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That might his trespasses betray. But what can all avail to clear him, Or what need of explanation, Parley or interrogation? For the Master sees, alas! That unhappy Figure near him, Limping o'er the dewy grass, Where the road it fringes, sweet, Soft and cool to way-worn feet; And, O indignity! an Ass, By his noble Mastiff's side, Tethered to the waggon's tail: And the ship, in all her pride, Following after in full sail! Not to speak of babe and mother; Who, contented with each other, And snug as birds in leafy arbour, Find, within, a blessed harbour!

With eager eyes the Master pries;
Looks in and out, and through and through;
Says nothing-till at last he spies
A wound upon the Mastiff's head,

A wound, where plainly might be read
What feats an Ass's hoof can do!
But drop the rest :-this aggravation,
This complicated provocation,
A hoard of grievances unsealed;
All past forgiveness it repealed ;

And thus, and through distempered blood
On both sides, Benjamin the good,
The patient, and the tender-hearted,
Was from his team and waggon parted;
When duty of that day was o'er,
Laid down his whip-and served no more.-
Nor could the waggon long survive,
Which Benjamin had ceased to drive :
It lingered on;-guide after guide
Ambitiously the office tried;
But each unmanageable hill

Called for his patience and his skill ;

And sure it is, that through this night, And what the morning brought to light, Two losses had we to sustain,

We lost both WAGGONER and WAIN!

Accept, O Friend, for praise or blame,
The gift of this adventurous song;
A record which I dared to frame,
Though timid scruples checked me long;
They checked me and I left the theme
Untouched;-in spite of many a gleam
Of fancy which thereon was shed,
Like pleasant sunbeams shifting still
Upon the side of a distant hill:
But Nature might not be gainsaid;
For what I have and what I miss
'I sing of these ;-it makes my bliss!
Nor is it I who play the part,
But a shy spirit in my heart,

That comes and goes-will sometimes leap
From hiding-places ten years deep;

Or haunts me with familiar face,
Returning, like a ghost unlaid,
Until the debt I owe be paid.
Forgive me, then; for I had been
On friendly terms with this Machine:

In him, while he was wont to trace

Our roads, through many a long year's space,
A living almanack had we;

We had a speaking diary,
That in this uneventful place,

Gave to the days a mark and name

By which we knew them when they came.
-Yes, I, and all about me here,
Through all the changes of the year,
Had seen him through the mountains go,
In pomp of mist or pomp of snow,
Majestically huge and slow:

Or, with a milder grace adorning
The landscape of a summer's morning;

While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain

The moving image to detain;

And mighty Fairfield, with a chime
Of echoes, to his march kept time;
When little other business stirred,
And little other sound was heard;
In that delicious hour of balm,
Stillness, solitude, and calm,
While yet the valley is arrayed,
On this side with a sober shade;
On that is prodigally bright—
Crag, lawn, and wood--with rosy light.

-But most of all, thou lordly Wain!
I wish to have thee here again,
When windows flap and chimney roars,
And all is dismal out of doors;
And, sitting by my fire, I see
Eight sorry carts, no less a train !
Unworthy successors of thee,

Come straggling through the wind and rain:
And oft, as they pass slowly on,
Beneath my windows, one by one,
See, perched upon the naked height
The summit of a cumbrous freight,
A single traveller-and there
Another; then perhaps a pair—

The lame, the sickly, and the old;
Men, women, heartless with the cold;
And babes in wet and starveling plight;
Which once, be weather as it might,
Had still a nest within a nest,

Thy shelter-and their mother's breast!
Then most of all, then far the most,
Do I regret what we have lost;
Am grieved for that unhappy sin
Which robbed us of good Benjamin ;—
And of his stately Charge, which none
Could keep alive when He was gone!

1805.

POEMS OF THE IMAGINATION.

I.

THERE WAS A BOY.

THERE was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs

And islands of Winander!--many a time,

At evening, when the earliest stars began
To move along the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone,
Beneath the trees, or by the glimmering lake ;
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him.-And they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call,--with quivering peals,
And long halloos, and screams, and echoes loud
Redoubled and redoubled ; concourse wild
Of jocund din! And, when there came a pause
Of silence such as baffled his best skill :
Then, sometimes, in that silence, while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain-torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.

