Billeder på siden


FALLEN, and diffused into a shapeless heap,
Or quietly self-buried in earth's mould,
Is that embattled House, whose massy Keep
Flung from yon cliff a shadow large and cold.-
There dwelt the gay, the bountiful, the bold,
Till nightly lamentations, like the sweep
Of winds-though winds were silent, struck a deep
And lasting terror through that ancient Hold.
Its line of Warriors fled;—they shrunk when tried
By ghostly power :-but Time's unsparing hand
Hath plucked such foes, like weeds, from out the land;
And now, if men with men in peace abide,
All other strength the weakest may withstand,
All worse assaults may safely be defied.



I ROSE while yet the cattle, heat-opprest,
Crowded together under rustling trees,
Brushed by the current of the water-breeze;
And for their sakes, and love of all that rest,
On Duddon's margin, in the sheltering nest;
For all the startled scaly tribes that slink
Into his coverts, and each fearless link
Of dancing insects forged upon his breast;
For these, and hopes and recollections worn
Close to the vital seat of human clay;
Glad meetings,-tender partings-that upstay
The drooping mind of absence, by vows sworn
In his pure presence near the trysting thorn;
I thanked the Leader of my onward way.


No record tells of lance opposed to lance,
Horse charging horse, mid these retired domains;
Tells that their turf drank purple from the veins
Of heroes fallen, or struggling to advance,
Till doubtful combat issued in a trance
Of victory, that struck through heart and reins,
Even to the inmost seat of mortal pains,
And lightened o'er the pallid countenance.
Yet, to the loyal and the brave, who lie
In the blank earth, neglected and forlorn,
The passing Winds memorial tribute pay;
The torrents chant their praise, inspiring scorn
power usurped with proclamation high,
And glad acknowledgment of lawful sway.


Who swerves from innocence, who makes divorce
Of that serene companion-a good name,
Recovers not his loss; but walks with shame,
With doubt, with fear, and haply with remorse.
And oft-times he, who, yielding to the force
Of chance-temptation, ere his journey end,
From chosen comrade turns, or faithful friend,
In vain shall rue the broken intercourse.
Not so with such as loosely wear the chain
That binds them, pleasant River! to thy side:-

[blocks in formation]

THE KIRK OF ULPHA to the Pilgrim's eye
Is welcome as a Star, that doth present
Its shining forehead through the peaceful rent
Of a black cloud diffused o'er half the sky:
Or as a fruitful palm-tree towering high
O'er the parched waste beside an Arab's tent;

Or the Indian tree whose branches, downward bent,
Take root again, a boundless canopy.

How sweet were leisure! could it yield no more
Than 'mid that wave-washed Church-yard to recline,
From pastoral graves extracting thoughts divine;
Or there to pace, and mark the summits hoar
Of distant moon-lit mountains faintly shine,
Soothed by the unseen River's gentle roar.


Nor hurled precipitous from steep to sleep;
Lingering no more 'mid flower-enamelled lands
And blooming thickets; nor by rocky bands
Held; but in radiant progress tow'rd the Deep
Where mightiest rivers into powerless sleep
Sink, and forget their nature;-now expands
Majestic Duddon, over smooth flat sands
Gliding in silence with unfettered sweep!
Beneath an ampler sky a region wide

Is opened round him :—hamlets, towers, and towns,
And blue-topped hills, behold him from afar;
In stately mien to sovereign Thames allied
Spreading his bosom under Kentish Downs,
With Commerce freighted, or triumphant War.


BUT here no canuon thunders to the gale;
Upon the wave no haughty pendants cast
A crimson splendour; lowly is the mast
That rises here, and humbly spread the sail;
While, less disturbed than in the narrow Vale
Through which with strange vicissitudes he passed,
The Wanderer seeks that receptacle vast
Where all his unambitious functions fail.

And may thy Poet, cloud-born Stream! be free,
The sweets of earth contentedly resigned,
And each tumultuous working left behind
At seemly distance, to advance like Thee,
Prepared, in peace of heart, in calm of mind
And soul, to mingle with Eternity!


I THOUGHT of Thee, my partner and my guide, As being past away. Vain sympathies!

