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BOOK VIII.

RETROSPECT.-LOVE OF NATURE LEADING TO

LOVE OF MAN.

BOOK EIGHTH.

RETROSPECT.-LOVE OF NATURE LEADING TO
LOVE OF MAN.

WHAT Sounds are those, Helvellyn, that are heard
Up to thy summit, through the depth of air
Ascending, as if distance had the power

To make the sounds more audible?

What crowd

Covers, or sprinkles o'er, yon village green ?

Crowd seems it, solitary hill! to thee,

Though but a little family of men,

Shepherds and tillers of the ground-betimes
Assembled with their children and their wives,
And here and there a stranger interspersed.

They hold a rustic fair-a festival,

Such as, on this side now, and now on that,
Repeated through his tributary vales,
Helvellyn, in the silence of his rest,

Sees annually, if clouds towards either ocean

Blown from their favourite resting-place, or mists

Dissolved, have left him an unshrouded head.
Delightful day it is for all who dwell

In this secluded glen, and eagerly

They give it welcome. Long ere heat of noon,

From byre or field the kine were brought; the sheep

Are penned in cotes; the chaffering is begun.
The heifer lows, uneasy at the voice

Of a new master; bleat the flocks aloud.

Booths are there none; a stall or two is here;

A lame man or a blind, the one to beg,
The other to make music; hither, too,

From far, with basket, slung upon her arm,

Of hawker's wares-books, pictures, combs, and pins-
Some aged woman finds her way again,

Year after year, a punctual visitant !
There also stands a speech-maker by rote,
Pulling the strings of his boxed raree-show
And in the lapse of many years may come
Prouder itinerant, mountebank, or he
Whose wonders in a covered wain lie hid.
But one there is, the loveliest of them all,
Some sweet lass of the valley, looking out
For gains, and who that sees her would not buy?

Fruits of her father's orchard, are her wares,

And with the ruddy produce, she walks round

Among the crowd, half pleased with half ashamed
Of her new office, blushing restlessly.

The children now are rich, for the old to-day
Are generous as the young; and, if content
With looking on, some ancient wedded pair
Sit in the shade together, while they gaze,
"A cheerful smile unbends the wrinkled brow,
The days departed start again to life,
And all the scenes of childhood reappear,

Faint, but more tranquil, like the changing sun.
To him who slept at noon and wakes at eve." (9)
Thus gaiety and cheerfulness prevail,

Spreading from young to old, from old to young,
And no one seems to want his share.-Immense
Is the recess, the circumambient world
Magnificent, by which they are embraced:
They move about upon the soft green turf:
How little they, they and their doings, seem,
And all that they can further or obstruct!
Through utter weakness pitiably dear,

As tender infants are: and yet how great!

For all things serve them them the morning light

Loves, as it glistens on the silent rocks;

And them the silent rocks, which now from high

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