+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

decidedly out of the perpendicular; afterwards,
perusing works of a rural and pastoral description,
a cottage became to me a little paradise
of ivy, and honeysuckles, and woodbine. It
had a pretty porch, where a young lady in a
quilted petticoat, and a young gentleman in a
napped waistcoat, both after the manner (and
a very sweet one it is) of Mr. Frank Stone,
made first and last appeals to each other all
the year round. The times have changed,
and I, so I suppose, have changed with them.
I am sceptical, ignorant, undecided, about the
cottage now. Sometimes it is the slate-pencil
cottage, sometimes the Frank Stone one,
sometimes the cottage of the sixpenny
valentines, quitting which, by a bright yellow
serpentine path, a gentleman in a blue coat, and
a lady in a pink dress, wend their way to the
altar of Hymen. Sometimes, oh reader of
mine! I see other cottages, dreadful cottages,
squalid cottages, cottages in Church Lane,
Saint Giles's, where frowsy women in tattered
shawls crouch stolidly on the door-step;
where ragged, filthy children wallow with
fowls and pigs amidst the dirt and squalor.
Sometimes I see cottages in my fondly
pictured rural districtscottages dilapidated,
half unroofed, where gaunt agricultural
labourers are sullenly wrangling with relieving
officers; where white-headed, brick-dust
faced children cry for bread; where mother
is down with the fever, and grandmother
bedridden, yet querulously refusing to go into
the dreaded "House."

Perhaps I am wrong in all this. Perhaps
all these theories about mansions, residences,
houses, villas, and the inexplicable cottages,
after all may be but wild and improbable
theoriescrude, vague, purposeless speculations.
But I have said my say, and shall be
wiser some day, I hope, in other matters
besides "Houses to Let."


OH, NATURE! ever wondrous, ever new,
    Whose magic varies with each passing glance;
    Thy common scenes are lovely as romance;
Thy daily life a miracle most true,
    Ever awake, our senses to entrance.

All thou dost touch, a similar touch can give,
    And all become enchanted who touch thee:
    Thy forms, that breathe in vital energy,
Are of such power their very shadows live,
    Till Art partakes thine immortality.

'Tis Sunday morn: a bright and lovely day!
    Come, then, with me, and mark how Nature moves
    In the broad field of Christian faiths and loves;
And, in a mirror, lit by her own ray,
    See how her smile all narrow feuds reproves.

Grey misty light the shadowy disk illumes,
    Which sways and lurches like a deck, at sea;—
    And clouds, fields, house-tops, in confusion flee,
Till the round plane a steady blank becomes,
    And all stand round in darkness, silently.

A mead appears, all bright with pasture green,
    Where moving miniatures of cattle graze:
    A Liliputian herdsman loitering strays
Across the delicately-pictured scene;—
    And his dog followssearches, leaps, and plays.

Now glides the disk; a windmill from grey space
    Works threatening into view, with whirling arms,
    Whose fleeting shadow o'er the grass, alarms
A group of children, coming near the place,
    Who pauseand watch the giant's dangerous

The miller's wife in the trim garden stands,
    And trains the tangled honeysuckle bowers;
    Then stoops.—Ah, see! are those enchanted
Which now she gathers in her tiny hands,
    And shakes them clear from recent spring-tid

A promenadewith many a varied group:
    Ladies in undulating robesyoung maids,
    Old men, and boysall living, yet all shades!
And now a child comes with a rolling hoop!
    'T is gone't is here againit nearsit fades!

Now, in a sandy bay upon the shore,
    Two lovers enter slowly;—all unseen,
    As they believebending with tender mien
Hand clasping hand, and looks that tell far more,
    While thus they pass, and glide beyond the scene.

A pier slides in!—the masons chip the stone,
    And near them stands a sun-burnt sailor-boy;
    A horse and cart, no larger than a toy,
Move onwards, while a distant kite is blown
    Among the clouds, and dances as in joy.

The harbour, with the shipping;—masts and spars,
    And miniatures of men, and boys in boats,
    Who row across; and now all darkly floats
Black smoke along the airyon steamer roars!
    But of her storm-song spell-bound are the notes.

Silence and wonder, darkness, and soft light,
    Surround usfill us with their influence;
    We feel strange pleasure, like a novel sense
Derived from Art and NatureScience, Sight
    Which GOD permits, in His munificence.

Glide onward, disk:—and now we 're in the bay,
    With all its tossing billows, life, and foam;
    A sea-gull soars above its briny home,
Descending now, to swim amidst the spray;
    Now rising, o'er the masts and cliffs to roam.

Hither the steamer beats her noiseless way!
    Realyet silent, as 't were all a dream!
    Men, engines, motion, colouras we deem
Proofs of realitydoth she display;—
    Yet 't is a picture passing o'er a screen!

She steams alongher passengers we scan
    She hoists a sailshe tacksa very sprite
    Smiting the waters backward in her flight;
Her size, from stem to stern, not half a span!
    And thus she works her way beyond our sight.

The lone sea-shore. The tide is coming in,
    And breaks in rows of silver-gushing waves,
    As silently as spirits rise from graves!
And all is rapturewith no earthly din,—
    Nor e'en a whisper from the hollow caves.