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tury-Mrs. Opie, Miss Porter, Mr. Cary-had mingled there with poets, still in their earliest dawn. It was a heart-tug to leave that garden.
But necessity (may I not say Providence ?) works for us better than our own vain wishes. I did move I was compelled to move from the dear old house; not very far; not much farther than Cowper, when he migrated from Olney to Weston, and with quite as happy an effect. I walked from the one cottage to the other on an autumn evening, when the vagrant birds, whose habit of assembling here for their annual departure, gives, I sup pose, its name of Swallowfield to the village, were circling and twittering over my head; and repeated to myself the pathetic lines of Hayley, as he saw those same birds gathering upon his roof during his last illness:
"Ye gentle birds, that perch aloof,
May God, by whom is seen and heard
Thoughts soothing and tender came with those touching lines, and gayer images followed. Here I am in this prettiest village, in the snuggest and cosiest of all snug cabins; a trim cottage garden, divided by a hawthorn hedge from a little field guarded by grand old trees; a cheerful glimpse of the high-road in front, just to hint that there is such a thing as the peopled world; and on either side the deep silent lanes that form the distinctive character of English scenery. Very lovely is my favorite lane, leading along a gentle declivity to the valley of the Loddon, by pastoral water meadows studded with willow pollards, past picturesque farm-houses and gaunt old mills, the beautiful river glancing here and there like molten silver, until it disappears through a rustic bridge among the shades and avenues of the Duke's park, a scene of historians.
We have another historical mansion close at hand, where
558 RECOLLECTIONS OF A LITERARY LIFE.
Lord Clarendon wrote his thrilling tale of the Great Rebellion, and where the inhabitants and the library are worthy of such a predecessor. And they are so kind to me! and every body is so kind; and the new cottage is already dearer than the old. The very gipsys have found us out. Even as I write, my little maid is bargaining for baskets with my friend of the lane, and seems likely to be as well taken in as I could be; the pony is rolling in the meadow; the mill-wagon, with the jolly miller's handsome son, is looming in the distance; and on the green before our court, little Henry is driving Fanchon in the wheelbarrow, while her brown curls are turning into gold in the wintry sun, which lends its charm and its glory to the simplest landscape and the humblest home.
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