« PreviousContinue »
mountains along the peaceful hea
wriggling about, his own mother would not know him, so enshrouded is he in sand. That comes of one's suffering himself to be led by the nose-even in retirement-during these troubled times. Yes, Jonathan, about a pounder.
The wallet is empty of all viands now-Jonathan-and in the chapel alehouse it may happen that the sole fare may be but ham and eggs. You see this crutch. We unscrew the cross, and out of the bole emerges a fishing-rod, of which the pieces may be put up so as to suit minnow, trout, grilse, or fish. Now for trout. One of the seals dangling at our watch-chain is a reel. 'Tis an ensnaring seal, Jonathan and on all our love-letters it leaves its irresistible, four horse-hairs thick, 'twould ble impress. A silk reel-line you observe, Jonathan, and gut like gossamer, to whose invisibility in wa ter are attached the murderous midges with black half-heckle on the yellow bodies, and brown mallard wings, adjusted by the microscopic eye and fairy finger of Margaret that is, Mrs Widow Phin. breath of air-the river is low-and bright the sun-nor will he reach for an hour to come those castellated clouds. But let us lay our lures among the lucid murmurs, and in a minute shall you see the silver-shiners in various sizes dancing on the gravel or the greensward, up from the not unsuccessful imitation of the minnow to what might seem― hay, may be the salmon's self.
You seem surprised, Jonathan, at our incessant sport. 'Tis the tackle as much as the touch. In such clear, warm water as this, the very ‹ sight of a great, big, fat fly, like a drowned bummer, would sicken a trout-and if tied to the end of a ca
Aye- there are two to begin withone at the tail-fly, and one at the topbobber. We always angle with five hooks, Jonathan, on an occasion like this, when to garnish the grosser we desire some fry. Why, they seem smoults! How can that be in the Duddon in May? Trouts. But born and bred in this gravelly shallow, their scales are as silver, and you almost suppose you see through them, as you hold up their twisting slipperiness between you and the sun. Ha! there's a two-year-old off-at-score, as if on a half-mile race with a swarm of subscribers. But he will soon lose his fastness, Jonathan-and we have him hard in hand that he may not bolt off the course in among those birch-roots. You see that small circle of sand, "sharpening its mooned horns"-thither shall we persuade the sumph to sail; Jonathan, don't you almost find him already wallopping in your wallet? There he has swum himself ashore and there, like a serpent
frighten a pool out of its seven senses, But these flies-scarcely flies-these midges, moving like motes on the water, solicit the fishy stomach with almost airy allurement, which the largest lobbers-as you seeeven when lying indolently beneath the bank, retired from the glare of noon that stupifies their panting brethren in the unprotected channel, have not the philosophy to resist. They sail slowly up to the slow speck, and just putting out their tongues-so-lick in the inextricable barb. It gives them no pain, Jonathan-merely a puzzle ; and you may well think, that, for a while, they can with difficulty believe their eyes, when they see, by the receding stones, that they are journeying towards the opposite "banks and braes o' bonnie Duddon," from which, almost before some of them have leisure to distinguish the sward from the stream, they are transferred into thy wallet, Jonathan, that seems quick with child.
You think we have killed somewhere from ten to twelve pound; and such slaughter-pretty well in a sunbright hour-will suffice to eke out the ham and eggs into no despicable dinner. Bless us-Seathwaite Chapel! and there are our friends sitting with the landlord in the honeysuckled porch of the alehouse, each with what seems a jug in his dexter hand. The scamps! that would not stay for the sonnets, though recited by an angel's tongue. Alas! there is little love of poetry left in this low life of ours-so now for the Ham and Eggs.
