« AnteriorContinuar »
« Plain was his garb:
A man of kindlier nature. The rough Such as might suit a rustic sire, prepared sports For Sabbath duties; yet he was a man And teasing ways of children vexed not Whom no one could have passed without him : remark.
Indulgent listener was he to the tongue Active and nervous was his gait ; his limbs Of garrulous age ; nor did the sick man's And his whole figure breathed intelli tale, gence.
To his fraternal sympathy addressed, Time had compressed the freshness of his Obtain reluctant hearing.” cheeks
Who can read the following lines, and Into a narrower circle of decp red, But had not tamed his eye, that under not think of Christopher North ? brows,
“ Birds and beasts, Shaggy and grey, had meanings, which it And the mute fish, that glances in the brought
stream, From years of youth; whilst, like a being And harmless reptile coiling in the sun, made
And gorgeous insect hovering in the air, Of many beings, he had wondrous skill
The fowl domestic, and the household To blend with knowledge of the years to
In his capacious mind he loved them all." Human, or such as lie beyond the grave.”
True that our love of In our intellectual characters, we indulge the pleasing hope, that there " The mute fish, that glances in the are some striking points of resemblance, stream,” on which, however, our modesty will
is not incompatible with the practice not permit us to dwell—and in our of the " angler's silent trade," or acquirements, more particularly in with the pleasure of « filling our panPlane and Spherical Trigonometry. niers." The Pedlar, too, we have “ While yet he lingered in the rudiments reason to know, was, like his poet and Of science, and among her simplest laws, ourselves--a craftsman, and for love His triangles— they were the stars of beat the molecatcher at busking a Heaven.
batch of May-flies. The question The silent stars ! oft did he take delight whether Lascelles himself were his To measure the altitude of some tall master at a green dragon,
crag, That is the eagle's birthplace," &c.
“ The harmless reptile coiling in the sun," So it was with us. Give us but a we are not so sure about, having once base and a quadrant—and when a been bit by an adder, whom, in our student in Jemmy Millar's class, we simplicity, we mistook for a slow-worm could have given you the altitude of the very day, by the by, on which we any steeple in Glasgow or the Gor were poisoned by a dish of toadstools, bals.
by our own hand gathered for mushLike the Pedlar, in a small party of rooms. But we have long given over friends, though not proud of the ac- chasing butterflies, and feel, as the complishment, we have been prevailed Pedlar did, that they are beautiful on to give a song>“ The Flowers of creatures, and that 'tis a sin, between the Forest," • Roy's Wife,” or “ Auld finger and thumb, to compress their Langsyne"
mealy wings. The household dog we “ At request would sing do, indeed, dearly love, though, when Old songs, the product of his native old Surly looks suspicious, we pru. hills;
dently keep out of the reach of his A skilful distribution of sweet sounds, chain. As for “ the domestic fowl," Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed we breed scores every spring, solely As cool refreshing water, by the care for the delight of seeing them at their of the industrious husbandman, diffused walks, Through a parch'd meadow-field in time of drought."
" Among the rural villages and farms ;'' Our natural disposition, too, is as and though game to the back-bone, amiable as that of the “ Vagrant Mer- they are all allowed to wear the spurs chant."
nature gave them—to crow unclipped, “ And surely never did there live on challenging but the echoes ; nor is earth
the sward, like the sod, ever reddened with their heroic blood, for hateful to And the influence of such education our ears the war-song,
and occupation among such natural “ Welcome to your gory bed,
objects, Wordsworth expounds in Or to victory!”
some as fine poetry as ever issued
from the cells of philosophic thought, 'Tis our way to pass from gay to grave matter, and often from a jocular “ So the foundations of his mind were to a serious view of the same subject
laid." it being natural to us—and having be.
• The boy had small need of books
The hoy had. come habitual from writing occasionala ly in Blackwood's Magazine. All the
“For many a tale world knows our admiration of Words Traditionary, round the mountains hung, worth, and admits that we have done And many a legend, peopling the dark almost as much as Jeffrey to make
woods, his poetry popular among the “ edu. Nourished Imagination in her growth, cated circles." But we are not a na
And gave the mind that apprehensive tion of idolators, and worship neither
power graven image nor man that is born
By which she is made quick to recognise of a woman. We may seem to have
The moral properties and scope of things.” treated the Pedlar with insufficient But in the Manse there were books -respect in that playful parallel be- and he read tween him and ourselves; but there “ Whate'er the minister's old shelf supyou are wrong again, for we desire p lied, thereby to do him honour. We wish The life and death of martyrs, who susnow to say a few words on the wis tained, dom of making such a personage the With will inflexible, those fearful pangs, chief character in the Excursion. Triumphantly displayed in records left
He is described as endowed by na. Of persecution and the Covenant." ture with a great intellect, a noble
Can you not believe that by the imagination, a profound soul, and a
time he was as old as you were when tender heart. It will not be said that
aces nature keeps these her noblest gifts
poney, by the side of your sire the for human beings born in this or that
squire, this boy was your equal in condition of life: she gives them to
to knowledge, though you had a private her favourites—for so, in the highest
tutor all to yourself, and were then a sense, they are to whom such gifts befall; and not unfrequently, in an
promising lad, as indeed you are now
after the lapse of a quarter of a cenobscure place, of one of the Fortu.