For, backward, Duddon! as I cast my eyes,
I see what was, and is, and will abide;

Still glides the Stream, and shall not cease to glide;
The Form remains, the Function never dies;
While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise,
We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
The elements, must vanish;-be it so!

Enough, if something from our hands have power
To live, and act, and serve the future hour;
And if, as tow'rd the silent tomb we go,

Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendant dower,

We feel that we are greater than we know. (3)


A POET, whose works are not yet known as they deserve to be, thus enters upon his description of the «< Ruins of Rome: »

The rising Sun

Flames on the ruins in the purer air Towering aloft;

and ends thus

The setting Sun displays

His visible great round, between yon towers,
As through two shady cliffs.

Mr Crowe, in his excellent loco-descriptive Poem, « Lewesdon Hill,» is still more expeditious, finishing the whole on a May-morning, before breakfast.

To-morrow for severer thought, but now
To breakfast, and keep festival to-day.

No one believes, or is desired to believe, that these Poems were actually composed within such limits of time; nor was there any reason why a prose statement should acquaint the Reader with the plain fact, to the disturbance of poetic credibility. But, in the present caes, I am compelled to mention, that the above series of Sonnets was the growth of many years;-the one which stands the 14th was the first produced; and others were added upon occasional visits to the Stream, or as recollections of the scenes upon its banks awakened a wish to describe them. In this manner I had proceeded insensibly, without perceiving that I was trespassing upon ground preoccupied, at least as far as intention went, by Mr Coleridge; who, more than twenty years ago, used to speak of writing a rural Poem, to be entitied a The Brock,» of which he has given a sketch in a recent publication. But a particular subject cannot, I think, much interfere with a general one; and I have been further kept from encroaching upon any right Me C. may still wish to exercise, by the restriction which the frame of the Sonnet imposed upon me, narrowing unavoidably the range of thought, and precluding, though not without its advantages, many graces to which a freer movement of verse would naturally have led.

[ocr errors]

be ill-fated which can enter upon such pleasant walks of nature, without receiving and giving inspiration. The power of waters over the minds of Poets has been acknowledged from the earliest ages;- - through the Flumina amem sylvasque inglorius » of Virgil, down to the sublime apostrophe to the great rivers of the earth, by Armstrong, and the simple ejaculation of Burns (chosen, if I recollect right, by Mr Coleridge, as a motto for his embryo « Brook »),

The Muse nae Poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel' he learned to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,


Note 1. Sonnet vi.

There bloomed the strawberry of the wilderness, The trembling eyebright showed her sapphire blue. THESE two lines are in a great measure taken from << The Beauties of Spring, a Juvenile Poem,» by the Rev. Joseph Symson, author of « The Vision of Alfred, » etc. He was a native of Cumberland, and was educated in the vale of Grasmere, and at Hawkshead school his poems are little known, but they contain passages of splendid description; and the versification of his «Vi

sion of Alfred » is harmonious and animated. In de

scribing the motions of the Sylphs, that constitute the strange machinery of his Poem, he uses the following illustrative simile :

Glancing from their plumes
A changeful light the azure vault illumes.
Less varying hues beneath the Pole adorn
The streamy glories of the Boreal morn,
That wavering to and fro their radiance shed
On Bothnia's gulf with glassy ice o'erspread,
Where the lone native, as he homeward glides,
On polished sandals o'er the imprisoned tides,
And still the balance of his frame preserves,
Wheeled on alternate foot in lengthening curves,
Sees at a glance, above bim and below,
Two rival heavens with equal splendour glow.
Sphered in the centre of the world he seems:
For all around with soft effulgence gleams;
Stars, moons, and meteors, ray oppose to ray,
And solemn midnight pours the blaze of day.

He was a man of ardent feeling, and his faculties of mind, particularly his memory, were extraordinary. Brief notices of his life ought to find a place in the History of Westmorland.

Note 2. Sonnet xvii.

The EAGLE requires a large domain for its support; but several pairs, not many years ago, were constantly resident in this country, building their nests in the steeps of Borrowdale, Wastdale, Ennerdale, and on the eastern side of Helvellyn. Often have I heard anglers May not venture, then, to hope, that instead of speak of the grandeur of their appearance, as they hobeing a hinderance, by anticipation of any part of the vered over Red Tarn, in one of the coves of this mounsubject, these Sonnets may remind Mr Coleridge of his tain. The bird frequently returns, but is always deown more comprehensive design, and induce him to stroved. Not long since, one visited Rydal Lake, and fulfil it?--There is a sympathy in streams, - «one remained some hours near its banks: the consternation calleth to another; and, I would gladly believe, that which it occasioned among the different species of fowl, The Brook will, ere long, murmur in concert with particularly the herons, was expressed by loud screams. «The Duddon. But, asking pardon for this fancy, I The horse also is naturally afraid of the eagle. There need not scruple to say, that those verses must indeed were several Roman stations among these mountains;

the most considerable seems to have been in a meadow and the ivy clothing part of the walls and roof like a at the head of Windermere, established, undoubtedly, fleece, call to mind the remains of an ancient abbey. as a check over the passes of Kirkstone, Duumail-raise, Time, in most cases, and nature every where, have and of Hardknot and Wrynose. On the margin of Ry- given a sanctity to the humble works of man, that are dal Lake, a coin of Trajan was discovered very lately.- scattered over this peaceful retirement. Hence a harThe ROMAN FORT here alluded to, called by the country mony of tone and colour, a perfection and consummapeople « Hardknot Castle,» is most impressively situated tion of beauty, which would have been marred had half way down the hill on the right of the road that aim or purpose interfered with the course of convedescends from Hardknot into Eskdale. It has escaped nience, utility, or necessity. This unvitiated region the notice of most antiquarians, and is but slightly men- stands in no need of the veil of twilight to soften or tioned by Lysons.-The DRUIDICAL CIRCLE is about half disguise its features. As it glistens in the morning a mile to the left of the road ascending Stone-side from sunshine, it would fill the spectator's heart with gladthe vale of Duddon: the country people call it « Sunken someness. Looking from our chosen station, he would Church.» feel an impatience to rove among its pathways, to be greeted by the milkmaid, to wander from house to house, exchanging « good-morrows» as he passed the open doors; but, at evening, when the sun is set, and a pearly light gleams from the western quarter of the sky, with an answering light from the smooth surface of the meadows; when the trees are dusky, but each kind still distinguishable; when the cool air has condensed the blue smoke rising from the cottage-chimneys; when the dark mossy stones seem to sleep in the bed of the foaming Brook; then, he would be unwilling to move forward, not less from a reluctance to relicquish what he beholds, than from an apprehension of disturbing, by his approach, the quietness beneath him. Issuing from the plain of this valley, the Brook descends in a rapid torrent, passing by the churchyard of Seathwaite. The traveller is thus conducted at once into the midst of the wild and beautiful scenery which gave occasion to the Sonnets from the 14th to the 20th inclusive. From the point where the Seathwaite Brook joins the Duddon, is a view upwards, into the pass through which the River makes its way into the Plain of Donnerdale. The perpendicular rock on the right bears the ancient British name of THE PEN; the one opposite is called WALLA-BARROW CRAG, a name that occurs in several places to designate rocks of the same character. The chaotic aspect of the scene is well marked by the expression of a stranger, who strolled out while dinner was preparing, and at his return, being asked by his host, What way he had been wandering? » replied, « As far as it is finished! »

The reader who may have been interested in the foregoing Sonnets (which together may be considered as a Poem), will not be displeased to find in this place a prose account of the Duddon, extracted from Green's comprehensive Guide to the Lakes, lately published. <«< The road leading from Coniston to Broughton is over high ground, and commands a view of the River Duddon; which, at high water, is a grand sight, having the beautiful and fertile lands of Lancashire and Cumberland stretching each way from its margin. In this extensive view, the face of nature is displayed in a wonderful variety of hill and dale, wooded grounds and buildings; amongst the latter, Broughton Tower, seated on the crown of a hill, rising elegantly from the valley, is an object of extraordinary interest. Fertility on each side is gradually diminished, and lost in the superior heights of Blackcomb, in Cumberland, and the high lands between Kirkby and Ulverstone.

«The road from Broughton to Seathwaite is on the banks of the Duddon, and on its Lancashire side it is of various elevations. The river is an amusing companion, one while brawling and tumbling over rocky precipices, until the agitated water becomes again calm by arriving at a smoother and less precipitous bed, but its course is soon again ruffled, and the current thrown into every variety of form which the rocky channel of a river can give to water.»-Vide Green's Guide to the Lakes, vol. i. pp. 98-100.

After all, the traveller would be most gratified who should approach this beautiful Stream, neither at its source, as is done in the Sonnets, nor from its termination; but from Coniston over Walna Scar; first descending into a little circular valley, a collateral compartment of the long winding vale through which flows the Duddon. This recess, towards the close of September, when the after-grass of the meadows is still of a fresh green, with the leaves of many of the trees faded, but perhaps none fallen, is truly enchanting. At a point elevated enough to shew the various objects in the valley, and not so high as to diminish their importance, the stranger will instinctively halt. On the foreground, a little below the most favourable station, a rude foot-bridge is thrown over the bed of the noisy brook foaming by the way-side. Russet and craggy hills, of bold and varied outline, surround the level valley, which is besprinkled with grey rocks plumed with birch trees. A few homesteads are interspersed, in some places peeping out from among the rocks like hermitages, whose site has been chosen for the benefit of sunshine as well as shelter; in other instances, the dwelling-house, barn, and byre, compose together a cruciform structure, which, with its embowering trees,

[ocr errors]

The bed of the Duddon is here strewn with large fragments of rocks fallen from aloft; which, as Mr Green truly says, «are happily adapted to the manyshaped water-falls,» (or rather water-breaks, for none of them are high,) displayed in the short space of half a mile.» That there is some hazard in frequenting these desolate places, I myself have had proof; for one night an immense mass of rock fell upon the very spot where, with a friend, I had lingered the day before. The concussion, says Mr Green, speaking of the event, (for he also, in the practice of his art, on that day sat exposed for a still longer time to the same peril,) « was heard, not without alarm, by the neighbouring shepherds.» But to return to Seathwaite Church-yard: it contains the following inscription.

[ocr errors]

<< In memory of the Reverend Robert Walker, who died the 25th of June 1802, in the 93d year of his age, and 67th of his curacy at Seathwaite.

« Also, of Anne his wife, who died the 28th of January, in the 93d year of her age.»> In the parish-register of Seathwaite Chapel, is this notice:

Buried, June 28th, the Rev. Robert Walker. He was curate of Seathwaite sixty-six years. He was a man singular for his temperance, industry, and integrity. »

This individual is the Pastor alluded to, in the eighteenth Sonnet, as a worthy compeer of the Country Parson of Chaucer, etc. In the Seventh Book of the Excursion, an abstract of his character is given, beginning

A Priest abides before whose life such doubts
Fall to the ground;-

by the lower class of people, dressed in a coarse blue frock, trimmed with black horn buttons; a checked shirt, a leathern strap about his neck for a stock, a coarse apron, and a pair of great wooden-soled shoes, plated with iron to preserve them (what we call clogs in these parts), with a child upon his knee, eating his breakfast: his wife, and the remainder of his children, were some of them employed in waiting on each other, the rest in teazing and spinning wool, at which trade he is a great proficient; and morcover, when it is made ready for sale, will lay it by sixteen, or thirty-two pounds

and some account of his life, for it is worthy of being weight, upon his back, and on foot, seven or eight miles recorded, will not be out of place here.