The kitchen clock is striking six as we stoop our anointed head beneath the slate-roofed door-wayand at six, to a second, stands our
watch, such is the sympathy between the worthies. We cheerfully confess that we have occasionally seen a clean tablecloth in a Scotch small wayside or hedgerow inn. But nine hundred and ninety-nine times in the thousand, they have shewn mustard. In England, again-the dirty is supposed to be as one to a million. April snows are tolerablywhite, and so are April clouds and April lambs-but they are grey in comparison with this cloth bleached in May sun and shower, whose drapery descends in graceful folds from this Round Table standing as firm on one leg as if it had four, at equal distance from hearth and door, bed and window. Such bread! baked of finest flour for the nonce in a pan-oven that raises the light-brown crust almost into the delicacy of the coating of bridecake, while close-grained even as that "mighty magic," kythes, as you break it, the crumbling inconsisteney of the fair interior! Graceful from the gridiron that crump circle of oatmeal wafers, broad as the bottom of a beehive; and what honey-comb! The scent is as of thyme, and by some conjuration, preserved has been the cellular framework all winter through, and therein lies the dewy flower-distilment, as clear as when the treasure was taken at harvest-close from the industrious people, who in a moment hushed their hum. That is our pot of porridge; and oh! it is exquisite when supped with cream! Of all liquid lustres, the loveliest sure is that of elder-flower wine. And delicately blending hospitality with the welcome due to all who peaceably enter here, the Mistress has placed that crystal at the Elder's elbow, saying, with a smile, that "quality have commended it," and 'tis in truth delightful sma' drink, and tastes racily of the tree. Aren't these pretty patterns of suns and sun-flowers, stars and roses, impressed on the glistening countenance of that glorious butter? Till now never saw we yellow. Put a spoon into that cream-it stands for a few moments straight-and then slowly declining, leans on the edge of the jug, like a young lady about to go into a swoon. The sight reminds us of the phial of concentrated Essence of Coffee in the fob of our jacket. There it is, and nobody must mistake it for the ketchup. All the hens in Seathwaite must have been laying to-day; else how these plates
of poached, and these bowls of boiled? Seldom to be seen such a Teapot. But for the stroop, you might mistake it for a Tureen. Who expected to see you here? Yes-it is THE ROUND-towering by himself on that chest of drawers. No-not by himself-beneath his shadow reposes an unmistakeable Brandy-bottle; nor will the froth on that ale-jug melt, till into it Christopher has dipped his Roman proboscis.
'Tis pleasing thus to compress all the meals that are usually scattered over the day into One mighty anonymous meal, in matter multiform, multifarious, and multitudinous, as in spirit the myriad-minded Shakspeare. Hark! how deliciously salutes our ears the hissing, and the fizzing, and the pabbling of the great pan in which the basted trouts are writhing as if in torments, while the gudewife herself, though she has had her tea and toast, feels herself called on now, as she values her temporal and eternal welfare, to bring household honour and conjugal pride to the aid of conscience and religion, that the Christian heroine may prove victorious over the temptation of the fish, and gain an immortal conquest over the savoury sin soliciting her, as Satan did Eve, with insidious whispers from the heart of that seducing Fry! She turns, but tastes them not-and just putting the fork to her lips, with a scientific whaumle empties the great pan into the great platter, and bearing the feast at arm's length and bosom-high, makes her entrée into the Parlour like a Queen.
Assuredly, next to the satisfactionof a good conscience is that of a wellfilled stomach. They are likewise kindred. So are hunger and remorse. We feel now that we have well performed our part in life-and are willing to leave the world to write our epitaph. Seem made for us, as if the carpenter had taken our measure, back and bottom of this easiest of all easy-chairs. Yet we see from these quaintly carved numerals 'tis a hundred years old. Contemporary with it all the rest of the oaken furniture; for we know that the wife of the landlord of New-Field was sole heiress of a statesman, and though the HillFarm and all its sycamores were sold to pay "ten mortgages rolled into one," in consequence of many strange calamities that kept befalling her humble house, the "family plenish
ing" was preserved, and fortune smiles now on the worthy pair, yet in the prime of life, though with sons and daughters ripe for love or war, That was a pretty creature who now took away the cheese-and the stripling who shook hands with Jonathan, when he has filled
"The day is placid in its going, To a lingering stillness bound, Like a river in its flowing,
Can there be a softer sound?"
The loveliest of all light is that which precedes the moon, while yet her unseen orb is journeying up
likely lad for thep a bit, will be a from behind the hill, and you are
Belt at Carlisle.
The scene shifts to the seat beneath the sycamore that hangs its twilight o'er the inn, ere it has touched the open atmosphere, which be gins, however, to breathe of the stilly spirit of the late afternoon. Cuckoo! cuckoo! cuckoo! The mellow monotone is not unmusical-but what means Shallow-bill by that flitting cry?" With soul as strong as a mountain river," from the top of the pine beside the chapel-tower bursts out the bold blackbird into a delirium of song-and seems delighted at intervals, to listen to its echoes tinkling hurriedly among the rocks. Who shall sing a second to that song? Not Sontag's self-though surnamed the Nightingale.
