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Again!” — The effect upon the soul was such
As he expressed; from out the mountain's heart
The solemn bleat appeared to issue, startling
The blank air -- for the region all around
Stood silent, empty of all shape of life:
- It was a Lamb — left somewhere to itself,
The plaintive Spirit of the Solitude !-
He paused, as if unwilling to proceed,
Through consciousness that silence in such place
Was best, — the most affecting eloquence.
But soon his thoughts returned upon themselves,
And, in soft tone of speech, he thus resumed.
“ Ah! if the heart, too confidently raised, Perchance too lightly occupied, or lulled Too easily, despise or overlook The vassalage that binds her to the earth, Her sad dependence upon time, and all The trepidations of mortality, What place so destitute and void — but there The little Flower her vanity shall check; The trailing Worm reprove her thoughtless pride ?
These craggy regions, these chaotic wilds Does that benignity pervade, that warms
The Mole contented with her darksome walk
In the cold ground; and to the Emmet gives
Her foresight, and intelligence that makes
The tiny Creatures strong by social league ;
Supports the generations, multiplies
Their tribes, till we behold a spacious plain
Or grassy bottom, all, with little hills —
Their labour - cover'd, as a Lake with waves ;
Thousands of Cities, in the desert place
Built up of life, and food, and means of life !
Nor wanting here, to entertain the thought,
Creatures, that in communities exist,
Less, as might seem, for general guardianship
Or through dependence upon mutual aid,
Than by participation of delight
And a strict love of fellowship, combined,
What other spirit can it be, that prompts
The gilded summer Flies to mix and weave
Their sports together in the solar beam,
Or in the gloom of twilight hum their joy ?
More obviously, the self-same influence rules.
The feathered kinds ; the Fieldfare's pensive flock,
The cawing Rooks, and Sea-mews from afar,
Hovering above these inland Solitudes,
By the rough wind unscattered, at whose call
Their voyage was begun : nor is its power
Unfelt among the sedentary Fowl
That seek yon Pool, and there prolong their stay
In silent congress ; or together roused
Take flight; while with their clang the air resounds..
And, over all, in that ethereal arch,
Is the mute company of changeful clouds ;
- Bright apparition suddenly put forth
The Rainbow, smiling on the faded storm;
The mild assemblage of the starry heavens ;
And the great Sun, earth's universal Lord !
How bountiful is Nature ! he shall find
Who seeks not; and to him, who hath not asked,
Large measure shall be dealt. Three sabbath-days
Are scarcely told, since, on a service bent
Of mere humanity, You clomb those Heights ;
And what a marvellous and heavenly Shew
Was to your sight revealed! the Swains moved on,
And heeded not; you lingered, and perceived.
There is a luxury in self-dispraise ;
And inward self-disparagement affords
To meditative Spleen a grateful feast.
Trust me, pronouncing on your own desert,
You judge unthankfully; distempered nerves
Infect the thoughts: the languor of the Frame
Depresses the Soul's vigour. Quit your Couch -
Cleave not so fondly to your moody Cell;
Nor let the hallowed Powers, that shed from heaven
Stillness and rest, with disapproving eye
Look down upon your taper, through a watch
Of midnight hours, unseasonably twinkling
In this deep Hollow ; like a sullen star
Dimly reflected in a lonely pool.
Take courage, and withdraw yourself from ways
That run not parallel to Nature's course.
Rise with the Lark! your Matins shall obtain
Grace, be their composition what it may,
If but with hers performed; climb once again,
Climb every day, those ramparts ; meet the breeze
Upon their tops, — adventurous as a Bee
That from your garden thither soars, to feed
On new-blown heath ; let yon commanding rock
Be your frequented Watch-tower ; roll the stone
In thunder down the mountains: with all your might
Chase the wild Goat; and, if the bold red Deer
Fly to these harbours, driven by hound and horn
Loud echoing, add your speed to the pursuit:
So, wearied to your Hut shall you return,
And sink at evening into sound repose.”
The Solitary lifted tow'rd the hills A kindling eye ;- poetic feelings rushed Into my bosom, whence these words broke forth : “ Oh! what a joy it were, in vigorous health, To have a Body (this our vital frame With shrinking sensibility endued, And all the nice regards of flesh and blood) And to the elements surrender it As if it were a Spirit ! - How divine, The liberty, for frail, for mortal man To roam at large among unpeopled glens And mountainous retirements, only trod By devious footsteps ; regions consecrate To oldest time! and, reckless of the storm That keeps the raven quiet in her nests Be as a Presence or a motion - one Among the many there; and, while the Mists Flying, and rainy Vapours, call out Shapes And Phantoms from the crags and solid earth As fast as a Musician scatters sounds Out of an instrument; and, while the Streams (As at a first creation and in haste To exercise their untried faculties) Descending from the region of the Clouds, And starting from the hollows of the earth