Pastoral Narratives and Kindness as Redemption

Upon the forest-side in Grasmere Vale

There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name;

An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.

His bodily frame had been from youth to age

Of an unusual strength; his mind was keen,

Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs,

And in his shepherd’s calling he was prompt

And watchful more than ordinary men.

And grossly that man errs, who should suppose

That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks,

Were things indifferent to the Shepherd’s thoughts.

Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed

The common air; hills, which with vigorous step

He had so often climbed; which had impressed

So many incidents upon his mind

Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;

Which like a book, preserved the memory

Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,

Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts

The certainty of honourable gain;

Those fields, those hills – what could they less? Had laid

Strong hold on his affections, were to him

A pleasurable feeling of blind love,

The pleasure which there is in life itself.

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