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THE moving accident is not my
To freeze the blood I have no ready arts:
'Tis my delight, alone in summer shade,
To pipe a simple song for thinking hearts.
As I from Hawes to Richmond did repair,
It chanced that I saw standing in a dell
Three Aspens at three corners of a square ;
And one, not four yards distant, near a Well.
What this imported I could ill divine :
And, pulling now the rein my horse to stop,
I saw three Pillars standing in a line,
The last Stone Pillar on a dark hill-top.
The trees were gray, with neither arms nor head;
Half-wasted the square Mound of tawny green;
So that you just might say, as then I said,
"Here in old time the hand of man hath been,”
I looked upon the hill both far and near,
More doleful place did never eye survey;
It seemed as if the spring-time came not here,
And Nature here were willing to decay.
I stood in various thoughts and fancies lost,
When one, who was in Shepherd's garb attired,
Came the Hollow:
Him did I accost,
And what this place might be I then inquired.
The Shepherd stopped, and that same story told
Which in my former rhyme I have rehearsed.
"A jolly place," said he, "in times of old!
But something ails it now; the spot is curst.
You see these lifeless Stumps of aspen wood
Some say that they are beeches, others elms-
These were the Bower; and here a Mansion stood,
The finest palace of a hundred realms!
The Arbour does its own condition tell;
You see the Stones, the Fountain, and the Stream; But as to the great Lodge! you might as well Hunt half a day for a forgotten dream.
There's neither dog nor heifer, horse nor sheep,
Will wet his lips within that Cup of stone;
And oftentimes, when all are fast asleep,
This water doth send forth a dolorous groan.
Some say that here a murder has been done,
And blood cries out for blood: but, for my part,
I've guessed, when I've been sitting in the sun,
That it was all for that unhappy Hart.
What thoughts must through the Creature's brain have passed!'
Even from the top-most Stone, upon the Steep, Are but three bounds-and look, Sir, at this last
O Master! it has been a cruel leap.
For thirteen hours he ran a desperate race;
And in my simple mind we cannot tell
What cause the Hart might have to love this place, And come and make his death-bed near the Well.
Here on the grass perhaps asleep he sank,
Lulled by this Fountain in the summer-tide ;
This water was perhaps the first he drank
When he had wandered from his mother's side,
In April here beneath the scented thorn
He heard the birds their morning carols sing;
And he, perhaps, for aught we know, was born
Not half a furlong from that self-same spring.
But now here's neither grass nor pleasant shade; The sun on drearier Hollow never shone ;
So will it be, as I have often said,
'Till Trees, and Stones, and Fountain all are gone."
"Gray-headed Shepherd, thou hast spoken well;
Small difference lies between thy creed and mine:
This Beast not unobserved by Nature fell;
His death was mourned by sympathy divine.
The Being, that is in the clouds and air,
That is in the green leaves among the
Maintains a deep and reverential care
For the unoffending creatures whom he loves.
The Pleasure-house is dust:-behind, before,
This is no common waste, no common gloom ;
But Nature, in due course of time, once more
Shall here put on her beauty and her bloom.
She leaves these objects to a slow decay,
That what we are, and have been, may be known;
But, at the coming of the milder day,
These monuments shall all be overgrown.
One lesson, Shepherd, let us two divide,
Taught both by what she shews and what conceals,
Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."