« НазадПродовжити »
Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
A leading from above, a something given,
Yet it befel that, in this lonely place,
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
Beside a pool, bare to the eye of heaven,
I saw a man before me unawares ;
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore gray hairs.
As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie
Couched on the bald top of an eminence;
Wonder to all that do the same espy,
By what means it could thither come and whence,
So that it seems a thing endued with sense;
Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself:
Such seemed this man, not all alive nor dead,
Nor all asleep, in his extreme old age :
His body was bent double, feet and head
Coming together in life's pilgrimage ;
As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage
Of sickness felt by him in times long past,
A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.
Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,
Upon a long gray staff of shaven wood:
And still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood
Motionless as a cloud the old man stood,
That heareth not the loud winds when they call,
And moveth all together, if it move at all.
At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
Upon the muddy water, which he conned
As if he had been reading in a book.
And now a stranger's privilege I took ;
And drawing to his side, to him did say,
“ This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.”
A gentle answer did the old man make,
In courteous speech, which forth he slowly drew :
And him with further words I thus bespake,
“What occupation do you there pursue ?
This is a lonesome place for one like you."
Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise
Broke from the noble orbs of his yet vivid eyes.
His words came feebly from a feeble chest,
But each in solemn order followed each,
With something of a lofty utterance drest,-
Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach
Of ordinary men, a stately speech;
Such as grave livers do in Scotland use,
Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.
He told, that to these waters he had come
To gather leeches, being old and poor;
Employment hazardous and wearisomé !
And he had many hardships to endure :
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor,
Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance;
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.
The old man still stood talking by my side ;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard ; nor word from word could I divide ;
And the whole body of the man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a man from some far region sent,
To give me human strength by apt admonishment.
My former thoughts returned : the fear that kills,
And hope that is unwilling to be fed,
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills,
And mighty poets in their misery dead.
Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
My question eagerly did I renew,
“How is it that you live, and what is it you do ?”
He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said, that gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide.
“Once I could meet with them on every side,
But they have dwindled long by slow decay ;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may.”
While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The old man's shape and speech, all troubled me;
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
About the weary moors continually,
Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main ; and when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit man so firm a mind.
“ God,” said I, “ be my help and stay secure ;
I'll think of the leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!”
THE FORCE OF PRAYER; OR, THE FOUNDING OF BOLTON PRIORY. “What is good for a bootless bene ?”
With these dark words begins my tale;
And their meaning is, whence can comfort spring
When prayer is of no avail ?
“What is good for a bootless bene ?”
The falconer to the lady said ;
And she made answer,
6. ENDLESS SORROW !”.
For she knew that her son was dead.
She knew it by the falconer's words,
And from the look of the falconer's eye;
And from the love which was in her soul
For her youthful Romilly.
Young Romilly through Barden woods
Is ranging high and low,
And holds a greyhound in a leash,
To let slip upon buck or doe.
The pair have reached that fearful chasm,-
How tempting to bestride!
For lordly Wharf is there pent in
With rocks on either side.
This striding-place is called the Strid,
A name which it took of yore ;
A thousand years hath it borne that name,
And shall a thousand more.
And hither is young Romilly come;
And what may now forbid
That he, perhaps for the hundredth time,
Shall bound across the Strid ?
sprang in glee,—for what cared he
That the river was strong and the rocks were steep?
But the greyhound in the leash hung back,
And checked him in his leap.
The boy is in the arms of Wharf,
And strangled by a merciless force ;
For never more was young Romilly seen
Till he rose a lifeless corse.
Now there is stillness in the vale,
And deep unspeaking sorrow :
Wharf shall be to pitying hearts
A name more sad than Yarrow. If for a lover the lady wept,
A solace she might borrow From death, and from the passion of death
Old Wharf might heal her sorrow.
She weeps not for the wedding-day,
Which was to be to-morrow;
Her hope was a further-looking hope,
And hers is a mother's sorrow.
He was a tree that stood alone,
And proudly did its branches wave ; And the root of this delightful tree
Was in her husband's grave! Long, long in darkness did she sit,
And her first words were, “Let there be
In Bolton, on the field of Wharf,
A stately priory!”
The stately priory was reared ;
And Wharf, as he moved along,
To matins joined a mournful voice,
Nor failed at evensong.
And the lady prayed in heaviness
That looked not for relief;
But slowly did her succour come,
And a patience to her grief.
0, there is never sorrow of heart
That shall lack a timely end, If but to God we turn, and ask
Of Him to be our friend.
S. T. COLERIDGE. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born at Ottery St. Mary, Devonshire, in 1772. At the age of seven years he lost his father, the Vicar of Ottery, a man of remarkable piety and learning. Through the instrumentality of Judge Buller, Coleridge was sent to school at Christ's Hospital, where he formed that friendship with Charles Lamb which lasted during his whole life; and where, in the midst of much privation and suffering, he picked up huge fragments of heterogeneous learning. As early as his sixteenth year the psychological character of his genius indicated itself in the remarkable poem called Time, real and imaginary. At this early period also his extraordinary conversational powers attracted attention; and the “old cloisters of Grey Friars used to re-echo," as Charles Lamb tells us, “with the discourse of the inspired charity-schoolboy” on Plotinus or Pindar. On leaving school Coleridge was entered at Jesus College, Cambridge, where his time was spent in deep but desultory study and impassioned political disquisitions. In a sudden fit of despondency, produced chiefly by the debts which he had heedlessly contracted, Coleridge left Cambridge, and enlisted as a private in a cavalry regiment; his connection with which, as might have been expected, did not last long. Having renounced his original intention of becoming a clergyman in the Established Church, Coleridge continued for some years to lecture or write pamphlets on political and ethical subjects. From the level of a half-transcendental republicanism in politics, and Unitarianism in religion, his mind gradually worked itself up into far higher views; though he seems never to have been in sympathy with any of the political parties or religious sects of the age. It was in his twenty-fifth year, and while he was residing at the foot of the Quantock hills, in Somersetshire, that the poetic genius of Coleridge reached a rapid maturity; and to this brief period a large proportion of his best poems, published originally under the title of Sibylline Leaves, belong. During this early period, i. e. about the year 1797, Coleridge also wrote his drama Remorse, his Ancient Mariner, and the first part of his Christabel. His personal appearance at this time is thus described by Mr. Hazlitt: * His complexion was clear, and even bright,
*As are the children of yon azure sheen;' his forehead was broad and high, as if built of ivory, with large projecting eyebrows, and his eyes rolling beneath them, like a sea, with darkened lustre.
"A certain tender bloom his face o'erspread;' a purple tinge, as we see it in the pale thoughtful complexions of the Spanish portrait-painters Murillo and Velasquez. His mouth was rather open, his chin good-humoured and round, and his nose small."
Assisted by the generosity of Mr. Josiah and Mr. Thomas Wedgewood, who bequeathed him a small annuity, which he received