Favorite authors in prose and poetry online

. (page 22 of 66)
Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 22 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

ers; and thus grants to fancy the highest efficacy. Thus
does art ever represent divinity, and that which stands in
human relation to it is religion; what we acquire through
art is from God, a divine suggestion, which sets up a goal
for human capacities, which the spirit attains.

" We do not know what grants us knowledge ; the firmly
enclosed seed needs the moist, warm, electric soil to grow,
think, express itself. Music is the electric soil in which the
spirit lives, thinks, invents. Philosophy is the precipitation
of its electric spirit; and its necessity, which will ground
everything upon a first principle, is supplied by music;
and although the spirit be not master of that which it
creates through music, yet is it blessed in this creation;
in this manner, too, is every creation of art independent ;
mightier than the artist himself, and returns by its appear-
ance back to the divine ; and is only connected with men,
in so much as it bears witness to the divine mediation
in him.

"Music gives to the spirit relation to harmony. A
thought abstracted has still the feeling of communion, of
affinity, in the spirit ; thus each thought in music is in the
most intimate, inseparable affinity with the communion of
harmony, which is unity.


" The electric excites the spirit to musical, fluent, stream-
ing production.

" I am of electric nature. I must break off with my
unwitnessed wisdom, else I shall miss the rehearsal ; write
to Goethe about me, if you understand me; but I can
answer nothing, and I will willingly let myself be instructed
by him." I promised him to write to you all, as well as I
could understand it. He took me to a grand rehearsal,
with full orchestra, there T sat in the wide, unlighted
space, in a box quite alone ; single gleams stole through
the crevices and knot-holes, in which a stream of bright
sparks were dancing, like so many streets of light, peopled
by happy spirits.

There, then, I saw this mighty spirit exercise his rule.
O GoetlTe ! no emperor and no king feels such entire con-
sciousness of his power, and that all pWer proceeds from
him, as this Beethoven, who just now, in the garden, in vain
sought out the source from which he receives it all ; did I
understand him as I feel him, then I should know every-
thing. There he stood so firmly resolved, his gestures,
his countenance, expressed the completion of his creation ;
he prevented each error, each misconception ; not a breath
was voluntary ; all, by the genial presence of his spirit, set
in the most regulated activity. One could prophesy that
such a spirit, in its later perfection, would step forth again
as ruler of the earth.



SINCE Nature's works be good, and death doth serve
As Nature's work : why should we fear to die ?
Since fear is vain but when it may preserve :
Why should we fear that which we cannot fly ?

Fear is more pain* than is the pain it fears,
Disarming human minds of native might :
While each conceit an ugly figure bears,
Which were not ill, well viewed in reason's light.

Our only eyes, which dimmed with passions be,
And scarce discern the dawn of coming day,
Let them be cleared, and now begin to see,
Our life is but a step in dusty way.

Then let us hold the bliss of peaceful mind,
Since this we feel, great loss we cannot find.



'The pleasant books, that silently among

Our household treasures take familiar places,
And are to us as if a living tongue

Spake from the printed leaves or pictured faces ! "




ALFRED TENNYSON : The Hesperides .... 1

THOMAS HUGHES : The Ashen Fagot . . 6

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES: Contentment ... 47

ANNA THACKERAY : Little Scholars ... 50

A. WEST : Andante 68

SIR THOMAS BROWNE : On Dreams .... 69

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI : Goblin Market .... 74

THEODORE WINTHROP : Love and Skates ... 92

D. G. ROSSETTI : The Blessed Damozel .... 162

JEAN PAUL: The Happy Life of a Parish Priest . 167
THOMAS HOOD : The Song of the Shirt . . . .173

SAMUEL SMILES : John Flaxman 176

JOHN G. WHITTIER: Raphael 185

W. M. THACKERAY: Tunbridge Toys .... 188

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH: To the Moon .... 196

LORD JEFFREY : Character of Watt .... 198

CHARLES LAMB : An Essay on Roast Pig . . . 203


D. A. WASSON : All '* Well 212

CHARLES DICKENS : Carlavero's Bottle .... 215

MRS. H. B. STOWE : When I awake, I am still with thee 227
JOHN KEATS: The Eve of St. Agnes . . . .228

ADELAIDE A. PROCTER: Links with Heaven . . 241

HENRY D. THOREAU : Winter Animals in the Woods . 243

SYDNEY DOBELL : Home, Wounded .... 253

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY : Thoughts from the Arcadia . . 263

LORD BYRON : The Rhine 265

ROSE TERRY : A Woman . 267

J. G. HOLLAND : Daniel Gray 295


SHELLEY: Beatrice's Song 317

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT: Thanatopsis .... 318



"Hesperus and his daughters three,
That sing about the golden tree." COMCS.