tury ? True, as yet he “ had small NATI
Latin, and no Greek ;” but the ele. " The fulgent head ments of these languages are best Star-bright appears."
learned-trust us-by slow degreesWordsworth appropriately places the by the mind rejoicing in the conbirth of such a being in a humble sciousness of its growing facultiesdwelling in the Highlands of Scots during leisure hours from other land.
studies as they were by the Athol
adolescent. A Scholar-in your sense “ Among the bills of Athol he was born ; of the word—he might not be called, Where on a small hereditary farm, even when he had reached his seAn unproductive slip of barren ground, venteenth vear, though probah
venteenth year, though probably he His parents, with their numerous offspring would have puzzled you in Livy and dwelt ;
Virgil - nor of English poetry had A virtuous household, though exceeding
he read much-the less the better for poor."
such a mind-at that age, and in that His childhood was nurtured at home condition--for in Christian love and truth—and acquired other knowledge at a winter
“ Accumulated feelings pressed his heart school—for in summer he “ tended
With still increasing weight; he was o'er
powered cattle on the hill”
By nature, by the turbulence subdued “ That stood
Of his own mind, by mystery and hope, Sole building on a mountain's dreary And the first virgin passion of a soul
Communing with the glorious Universe."
But he had read Poetry--ay, the “ Again he wanders forth at will, same Poetry that Wordsworth's self And tends a flock from hill to hill : read at the same age and
His garb is humble; ne'er was seen “ Among the hills
Such garb with such a noble mien;
Among the shepherd grooms no mate He gazed upon that mighty Orb of Sun,
Hath he, a child of strength and state.” The divine Milton."
So lives he till he is restoredThus endowed, and thus instructe ,
“ Glad were the vales, and every cottage “ By Nature, that did never yet betray
hearth; The heart that loved her,”
The shepherd-lord was lionoured moic the youth was “greater than he knew,"
and more ; yet that there was something great in, And, ages after he was laid in earth, as well as about him, he felt
• The good Lord Clifford' was the name he “ Thus daily thirsting in that lonesome bore !"
Now mark—that Poem has been defor some diviner communication than clared by one and all of the “ Poets had yet been vouchsafed to him by the of Britain" to be equal to any thing in Giver and Inspirer of his restless the language; and its greatness lies in
the perfect truth of the profound philo" In dreams, in study, and in ardent sophy which so poetically delineates thought,
the education of the naturally noble Thus was he reared ; much wanting to
character of Clifford. Does he sink assist
in our esteem because at the feast of The growth of intellect, yet gaining more, the Restoration he turns a deaf ear to And every moral feeling of his soul the fervent harper who sings, Strengthened and braced, by breathing in
“ Happy day and happy hour, content The keen, the wholesome air of poverty,
When our shepherd in his power,
Diounted, mailed, with iance and sword, And drinking from the well of homely
To his ancestors restored, life.”
Like a re-appearing star, You have read, our bright, bold neo. Like a glory from afar, phyte, for we cut the Squire, the Song First shall head the flock of war?” at the feast of Brougham Castle, upon
for No-his generous nature is true to its
Non the Restoration of Lord Clifford, the
generous nurture ; and now decply Shepherd, to the estates and honours
imbued with the goodness he had too of his ancestors.
long loved in others ever to forget 6Who is he that bounds with joy
- The silence that is amid the starry On Carrock's side, a shepherd boy?
hills," No thoughts hath he but thoughts that pass Light as the wind along the grass.
appears noblest when showing himself Can this be He that hither came
faithful in his own hall to the “ huts In secret, like a smother'd flame?
where poor men lie;" while we know For whom such thoughtful tears were
not, at the close, which life the Poet shed,
has most glorified-the humble or the For shelter and a poor man's bread!"
high-whether the Lord did the shepThe same noble boy whom luis highherd more ennoble, or the shepherd . born mother in disastrous days, had
dave had the Lord.
the confided when an infant to the care of .
Now, we ask, is there any essential a peasant. Yet there he is no longer
difference between what Wordsworth safe—and
thus records of the high-born shep
herd- Lord, and what he records of the '. The Boy must part from Mosedale's low-born youth in the Excursion ? groves,
None. They are both educated among And leave Blencathera's rugged coves, the hilis; and according to the nature And quit the flowers that summer brings
of their own souls and that of their To Glenderamakin's lofty springs;
education, is the progressive growth Must vanish, and his careless cheer
and ultimate formation of their chaBe turned to heaviness and fear.”
racter. Both are exalted beings-beSir Launcelot Throlkeld shelters cause both are wise and good-but to him till again he is free to set his foot his own coeval he has given, besides on the mountains.
eloquence and genius,
“ The vision and the faculty divine," with head or hand for bread? Are That,
the Polish patriots degraded by work" When years had brought the philosophic
hie ing at eighteen-pence a day, without mind,"
victuals, on embankments of railroads ?
