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THE BEQUEST OF WALTER FAXON MARCH 16, 1921

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ESSAYS

CRITICAL AND IMAGINATIVE.

CHRISTOPHER AT THE LAKES.

FLIGHT FIRST.

[JUNE 1832.]

THE time was when we could describe the Spring-the Spring on WINDERMERE. But haply this weary work-day world's cares "have done our harp and hand some wrong; and we must leave that pleasant task now to Hartley Coleridge, or some other young Poet of the Lakes. Were we not the best-hearted human beings that ever breathed, we should hate all the people that dwell in that Paradise. But we love while we envy them; and have only to hope that they are all grateful to Providence. Here are we cooped up in a cage-a tolerably roomy one, we confess-while our old friends, the North of England eagles, are flying over the mountains. The thought is enough to break a weaker heart. But one of the principal points in Christopher's creed is-"Pine not nor repine;" and perfect contentment accompanies wisdom. Three lovely sisters often visit the old man's city-solitude-Memory, Imagination, Hope! "Twould be hard to say which is the most beautiful. Memory has deep, dark, quiet eyes, and when she closes their light, the long eyelashes lie like shadows on

VOL. VI.

A

her pale pensive cheeks, that smile faintly as if the fair dreamer were half-awake and half-asleep; a visionary slumber which sometimes the dewdrop melting on its leaf will break, sometimes not the thunder-peal with all its echoes. Imagination is a brighter and a bolder Beauty, with large lamping eyes of uncertain colour, as if fluctuating with rainbow-light, and features fine, it is true, as those which Grecian genius gave to the Muses in the Parian marble, but in their daring delicacy defined like the face of Apollo. As for Hopedivinest of the divine-Collins, in one long line of light, has painted the picture of the angel

"And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair."

Thus is the old man happy as a humming-bird. He sits on the balcony of his front parlour, dimly discerned by the upward eye of stranger, while whispers Cicerone-"this is the house"-dimly discerned through flowers; while the river of his spirit "wandereth at its own sweet will" through all the climes of creation. At this blessed moment he is sitting, at the leaf-veiled, half-open window, pen in hand-pen made of quill of Albatross, sent him from afar by one whom Maga delighteth beyond the Great Deep,-and lo! Edina's castled cliff becomes the Langdale-Pikes-Moray Place, Windermere -Stockbridge, Bowness-and No. 99 the ENDEAVOUR, on the First of May re-launched from her heather-house on the baymarge, her hull bright as Iris, and yellow her light-ringed raking masts, now hidden on a sudden by the unfolding of her snow-white wings, as Condor-like she flies to meet her mate, the VICTORY, coming down along the woods of the Beautiful Isle under a cloud of sail!

What! can this be Regatta-day, and is there to be a race for a cup or colours? Not for that radical rag, the Tricolor, but for St George's Ensign, or the

"Silver Cross, to Scotland dear"

bright mimicry woven by lovely hands of the famous Flag, that

"has braved a thousand years The battle and the breeze."

And lo! from

Bowness Bay is the rendezvous for the Fleet. all the airts come flocking in the sunshine flights of felicitous wide-winged creatures, whose snow-white lustre, in bright

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