THE North-wind fallen, in the new-starred night
ZMonian Hanno, voyaging beyond
The hoary promontory of Soloe
Past Thymiaterion, in calmed bays,
Between the southern and the western Horn,
Heard neither warbling of the nightingale,
Nor melody o' the Lybian lotus-flute
Blown seaward from the shore ; but from a slope
That ran bloom-bright into the Atlantic blue,
Beneath a highland leaning down a weight
Of cliffs, and zoned below with cedar-shade,
Came voices, like the voices in a dream,
Continuous, till he reached the outer sea.


The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit,
Guard it well, guard it warily,

* The Laureate of England (whose latest portrait fronts our title-page)
has seen fit to ignore many of his earlier productions, some of which he
thought well enough of once. The one entitled " Hesperides " is too gen-



Singing airily,

Standing about the charmed root.

Round about all is mute,

As the snow-field on the mountain-peaks,

As the sand-field at the mountain-foot.

Crocodiles in briny creeks

Sleep and stir not : all is mute.

If ye sing not, if ye make false measure,

We shall lose eternal pleasure,

Worth eternal want of rest.

Laugh not loudly : watch the treasure

Of the wisdom of the west.

In a corner wisdom whispers. Five and three

(Let it not be preached abroad) make an awful mystery.

For the blossom unto threefold music bloweth ;

Evermore it is born anew ;

And the sap to threefold music floweth,

From the root

Drawn in the dark,

Up tq the fruit,

Creeping under the fragrant bark,

Liquid gold, honey-sweet, through and through.

Keen-eyed sisters, singing airily,

Looking warily

Every way,

Guard the apple night and day,

Lest one from the east come and take it away.


Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, ever and aye,
Looking under silver hair with a silver eye.

uine a poem to be left out of his *' complete edition," and we print it here
because we think it worthy of the bard of " Locksley Hull" and " The
Ladv of Shalott."


Father, twinkle not thy steadfast sight ;

Kingdoms lapse, and climates change, and races die ;

Honor comes with mystery ;

Hoarded wisdom brings delight.

Number, tell them over and number

How many the mystic fruit-tree holds,

Lest the red-combed dragon slumber

Rolled together in purple folds.

Look to him, father, lest he wink, and the golden apple be

stolen away,
For his ancient heart is drunk with overwatchings night

and day,

Round about the hallowed fruit-tree curled :
Sing awa%y, sing aloud evermore in the wind, without stop,
Lest his scaled eyelid drop,

For he is older than the world.

If he waken, we waken,

Rapidly levelling eager eyes.

If he sleep, we sleep,

Dropping the eyelid over the eyes.

If the golden apple be taken,

The world will be overwise.

Five links, a golden chain, are we,

Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,

Bound about the golden tree.


Father Hesper, Father Hesper, watch, watch, night and day,

Lest the old wound of the world be healed,

The glory unsealed,

The golden apple stolen away,

And the ancient secret revealed.

Look from west to east along :

Father, old Hirnala weakens, Caucasus is bold aiid strong.


Wandering waters unto wandering waters call ;

Let them clash together, foam and fall.

Out of watchings, out of wiles,

Comes the bliss of secret smiles.

All things are not told to all.

Half-round the mantling night is drawn,

Purple-fringed with even and dawn.

Hesper hateth Phosphor, evening hateth morn.


Every flower and every fruit the redolent breath

Of this warm sea-wind ripeneth,

Arching the billow in his sleep ;

But the land-wind wandereth,

Broken by the highland-steep,

Two streams upon the violet deep :

For the western sun and the western star,

And the low west-wind, breathing afar,

The end of day and beginning of night,

Make the apple holy and bright ;

Holy and bright, round and full, bright and blest,

Mellowed in a land of rest ;

Watch it warily day and night ;

All good things are in the west.

Till midnoon the cool east light

Is shut out by the round of the tall hill-brow ;

But when the full-faced sunset yellowly

Stays on the flowering arch of the bough,

The luscious fruitage clustereth mellowly,

Golden-kernelled, golden-cored,

Sunset-ripened above on the tree.

The world is wasted with fire and sword,

But the apple of gold hangs over the sea.

Five links, a golden chain, are we,


Hesper, the dragon, and sisters three,

Daughters three,

Bound about

All round about

The gnarled bole of the charmed tree.

