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More keenly than elsewhere in night's blue vault
Sparkle the stars, as of their station proud.
Thoughts are not busier in the mind of man
Than the mute agents stirring there."
From "The Excurfion," Book II.
SCENE IN THE VALLEY.
A Humming Bee—a little tinkling rill—
A pair of falcons wheeling on the wing,
In clamorous agitation, round the crest
Of a tall rock, their airy citadel—
By each and all of these the penfive ear
Was greeted in the filence that ensued,
When through the cottage-threshold we had paffed,
And, deep within that lonesome valley, stood
Once more beneath the concave of a blue
And cloudless fky.-Anon exclaimed our host,
Triumphantly difperfing with the taunt
The fhade of difcontent which on his brow
Had gathered," Ye have left my cell,--but fee
How Nature hems you in with friendly arms!
And by her help ye are my prisoners still.
But which way fhall I lead you ?-how contrive,
In fpot fo parfimoniously endowed,
That the brief hours, which yet remain, may reap
Some recompence of knowledge or delight?"
So faying, round he looked, as if perplexed;
And, to remove those doubts, my gray-haired Friend
Said "Shall we take this pathway for our guide?—
Upward it winds, as if, in Summer heats,
Its line had first been fashioned by the flock
Seeking a place of refuge at the root
Of yon black Yew-tree, whofe protruded boughs
Darken the filver bofom of the crag,
From which it draws its meagre sustenance.
There, in commodious fhelter, may we rest.
Or let us trace this ftreamlet to its fource;
Feebly it tinkles with an earthy found,
And a few steps may bring us to the spot
Where, haply, crowned with flowerets and green herbs,
The mountain infant to the fun comes forth,
Like human life from darkness."-A fudden turn
Through a straight paffage of encumbered ground,
Proved that fuch hope was vain :-for now we stood
Shut out from profpect of the open vale,
And faw the water that composed this rill,
Defcending, difembodied, and diffused
O'er the smooth furface of an ample crag,
Lofty, and steep, and naked as a tower.
All further progress here was barred ;—And who,
Thought I, if master of a vacant hour,
Here would not linger, willingly detained?
Whether to fuch wild objects he were led
When copious rains have magnified the stream
Into a loud and white-robed waterfall,
Or introduced at this more quiet time.
Upon a femicirque of turf-clad ground, The hidden nook difcovered to our view A mafs of rock, refembling, as it lay
Right at the foot of that moift precipice,
A stranded ship, with keel upturned, that rests
Fearless of winds and waves. Three several stones
Stood near, of smaller fize, and not unlike
To monumental pillars: and, from these
Some little space difjoined, a pair were seen,
That with united fhoulders bore aloft
A fragment like an altar, flat and smooth :
Barren the tablet, yet thereon appeared
A tall and fhining holly that had found
A hofpitable chink, and stood upright,
As if inferted by fome human hand
In mockery, to wither in the fun,
Or lay its beauty flat before a breeze,
The firft that entered. But no breeze did now
Find entrance ;-high or low appeared no trace
Of motion, fave the water that defcended,
Diffused adown that barrier of steep rock,
And foftly creeping like a breath of air,
Such as is fometimes feen, and hardly feen,
To brush the still breaft of a crystal lake.
THE GRANDEUR OF MOUNTAIN SCENERY).
Has not the foul, the being of your life,
Received a fhock of awful consciousness,
From "The Excurfion," Book III.
In fome calm feafon, when these lofty rocks
At night's approach bring down the unclouded sky
To reft upon their circumambient walls;
A temple framing of dimensions vast,
And yet not too enormous for the found
Of human anthems,-choral fong, or burst
Sublime of inftrumental harmony,
To glorify the Eternal! What if these
Did never break the ftillness that prevails
Here, if the folemn nightingale be mute,
And the foft woodlark here did never chant
Her vefpers, Nature fails not to provide
Impulse and utterance. The whispering air
Sends inspiration from the shadowy heights
And blind receffes of the caverned rocks;
The little rills and waters numberless,
Inaudible by daylight, blend their notes
With the loud ftreams: and often, at the hour
When iffue forth the firft pale ftars, is heard,
Within the circuit of this fabric huge,
One voice- the folitary raven, flying
Athwart the concave of the dark blue dome,
Unfeen, perchance above the power of fight-
An iron knell! with echoes from afar
Faint-and ftill fainter-as the cry, with which
The wanderer accompanies her flight
Through the calm region, fades upon the ear,
Diminishing by diftance till it seemed
To expire; yet from the abyss is caught again,
And yet again recovered!
From "The Excurfion," Book IV.
THE IDLE SHEPHERD-BOYS; OR, DUNGEONGHYLL FORCE.
The valley rings with mirth and joy;
Among the hills the echoes play
A never, never-ending fong
To welcome in the May: