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Oh Scotland! much I love thy tranquil dales;
[A Summer Sabbath Walk.] But most on Sabbath eve, when low the sun Slants through the upland copse, 'tis my delight, Delightful is this loneliness ; it calms Wandering and stopping oft, to hear the song My heart : pleasant the cool beneath these elms Of kindred praise arise from humble roofs ;
That throw across the stream a moveless shade. Or when the simple service ends, to hear
Here nature in her midnoon whisper speaks ; The lifted latch, and mark the gray-haired man, How peaceful every sound the ring-dove's plaint, The father and the priest, walk forth alone
Moaned from the forest's gloomiest retreat, Into his garden-plat or little field,
While every other woodland lay is mute, To commune with his God in secret prayer Save when the wren flits from her down-coved nest, To bless the Lord, that in his downward years And from the root-sprigs trills her ditty clear His children are about him; sweet, meantime, The grasshopper's oft-pausing chirp—the buzz, The thrush that sings upon the aged thorn,
Angrily shrill, of moss-entangled bee, Brings to his view the days of youthful years, That soon as loosed booms with full twang awayWhen that same aged thorn was but a bush. The sudden rushing of the minnow shoal Nor is the contrast between youth and age
Scared from the shallows by my passing tread. To him a painful thought; he joys to think
Dimpling the water glides, with here and there His journey near a close; heaven is his home. A glossy fly, skimming in circlets gay
The treacherous surface, while the quick-eyed trout And he who cried to Lazarus Come forth!' Watches his time to spring; or from above, Will, when the Sabbath of the tomb is past,
Some feathered dam, purveying ’mong the bougha, Call forth the dead, and reunite the dust
Darts from her perch,
and to her plumeless brood (Transformed and purified) to angel souls.
Bears off the prize. Sad emblem of man's lot! Ècstatic hope! belief! conviction firm !
He, giddy insect, from his native leaf How grateful 'tis to recollect the time
(Where safe and happily he might have lurked) When hope arose to faith! Faintly at first
Elate upon ambition's gaudy wings, The heavenly voice is heard. Then by degrees Forgetful of his origin, and worse, Its music sounds perpetual in the heart.
Unthinking of his end, flies to the stream, Thus he, who all the gloomy winter long,
And if from hostile vigilance he 'scape, Has dwelt in city crowds, wandering afield
Buoyant he flutters but a little while, Betimes on Sabbath morn, ere yet the spring
Mistakes the inverted image of the sky Unfold the daisy's bud, delighted hears
For heaven itself, and, sinking, meets his fate. The first lark's note, faint yet, and short the song, Now, let me trace the stream up to its source Checked by the chill ungenial northern breeze ; Among the hills, its runnel by degrees But, as the sun ascends, another springs,
Diminishing, the murmur turns a tinkle. And still another soars on loftier wing,
Closer and closer still the banks approach, Till all o'erhead, the joyous choir unseen,
Tangled so thick with pleaching bramble shoots, Poised welkin-high, harmonious fills the air,
With brier and hazel branch, and hawthorn spray, As if it were a link 'tween earth and heaven.
That, fain to quit the dingle, glad I mount
Into the open air : grateful the breeze [A Spring Sabbath Walk.]
That fans my throbbing temples ! smiles the plain
Spread wide below : how sweet the placid view ! Most earnest was his voice ! most mild his look, But, oh! more sweet the thought, heart-soothing As with raised hands he blessed his parting flock. thought, He is a faithful pastor of the poor ;
That thousands and ten thousands of the sons He thinks not of himself; his Master's words, Of toil partake this day the common joy * Feed, feed my sheep,' are ever at his heart,
Of rest, of peace, of viewing hill and dale, The cross of Christ is aye before his eyes.
Of breathing in the silence of the woods, Oh how I love with melted soul to leave
And blessing him who gave the Sabbath-day.
The coolness of the day's decline, to see
The wizard stream, now scarce to be discerned, Of moss-couched violet, or interrupt
Woodless its banks, but green with ferny leaves, The merle's dulcet pipe-melodious bird !
And thinly strewed with heath-bells up and down. He, hid behind the milk-white sloe-thorn spray Now, when the downward sun has left the glens, (Whose early flowers anticipate the leaf),
Each mountain's rugged lineaments are traced Welcomes the time of buds, the infant year.
Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic Sweet is the sunny nook to which my steps The shepherd's shadow thrown athwart the chasm, Have brought me, hardly conscious where I roamed, As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies. Unheeding where so lovely, all around,
How deep the hush ! the torrent's channel dry, The works of God, arrayed in vernal smile!
Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt. Oft at this season, musing I prolong
But hark a plaintive sound floating along! My devious range, till, sunk from view, the sun 'Tis from yon heath-roofed shieling ; now it dies Emblaze, with upward-slanting ray, the breast Away, now rises full ; it is the song And wing unquivering of the wheeling lark, Which He, who listens to the hallelujahs Descending vocal from her latest flight,
Of choiring seraphim, delights to hear ; While, disregardful of yon lonely star
It is the music of the heart, the voice The harbinger of chill night's glittering host Of venerable age, of guileless youth, Sweet redbreast, Scotia's Philomela, chants
In kindly circle seated on the ground In desultory strains his evening hymn.
Before their wicker door. Behold the man!
The grandsire and the saint ; his silvery locks
To that sublimity which reigns enthroned,
But let me now explore the deep-sunk dell.
[ An Autumn Sabbath Walk.] When homeward bands their several ways disperse, I love to linger in the narrow field Of rest, to wander round from tomb to tomb, And think of some who silent sleep below. Sad sighs the wind that from these ancient elms Shakes showers of leaves upon the withered grass : The sere and yellow wreaths, with eddying sweep, Fill up the furrows 'tween the hillocked graves. But list that moan! 'tis the poor blind man's dog, His guide for many a day, now come to mourn The master and the friend-conjunction rare ! A man, indeed, he was of gentle soul, Though bred to brave the deep : the lightning's flash Had dimmed, not closed, his mild but sightless eyes. He was a welcome guest through all his range (It was not wide) ; no dog would bay at him : Children would run to meet him on his way, And lead him to a sunny seat, and climb His knee, and wonder at his oft-told tales. Then would he teach the elfins how to plait The rushy cap and crown, or sedgy ship : And I have seen him lay his tremulous hand Upon their heads, while silent moved his lips. Peace to thy spirit, that now looks on me Perhaps with greater pity than I felt To see thee wandering darkling on thy way,
But let me quit this melancholy spot, And roam where nature gives a parting smile. As yet the blue bells linger on the sod That copse the sheepfold ring; and in the woods A second blow of many flowers appears, Flowers faintly tinged, and breathing no perfume. But fruits, not blossoms, form the woodland wreath That circles Autumn's brow. The ruddy haws Now clothe the half-leafed thorn; the bramble bends Beneath its jetty load; the hazel hangs With auburn bunches, dipping in the stream That sweeps along, and threatens to o'erflow The leaf-strewn banks : oft, statue-like, I gaze, In vacancy of thought, upon that stream, And chase, with dreaming eye, the eddying foam, Or rowan's clustered branch, or harvest sheaf, Borne rapidly adown the dizzying flood.
A Scottish Country Wedding.
[From British Georgics.]
The appointed day arrives, a blithesome day
When all are tired, and all his stock of reels The minstrel o'er and o'er again has run, The cheering flagon circles round; meanwhile, A softened tune, and slower measure, flows Sweet from the strings, and stills the boisterous joy. Maybe The Bonny Broom of Cowdenknores (If simply played, though not with master hand), Or Patie's Mill, or Bush Aboon Traquair, Inspire a tranquil gladness through the breast; Or that most mournful strain, the sad lament For Flodden-field, drives mirth from every face, And makes the firmest heart strive hard to curb The rising tear; till, with unpausing bow, The blithe strathspey springs up, reminding some Of nights when Gow's old arm (nor old the tale), Unceasing, save when reeking cans went round, Made heart and heel leap light as bounding roe. Alas! no more shall we behold that look So venerable, yet so blent with mirth,
(A Winter Sabbath Walk.]
The flickering fall is o'er : the clouds disperse,
And festive joy sedate; that ancient garb
The aged folks ; upon the inverted quern Unvaried-tartan hose and bonnet blue !
The father sat; the mother's spindle hung No more shall beauty's partial eye draw forth Forgot, and backward twirled the half-spun thread; The full intoxication of his strain,
Listening with partial, well-pleased look, she gazed Mellifluous, strong, exuberantly rich!
Upon her son, and inly blessed the Lord, No more amid the pauses of the dance
That he was safe returned. Sudden a noise Shall he repeat those measures, that in days
Bursts rushing through the trees; a glance of steel Of other years could soothe a falling prince,
Dazzles the eye, and fierce the savage band And light his visage with a transient smile
Glare all around, then single out their prey. Of melancholy joy-like autumn sun
In vain the mother clasps her darling boy ; Gilding a sere tree with a passing beam !
In vain the sire otfers their little all: Or play to sportive children on the green
William is bound; they follow to the shore, Dancing at gloaming hour; or willing cheer, Implore, and weep, and pray; knee-deep they stand, With strains unbought, the shepherd's bridal day! And view in mute despair the boat recede.
But light now failing, glimmering candles shine
To My Son.
Twice has the sun commenced his annual round, Meanwhile, from mill and smiddy, field and barn, Since first thy footsteps tottered o'er the ground; Fresh groups come hastening in; but of them all, Since first thy tongue was tuned to bless mine ear, The miller bears the gree, as rafter high
By faltering out the name to fathers dear. He leaps, and, lighting, shakes a dusty cloud all round. Oh! nature's language, with her looks combined, In harmless merriment, protracted long,
More precious far than periods thrice refined ! The hours glide by. At last, the stocking thrown, Oh! sportive looks of love, devoid of guile, And duly every gossip rite performed,
I prize you more than beauty's magic smile; Youths, maids, and matrons, take their several ways; Yes, in that face, unconscious of its charm, While drouthy carles, waiting for the moon,
gaze with bliss unmingled with alarm. Sit down again, and quaff till daylight dawn. Ah, no! full oft a boding horror flies
Athwart my fancy, uttering fateful cries.
Almighty Power! his harmless life defend,
And, if we part, 'gainst me the mandate send.
And yet a wish will rise-would I might live,
Till added years his memory firmness give!
A retrospective look bedimmed with tears,
What walks I loved, where grew my favourite oak; Surrounded by a circlet of the stream.
How gently I would lead him by the hand; Before the wattled door, a greensward plat,
How gently use the accent of command; With daisies gay, pastured a playful lamb;
What lore I taught him, roaming wood and wild, A pebbly path, deep worn, led up the hill,
And how the man descended to the child;
To teach religion, unallied to strife,
And trace to him the way, the truth, the life. So high and suddenly the woody steeps
But far and farther still my view I bend, Arose. One only way, downward the stream, And now I see a child thy steps attend; Just o'er the hollow, 'tween the meeting boughs, To yonder churchyard-wall thou tak'st thy way, The distant wave was seen, with now and then While round thee, pleased, thou see'st the infant play; The glimpse of passing sail; but when the breeze Then lifting him, while tears suffuse thine eyes, Crested the distant wave, this little nook
Pointing, thou tell’st him, There thy grandsire lies.
The Thanksgiving off Cape Trafalgar.
Upon the high, yet gently rolling wave,
The floating tomb that heaves above the brave, Their downward years ; he, simple youth,
Soft sighs the gale that late tremendous roared, With boyish fondness, fancied he could love
Whelming the wretched remnants of the sword. A seaman's life, and with the fishers sailed,
And now the cannon's peaceful thunder calls To try their ways far 'mong the western isles, The victor bands to mount their wooden walls, Far as St Kilda's rock-walled shore abrupt,
And from the ramparts, where their comrades fell, O'er which he saw ten thousand pinions wheel The mingled strain of joy and grief to swell: Confused, dimming the sky: these dreary shores Fast they ascend, from stem to stern they spread, Gladly he left-he had a homeward heart:
And crowd the engines whence the lightnings sped: No more his wishes wander to the waves.
The white-robed priest his upraised hands extends; But still he loves to cast a backward look,
Hushed is each voice, attention leaning bends; And tell of all he saw, of all he learned ;
Then from each prow the grand hosannas rise, Of pillared Staffa, lone Iona's isle,
Float o'er the deep, and hover to the skies. Where Scotland's kings are laid ; of Lewis, Skye, Heaven fills each heart; yet home will oft intrude, And of the mainland mountain-circled lochs; And tears of love celestial joys exclude. And he would sing the rowers timing chant
The wounded man, who hears the soaring strain, And chorus wild. Once on a summer's ere,
Lifts his pale visage, and forgets his pain ; When low the sun behind the Highland hills While parting spirits, mingling with the lay, Was almost set, he sung that song to cheer
On hallelujahs wing their heavenward way.
