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LINES Written with a Slate-pencil upon a Stone, the largest of a
heap lying near a deserted Quarry, upon one of the Islands at Rydale.
Stranger! this hillock of mishapen stones
Is not a ruin of the ancient time,
Nor, as perchance thou rashly deem'st, the Cairn
Of some old British Chief: 'tis nothing more
Than the rude embryo of a little dome
Or pleasure-house, which was to have been built
Among the birch-trees of this rocky isle...
But, as it chanc'd, Sir William having learn'd.
That from the shore a full-grown man might wade,
And make himself a freeman of this spot
At any hour he chose, the Knight forthwith
Desisted, and the quarry and the mound
Are monuments of his unfinish'd task.
The block on which these lines are trac'd, perhaps,
Was once sefeated as the corner-stone
Of the intended pile, which would have been
Some quaint odd play-thing of elaborate skill,
So that, I guess, the linnet and the thrush,
And other little builders who dwell here,
Had wonder'd at the work. Büt blame 'him not,
For old Sir WiHiam was a gentle Knight
Bred in this 'vale to which he appertain'd
With all his ancestry. Then peace to him
And for the outrage which he had devis'd
Eatire forgiveness. But if thou art one
On fire with thy impatience to become
An Inmate of these mountains, if disturb'd
By beautiful conceptions, thou hast Kewn
Out of the quiet fock the elements
Of thy trim mansion destin'd soon to blaze
In, snow-white splendour, think again, and taught
By old Sir William and his quarry, leave
Thy fragments to the bramble and the rose,
There let the verpal slow-worm sun himself,
And let the red-breast hop from stone to stone.
In the School of is a tablet on which are inscribed, in gilt letters, the names of the several persons who have been Schoolmasters there since the foundation of the School, with the time at which they entered upon and quitted their office. Opposite one of those names the Author, wrote the following lines.
If Nature, for a favorite Child
In thee hath temper'd so her clay,
That every hour thy heart runs wild
Yet never once doth go astray,
Read o'er these lines ; and then review
This tablet, that thus humbly rears
In such diversity of hue
Its history of two hundred years.
-When through this little wreck of fame, Cypher and syllable, thine eye Has travell'd down to Matthew's name, Pause with no common sympathy. .
And if a sleeping tear should wake
Then be it neither check'd nor stay'd :
For Matthew a request I make
Which for himself he had not made.
Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er,
Is silent as a standing pool,
Far from the chimney's merry roar,
And murmur of the village school.
The sighs which Matthew heav'd were sighs
Of one tir'd out with fun and madness ;
The tears which came to Matthew's eyes
Were tears of light, the oil of gladness.