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APPENDIX.

VOL. II.

AA

355

APPENDIX.

THE OLD MAN OF THE ALPS.*

STRA

[The poem of Lewti appeared in The Morning Post of April 13, 1798 (vide supra, p. 100), with the signature of “Nicias Erythræus.” The same signature had been previously appended to the following poem, entitled “The Old Man of the Alps,' which appeared in the number for March 8, 1798. This seems to be strong presumptive evidence in favour of Coleridge's authorship, in the absence of any other claimant ; but as Coleridge never otherwise owned the production, and there exists no collateral proof, we have thought it better to relegate it to the Appendix.-Ed.] TRANGER! whose eyes a look of pity show,

Say, will you listen to a tale of woe ?
A tale in no unwonted horrors drest;
But sweet is pity to an aged breast.
This voice did falter with old age before;
Sad recollections make it falter more.
Beside the torrent and beneath a wood
High in these Alps my summer cottage stood;
One daughter still remain'd to cheer my way,
The evening-star of life's declining day;
Duly she hied to fill her milking-pail
Ere shout of herdsman rang from cliff or vale;
When she return'd, before the summer shiel,
On the fresh grass she spread the dairy meal;
Just as the snowy peaks began to lose
In glittering silver lights their rosy hues.

* Morning Post, March 8, 1798.

1

Singing in woods or bounding o'er the lawn
No blither creature hail'd the early dawn;
And if I spoke of hearts by pain oppress'd
When every friend is gone to them that rest,
Or of old men that leave, when they expire,
Daughters that should have perish'd with their sire-
Leave them to toil all day through paths unknown
And house at night behind some sheltering stone;
Impatient of the thought, with lively cheer
She broke half closed the tasteless tale severe.
She play'd with fancies of a gayer hue,
Enamour'd of the scenes her wishes drew;
And oft she prattled with an eager tongue
Of promised joys that would not loiter long,
Till with her tearless eyes so bright and fair
She seem'd to see them realized in air !
In fancy oft, within some sunny dell,
Where never wolf should howl or tempest yell,
She built a little home of joy and rest,
And fill'd it with the friends whom she loved best :
She named the inmates of her fancied cot,
And gave to each his own peculiar lot;
Which with our little herd abroad should roam,
And which should tend the dairy's toil at home;
And now the hour approach'd which should restore
Her lover from the wars, to part no more.
Her whole frame flutter'd with uneasy joy ;
I long'd myself to clasp the valiant boy;
And though I strove to calm her eager mood,
It was my own sole thought in solitude.
I told it to the Saints amid my hymns-
For O! you know not on an old man's limbs
How thrillingly the pleasant sunbeams play
That shine upon his daughter's wedding-day.

I hoped that those fierce tempests soon to rave
Unheard, unfelt, around my mountain grave,
Not undelightfully would break her rest,
While she lay pillow'd on her lover's breast,
Or join’d his pious prayer for pilgrims driven
Out to the mercy of the winds of heaven.
Yes ! now the hour approach'd that should restore
Her lover from the wars to part no more.
Her thoughts were wild, her soul was in her eye,
She wept and laugh'd as if she knew not why;
And she had made a song about the wars,
And sang it to the sun and to the stars !
But while she look'd and listen’d, stood and ran,
And saw him plain in every distant man,
By treachery stabb’d, on Nansy's murderous day,
A senseless corse th' expected husband lay.
A wounded man who met us in the wood
Heavily ask'd her where my cottage stood,
And told us all : she cast her eyes around
As if his words had been but empty sound;
Then look'd to Heaven, like one that would deny
That such a thing could be beneath the sky.
Again he ask'd her if she knew my name,
And instantly an anguish wrench'd her frame
And left her mind imperfect. No delight
Thenceforth she found in any cheerful sight,
Not even in those time-haunted wells and groves,
Scenes of past joy and birthplace of her loves.
If to her spirit any sound was dear
'Twas the deep moan that spoke the tempest near ;
Or sighs which chasms of icy vales outbreathe
Sent from the dark, imprison'd floods beneath.
She wander'd up the crag and down the slope,
But not, as in her happy days of hope,

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