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That bars the Traveller's road, she often stood,
And when a stranger Horseman came the latch
Would lift, and in his face look wistfully;
Most happy, if, from aught discovered there
Of tender feeling, she might dare repeat
The same sad question. Meanwhile her poor Hut
Sank to decay: for he was gone—whose hand,
At the first nipping of October frost,
Closed up each chink, and with fresh bands of straw
Chequered the green-grown thatch. And so she lived
Through the long winter, reckless and alone;
Until her House by frost, and thaw, and rain,
Was sapped ; and while she slept the nightly damps
Did chill her breast; and in the stormy day
Her tattered clothes were ruffled by the wind;
Even at the side of her own fire. Yet still
She loved this wretched spot, nor would for worlds
Have parted hence; and still that length of road,
And this rude bench, one torturing hope endeared,
Fast rooted at her heart: and here, my Friend,
In sickness she remained ; and here she died,
Last human Tenant of these ruined Walls.”

The Old Man ceased : he saw that I was moved; From that low Bench, rising instinctively I turn'd aside in weakness, nor had power To thank him for the Tale which he had told. I stood, and leaning o'er the Garden wall, Reviewed that Woman's sufferings; and it seemed To comfort me while with a Brother's love I bless'd her-in the impotence of grief. At length towards the Cottage I returned Fondly,—and traced, with interest more mild, That secret spirit of humanity Which, mid the calm oblivious tendencies Of Nature, mid her plants, and weeds, and flowers, And silent overgrowings, still survived. The Old Man, noting this, resumed, and said,

My Friend! enough to sorrow you have given, The purposes of wisdom ask no more; Be wise and chearful; and no longer read The forms of things with an unworthy eye. She sleeps in the calm earth, and peace is here. I well remember that those very plumes, Those weeds, and the high spear-grass on that wall,

heart convey

By mist and silent rain-drops silver'd o'er,
As once I passed, did to my
So still an image of tranquillity,
So calm and still, and looked so beautiful
Amid the uneasy thoughts which filled my min:
That what we feel of sorrow and despair
From ruin and from change, and all the grief
The passing shews of Being leave behind,
Appeared an idle dream, that could not live
Where meditation was.

I turned away
And walked along my road in happiness.”

He ceased. Ere long the sun declining shot A slant and mellow radiance, which began To fall upon us, while beneath the trees We sate on that low Bench: and now we felt, Admonished thus, the sweet hour coming on. A linnet warbled from those lofty elms, A thrush sang loud, and other melodies, At distance heard, peopled the milder air. The Old Man rose, and, with a sprightly mien Of hopeful preparation, grasped his Staff:

Together casting then a farewell look
Upon those silent walls, we left the Shade;
And, ere the Stars were visible, had reached
A Village Inn,-our Evening resting-place.

END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

H

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