The golden apple, the golden apple, the hallowed fruit,

Guard it well, guard it warily,

Watch it warily,

Singing airily,'

Standing about the charmed root





AT about four o'clock on Christmas Eve, a year or two
back, two men trudged briskly up the little village
street of Lilburne, in the county of Wilts. They were both
dressed in rough shooting-suits, and one carried a common
game-bag, and the other a knapsack. Each of them had a
stout stick in his hand. The elder, who might be six or
seven and twenty, wore a strong reddish-brown beard. The
rest of his rather broad face was well tanned by exposure to
weather ; he had a clear, merry gray eye, and an air of very
British self-reliance about him. The younger, in his twen-
tieth year, or thereabouts, wore also as much beard as na-
ture had yet bestowed on him, and was tanned a ruddy
brown. He was darker than his companion, and his com-
plexion would have been sallow, but for the work of sun
and air on* it. There was the possibility of great ner-
vous irritability and excitableness in the look of him ; but
this natural tendency of his constitution and temperament
seemed, at least for the present, to be counteracted by
robust health.

The two stopped at the door of " The Wagoner's Rest,"
the only public house of Lilburne village.

" Well, here we are then, at the last stage. How much
farther do you say it is?"


"Just six miles."

" I 'ra never quite at ease about your arithmetic, Johnny.
Hullo here. House ! landlord ! who 's at home here ? " and
he gave a thump or two on the door-post, which brought
mine host out with a run.

" How far do you call it to Avenly, landlord ? "

"A matter o' seven miles, sir."

" There, you see, Herbert, I was n't far wrong," said the

" A mile out, Johnny, never mind. Now what do yoi
say ? shall we push on at once, or stop and feed ? "

" What should you. like ? "

" That has nothing to say to it. You 're in command, you
know, sinc# this morning."

" Well, I should n't like to be there very early. I 'm
sure you would feel yourself "

" Then we call a halt," interrupted the elder, leading the
way into the house ; " this cold air of yours has given me a
deuce of an appetite. Now, landlord, what can we have to
eat, directly ? Some cold meat, or whatever you can give
us at once. Mind, sharp 's the word ! Or, never mind, no,
you go and draw us some of your best tap. You 11 help us,
ma'am, I can see, about the eatables, and I'm sure we
couldn't be in better hands."

This speech, begun in the street, ended in the tiny bar of
" The Wagoner's Rest," in which the hostess stood, a tidy,
well-looking woman, in Sunday cap and ribbons, donned in
honor of the season, and of the rush of guests whom she
was expecting as the day wore on.

She was flattered by the compliment of her off-hand
guest, who clearly was not in the habit of letting the
grass grow on his own heels, or on those of any one else
with whom he had to do. He had sent her bustling off in
a minute or two to cook rashers of bacon on toast, and to
run round to the yard in the forlorn hope that one of the


hens might have so forgotten herself as to lay IL such
weather, in that cold, dark little stable of " The Wag mer's
Rest." Meanwhile, he had taken possession of the bar,
heaped up the fire, seated his companion opposite to him,
and, by the time the landlord arrived with a jug of his best
ale, was as much at home as if he had been in the habit of
taking his meals there once a week for the last ten years.

" I 'm afraid you '11 find it a leetel chilly, gentlemen," said
the landlord, as he placed the jug and glasses on the table ;
"the cellar ain't altogether as warm as it should be."

" O, never fear ! We shall warm your ale fast enough,
I've no doubt. Home-brewed, eh?"

" Ees, whoam-brewed, sir ; I does the maltin' for all the
farmers round. 'Tis raal malt and hops, I assure 'ee."

" That 's all right then. Yes, that has the right smack,"
he went on, pouring out a glass and taking it off, " fine and
bright and wholesome tackle. We have n't tasted such ale
this many a day, have we, Johnny ? But, as you say, a
little chilled ; so we '11 put it on the hob till the rashers
come. Real old Christmas weather this, eh, landlord ? "

"Ah, 'tis, sir."

a And when does your mail-cart come by ? "

"At eight o'clock, sir."

"Well, the driver will bring our traps, and there is a
carrier from this to Avenly, is n't there ? "

"Ees, sir."

"Does he live here?"

"Just athert the street, sir."

" Then I should like to see him. You can send over for
him presently. Ah, here come the rashers. They look
splendid, ma'am. But no eggs ! "

" Well, sir, you see as our hens gets no het about the
place. My master don't kep no beastesses. There 's no
'commodation for 'em here, and I tells 'un th' hens wunt
lay without het."