but his prospects were so gloomy, that he abandoned
his profession, and proceeded to London as a literary The Rev. GEORGE CRABBE, whom Byron has adventurer. His whole stock of money amounted characterised as ‘Nature's sternest painter, yet the best,' was of humble origin, and born at Aldborough, in Suffolk, on the Christmas eve of 1754. His father was collector of the salt duties, or salt-master, as he was termed, and though of poor circumstances and violent temper, he exerted himself to give George a superior education. It is pleasing to know that the old man lived to reap his reward, in
Birthplace of Crabbe. to only three pounds. Having completed some poetical pieces, he offered them for publication, but they were rejected. In the course of the year, however, he issued a poetical epistle, The Candidate, addressed to the authors of the Monthly Review. It was coldly received, and his publisher failing at the same time, the young poet was plunged into great perplexity and want. He wrote to the premier, Lord North, to the lord-chancellor Thurlow, and
to other noblemen, requesting assistance; but in no witnessing the celebrity of his son, and to transcribe, case was an answer returned. At length, when his with parental fondness, in his own handwriting, his affairs were desperate, he applied to Edmund Burke, poem of The Library. Crabbe has described the and in a modest yet manly statement, disclosed to unpromising scene of his nativity with his usual him the situation in which he stood. Burke reforce and correctness :
ceived him into his own house, and exercised towards
him the most generous hospitality.' While under Lo! where the heath, with withering brake grown his happy roof, the poet met Mr Fox, Sir Joshua
o'er, Lends the light turf that warms the neighbouring poor; friends. In the same year (1781) he published his
Reynolds, and others of the statesman's distinguished From thence a length of burning sand appears, Where the thin harvest waves its withered ears;
poem, “The Library,' which was favourably noticed
by the critics. Lord Thurlow (who now, as in the Rank weeds, that every art and care defy,
case of Cowper, came with tardy notice and unReign o'er the land, and rob the blighted rye: There thistles stretch their prickly arms afar,
graceful generosity) invited him to breakfast, and at
parting, presented him with a bank-note for a hunAnd to the ragged infant threaten war;
dred pounds. Crabbe entered into sacred orders, There poppies nodding, mock the hope of toil ;
and was licensed as curate to the rector of his native There the blue bugloss paints the sterile soil;
parish of Aldborough. In a short time, Burke proHardy and high, above the slender sheaf, The slimy mallow waves her silky leaf;
cured for him the situation of chaplain to the Duke
of Rutland at Belvoir castle. This was a great O'er the young shoot the charlock throws a shade, And clasping tares cling round the sickly blade;
advancement for the poor poet, and he never after
wards was in fear of want. He seems, however, to With mingled tints the rocky coasts abound, And a sad splendour vainly shines around.
have felt all the ills of dependence on the great, and So looks the nymph whom wretched arts adorn,
in his poem of The Patron, and other parts of his Betrayed by man, then left for man to scorn ;
writings, has strongly depicted the evils of such a Whose cheek in vain assumes the mimic rose,
situation. In 1783 appeared his poem, The Village, While her sad eyes the troubled breast disclose;
which had been seen and corrected by Johnson and Whose outward splendour is but folly's dress,
Burke. Its success was instant and complete. Some Exposing most, when most it gilds distress.
of the descriptions in the poem (as that of the parish
workhouse) were copied into all the periodicals, and The poet was put apprentice in his fourteenth year took that place in our national literature which they to a surgeon, and afterwards practised in Aldborough; still retain. Thurlow presented him with two smail
livings then in his gift, telling him at the same the unassumingness of his manners with the origitime, with an oath, that he was as like Parson nality of his powers. In what may be called the Adams as twelve to a dozen. The poet now married ready-money small-talk of conversation, his facility a young lady of Suffolk, the object of an early at. might not perhaps seem equal to the known calibre tachment, and taking the curacy of Stathern, ad- of his talents ; but in the progress of conversation, I joining Belvoir castle, he bade adieu to the ducal recollect remarking that there was a vigilant shrewdmansion, and transferred himself to the humble ness that almost eluded you, by keeping its watch parsonage in the village. Four happy years were so quietly.' This fine remark is characteristic of spent in this retirement, when the poet obtained Crabbe's genius, as well as of his manners. It the exchange of his two small livings in Dorset- gathered its materials slowly and silently with inshire for two of superior value in the vale of Bel- tent but unobtrusive observation. The Tales of voir. Crabbe remained silent as a poet for many the Hall' were received with that pleasure and apyears. “Out of doors,' says his son, he had always probation due to an old and established favourite, some object in view-a flower, or a pebble, or his but with less enthusiasm than some of his previous note-book in his hand; and in the house, if he was works. In 1822, the now venerable poet paid a not writing, he was reading. He read aloud very visit to Sir Walter Scott in Edinburgh; and it is often, even when walking, or seated by the side of worthy of remark, that, as to the city itself, he soon his wife in the huge old-fashioned one-horse