This boy was taken from his mates, and died
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale

Where he was born and bred: the church-yard hangs
Upon a slope above the village-school;

And, through that church-yard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe, that there
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute-looking at the grave in which he lies!

While I am lying on the grass

Thy twofold shout I hear,

From hill to hill it seems to pass,

At once far off, and near.

Though babbling only to the Vale,

Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale

Of visionary hours.

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring! Even yet thou art to me

No bird, but an invisible thing,

A voice, a mystery;

The same whom in my school-boy days

I listened to; that Cry

Which made me look a thousand ways In bush, and tree, and sky.

To seek thee did I often rove Through woods and on the green; And thou wert still a hope, a love; Still longed for, never seen.

And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.

O blessed Bird! the earth we pace
Again appears to be

An unsubstantial, faery place;
That is fit home for Thee!

1804.

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Chequering the ground-from rock, plant, tree, or

tower.

At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam

Startles the pensive traveller while he treads

His lonesome path, with unobserving eye

To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! a living thing

Bent earthwards; he looks up-the clouds are split Produced too slowly ever to decay;

Asunder, and above his head he sees

The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small

And sharp, and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not!-the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;-still they roll along
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,

Of form and aspect too magnificent

To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth
of intertwisted fibres serpentine

Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved;

Nor uninformed with Phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane ;-a pillared shade,

Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds, Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,

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From the brook's margin, wide around, the trees
Are stedfast as the rocks; the brook itself,
Old as the hills that feed it from afar,
Doth rather deepen than disturb the calm
Where all things else are still and motionless.
And yet, even now, a little breeze, perchance
Escaped from boisterous winds that rage without,
Has entered, by the sturdy oaks unfelt,
But to its gentle touch how sensitive

Is the light ash! that, pendent from the brow
Of yon dim cave, in seeming silence makes
A soft eye-music of slow-waving boughs,

Powerful almost as vocal harmony

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To stay the wanderer's steps and soothe his thoughts. Tricked out in proud disguise of cast-off weeds

V.

YEW-TREES.

THERE is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched

Which for that service had been husbanded,

By exhortation of my frugal Dame-
Motley accoutrement, of power to smile

At thorns, and brakes, and brambles,-and, in truth,
More ragged than need was! O'er pathless rocks,
Through beds of matted fern, and tangled thickets,
Forcing my way, I came to one dear nook
Unvisited, where not a broken bough
Drooped with its withered leaves, ungracious sign
Of devastation; but the hazels rose
Tall and erect, with tempting clusters hung,

A virgin scene!-A little while I stood,
Breathing with such suppression of the heart
As joy delights in; and, with wise restraint
Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed

The banquet ;-or beneath the trees I sate

Among the flowers, and with the flowers I played;

A temper known to those, who, after long
And weary expectation, have been blest
With sudden happiness beyond all hope.
Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves
The violets of five seasons re-appear
And fade, unseen by any human eye;
Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on
For ever; and I saw the sparkling foam,
And-with my cheek on one of those green stones
That, fleeced with moss, under the shady trees,
Lay round me, scattered like a flock of sheep-
I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound,
In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay
Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,
The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
And on the vacant air. Then up I rose,

And dragged to earth both branch and bough, with crash

And merciless ravage: and the shady nook
Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower,
Deformed and sullied, patiently gave up
Their quiet being: and, unless I now
Confound my present feelings with the past;
Ere from the mutilated bower I turned
Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings,
I felt a sense of pain when I beheld
The silent trees, and saw the intruding sky.-
Then, dearest Maiden, move along these shades
In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand
Touch-for there is a spirit in the woods.

VII.

THE SIMPLON PASS.

BROOK and road

1799.

Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass, And with them did we journey several hours At a slow step. The immeasurable height Of woods decaying, never to be decayed, The stationary blasts of waterfalls, And in the narrow rent, at every turn, Winds thwarting winds bewildered and forlorn, The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky, The rocks that muttered close upon our ears, Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside

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