"Never mind, ma'am; the hens are quite right. We
shall do famously with that splendid loaf and the cheese.
Here, Johnny, hold your plate. We 're not turning you out,
ma'am ? Pray, don't go, don't mind us."

The landlady protested that they were quite welcome to
the bar, and soon followed her husband, leaving them alone
to their meal, to which they proceeded to do ample justice.
The worthy pair were soon discussing their guests with one
or two village gossips, who had already arrived in the
kitchen, amongst them the village carrier.

The travellers lost no time over their food. The land-
lady was summoned, complimented, and paid, and came out
of her bar again very favorably impressed with the stran-
gers. In another minute they were in the kitchen amongst
the circle of the Lilburne quidnuncs, ready for the road.
The elder made the necessary arrangement with the carrier
to bring on their luggage, and then, after shaking hands
with the courtesying landlady, they sallied out into the
street, accompanied to the door by the landlord and several
of the men. The daylight was fast slipping away. The
air was perfectly still and hushed, but a dull heavy curtain
of cloud had settled on the village, from which every now
and then a crisp flake or two of snow came floating gently
down. .

" We sha'n't have much light for our walk, Johnny ; are
you sure about the road?"

"I should think so. Besides, there is no turn in it
except the one at the end of the village, on to the downs."

"Very good. You are pilot. It's a straight road to
Avenly, eh ? " he added, turning to the carrier.

" Ees ; but 't is a unked road to kep to in a vail, is the
downs road," replied the carrier, " by reason as there ain't
no hedges, and sech like, to go by."

" You think we 're going to have a fall, then ? "

" It hev looked like nothin' else aal day."


" Then we must make the most of the daylight. The
moon will be up in an hour."

" Ees ; but her '11 kep t' other side o' th' fall, zur."

" Small blame to her. Well, good night."

A chorus of " Good nights " from the conclave at the
door of "The Wagoner's Rest" followed the two travel-
lers, as they strode away down the village street. Before
they were out of sight, the snow began to fall in earnest
The villagers stood gaping after them. Such an event was
to them as good as a war telegram to their kindred circles
in the neighborhood of St. James's.

"Be 'em genTvolk, now, zhould 'ee zay?" asked the
blacksmith, taking his pipe from his mouth.

"GenTvolk! Wut bist thenkin' ov?" replied the

" Wut, dost n't thenk so ? I 'ze warn'd 'em for genT-
volk, that I 'ool," put in the landlord. " Wut dost take 'em
for, then?"

" Zummat in th' engineerin' line, or contractor chaps,
med be."

" Noa, noa ! Thaay be too pleasant-spoken, and don't
give no trouble."

" But wut dost zaay to them ther 5 girt beards ? And th'
clothes on 'em like zacks, and mwoast as coarse ? "

The beard movement, and modern habits of dress, had
not yet penetrated to Lilburne. The carrier's last remark
seemed to puzzle the landlord, more or less.

" Wut dost zaay, Muster Gabbet ? " he said, turning to
one of the circle, who had not yet spoken ; " be 'em genT-
volk, or bean't 'em?"

The person appealed to had been a groom in his youth,
who had seen " Lunnon," and other distant countries. He
kept a pony, too, on which he frequented all neighboring
meets of hounds, and other sporting gatherings, and was
considered a great authority by the Lilburne coterie on any


matter involving knowledge of life. From his contact with
the outer world the edges of his accent had been rubbed off.
He was a man of few and weighty words.

" Gentlemen, to be sure," replied Mr. Gabbet.

" I told 'ee zo," said the landlord, triumphantly, turning to
the carrier.

" Wi' beards like bottle-brushes ! haw, haw ! " rejoined
that worthy, by no means discomfited.

"That's no odds," replied Mr. Gabbet " Last coursin'
meetin' ther' was half th' young squires wi' beards."

" And wi' duds on 'em, like galley-crows, I s'poses ! haw,
haw ! " said the incredulous carrier.

" What dost go on laaffin' for, thee girt gawney ? " said the
landlord ^ " that 's how th' genTvolk do dress now-a-days,
bean't it, Mr. Gabbet ? Ther 5 wur young Squire Mundell
passed here only last week, dressed noways different from
thaay ; only he 'd a got zhart wide breeches, and red striped
stockin's, he had, and mortal queer a did look."

"They calls them dresses nick-and-nockers," said Mr.
Gabbet, gravely.