MEMOIR OF THE REV. ROBERT WALKER. In the year 1709, Robert Walker was born at UnderCrag, in Scathwaite; he was the youngest of twelve children. His eldest brother, who inherited the small family estate, died at Under-crag, aged ninety-four, being twenty-four years older than the subject of this Memoir, who was born of the same mother. Robert was a sickly infant; and, through his boyhood and youth continuing to be of delicate frame and tender health, it was deemed best, according to the country phrase, to breed him a scholar; for it was not likely that he would be able to earn a livelihood by bodily labour. At that period few of these Dales were furnished with schoolhouses; the children being taught to read and write in the chapel; and in the same consecrated building, where he officiated for so many years both as preacher and schoolmaster, he himself received the rudiments of his education. In his youth he became schoolmaster at Lowes-water; not being called upon, probably, in That situation, to teach more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. But, by the assistance of a « Gentleman» in the neighbourhood, he acquired, at leisure hours, a knowledge of the classics, and became qualified for taking holy orders. Upon his ordination, he had the offer of two curacies; the one, Torver, in the vale of Coniston, the other, Scathwaite, in his native vale. The value of each was the same, viz. five pounds per annum: but the cure of Seathwaite having a cottage attached to it, as he wished to marry, he chose it in preference. The young person on whom his affections were fixed, though in the condition of a domestic servant, had given promise, by her serious and modest deportment, and by her virtuous dispositions, that she was worthy to become the helpmate of a man entering upon a plan of life such as he had marked out for himself. By her frugality she had stored up a small sum of money, with which they began housekeeping. In 1735 or 1736, he entered upon his curacy; and nineteen years afterwards, bis situation is thus described, in some letters to be found in the Annual Register for 1760, from which the following is extracted:

[blocks in formation]

will carry it to the market, even in the depth of winter. I was not much surprised at all this, as you may possibly be, having heard a great deal of it related before. But I must confess myself astonished with the alacrity and the good-humour that appeared both in the clergyman and his wife, and more so, at the sense and ingenuity of the clergyman himself.>>

Then follows a letter, from another person, dated 1755, from which an extract shall be given.

By his frugality and good management, he keeps the wolf from the door, as we say; and if he advances a little in the world, it is owing more to his own care, than to any thing else he has to rely upon. I don't find his inclination is running after further preferment. He is settled among the people, that are happy among themselves, and lives in the greatest unanimity and friendship with them; and, I believe, the minister and people are exceedingly satisfied with each other: and indeed how should they be dissatisfied, when they have a person of so much worth and probity for their pastor? A man, who, for his candour and meekness, his sober, chaste, and virtuous conversation, his soundness in principle and practice, is an ornament to his profession, and an honour to the country he is in; and bear with me if I say, the plainness of his dress, the sanctity of his manners, the simplicity of his doctrine, and the vehemence of his expression, have a sort of resemblance to the pure practice of primitive Christianity.» We will now give his own account of himself, to be found in the same place.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

«Yours of the 26th instant was communicated to me

by Mr C-, and I should have returned an immediate answer, but the hand of Providence then lying heavy upon an amiable pledge of conjugal endearment, hath since taken from me a promising girl, which the disconsolate mother too pensively laments the loss of; though we have yet eight living, all healthful, hopeful children, whose names and ages are as follows: Zaccheus, aged almost eighteen years; Elizabeth, sixteen years and ten months; Mary, fifteen; Moses, thirteen years and three months; Sarah, ten years and three months; Mabel, eight years and three months; William Tyson, three years and eight months; and Anne Esther, one year and three months: besides Anne, who died two years and six months ago, and was then aged between nine and ten; and Eleanor, who died the 23d inst. January, aged six years and ten months. Zaccheus, the eldest child, is now learning the trade of tanner, and has two years and a half of his apprenticeship to serve.

The annual income of my chapel at present, as near as I can compute it, may amount to about 171, 10s., of which is paid in cash; viz. 5l. from the bounty of Queen Anne, and 51. from W. P. Esq. of P--, out of the annual rents, he being lord of the manor, and 31. from | the several inhabitants of L--, settled upon the tenements as a rent-charge; the house and gardens I value at 41. yearly, and not worth more; and I believe the surplice fees and voluntary contributions, one year with another, may be worth 31.; but, as the inhabitants are few in number, and the fees very low, this last-mentioned sum consists merely in freewill offerings.

which occasions of murmuring I would willingly avoid. And, in concluding his former letter, he expresses a similar sentiment upon the same occasion, « desiring, if¦ it be possible, however, as much as in me lieth, to live peaccably with all men.»>

The year following, the curacy of Seathwaite was again augmented; and, to effect this augmentation, fifty pounds had been advanced by himself; and, in 1760, lands were purchased with eight hundred pounds. Scanty as was his income, the frequent offer of much better benefices could not tempt Mr W. to quit a situa tion where he had been so long happy, with a consciousness of being useful. Among his papers I find the following copy of a letter, dated 1775, twenty years after his refusal of the curacy of Ulpha, which will show what exertions had been made for one of his sons.


