« السابقةمتابعة »
And, in a later time, ere yet the boy
Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love,
Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
To have the young one in his fight, when he
Had work by his own door, or when he fat,
With sheep before him, on his fhepherd's ftool,
Beneath that large old oak, which near their door
Stood, and, from its enormous breadth of shade,
Chofen for the fhearer's covert from the fun,
Thence in our ruftic dialect was called
The CLIPPING TREE, a name which yet it bears.
There, while they two were fitting in the shade,
With others round them, earnest all and blithe,
Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
Of fond correction and reproof bestowed
Upon the child, if he disturbed the sheep
By catching at their legs, or with his shouts
Scared them, while they lay ftill beneath the shears.
And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up A healthy lad, and carried in his cheek
Two steady roses that were five years old,
Then Michael from a winter coppice cut
With his own hand a fapling, which he hooped
With iron, making it throughout in all
Due requifites a perfect shepherd's staff,
And gave it to the boy; wherewith equipt
He as a watchman oftentimes was placed
At gate or gap, to ftem or turn the flock;
And, to his office prematurely called,
There ftood the urchin, as you will divine,
Something between a hindrance and a help ;
And for this caufe, not always, I believe,
Receiving from his father hire of praise ;
Though nought was left undone which staff, or voice,
Or looks, or threatening gestures, could perform.
But foon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand Against the mountain blasts; and to the heights, Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways, He with his father daily went, and they Were as companions, why fhould I relate That objects which the fhepherd loved before Were dearer now? that from the boy there came Feelings and emanations-things which were Light to the fun and mufic to the wind; And that the old man's heart seemed born again?
Thus in his father's fight the boy grew up; And now, when he had reached his eighteenth year, He was his comfort and his daily hope.
While in this fort the fimple household lived From day to day, to Michael's ear there came
Distressful tidings. Long before the time
Of which I speak, the fhepherd had been bound
In furety for his brother's fon, a man
Of an induftrious life, and ample means,-
But unforeseen misfortunes fuddenly
Had preffed upon him,—and old Michael now
Was fummoned to difcharge the forfeiture,
A grievous penalty, but little less
Than half his fubftance. This unlooked-for claim,
At the first hearing, for a moment took
More hope out of his life than he supposed
That any old man ever could have lost.
As foon as he had gathered fo much strength
That he could look his trouble in the face,
It seemed that his fole refuge was to fell
A portion of his patrimonial fields.
Such was his firft refolve; he thought again,
And his heart failed him. "Ifabel," faid he,
Two evenings after he had heard the news,
"I have been toiling more than seventy years,
And in the open funfhine of God's love
Have we all lived; yet if these fields of ours
Should pafs into a ftranger's hand, I think
That I could not lie quiet in my grave.
Our lot is a hard lot; the fun himself
Has scarcely been more diligent than I,
And I have lived to be a fool at last
To my own family. An evil man
That was, and made an evil choice, if he
Were falfe to us; and, if he were not false,
There are ten thousand to whom lofs like this
Had been no forrow. I forgive him ;—but
'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.
"When I began, my purpose was to speak Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
Our Luke shall leave us, Ifabel; the land
Shall not go from us, and it fhall be free;
He fhall poffefs it, free as is the wind
That paffes over it. We have, thou know'st,
Another kinfman-he will be our friend
In this distress. He is a profperous man,
Thriving in trade-and Luke to him fhall go,
And with his kinfman's help and his own thrift,
He quickly will repair this lofs, and then
If here he stay,
Where every one is poor
May come again to us.
What can be done?
What can be gained?" At this the old man paused,
And Ifabel fat filent, for her mind
Was bufy, looking back into past times.
There's Richard Bateman, thought the to herself,
He was a parish-boy-at the church-door
They made a gathering for him, fhillings, pence,
And half-pennies, wherewith the neighbours bought
A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares;
And, with this basket on his arm, the lad
Went up to London, found a master there,
Who out of many chofe the trusty boy
To go and overlook his merchandize
Beyond the feas; where he grew wondrous rich,
And left eftates and moneys to the poor,
And at his birth-place built a chapel floored
With marble, which he sent from foreign lands.
Thefe thoughts, and many others of like fort,
Paffed quickly through the mind of Isabel,
And her face brightened. The old man was glad,
And thus refumed :-" Well, Ifabel! this fcheme
These two days has been meat and drink to me.
Far more than we have loft is left us yet.
-We have enough-I wifh, indeed, that I
Were younger ;-—but this hope is a good hope.
-Make ready Luke's beft garments, of the best
Buy for him more, and let us fend him forth
To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night:
-If he could go, the boy fhould go to-night."
Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth With a light heart. The housewife for five days Was restless morn and night, and all day long Wrought on with her beft fingers to prepare Things needful for the journey of her fon.