" Nockers or no, / dwont call 'em genTvolk," persisted
the incorrigible carrier.

" Thee 'st as cam as a peg. 'T ain't a mossel o' use to talk
sense to th'."

At this point of the dialogue the objects of the conversa-
tion took the turn towards the downs, and disappeared, and
Mr. Gabbet retired suddenly into the house. He was lol-
lowed at once by the rest, and the knotty question was
adjourned to the chimney-corner, where it furnished talk
for the rest of the evening, and caused the consumption of
several extra mugs of beer.



THE little hamlet of Avenly is dropped, as it were, in a
dip of the downs, many miles from anything approaching to
a town. It consists of a miniature church, and neat parson-
age-house and garden ; the manor-house and curtilage,
which we must look at more closely presently ; one public
house ; two or three general shops in a very small way, one
of which is the post-office ; and a dozen or two thatched
cottages. These are scattered prettily enough by the side
of the road from Lilburne to Devizes, or of the little clear
brook, which runs parallel to the road through the hamlet,
between the church and the manor-house.

There are three or four clumps of fine ashes and elms in
or near the hamlet, of which the biggest is the rookery at
the end of the manor-garden. There is also timber in the
fences of the few enclosures, one of which enclosures is a
fine orchard, and there are fruit-trees in most of the cottage-
gardens. Where the hamlet stands, the dip is not half a
mile across; it is narrower yet above, and widens below.
The downs encircle the place on all sides. Except within
the enclosures, not a tree is to be seen ; and the contrast is
what gives its peculiar charm to the little out-of-the-way
place, as it lies there in the lap of the great brown bare
downs, rejoicing in its own shade and verdure. The first
glance from the brow above, as you come upon it either
from the Lilburne or Devizes side, shows you at once the
character of the place. It has the special characteristics of
the old manor, the big house in the middle, the little copy-
hold tenements clustering about it, and around a sea of com-
mon lands ; not that the lands are copyhold, but the manor-
house is so completely the centre of the little community,
that one could easily fancy the little people about holding
their allotments still by suit and service, as indeed they


do j for almost all of them are employed by the owner of
the manor-house.

The manor-house itself is one in which the first impres-
sion you get on entering, and the last which remains with
you after you leave, will most likely be that here, if any-
where in the world, there is no lack of anything.

There is no lack of room. The house is a great, old-
fashioned, rambling brick and flint building, with more
rooms than anybody can possibly want who is ever likely
to live there, and not the sort of little useless rooms which
one often sees in country houses, but good, large twenty-
foot-by-fifteen places, where a dozen children might romp
on a wet day. The outhouses, wlu'ch have been built up by
successive generations of wealthy tillers of the soil, each of
whom has had some special fancy in the matter of stables,
brew-houses, granaries, or barns, are various, solid, and
quaint. They surround a yard which covers half an acre
of ground, paved with flint round two of the sides to a
breadth of some twelve feet, but otherwise soft-bottomed and
full of straw, in which fat heifers stand over their hocks,
and munch out of the racks which are set up at several
points and constantly replenished, and saucy calves disport
themselves, and bully the younger generations of small-
limbed, fat-sided black pigs, their fellow-occupants. There
is animal life of all kinds, representatives of every species
of domestic beast or fowl which can be used either for profit
or pleasure. There is no lack of dead stock, dozens of
hay-ricks and corn-stacks thatched mounds full of mangold-
wurzel and turnips and potatoes, besides well-stored barns
and granaries ; a dozen ploughs, eight or ten wagons, carts,
a light carriage or two, and a steam-engine.

And, lastly, there is no lack of human stock to crown the
whole ; jolter-headed plough-boys and carter-boys, and farm-
servants and house-servants, and ". the family," with whom
we are chiefly concerned. The head of these, and feudal


king and lord paramount of , the little hamlet of Avenly, is
Farmer John Kendrick, as he would call himself, Squire
Kendrick, as the peasantry all around call liirn. He is the
fourth or fifth in descent of his family, who have owned a
considerable tract of land in the dip of the downs in which
Avenly lies ; and, besides his own land, he farms a great
tract of the downs on lease. In fact, he pays more than
four fifths of the tithes and rates of the parish himself, and
employs all but some dozen or so of the whole male popu-
lation. He is, at the time of our story, a hale man of about
forty- three, a good sportsman, and an energetic and success-
ful fanner, reasonably well educated, and open-minded, of
good plain manners, without mucli polish. He has no near
neighbors, except his parson, and no spare time to go far

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 22 of 66)