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• What harmonious pensive changes
Wait upon her as she ranges
Roun'. ithrough this Pile of state,
Overt' : own and desolate!
Now a step or two her way
Is through space of open day,
Where the enamoured sunny light
Brightens her that was so bright;
Now doth a delicate shadow fall,
Falls upon her like a breath,
From some lofty arch or wall,
As she passes underneath :
Now some gloomy nook partakes
Of the glory that she makes,
High-ribbed vault of stone, or cell
With perfect cunning framed as well
Of stone, and ivy, and the spread
Of the elder's bushy head:
Some jealous and forbidding cell,
That doth the living stars repel,
And where no flower hath leave to dwell.? pp. 7–8.
. Comes she with a votary's task,
Rite to perform, or boon to ask?
Fair Pilgrim! harbours she a sense
Of sorrow, or of reverence ?
Can she be grieved for quire or shrine,
Crushed as if by wrath Divine ?
For what survives of house where God
Was worshipped, or where Man abode ;
For old magnificence undone ;
Or for the gentler work begun
By Nature, softening and concealing,
And busy with a hand of healing,—
The altar, whence the cross was rent,
Now rich with mossy ornament,
The dormitory's length laid bare,
Where the wild-rose blossoms fair ;
And sapling ash, whose place of birth
Is that Iordly chamber's hearth?' pp. 9–10. The succeeding five cantos are devoted to "A tale of tears, a mortal story,' and narrate the fate of the Nortons. We think it is simply and beautifully told, and we shall not do it into prose. The story is, however, so much more like history, than romance, so destitute of plot, and so purely tragical, that it forms a much better subject for a ballad, than for a poem of seven cantos, in which the reader is led to expect wure of incident and detail.
Francis Norton, the elder brother, who vainly endeavours to dissuade his father from joining the discontented earls in the illadvised rebellion, is made to predict to his sister, in the following pathetic lines, the fatal issue of the adventure to his
• For we must fall, both we and ours,
This mansion and these pleasant bowers;
Walks, pools, and harbours, homestead, hall,
Our fate is theirs, will reach them all ;
The young Horse must forsake his manger,
And learn to glory in a stranger;
The Hawk forget his perch,--the Hound
Be parted from his ancient ground:
The blast will sweep us all away,
One desolation, one decay!' The fourth canto opens with a passage of exquisite description.
• From cloudless ether looking down,
The Moon, this tranquil evening, sees
A Camp, and a beleaguered Town,
And Castle like a stately crown
On the steep rocks of winding Tees ;-
And. southward far, with moors between,
Hill-tops, and floods, and forests green,
The bright Moon sees that valley small
Where Rylstone's old sequestered Hall
A venerable image yields
Of quiet to the neighbouring fields ;
While from one pillared chimney breathes
The silver smoke, and mounts in wreathes.
- The courts are hushed; for timely sleep
The Grey hounds to their kennel creep ;
The Peacock in the broad ash-tree
Aloft is roosted for the night,
He who in proud prosperity
Of colours manifold and bright
Walked round, affronting the day-light;
And higher still, above the bower
Where he is perched, from yon lone Tower
The Hall-clock in the clear moon-shine
With glittering finger points at pine.
Ah! who could think that sadness here
Had any sway? or pain, or fear?
A soft and lulling sound is heard
Of streams inaudible by day;
The garden pool's dark surface-stirred
By the might insects in their play-
Breaks into dimples small and bright;
A thousand, thousand rings of light
That shape thermselves and disappear
Almost as soon as seen :-and, lo!
Not distant far, the milk-white Doe :
The same fair Creature which was nigh
Feeding in tranquillity, .
When Francis uttered to the Maid
His last words in the yew-tree shade.' pp. 65–67. The sixth canto narrates the death of Francis, and with this the interest of the Poem, as a tale, terminates. The seventh is wholly occupied in depicting the gradual process by which the mind of Emily attained a state of boly fortitude and peaceful resignation, and the pleasure which she received in lier solitude, from the mute sympathy of the only friend left her,—the sharer of her youthful pleasures, and the remembrancer of all the painful past,--the sylvan doe of other years.' The natural workings of the heart are, in this canto, minutely and faithfully portrayed, and the feelings of the Solitary are evidently the transcript of character. The whole is calculated to leave the impression of a quiet landscape at sunset; but comparatively few persons will receive this impression, or partake in the mystical fondness of the poet for Emily's faithful follower, which leads him to dilate upon the subject to extravagance. We cannot in justice to our Author, refuse admission to the following extracts.
o 'Tis done ;--despoil and desolation
O'er Rylstone's fair domain have blown;
The walks and pools neglect hath sown
With weeds, the bowers are overthrown,
Or have given way to slow mutation,
While, in their ancient habitation
The Norton name hath been unknown:
The lordly Mansion of its pride
Is stripped ; the ravage hath spread wide
Through park and field, a perishing
That mocks the gladness of the Spring !
