A TIME ago, no matter how long precisely, I, an old man, removed from the country to the city, having become unexpected heir to a great old house in a narrow street of one of the lower wards, once the haunt of style and fashion, full of gay parlors and bridal chambers, but now, for the most part, transformed into counting-rooms and warehouses. There bales and boxes usurp the place of sofas ; daybooks and ledgers are spread where once the delicious breakfast toast was buttered. In those old wards the glorious old soft-warfle days are over.
In all parts of the world many high-spirited revolts from rascally despotisms had of late been knocked on the head ; many dreadful casualties, by locomotive and steamer, had likewise knocked hundreds of high-spirited travelers on the head ( I lost a dear friend in one of them) ; my own private affairs were also full of despotisms, casualties, and knockings on the head, when early one morning in spring, being too full of hypoes to sleep, I sallied out to walk on my hillside pasture.
YOU see,” said poet Blandmour, enthusiastically—as some forty years ago we walked along the road in a soft, moist snowfall, toward the end of March—”you see, my friend, that the blessed almoner, Nature, is in all things beneficent ; and not only so, but considerate in her charities, as any discreet human philanthropist might be. This snow, now, which seems so unseasonable, is in fact just what a poor husbandman needs. Rightly is this soft March snow, falling just before seed-time, rightly it is called ‘Poor Man’s Manure.’ Distilling from kind heaven upon the soil,
The appointment was that I should meet my elderly uncle at the riverside, precisely at nine in the morning. The skiff was to be ready, and the apparatus to be brought down by his grizzled old black man. As yet, the nature of the wonderful experiment remained a mystery to all but the projector.
I was first on the spot. The village was high up the river, and the inland summer sun was already oppressively warm. Presently I saw my uncle advancing beneath the trees,
It lies not far from Temple-Bar.
Going to it, by the usual way, is like stealing from a heated plain into some cool, deep glen, shady among harboring hills.
Sick with the din and soiled with the mud of Fleet Street—where the Benedick tradesmen are hurrying by, with ledger-lines ruled along their brows, thinking upon rise of bread and fall of babies—you adroitly turn a mystic corner—not a street—glide down a dim, monastic way flanked by dark, sedate, and solemn piles, and still wending on, give the whole care-worn world the slip, and, disentangled, stand beneath the quiet cloisters of the Paradise of Bachelors.
In the south of Europe, nigh a once frescoed capital, now with dankmould cankering its bloom, central in a plain, stands what, at distance,seems the black mossed stump of some immeasurable pine, fallen, inforgotten days, with Anak and the Titan.
As all along where the pine tree falls, its dissolution leaves a mossymound–last-flung shadow of the perished trunk; never lengthening, neverlessening; unsubject to the fleet falsities of the sun; shade immutable,and true gauge which cometh by prostration–so westward from what seemsthe stump, one steadfast spear of lichened ruin veins the plain.