In nature," says Coleridge," there is nothing melancholy," wisely meaning that no living thing is created for unhappiness, and that the ordinary language of inferior life is expressive of pleasure. We wish we could say that in nature there is nothing discordant; but were we to say so, the bray of that ass would give us the lie. If he be gifted by nature with a musical ear, there must be some peculiarity in his throat and lungs that prevents him from carrying his ideas into execution. The distinguished donkey has finished his solo," and we trust will not be offended by our declining to call "encore." Yet he has been unconsciously exerting his vocal powers to enhance the delight of the ensuing silence and in the hush, how pleasant the lowing of the kine, for 'tis the season of the milky mothers are musicalvin' their affection, and seldom have we heard a more harmonious concert of cOWS. BEL 100 But now 'tis gloaming-at least so thinks that batas dips the flittermouse fearlessly within a foot of our heads, and then keeps wavering to and fro between the sycamore and the barn. The most cheerful objects seem almost solemn in the dusk while
sud one oved Itodę nowe wok
uncertain over what place she will raise her silver rim. Expect her rising as you will, the suddenness always adds a slight surprise to your delight, and for a moment you are doubtful if it be indeed the moon. Full seen now in slow ascension, how she deepens the whole blue serene of heaven! For a while you know not that there are any stars. But look! there is one large and lustrous-and now is the sky bedropt with diamonds, dim as if dewy; but there will be no rain to morrow, for no aerial tresses are dishevelled along the "lift;" and the few clouds there are braided into folds of perfect peace. From heaven we withdraw our eyes, and they fall quietly on the house of God. Troutbech Chapel-Langdale Chapel
Wythburn Chapel - Buttermere Chapel-Wastdale Chapel - Seathwaite Chapel-we bless you all! And every other holy edifice that cheers the Sabbath-silence of the mountains with its single bell. Children are ye of one mother-church, and true to her religious faith, in your humble ritual, as minster or cathedral, "Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault, The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
A sort of slumbrous softness seems as if it were dewily sealing our away with her into the land of eyes, and sleep whispers us to steal dreams. Seven long leagues of a mountain-walk are something to a man of seventytis seventeen hours since Christopher and the Sun arose and more than an hour ago the wearied sun betook himself to rest." The remaining luminary—not the Moon-must follow the example; his age entitles him to the singlebedded-room and his night's rest is broken by the mildest snore. Good-night, boys-and, Jonathan, see they do not get into mischief when their guardian has gone to roost. "To-morrow for fresh fields and pastures/
ISMENE AND LEANDER. IN THREE BALLADS.
(From the German of Hölty.)
SINCE Adam did the fruit receive
Of sin, there ne'er has been a More beauteous progeny of Eve Than was the fair Ismene.
She was just in her eighteenth year —
Her figure all the grace bespeaks
That was to Venus given; · Two blushing roses were her cheeks, Her eyes the blue of heaven. Her mouth a blooming Paradise,
With ceaseless smiles abounding, And when she sung there seem'd the voice Of angel choirs resounding.
And bridal maids already plait
The garlands for the wedding; toe And to the dance of neighbours met Are pipe and fiddle aiding. What think you then? the cunning witch, As she this way did wander, Approach'd and gave his ears a twitch, And said, "Get up, Leander."
And she was like in every whit
To her whose love he courted ; Leander from his dreaming fit,
Bewitch'd with joy, upstarted ; And round her neck his arms he threw, And many a kiss imprinted ;* And "Are you here, my own love true ?” He cried, like one demented.
The car its airy voyage steer'd With never-ceasing motion, Until at length an isle appear'd
Green glittering in the ocean. In distant southern seas it lay, Which never Cook sailed over, Nor those so famous in their day, Great Dampier and Vancouver.
And sure it was a paradise,
All earthly bliss unfurling ; Joy murmur'd sweet in every breeze, And in the streams was purling. A dwelling fit for gods, I ween,
So famed in ancient story; In thousand dancing floods was seen Bright Phoebus' golden glory.
And zephyrs bland from op'ning flowers
And angel-voices in the breeze
Were accents sweet expressing; And turtle dovelets on the trees Were cooing and caressing. Beneath the shade of matted vines, O magical creation! Out-gush'd the most delicious wines Into a golden basin.
And in the lawn was distant seen
A splendid palace towering,
More bright than mortal mind conceives,
Erected by the devil;
God save us! where the fairies pass
Within, a large saloon received
Where tapestries the sight deceived,
Jove, changed into a milk-white swan,
And by the hand of Titian
Mars put to shame by Vulcan.
The mighty Sultan eke was seen
With fairest houris gamboling,
And here they lived a life of glee,
Or chocolade their potion.
With festal pomp was given.
Ismene winks and straight appear,
All sorts and shapes of dishes.
And last of all, plumb-pudding.
And jellies bright, with seedcake baked
Of beer and ale and perry,
And claret made them merry.
And then they spent sweet hours of bliss
And lemonade were ready ;
Wide o'er the west was streaming, And to their supper then they sped, From golden dishes gleaming.
And when the groves, in silent night,
Then wander'd forth in bright moonlight,
Beneath a branching myrtle's shade
And arm in arm entwined they lay, Their heart's desire indulging;