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A rural Lord might dwell.”
“ No feudal pomp," Replied our Friend, a Chronicler who stood Where'er he moved upon familiar ground, “ Nor feudal power is there; but there abides, In his allotted Home, a genuine Priest, The Shepherd of his Flock; or, as a King Is stiled, when most affectionately praised, The Father of his People. Such is he, And rich and
poor, and young and old, rejoice Under his spiritual sway, collected round him In this sequestered Realm. He hath vouchsafed To me some portion of his kind regard; And something also of his inner mind Hath he imparted—but I speak of him As he is known to all. The calm delights Of unambitious piety he chose, And learning's solid dignity; though born Of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends. This good to reap, these pleasures to secure, Hither, in prime of manhood, he withdrew From academic bowers. He loved the spot, Who does not love his native soil? he prized The ancient rural character, composed
Of simple manners, feelings unsuppressed
A turretted manorial Hall adorns ;
In which the good Man's Ancestors have dwelt
the Patrons of this Cure.
This said, oft halting we pursued our way; Nor reached the Village Church-yard till the sun, Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen Above the summits of the highest hills, And round our path darted oppressive beams.
As chanced, the portals of the sacred Pile Stood open, and we entered. On my frame, At such transition from the fervid air, A grateful coolness fell, that seemed to strike The heart, in concert with that temperate awe And natural reverence, which the Place inspired. Not framed to nice proportions was the Pile, But large and massy ; for duration built. With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld By naked rafters intricately crossed, Like leafless underboughs, in some thick grove, All withered by the depth of shade above. Admonitory Texts inscribed the walls, Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed, Each also crowned with winged heads—a pair Of rudely-painted Cherubim. The floor Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise, Was occupied by oaken benches, ranged In seemly rows; the chancel only shewed Some inoffensive marks of earthly state And vain distinction. A capacious pew Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined; And marble Monuments were here displayed
Upon the walls ; and on the floor beneath
- The tribute by these various records claimed,
his strength In tournament, upon the fields of France. Another Tablet registered the death, And praised the gallant bearing of a Knight Tried in the sea-fights of the second Charles. Near this brave Knight his Father lay entombed ; And, to the silent language giving voice,
I read,—how in his manhood's earlier day He, 'mid the afflictions of intestine War And rightful Government subverted, found One only solace, that he had espoused A virtuous Lady tenderly beloved For her benign perfections: and for this Yet more endeared to him, that in her state Of wedlock richly crowned with heaven's regard, She with a numerous Issue filled his House, Who throve, like Plants, uninjured by the Storm That laid their Country waste. No need to speak Of less particular notices assigned To Youth or Maiden gone before their time, And Matrons and unwedded Sisters old; Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed In modest panegyric. 66 These dim lines, What would they tell ?" said I,—but, from the task Of puzzling out that faded Narrative, With whisper soft my venerable Friend · Called me; and looking down the darksome aisle I saw the Tenant of the lonely Vale Standing apart; with curved arm reclined On the baptismal Font; his pallid face