« Our remote situation here makes it difficult to get the necessary information for transacting business regularly; such is the reason of my giving your Grace the present trouble.

I am situated greatly to my satisfaction with regard to the conduct and behaviour of my auditory, who not only live in the happy ignorance of the follies and vices of the age, but in mutual peace and good-will with one another, and are seemingly (I hope really too) sincere Christians, and sound members of the established church, not one dissenter of any denomination being amongst them all. I got to the value of 4ol. for my wife's fortune, but had no real estate of my own, being the youngest son of twelve children, born of obscure parents; and, though my income has been but small, and my family large, yet by a providential blessing upon my own diligent endeavours, the kindness of friends, and a cheap country to live in, we have always had the necessaries of life. By what I have written (which is a true and exact account, to the best of my knowledge) I hope you will not think your favour to me, out of the late worthy Dr Stratford's effects, quite misbestow-faction (if your Grace would take him, and find him ed, for which I must ever gratefully own myself,

<< Sir,

<< The bearer (my son) is desirous of offering himself candidate for deacon's orders at your Grace's ensuing ordination; the first, on the 25th instant, so that his papers could not be transmitted in due time. As he is now fully at age, and I have afforded him education to the utmost of my ability, it would give me great satis

qualified) to have him ordained. His constitution has been tender for some years; he entered the college of

«Your much obliged and most obedient humble Dublin, but his health would not permit him to con


«To Mr. C., of Lancaster.»>

<< R. W., Curate of S——.

tinue there, or I would have supported him much longer. He has been with me at home above a year, in which time he has gained great strength of body, sufficient, I hope, to enable him for performing the factors, has blest my endeavours, from a small income, function. Divine Providence, assisted by liberal beneto rear a numerous family; and as my time of life renders me now unfit for much future expectancy from this world, I should be glad to see my son settled in a unexpected difficulty arising, Mr W. in a letter to the promising way to acquire an honest livelihood for him. Bishop (a copy of which, in his own beautiful hand-self. His behaviour, so far in life, has been irreproactr writing, now lies before me), thus expresses himself: able; and I hope he will not degenerate, in principles or << If hc,>> meaning the person in whom the difficulty ori-practice, from the precepts and pattern of an indulgent ginated, « had suggested any such objection before, I parent. Your Grace's favourable reception of this, from should utterly have declined any attempt to the curacy a distant corner of the diocese, and an obscure hand. of Ulpha: indeed, I was always apprehensive it might will excite filial gratitude, and a due use shall be made be disagreeable to my auditory at Seathwaite, as they of the obligation vouchsafed thereby to have been always accustomed to double duty, and the inhabitants of Ulpha despair of being able to support a schoolmaster who is not curate there also; which suppressed all thoughts in me of serving them both.» And in a second letter to the Bishop he writes:

About the time when this letter was written, the Bishop of Chester recommended the scheme of joining the curacy of Ulpha to the contiguous one of Seathwaite, and the nomination was offered to Mr Walker; but an


« I have the favour of yours of the 1st instant, and am exceedingly obliged on account of the Ulpha affair: if that curacy should lapse into your Lord ship's hands, I would beg leave rather to decline than embrace it; for the chapels of Seathwaite and Ulpha, annexed together, would be apt to cause a general discontent among the inhabitants of both places; by either thinking the mselves slighted, being only served alternately, or neglected in the duty, or attributing it to covetousness in me; all

<< Your Grace's very dutiful and most obedient
«Son and Servant,

were served,

The same man, who was thus liberal in the education of his numerous family, was even munificent in hospitality as a parish priest. Every Sunday, upon the long table, at which he has been described sitting with a child upon his kue?, messes of broth, for the refreshment of those of his congregation who came from a distance, and usually took their seats as parts of his own household. It seems scarcely possible that this custom could have commenced before the augmentation of his cure; and what would to many have been a high price of self-denial, was paid, by the pastor and

[ocr errors]


« ForrigeFortsæt »