me.
The Stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread
If every English church-yard were like ours :
your conclusion wanders from the truth.
We have no need of names and epitaphs,
We talk about the dead by our fire-sides.
And then for our immortal part, we want
No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale :
The thought of death sits easy on the man
Who has been born and dies among the mountains :
Your dalesmen, then, do in each other's thoughts
Possess a kind of second life : no doubt
You, Sir, could help me to the history
Of half these Graves ?
With what I've witness'd, and with what I've heard,
Perhaps I might, and, on a winter's evening,
If you were seated at my chimney's nook
By turning o'er these hillocks one by one,
We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round,
Yet all in the broad high-way of the world.
Now there's a grave-your foot is half upon it,
It looks just like the rest, and yet that man
We'll take another : who is he that lies
Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves ;-
It touches on that piece of native rock
Left in the church-yard wall.
He had as white a head and fresh a cheek
As ever were produc'd by youth and age
Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore.
For five long generations had the heart
Of Walter's forefathers o'erflow'd the bounds
Of their inheritance, that single cottage,
You see it yonder, and those few green fields.
They toil'd and wrought, and still, from sire to son,
Each struggled, and each yielded as before
A little-yet a little--and old Walter,
They left to him the family heart, and land
With other burthens than the
Year after year the old man still preserv'd
A chearful mind, and buffeted with bond,
Interest and mortgages ; at last he sank,
And went into his grave before his time.
Poor Walter ! whether it was care that spurr'd him
God only knows, but to the very
He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale :
His pace was never that of an old man :
I almost see him tripping down the path
With his two Grandsons after him—but you,
Unless our Landlord be
host to-night, Have far to travel, and in these rough paths. Even in the longest day of midsummer
LEONARD. But these two Orphans !
Orphans ! such they were