chaise, got wearied of the New Town, but could amuse heavier than a modern chariot, in which they usually himself for ever in the Old. His latter years were were conveyed in their little excursions, and the spent in the discharge of his clerical duties, and conduct of which he, from awkwardness and absence in the enjoyment of social intercourse. His atof mind, prudently relinquished to my mother on tachment to botany and geology seemed to increase all occasions.' In 1807 he published his Parish with age; and at threescore and ten, he was busy, Register, which had been previously submitted to cheerful, and affectionate. His death took place at Mr Fox, and parts of this poem (especially the story Trowbridge on the 3d of February 1832, and his of Phæbe Dawson) were the last compositions of parishioners erected a monument to his memory in their kind that 'engaged and amused the capacious, the church of that place, where he had officiated for the candid, the benevolent mind of this great man.’ | nineteen years. A complete collection of his works, The success of this work was not only decided, but with some new pieces and an admirable memoir, nearly unprecedented. In 1810 he came forward was published in 1834 by his son, the Rev. G. Crabbe. with The Borough, a poem of the same class, and The Village,' . Parish Register,' and shorter tales more connected and complete ; and two years after- of Crabbe are his most popular productions. The wards he produced his Tales in Verse, containing * Tales of the Hall' are less interesting. They relate perhaps the finest of all his humble but happy deli- principally to the higher classes of society, and the neations of life and character. “The public voice,' poet was not so happy in describing their pecusays his biographer, was again highly favourable, liarities as when supporting his character of the and some of these relations were spoken of with the poet of the poor. Some of the episodes, however, utmost warmth of commendation, as, the Parting are in his best style—Sir Owen Dale, Ruth, Ellen, Hour, the Patron, Edward Shore, and the Confidant.' and other stories, are all marked with the peculiar In 1814 the Duke of Rutland appointed him to the genius of Crabbe. The redeeming and distinguishing living of Trowbridge, in Wiltshire, and he went feature of that genius was its fidelity to nature, even thither to reside. His income amounted to about when it was dull and unprepossessing. His power £800 per annum, a large portion of which he spent of observation and description might be limited, but in charity. He still continued his attachment to his pictures have all the force of dramatic represenliterature, and in 1817 and 1818, was engaged on his tation, and may be compared to those actual and last great work, the Tales of the Hall. He fancied existing models which the sculptor or painter works that autumn was, on the whole, the most favourable from, instead of vague and general conceptions. season for him in the composition of poetry; but They are often too true, and human nature being exthere was something in the effect of a sudden fall of hibited in its naked reality, with all its defects, and snow that appeared to stimulate him in a very ex- not through the bright and alluring medium of traordinary manner.' In 1819 the Tales were pub- romance or imagination, our vanity is shocked and lished by Mr Murray, who, for them and the re- our pride mortified. His anatomy of character and maining copyright of all Crabbe's previous poems, passion harrows up our feelings, and leaves us in gave the munificent sum of £3000. In an account the end sad and ashamed of our common nature. of the negotiation for the sale of these copyrights, The personal circumstances and experience of the written by Mr Moore for the life of his brother poet affected the bent of his genius. He knew how poet, we have the following amusing illustration of untrue and absurd were the pictures of rural life Crabbe's simplicity of manner :- When he received which figured in poetry. His own youth was dark the bills for £3000, we (Moore and Rogers) earnestly and painful-spent in low society, amidst want and advised that he should, without delay, deposit them misery, irascible gloom and passion. Latterly, he in some safe hands; but no—he must take them had more of the comforts and elegances of social life with him to Trowbridge, and show them to his son at his command than Cowper, his rival as a domestic John. They would hardly believe in his good luck painter. He not only could have .wheeled his sofa at home if they did not see the bills.” On his way round,''let fall the curtains, and, with the bubbling down to Trowbridge, a friend at Salisbury, at whose and loud hissing urn' on the table welcome peaceful house he rested (Mr Everett, the banker), sceing evening in,' but the amenities of refined and intellecthat he carried these bills loosely in his waistcoat tual society were constantly present with him, or at pocket, requested to be allowed to take charge of his call. Yet he did not like Cowper, attempt to them for him ; but with equal ill success. “ There describe them, or to paint their manifold charms, was no fear,” he said, “ of his losing them, and he When he took up his pen, his mind turned to Aldmust show them to his son John." Another borough and its wild amphibious race—to the parish poetical friend, Mr Campbell, who met him at this workhouse, where the wheel hummed doleful through time in London, remarks of him— His mildness in the day—to erring damsels and luckless swains, the literary argument struck me with surprise in so prey of overseers or justices--or to the haunts of stern a poet of nature, and I could not but contrast desperate poachers and smugglers, gipsies and