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Her sorrow for that multitude in whom
We look for health from seeds that have been sown
In sickness, and for increase in a power
That works but by extinction ? On themselves
They cannot lean, nor turn to their own hearts
To know what they must do; their wisdom is
To look into the eyes of others, thence
To be instructed what they must avoid:
Or rather, let us say, how least observed,
How with most quiet and most silent death,
With the least taint and injury to the air
The oppressor breathes, their human form divine,
And their immortal soul, may waste away.”


The Sage rejoined, "I thank you-you have spared My voice the utterance of a keen regret, A wide compassion which with you I share. When, heretofore, I placed before your sight A Little-one, subjected to the arts Of modern ingenuity, and made The senseless member of a vast machine, Serving as doth a spindle or a wheel; Think not, that, pitying him, I could forget The rustic Boy, who walks the fields, untaught; The slave of ignorance, and oft of want, And miserable hunger. Much, too much, Of this unhappy lot, in early youth We both have witnessed, lot which I myself Shared, though in mild and merciful degree: Yet was the mind to hinderances exposed, Through which I struggled, not without distress And sometimes injury, like a lamb enthralled 'Mid thorns and brambles ; or a bird that breaks


Through a strong net, and mounts upon the wind,
Though with her plumes impaired. If they, whose souls
Should open while they range the richer fields
Of merry England, are obstructed less
By indigence, their ignorance is not less,
Nor less to be deplored. For who can doubt
That tens of thousands at this day exist
Such as the boy you painted, lineal heirs
Of those who once were vassals of her soil,
Following its fortunes like the beasts or trees
Which it sustained. But no one takes delight
In this oppression ; none are proud of it;
It bears no sounding name, nor ever bore ;
A standing grievance, an indigenous vice
Of every country under heaven. My thoughts
Were turned to evils that are new and chosen,
A bondage lurking under shape of good,-
Arts, in themselves beneficent and kind,
But all too fondly followed and too far ;-
To victims, which the merciful can see
Nor think that they are victims-turned to wrongs,
By women, who have children of their own,
Beheld without compassion, yea with praise !
I spake of mischief by the wise diffused
With gladness, thinking that the more it spreads
The healthier, the securer, we become;
Delusion which a moment may destroy !
Lastly, I mourned for those whom I had seen
Corrupted and cast down, on favoured ground,
Where circumstance and nature had combined
To shelter innocence, and cherish love;
Who, but for this intrusion, would have lived,

Possessed of health, and strength, and peace of mind; Thus would have lived, or never have been born.

Alas ! what differs more than man from man! And whence that difference? whence but from himself? For see the universal Race endowed With the same upright form !—The sun is fixed, And the infinite magnificence of heaven Fixed, within reach of every human eye; The sleepless ocean murmurs for all ears ; The vernal field infuses fresh delight Into all hearts. Throughout the world of sense, Even as an object is sublime or fair, That object is laid open to the view Without reserve or veil; and as a power Is salutary, or an influence sweet, Are each and all enabled to perceive That power, that influence, by impartial law. Gifts nobler are vouchsafed alike to all; Reason, and, with that reason, smiles and tears; Imagination, freedom in the will ; Conscience to guide and check; and death to be Foretasted, immortality conceived By all,-a blissful immortality, To them whose holiness on earth shall make The Spirit capable of heaven, assured. Strange, then, nor less than monstrous, might be deemed The failure, if the Almighty, to this point Liberal and undistinguishing, should hide The excellence of moral qualities From common understanding; leaving truth And virtue, difficult, abstruse, and dark ; Hard to be won, and only by a few;

Strange, should He deal herein with nice respects,
And frustrate all the rest! Believe it not:
The primal duties shine aloft—like stars ;
The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless,
Are scattered at the feet of Man-like flowers.
The generous inclination, the just rule,
Kind wishes, and good actions, and pure thoughts-
No mystery is here! Here is no boou
For high-yet not for low ; for proudly graced-
Yet not for meek of heart. The smoke ascends
To heaven as lightly from the cottage-hearth
As from the haughtiest palace. He, whose soul
Ponders this true equality, may walk
The fields of earth with gratitude and hope;
Yet, in that meditation, will he find
Motive to sadder grief, as we have found;
Lamenting ancient virtues overthrown,
And for the injustice grieving, that hath made
So wide a difference between man and man.

Then let us rather fix our gladdened thoughts
Upon the brighter scene. How blest that pair
Of blooming Boys (whom we beheld even now)
Blest in their several and their common lot!
A few short hours of each returning day
The thriving prisoners of their village-school :
And thence let loose, to seek their pleasant homes
the grassy

lawn in vacancy :
To breathe and to be happy, run and shout
Idle,—but no delay, no harm, no loss;
For every genial power of heaven and earth,
Through all the seasons of the changeful year,
Obsequiously doth take upon herself

Or range

To labour for them; bringing each in turn
The tribute of enjoyment, knowledge, health,
Beauty, or strength! Such privilege is theirs,
Granted alike in the outset of their course
To both; and, if that partnership must cease,
I grieve not," to the Pastor here he turned,
“Much as I glory in that child of yours,
Repine not for his cottage-comrade, whom
Belike no higher destiny awaits
Than the old hereditary wish fulfilled ;
The wish for liberty to live-content
With what Heaven grants, and die-in peace of mind,
Within the bosom of his native vale.
At least, whatever fate the noon of life
Reserves for either, sure it is that both
Have been permitted to enjoy the dawn;
Whether regarded as a jocund time,
That in itself may terminate, or lead
In course of nature to a sober eve.
Both have been fairly dealt with ; looking back
They will allow that justice has in them
Been shown, alike to body and to mind."

He paused, as if revolving in his soul
Some weighty matter; then, with fervent voice
And an impassioned majesty, exclaimed-

“O for the coming of that glorious time
When, prizing knowledge as her noblest wealth
And best protection, this imperial Realm,
While she exacts allegiance, shall admit
An obligation, on her part, to teach
Them who are born to serve her and obey;

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