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With slackened footsteps I advanced, and soon
A glad congratulation we exchanged
At such unthought-of meeting. For the night
We parted, nothing willingly; and now
He by appointment waited for me here,
Beneath the shelter of these clustering elms.

We were tried Friends: amid a pleasant vale,
In the antique market-village where were passed
My school-days, an apartment he had owned,
To which at intervals the Wanderer drew,
And found a kind of home or harbour there.
He loved me; from a swarm of rosy boys
Singled out me, as he in sport would say,
For my grave looks, too thoughtful for my years.
As I grew up, it was my best delight

To be his chosen comrade. Many a time,
On holidays, we rambled through the woods:
We sate-we walked; he pleased me with report
Of things which he had seen; and often touched
Abstrusest matter, reasonings of the mind
Turned inward; or at my request would sing
Old songs, the product of his native hills;
A skilful distribution of sweet sounds,
Feeding the soul, and eagerly imbibed
As cool refreshing water, by the care

Of the industrious husbandman, diffused

Through a parched meadow-ground, in time of drought. Still deeper welcome found his pure discourse :

How precious when in riper days I learned
To weigh with care his words, and to rejoice
In the plain presence of his dignity!

Oh! many are the Poets that are sown By Nature; men endowed with highest gifts, The vision and the faculty divine; Yet wanting the accomplishment of verse, (Which, in the docile season of their youth, It was denied them to acquire, through lack Of culture and the inspiring aid of books, Or haply by a temper too severe, Or a nice backwardness afraid of shame) Nor having e'er, as life advanced, been led By circumstance to take unto the height The measure of themselves, these favoured Beings, All but a scattered few, live out their time, Husbanding that which they possess within, And go to the grave, unthought of. Strongest minds Are those of whom the noisy world

Hears least; else surely this Man had not left
His graces unrevealed and unproclaimed.
But, as the mind was filled with inward light,
So not without distinction had he lived,
Beloved and honoured-far as he was known.
And some small portion of his eloquent speech,
And something that may serve to set in view
The feeling pleasures of his loneliness,
His observations, and the thoughts his mind

Had dealt with-I will here record in verse;
Which, if with truth it correspond, and sink
Or rise as venerable Nature leads,

The high and tender Muses shall accept
With gracious smile, deliberately pleased,
And listening Time reward with sacred praise.

Among the hills of Athol he was born; Where, on a small hereditary farm,

An unproductive slip of rugged ground,
His Parents, with their numerous offspring, dwelt;
A virtuous household, though exceeding poor!
Pure livers were they all, austere and grave,
And fearing God; the very children taught
Stern self-respect, a reverence for God's word,
And an habitual piety, maintained
With strictness scarcely known on English ground.

From his sixth year, the Boy of whom I speak, In summer, tended cattle on the hills;

But, through the inclement and the perilous days
Of long-continuing winter, he repaired,
Equipped with satchel, to a school, that stood
Sole building on a mountain's dreary edge,
Remote from view of city spire, or sound
Of minster clock! From that bleak tenement
He, many an evening, to his distant home
In solitude returning, saw the hills
Grow larger in the darkness; all alone

Beheld the stars come out above his head,

And travelled through the wood, with no one near To whom he might confess the things he saw.

So the foundations of his mind were laid. In such communion, not from terror free, While yet a child, and long before his time, Had he perceived the presence and the power Of greatness; and deep feelings had impressed Great objects on his mind, with portraiture And colour so distinct, that on his mind They lay like substances, and almost seemed To haunt the bodily sense. He had received A precious gift; for, as he grew in years, With these impressions would he still compare All his remembrances, thoughts, shapes, and forms; And, being still unsatisfied with aught Of dimmer character, he thence attained An active power to fasten images Upon his brain; and on their pictured lines Intensely brooded, even till they acquired The liveliness of dreams. Nor did he fail, While yet a child, with a child's eagerness Incessantly to turn his ear and eye On all things which the moving seasons brought To feed such appetite: nor this alone Appeased his yearning:-in the after day Of boyhood, many an hour in caves forlorn, And 'mid the hollow depths of naked crags

He sate, and even in their fixed lineaments,
Or from the power of a peculiar eye,
Or by creative feeling overborne,

Or by predominance of thought oppressed,
Even in their fixed and steady lineaments
He traced an ebbing and a flowing mind,
Expression ever varying!

Thus informed, He had small need of books; for many a tale Traditionary, round the mountains hung, And many a legend, peopling the dark woods, Nourished Imagination in her growth, And gave the Mind that apprehensive power By which she is made quick to recognise The moral properties and scope of things. But eagerly he read, and read again, Whate'er the minister's old shelf supplied; The life and death of martyrs, who sustained, With will inflexible, those fearful pangs Triumphantly displayed in records left Of persecution, and the Covenant-times Whose echo rings through Scotland to this hour! And there, by lucky hap, had been preserved A straggling volume, torn and incomplete, That left half-told the preternatural tale, Romance of giants, chronicle of fiends, Profuse in garniture of wooden cuts Strange and uncouth; dire faces, figures dire, Sharp-kneed, sharp-elbowed, and lean-ankled too,

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