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BOOK NINTH.

DISCOURSE OF THE WANDERER, AND AN

EVENING VISIT TO THE LAKE.

“ To every Form of being is assigned,"
Thus calmly spake the venerable Sage,
“ An active Principle :-howe'er removed
From sense and observation, it subsists
In all things, in all natures ; in the stars
Of azure heaven, the unenduring clouds,
In flower and tree, in every pebbly stone
That paves the brooks, the stationary rocks,
The moving waters, and the invisible air.
Whate'er exists hath properties that spread
Beyond itself, communicating good,
A simple blessing, or with evil mixed ;
Spirit that knows no insulated spot,
No chasm, no solitude ; from link to link
It circulates, the Soul of all the worlds.
This is the freedom of the universe ;
Unfolded still the more, more visible,

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The more we know; and yet is reverenced least,
And least respected in the human Mind,
Its most apparent home. The food of hope
Is meditated action ; robbed of this
Her sole support, she languishes and dies.
We perish also; for we live by hope
And by desire ; we see by the glad light
And breathe the sweet air of futurity;
And so we live, or else we have no life.
To-morrow-nay perchance this very hour
(For every moment hath its own to-morrow!)
Those blooming Boys, whose hearts are almost sick
With present triumph, will be sure to find
A field before them freshened with the dew
Of other expectations ;-in which course
Their happy year spins round. The youth obeys
A like glad impulse ; and so moves the man
'Mid all his apprehensions, cares, and fears,
Or so he ought to move. Ah! why in age
Do we revert so fondly to the walks
Of childhood--but that there the Soul discerns
The dear memorial footsteps unimpaired
Of her own native vigour ; thence can hear
Reverberations; and a choral song,
Commingling with the incense that ascends,
Undaunted, toward the imperishable heavens,
From her own lonely altar ?

Do not think
That good and wise ever will be allowed,

Though strength decay, to breathe in such estate
As shall divide them wholly from the stir
Of hopeful nature. Rightly is it said
That Man descends into the VALE of years ;
Yet have I thought that we might also speak,
And not presumptuously, I trust, of Age,
As of a final EMINENCE ; though bare
In aspect and forbidding, yet a point
On which 'tis not impossible to sit
In awful sovereignty; a place of power,
A throne, that may be likened unto his,
Who, in some placid day of summer, looks
Down from a mountain-top,—say one of those
High peaks, that bound the vade where now we are.
Faint, and diminished to the gazing eye,
Forest and field, and hill and dale appear,
With all the shapes upon their surface spread :
But, while the gross and visible frame of things
Relinquishes its hold upon the sense,
Yea almost on the Mind herself, and seems
All unsubstantialized,—how loud the voice
Of waters, with invigorated peal
From the full river in the vale below,
Ascending! For on that superior height
Who sits, is disencumbered from the press
Of near obstructions, and is privileged
To breathe in solitude above the host
Of ever-humming insects, 'mid thin air
That suits not them. The murmur of the leaves

Many and idle, visits not his ear :
This he is freed from, and from thousand notes
(Not less unceasing, not less vain than these,)
By which the finer passages

of sense
Are occupied ; and the Soul, that would incline
To listen, is prevented or deterred.

And may it not be hoped, that, placed by age In like removal, tranquil though severe, We are not so removed for utter loss; But for some favour, suited to our need? What more than that the severing should confer Fresh

power to commune with the invisible world, And hear the mighty stream of tendency Uttering, for elevation of our thought, A clear sonorous voice, inaudible To the vast multitude; whose doom it is To run the giddy round of vain delight, Or fret and labour on the Plain below.

But, if to

sublime ascent the hopes Of Man may rise, as to a welcome close And termination of his mortal course ; Them only can such hope inspire whose minds Have not been starved by absolute neglect; Nor bodies crushed by unremitting toil; To whom kind Nature, therefore, may afford Proof of the sacred love she bears for all; Whose birthright Reason, therefore, may ensure.

For me, consulting what I feel within
In times when most existence with herself
Is satisfied, I cannot but believe,
That, far as kindly Nature hath free scope
And Reason's sway predominates ; even so far,
Country, society, and time itself,
That saps the individual's bodily frame,
And lays the generations low in dust,
Do, by the almighty Ruler's grace, partake
Of one maternal spirit, bringing forth
And cherishing with ever-constant love,
That tires not, nor betrays. Our life is turned
Out of her course, wherever man is made
An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool
Or implement, a passive thing employed
As a brute mean, without acknowledgment
Of common right or interest in the end ;
Used or abused, as selfishness may prompt.
Say, what can follow for a rational soul
Perverted thus, but weakness in all good,
And strength in evil ? Hence an after-call
For chastisement, and custody, and bonds,
And oft-times Death, avenger of the past,
And the sole guardian in whose hands we dare
Entrust the future.--Not for these sad issues
Was Man created ; but to obey the law
Of life, and hope, and action. And ʼtis known
That when we stand upon our native soil,
Unelbowed by such objects as oppress

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