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"When I began, my purpose was to speak
Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
Another kinsman-he will be our friend In this distress. He is a prosperous man, Thriving in trade-and Luke to him shall go,
And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift
He quickly will repair this loss, and then He may return to us. If here he stay, What can be done? Where every one is poor,
What can be gained?"
At this the old Man paused, And Isabel sat silent, for her mind Was busy, looking back into past times. There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself,
He was a parish-boy-at the church-door They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence
That all his hopes were gone. That day
She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go:
We have no other child but thee to lose,
And Isabel, when she had told her fears, Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
Did she bring forth, and all together sat Like happy people round a Christmas fire.
With daylight Isabel resumed her work;
And all the ensuing week the house appeared
As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
The expected letter from their kinsman
With kind assurances that he would de His utmost for the welfare of the Boy; To which, requests were added, that forthwith
He might be sent to him. Ten times or
The letter was read over; Isabel
Went forth to show it to the neighbors round; Nor was there at that time on English land
Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month fol lowed month,
And in the open fields my life was passed And on the mountains; else I think that thou
Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees.
But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills,
As well thou knowest, in us the old and young
Have played together, nor with me didst thou
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know."
Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his hand, I see
And said, "Nay, do not take it so-
-Even to the utmost I have been to thee
Beyond the common life of man, I still Remember them who loved me in my youth.
Both of them sleep together: here they lived,
As all their Forefathers had done; and when
At length their time was come, they were not loth
To give their bodies to the family mould. I wished that thou should'st live the life they lived:
But, 'tis a long time to look back, my Son,
And see so little gain from threescore years. These fields were burthened when they came to me;
Till I was forty years of age, not more Than half of my inheritance was mine. I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my work,
And till these three weeks past the land was free.
-It looks as if it never could endure Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke,
If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good That thou should'st go."
At this the old Man paused; Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood,
He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud,
And listened to the wind; and, as before, Performed all kinds of labor for his sheep,
And for the land, his small inheritance. And to that hollow dell from time to time Did he repair, to build the Fold of which His flock had need. Tis not forgotten yet The pity which was then in every heart For the old Man-and 'tis believed by all That many and many a day he thither went,
And never lifted up a single stone.
There, by the Sheepfold, sometimes was he seen
Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog, Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. The length of full seven years. from time to time, He at the building of this Sheep fold wrought,
And left the work unfinished when he died.
Three years, or little more, did Isabel Survive her Husband: at her death the estate
Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand.
The Cottage which was named the EVENING STAR
Is gone-the ploughshare has been through the ground On which it stood; great changes have been wrought
In all the neighborhood:-yet the oak is left
That grew beside their door; and the remains
Of the unfinished Sheepfold may be seen Beside the boisterous brook of Greenhead Ghyll. 1800. 1800.
THE SPARROWS' NEST
Written in the Orchard, Town-end, Grasmere. At the end of the garden of my father's house at Cockermouth was a high terrace that commanded a fine view of the river Derwent and Cockermouth Castle. This was our favorite play-ground. The terrace-wall, a low one, was covered with closely-clipt privet and roses, which gave an almost impervious shelter to birds that built their nests there. The latter of these stanzas alludes to one of those nests. (Wordsworth.)
BEHOLD, within the leafy shade,
Compare the description of the same scene by Wordsworth's sister: "There was the gentle flowing of the stream, the glittering, lively lake, green fields without a living creature to be seen on them; behind us, a flat pasture with fortytwo cattle feeding; to our left, the road leading to the hamlet. No smoke there, the sun shone on the bare roofs. The people were at work ploughing, harrowing, and sowing; ... a dog barking now and then, cocks crowing, birds twittering, the snow in patches at the top of the highest hills, yellow palms, purple and green twigs on the birches, ashes with their glittering spikes, stems quite bare. The hawthorn a bright green, with black stems under the oak. The moss of the oak glossy. We went on... William finished his poem before we got to the foot of Kirkstone." (Dorothy Wordsworth's Jour nal, April 16, 1802.)
THE Cock is crowing, The stream is flowing, The small birds twitter, The lake doth glitter,
1 Dorothy Wordsworth, called Emmeline also in the poem To a Butterfly. See the beautiful lines To my Sister, p. 8, the last lines of the Sonnet p. 31, and notes on the Sonnets of 1802.