" At the risk of giving a shock to the he might walk through the dominions
prejudices of artificial society, I have of the Intellect and the Imagination, a
ever been ready to pay homage to the Sage and a Teacher.
aristocracy of nature, under a con. But as yet he is in his eighteenth
viction that vigorous human-heartedyear, and
ness is the constituent principle of " Is summoned to select the course true taste.” These are Wordsworth's Of humble industry that promised best own words, and deserve letters of gold. To yield him no unworthy maintenance."
He has given many a shock to the For a season he taught a village prejudices of artificial society; and school, which many a fine, high, and in ten thousand cases, where the heart noble spirit has done and is doing; of such society was happily sound at but he was impatient of the hills he the core, notwithstanding the rotten loved, and
kitchen-stuff with which it was en“ That stern yet kindly spirit, who con.
vet kindly spirit. who con. crusted, the shocks have killed the prestrains
judices; and men and women, enThe Savoyard to quit his native rocks, couraged to consult their own breasts, The free-born Swiss to leave his narrow have heard responses there to the vales
truths uttered in music by the high(Spirit attached to regions mountainous souled Bard, assuring them of an exLike their own steadfast clouds), did now istence there of capacities of pure deimpel
light, of which they had had either His restless mind to look abroad with but a faint suspicion, or, because “ of hope.”
the world's dread laugh,” feared to inIt had become his duty to choose a dulge, and nearly let die. profession-a trade-a calling. He Mr Wordsworth quotes from Hewas not a gentleman, mind ye, and ron's Scotland an interesting passage had probably never so much as heard illustrative of the life led in our coun. a rumour of the existence of a silver try at that time by that class of persons fork : he had been born with a wood. from whom he has chosen one--not, en spoon in his mouth,—and lived, mind you, imaginary, though for purpartly from choice, and partly from poses of imagination -- adding that necessity, on a vegetable diet. He is his own personal knowledge em. had not ten pounds in the world he boldened him to draw the portrait." could call his own; but he could bor. In that passage Heron says, “. As they row fifty, for his father's son was to wander, each alone, through thinly be trusted to that amount by any fa- inhabited districts, they form habits of mily that chanced to have it among reflection and of sublime contemplathe Athol hills—therefore he resolved tion,” and that with all their qualificaon “ a hard service," which
tions, no wonder they should contribute 6 Gained merited respect in simpler much to polish the roughness and soften times;
the rusticity of our peasantry. In When squire, and priest, and they who North America,” says he, “ travelling round them dwelt
merchants from the settlements have In rustic sequestration, all dependent done and continue to do much more toUpon the Penlar's toil, supplied their wards civilizing the Indian natives than wants,
all the missionaries, Papist or ProtestOr pleased their fancies with the ware ant, who have ever been sent among he brought.”
them ;” and, speaking again of Scot. Could Alfred have ceased to be land, he says, “ it is not more than Alfred had he lived twenty years in twenty or thirty years, since a young the hut where he spoiled the ban man going from any part of Scotland nocks? Would Gustavus have ceas. to England for the purpose to carry ed to be Gustavus had he been the pack, was considered as going to doomed to dree an ignoble life in the lead the life, and acquire the fortune, obscurest nook in Dalecarlia ? Were of a gentleman. When, after twenty princes and peers in our day degrad. years' absence, in that honourable ed by working, in their expatriation, line of employment, he returned with his acquisitions to his native country, age-for he was then very rich-but he was regarded as a gentleman to you could not sit ten minutes in his all intents and purposes." We have company without feeling that he was ourselves known gentlemen who had “ one of God Almighty's gentlemen," carried the pack-one of them a man belonging to the “ aristocracy of Nite of great talents and acquirements- ture." who lived in his old age in the highest Look then on the Pedlar—and be circles of society. Nobody troubled grateful to Wordsworth. their head about his birth and parent
" From his native hills
What was to hinder such a man- What would you rather have had thus born and thus bred—with such a the Sage in the Excursion to hive youth and such a prime-from being been ? The Senior Fellow of a Col. in his old age worthy of walking lege? A Head ? A retired Judge ? among the mountains with Words- An Ex-Lord-Chancellor? A Nabob? worth, and descanting
A Banker? A Millionaire? or, at once
to condescend on individuals, Natus “ On man, on nature, and on human Life ? "
Consumere Fruges, Esquire ? or the
Honourable Custos Rotulorum ? And remember he was a Scotsman-a Look into life and watch the growth compatriot of ChrisTOPHER North of the soul. Men are not what they