And with this silent gloom agreeing
There is a joyless human Being,
Of aspect such as if the waste
Were under her dominion placed :
Upon a primrose bank, her throne
Of quietness, she sits alone;
There seated, may this Maid be seen,
Among the ruins of a wood,
Erewhile a covert bright and green,
And where full many a brave Tree stood;
That used to spread its boughs, and ring
With the sweet Bird's carolling.', pp. 112-113 i
- And so,beneath a mouldered tree,
A self-surviving leafless Oak,
By unregarded age from stroke
Of ravage saved-sate Emily.
There did she rest, with head reclined,
Herself most like a stately Flower,
(Such have I seen) whom chance of birth
Hath separated from its kind,
To live and die in a shady bower,
Single on the gladsome earth.
" When, with a noise like distant thunder,
A troop of Deer came sweeping by;
And, suddenly, behold a wonder !
For, of that band of rushing Deer,
A single One in mid career
Hath stopped, and fixed its large full eye
Upon the 1 ady Emily,
A Doe most beautiful, clear-white,
A radiant Creature, silver-bright!
• Thus checked, a little while it stayed ;
A little thoughtful pause it made;
And then advanced with stealth-like pace,
Drew softly near her-and more near,
Stopped once again ;-but, as no trace
Was found of any thing to fear,
Even to her feet the Creature came,
And laid its head upon her knee,
And looked into the Lady's face,
A look of pure benignity,
And fond unclouded memory.
It is, thought Emily, the same,
The very Doe of other years !
The pleading look the Lady viewed,
And, by her gushing thoughts subdued,
She melted into tears
A flood of tears, that flowed apace
Upon the happy Creature's face.'. pp. 115-117.
• When Emily by morning light Went forth, the Doe was there in sight. She shrunk ;-with one frail shock of pain, Received and followed by a prayer, Did she behold-saw once again; Shun will she not, she feels, will bear ; But wheresoever she looked round All now was trouble-haunted ground. So doth the Sufferer deem it good Even once again this neighbourhood To leave.-Unwooed, yet unforbidden, The White Doe followed up the Vale, Up to another Cottage--hidden In the deep fork of Amerdale : And there may Emily restore Herself, in spots unseen before.' pp. 119-120,
' With her Companion, in such frame
Of mind, to Rylstone back she came,
And, wandering through the wasted groves,
Received the memory of old Loves,
Undisturbed and undistrest,
Into a soul which now was blest
With a soft spring-day of holy,
Mild, delicious melancholy :
Not sunless gloom or urenlightened,
But by tender fancies brightened.
When the Bells of Rylstone played
Their Sabbath music "God us ayde !"
That was the sound they seemed to speak;
Inscriptive legend, which I ween
May on those holy Bells be seen,
That legend and her Grandsire's name;
And oftentimes the Lady meek
Had in her Childhood read the same,
Words which she slighted at that day; .
But now, when such sad change was wrought,
And of that lonely name she thought, .
The Bells of Rylstone seemed to say,
While she sàte listening in the shade,
With vocal music, “ God us ayde !”
And all the Hills were glad to bear
Their part in this effectual prayer.' pp. 122–123.
• But most to Bolton's sacred Pile,
On favouring nights, she loved to go;
There ranged through cloister, court, and aisle,
Attended by the sofi-paced Doe;
Nor did she fear in the still moonshine
To look upon Saint Mary's shrine;
Nor on the lonely turf that showed
Where Francis slept in his last abode.
For that she came; there oft and long
She sate in meditation strong :
And, when she from the abyss returned
Of ihought, she neither shrunk nor mourned ;
Was happy that she lived to greet
Her mute Companion as it lay
In love and pity at her feet!
How happy in her turn to meet
That recognition' the mild glance
Beamed from that gracious countenance :
Communication, like the ray
Of a new morning to the nature
And prospects of the inferior Creature ! pp. 125–126.
• At length, thus faintly, faintly tied Po earth, she was set free, and died.