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Rose the slim ash and massy sycamore,
Blending their diverse foliage with the
Of ivy, flourishing and thick, that clasped
The huge round chimneys, harbour of delight
For wren and red-breast,—where they sit and sing
Their slender ditties when the trees are bare.
Nor must I pass unnoticed (leaving else
The picture incomplete, as it appeared
Before our eyes) a relique of old times
Happily spared, a little gothic niche
Of nicest workmanship; which once had held
The sculptured Image of some Patron Saint,
Or of the blessed Virgin, looking down
On all who entered those religious doors.
But lo! where from the rocky garden mount Crowned by its antique summer-house-descends, Light as the silver fawn, a radiant Girl ; For she hath recognized her honoured Friend, The Wanderer ever welcome! A prompt kiss The gladsome Child bestows at his request, And, up the flowery lawn as we advance, Hangs on the Old Man with a happy look,
And with a pretty restless hand of love.
-We enter ;-need I tell the courteous guise
In which the Lady of the place received
Our little Band, with salutation meet
To each accorded ? Graceful was her port;
A lofty stature undepressed by Time,
Whose visitation had not spared to touch
The finer lineaments of frame and face;
To that complexion brought which prudence trusts in
And wisdom loves. But when a stately Ship
Sails in smooth weather by the placid coast
On homeward voyage, what-if wind and wave,
And hardship undergone in various climes,
Have caused her to abate the virgin pride,
And that full trim of inexperienced hope
With which she left her haven-not for this,
Should the sun strike her, and the impartial breeze
Play on her streamers, doth she fail to assume
Brightness and touching beauty of her own,
That charm all eyes. So bright to us appeared
This goodly Matron, shining in the beams
Of unexpected pleasure. Soon the board
Was spread, and we partook a plain repast.
Here in cool shelter, while the scorching heat Oppressed the fields, we sate, and entertained The mid-day hours with desultory talk; From trivial themes to general argument Passing, as accident or fancy led, Or courtesy prescribed. While question rose And answer flowed, the fetters of reserve Dropped from our minds; and even the shy Recluse Resumed the manners of his happier days. He in the various conversation bore A willing, and, at times, a forward part; Yet with the grace of one who in the world Had learned the art of pleasing, and had now Occasion given him to display his skill Upon the stedfast 'vantage ground of truth. He gazed with admiration unsuppressed Upon the landscape of the sun-bright vale, Seen, from the shady room in which we sate, In softened perspective; and more than once Praised the consummate harmony serene Of gravity and elegance—diffused Around the Mansion and its whole domain ; Not, doubtless, without help of female taste
And female care.—“A blessed lot is yours !"
He said, and with that exclamation breathed
A tender sigh ;-—but, suddenly the door
Opening, with eager haste two lusty Boys
Appeared, -confusion checking their delight.
-Not Brothers they in feature or attire,
But fond Companions, so I guessed, in field,
And by the river-side—from which they come,
A pair of Anglers, laden with their spoil.
One bears a willow-pannier on his back,
The Boy of plainer garb, and more abashed
In countenance,-more distant and retired.
Twin might the Other be to that fair Girl
Who bounded tow'rds us from the garden mount.
Triumphant entry this to him !—for see,
Between his hands he holds a smooth blue stone,
On whose capacious surface is outspread
Large store of gleaming crimson-spotted trouts;
Ranged side by side, in regular ascent,
One after one, still lessening by degrees
Up to the dwarf that tops the pinnacle.
Upon the Board he lays the sky-blue stone
With its rich spoil ;—their number he proclaims;
Tells from what pool the noblest had been dragged ;
And where the very monarch of the brook,
After long struggle, had escaped at last-
Stealing alternately at them and us
(As doth his Comrade too) a look of pride.
And, verily, the silent Creatures made
A splendid sight, together thus exposed;
Dead—but not sullied or deformed by Death,
That seemed to pity what he could not spare.
But oh! the animation in the mien
Of those two Boys! Yea in the very words
With which the young Narrator was inspired,
When, as our questions led, he told at large
Of that day's prowess ! Him might I compare,
His look, tones, gestures, eager eloquence, .
To a bold Brook which splits for better speed,
And, at the self-same moment, works its way
Through many channels, ever and anon
Parted and reunited: his Compeer
To the still Lake, whose stillness is to the eye
As beautiful, as grateful to the mind.
—But to what object shall the lovely Girl