Obrázky stránek

As high as we have mounted in delight
In our dejection do we sink as low,
To me that morning did it happen so;
And fears, and fancies, thick upon me came;
Dim sadness—and blind thought, I knew not, nor could nama

I heard the skylark warbling in the sky;
And I bethought me of the playful hare:
Even such a happy child of earth am I;
Even as these blissful creatures do I fare;
Far from the world I walk and from all care ;
But there may come another day to me-
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.

My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
As if life's business were a summer mood;
As if all needful things would come unsought
To genial faith, still rich in genial good;
But how can he expect that others should
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all ?

I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous boy,
The sleepless soul that perished in his pride;
Of him who walked in glory and in joy
Following his plough along the mountain side :
By our own spirits are we deified :
We poets in our youth begin in gladness :
But thereof comes in the end despondency and madness.

Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
A leading from above, a something given,
Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place,
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven
I saw a man before me unawares :
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.

As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie,
Couched on the bald top of an eminence ;
Wonder to all who do the same espy,
By what means it could thither come, and whence;
So that it seems a thing endued with sense :
Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself.

Such seemed this man, not all alive nor dead,
Nor all asleep-in his extreme old age :
His body was bent double, feet and head
Coming together in life's pilgrimage ;
As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage
Of sickness felt by him in times long past,
A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.

Himself he propped, his body, limbs, and face,
Upon a long gray staff of shaven wood :
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood,
Motionless as a cloud the old man stood ;
That heareth not the loud winds when they call;
And moveth altogether, if it move at all.

At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
Upon the muddy water, which he conned,
As if he had been reading in a book :
And now a stranger's privilege I took ;
And, drawing to his side, to him did say,
“This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."

A gentle answer did the old man make,
In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew :
And him with further words I thus bespake,
“What occupation do you there pursue ?
This is a lonesome place for one like you."

He answered, while a flash of mild surprise
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet vivid eyes.

His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,
But each in solemn order followed each,
With something of a lofty utterance drest;
Choice word, and measured phrase ; above the reach
Of ordinary men; a stately speech;
Such as grave livers do in Scotland use,
Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.

He told, that to these waters he had come
To gather l eches, being old and poor :
Employment hazardous and wearisome!
And he had many hardships to endure :
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor;
Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance ;
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.

The old man still stood talking by my side;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard ; nor word from word could I divide ;
And the whole body of the man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a man from some far region sent,
To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.

My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;
And hope that is unwilling to be fed ;
Cold, pain, and labor and all fleshy ills;
And mighty poets in their misery dead.
-Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
My question eagerly did I renew,—
" How is it that you live, and what is it you do ?"

He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said, that, gathering leeches far and wide
He travelled ; stirring thus about his feet

The water of the pool were they abide.
“Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.”

When he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The old man's shape, and speech all troubled me :
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
About the weary inoors continually,
Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.

And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanor kind,
But stately in the main ; and when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit man so firm a mind.

God," said I, “ be my help and stay secure;
I'll think of the leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"

[ocr errors]


Bishop BERKELY. [The following is an extract from 'An Exhortation to the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland,' addressed to them, under the title of ' A Word to the Wise,' by George Berkeley, the celebrated Bishop of Cloyne. To a dispassionate observer of the miseries of Ireland it would appear, either that the good bishop was a century before his time, or that the experience and lessons of a century had produced no social change. We leave this exhortation to speak for itself. Berkeley, the metaphysician, the theologian, the patriot-one of the few really great men whose fame increases with age, -was born in the county of Kil kenny in 1681; died at Oxford in 1753.

Be not startled, reverend sirs, to find yourselves addressed to by one of a different communion. We are indeed (to our shame be it spoken) more inclined to hate for those articles wherein we differ, than to love one another for those wherein we agree. But if we cannot extinguish, let us at least suspend our animosities, and, forgetting our religious feuds, consider ourselves in the amiable light of countrymen and neighbors. Let us for once turn our eyes on those things in which we have one common interest. Why should disputes about faith interrupt the duties of civil life? or the different roads we take to heaven prevent our taking the same steps on earth? Do we not inhabit the same spot of ground, breathe the same air, and live under the same government? Why then should we not conspire in one and the same design to promote the common good of our country?

We are all agreed about the usefulness of meat, drink, and clothes, and, without doubt, we all sincerely wish our poor neigh. bors were better supplied with them. Providence and nature have done their part ; no country is better qualified to furnish the necessaries of life, and yet no people are worse provided. In vain is the earth fertile, and the climate benign, if human labor be wanting. Nature supplies the materials, which art and industry improve to the use of man, and it is the want of this industry that occasions all our other wants.

The public hath endeavored to excite and encourage this most useful virtue. Much hath been done ; but whether it be from the heaviness of the climate, or from the Spanish or Scythian blood that runs in their veins, or whatever else may be the cause, there still remains in the natives of this island a remarkable antipathy to labor. You, gentlemen, can alone conquer their innate hereditary sloth. Do you then, as you love your country, exert yourselves.

You are known to have great influence on the minds of your people, be so good as to use this influence for their benefit. Since other methods fail, try what you can do.

“ Be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort." Make them thoroughly sensible of the sin and folly of sloth. Show your charity in clothing the naked, and feeding the hungry, which you may do by the mere breath of your mouths. Give me leave to tell you, that no set of men upon earth have it in their power to do good on easier terms, with more advantage to others, and less pains or loss to themselves. Your ilock are of all others most disposed to

« PředchozíPokračovat »