« السابقةمتابعة »
But Ifabel was glad when Sunday came
To ftop her in her work: for, when the lay
By Michael's fide, fhe through the two laft nights
Heard him, how he was troubled in his fleep :
And when they rose at morning she could fee
That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Were fitting at the door, "Thou must not go:
We have no other child but thee to lose,
None to remember-do not go away,
For if thou leave thy father he will die."
The youth made answer with a jocund voice;
And Ifabel, when she had told her fears,
Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
Did he bring forth, and all together fat
Like happy people round a Christmas fire.
Next morning Isabel resumed her work; And all the enfuing week the house appeared As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length The expected letter from their kinsman came, With kind affurances that he would do
His utmost for the welfare of the boy;
To which requests were added that forthwith
He might be sent to him. Ten times or more
The letter was read over; Ifabel
Went forth to fhow it to the neighbours round;
Nor was there at that time on English land
A prouder heart than Luke's. When Ifabel
Had to her house returned, the old man faid,
"He shall depart to-morrow." To this word
The housewife answered, talking much of things
Which, if at fuch fhort notice he should go,
Would furely be forgotten. But at length
She gave confent, and Michael was at ease.
Near the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Ghyll, In that deep valley, Michael had defigned
To build a fheepfold; and, before he heard
The tidings of his melancholy loss,
For this fame purpose he had gathered up
A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge
Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
With Luke that evening thitherward he walked ;
And foon as they had reached the place, he stopped,
And thus the old man fpake to him :-" My fon,
To-morrow thou wilt leave me with full heart
I look upon thee, for thou art the same
That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
And all thy life haft been my daily joy.
I will relate to thee fome little part
Of our two hiftories; 't will do thee good
When thou art from me, even if I fhould speak
Of things thou canst not know of. After thou
First cam'ft into the world—as oft befals
To new-born infants-thou didst fleep away
Two days, and bleffings from thy father's tongue
Then fell upon thee. Day by day paffed on,
And still I loved thee with increasing love.
Never to living ear came fweeter founds
Than when I heard thee by our own firefide
Firft uttering, without words, a natural tune;
When thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
Sing at thy mother's breaft. Month followed month,
And in the open fields my life was paffed,
And on the mountains, elfe I think that thou
Hadft been brought up upon thy father's knees.
But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills,
As well thou know'ft, in us the old and young
Have played together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know."
Luke had a manly heart: but at these words
He fobbed aloud. The old man grafped his hand,
And faid, "Nay, do not take it fo-I fee
That these are things of which I need not speak.
-Even to the utmost I have been to thee
A kind and a good father and herein
I but repay a gift which I myself
Received at other's hands; for, though now old
Beyond the common life of man, I still
Remember them who loved me in my youth.
Both of them fleep together: here they lived,
As all their forefathers had done; and when
At length their time was come, they were not loth To give their bodies to the family mould.
I wished that thou shouldst live the life they lived.
But 'tis a long time to look back, my son,
And fee fo little gain from fixty years.
These fields were burthened when they came to me;
Till I was forty years of age, not more
Than half of my inheritance was mine.
I toiled and toiled; God bleffed me in my work,
And till these three weeks paft the land was free.
-It looks as if it never could endure
Another mafter. Heaven forgive me, Luke,
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good
That thou shouldst go."
At this the old man paused;
Then pointing to the ftones near which they stood,
Thus, after a fhort filence, he refumed:
"This was a work for us; and now, my fon,
It is a work for me. But, lay one stone-
Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands.
Nay, boy, be of good hope ;--we both may live
To fee a better day. At eighty-four
I ftill am ftrong and ftout;-do thou thy part,
I will do mine.-I will begin again
With many tasks that were refigned to thee;
Up to the heights, and in among the storms,
Will I without thee go again, and do
All works which I was wont to do alone,
Before I knew thy face.-Heaven bless thee, boy!
Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast
With many hopes; it fhould be fo-yes-yes-
I knew that thou couldst never have a wish
To leave me, Luke: thou hast been bound to me
Only by links of love: when thou art gone,
What will be left to us! But, I forget
My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone,
As I requested; and hereafter, Luke,
When thou art gone away, fhould evil men
Be thy companions, think of me, my son,
And of this moment; hither turn thy thoughts,
And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear
And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou
Mayft bear in mind the life thy fathers lived,
Who, being innocent, did for that cause
Beftir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well-
When thou return'ft, thou in this place wilt fee
A work which is not here: a covenant
"I will be between us But, whatever fate
Befal thee, I fhall love thee to the laft,
And bear thy memory with me to the grave."