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Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near the Lake of
Esthwaite, on a desolate Part of the Shore, commanding a beautiful Prospect.
Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely Yew-trée stands
Far from all human dwelling: what if here
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb?
What if these barren boughs the bee not loves ?
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
Who he was That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod First covered o'er, and taught this aged Tree With its dark arms to form a circling bower, I well remember. He was one who owned No common soul. In youth by science nursed, And led by nature into a wild scene Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth A favoured Being, knowing no desire Which Genius did not hallow, — 'gainst the taint
Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate,
against all enemies prepared, All but neglect. The world, for so it thought, Owed him no service: wherefore he at once With indignation turned himself away, And with the food of pride sustained his soul In solitude.--Stranger ! these gloomy boughs Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit, His only visitants a straggling sheep, The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper: And on these barren rocks, with fern and heath, And juniper and thistle, sprinkled o'er, Fixing his downcast eye, he many an hour A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here An emblem of his own unfruitful life : And, lifting up his head, he then would gaze On the more distant scene, how lovely 'tis Thou seest, — and he would gaze till it became Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain The beauty, still more beauteous ! 'Nor, that time, When nature had subdued him to herself, Would he forget those beings, to whose minds, Warm from the labours of benevolence, The world, and human life, appeared a scene
Of kindred loveliness : then he would sigh
With mournful joy, to think that others felt
What he must never feel: and so, lost Man!
On visionary views would fancy feed,
Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale
He died, - this seat his only monument.
If Thou be one whose heart the holy forms
Of young imagination have kept pure,
Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know that price,
Howe'er disguised in its own majesty,
Is littleness; that he who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties
Which he has never used; that thought with him
Is in its infancy. The man whose eye
Is ever on himself doth look on one,
The least of Nature's works, one who might move
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
Unlawful, ever. O be wiser, Thou !
Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,
True dignity abides with him alone
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
In lowliness of heart.
CHARACTER OF THE HAPPY WARRIOR.
Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
Man in arms should wish to be?
- It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought:
Whose high endeavours are an inward light
That make the path before him always bright:
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn ;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes his moral being his prime care;
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train !
Turns his necessity to glorious gain ;
In face of these doth exercise a power
Which is our human nature's highest dower ;
Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves
Of their bad influence, and their good receives ;
By objects, which might force the soul to abate
Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;
Is placable — because occasions rise
So often that demand such sacrifice;
More skilful in self-knowledge, even more pure,
As tempted more; more able to endure,
As more exposed to suffering and distress ;
Thence, also, more alive to tenderness.
- 'Tis he whose law is reason; who depends
Upon that law as on the best of friends;
Whence, in a state where men are tempted still
To evil for a guard against worse ill,
And what in quality or act is best
Doth seldom on a right foundation rest,
He fixes good on good alone, and owes
To virtue every triumph that he knows :
· Who, if he rise to station of command,
Rises by open means; and there will stand
On honourable terms, or else retire,
And in himself possess his own désire;
Who comprehends his trust, and to the same
Keeps faithful with a singleness of aim ;