Historical Children's Literature Collection

The Mountain lute, or, the Happy discovery [unknown] 1804

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Printed for j. Harris, successor to e. newbery^ ax
the original juvenile library, the corner f*f
ST. Paul's church-yard.
The Public may inspect a much larger
Collection of
to instruct and amuse
Than are to be met with at any other Shop in
Iryer, Printer, Bridge-Street Blacfcfriars*.
HAVING spent a delightful afternoon in rambling over some of
the fertile valleys of Breconshire,
in South Wales, I ascended one of
those mountains which have been
* so frequently noticed by travellers;
and at my leisure contemplated
the surrounding landscape.—The
sun, receding from my view behind
the opposite hills, tinged the fleecy
clouds with gold and purple; the
air was so perfectly serene, that
scarcely a single leaf was seen to
move j and the numerous rills that
chased each other down the side
of the eminence murmured in unison with the evening song of the
sylvan choristers. The sons of
labour had retired from their
respective avocations, and each
surrounding object seemed peculiarly adapted to fill the contemplative mind with sentiments of
adoration for that Almighty Being,
for whose pleasure all things are*
and were created.
Whilst I was reclining upon the
verdant acclivity, and musing on
the peculiar beauty of the rural
scene, my attention was suddenly
roused by the harmonious music of
a lute, accompanied by a voice of
uncommon sweetness.    This cir-
■ -^*C
cumstance appeared so strange in
such a sequestered  spot,   that I
could scarcely believe my senses;
but on changing my posture, and
listening more attentively, I found
that I had not been deceived.    I
therefore  walked   hastily to  the
opposite side   of   the   mountain,
whence the music seemed to proceeded soon discovered a youthful
* peasant playing on a lute, near the
entrance of a little   cottage that
seemed almost embosomed in  a
young   plantation  of   trees.     A
beautiful young woman was looking at the musician with indescribable affection, and singing with
exquisite taste; while a groupe of
old men and women were seated
on a mossy bank in attitudes of
profound attention; and several
children were employed in weaving an elegant wreath of flowers.
I stopped at a distance, that
I might not interrupt the pleasures
of this happy circle; but when
the charming air was finished, and
the young woman had received
the flowery chaplet from her juvenile auditors, I stepped forward, "*
and enquired if I could be accommodated with a bed at any neighbouring inn ?—The peasants immediately flocked around me, and
observed there was no inn within
four miles, but the young musician
added, that if I could submit to
lie in a little cabin, he would do
his best to entertain me,
If at first I was surprised at his
capital execution on the lute, I was
much more astonished at the
politeness of his manners, and the
easy fluency with which he spoke.
I accepted his invitation with
rapture, but earnestly requested
him to indulge me with a repetition
of the melodious air which had
attracted my footsteps toward his
He readily acceded to my request, and pressing the hand of the
young woman, whom I found to
be his sister, he told her to accompany him as before.—The company
resumed their attitudes of attention, and after a prelude which
seemed  to  thrill  through   every
nerve, We were entertained with a
song on the subject of rural felicity; while a tear stood trembling
in the eye of every one present,
and I enjoyed the most exquisite
pleasure in witnessing the effects
of the beauties of nature upon an
illiterate and unpolished society of
people.—After a pause of a few
moments the company separated,
wishing me a good night, with*'
the utmost cordiality; and the
young musician conducted me to
the little cottage, where I, experienced a most hearty welcome.
After partaking of some brown _
bread, excellent fresh butter, and
new milk, I begged to  be made
acquainted with the adventures of
a man whose appearance and manners had excited the most favourable sentiments in his favour; and
he promised to gratify my curiosity.—We accordingly removed
to a little bench just without the
door, and Griffith (for such was
the name of my entertainer/, related the following particulars.
" I was born, Sir, in this cottage
•about two and twenty years ago,
and my infancy was passed under
the watchful eye of an indulgent
and affectionate mother; but when
I had attained my sixth year, this
beloved parent was taken from me;
and in about two years afterward,
my father was compelled, by the
unfortunate issue of a law-suit, to
sell his cottage, and to retire to
the house of a friend whom he had
formerly assisted. This sad reverse of fortune preyed eo incessantly upon his spirits, that he
soon sunk into an untimely grave;
and thus I and my sister were left
poor unprotected orphans, solely
dependant on the bounty of Providence.
" The good old man who had
purchased the cottage was peculiarly struck with our helpless situation, and humanely proposed that
I should tend his sheep, while my
sister might render herself useful
in the domestic concerns. We
thanked him with tears of unfeigned   gratitude,   and  immedi-
ately embraced his generous offer $
but notwithstanding all his kindness, the loss of my dear parents,
the thought of being a mere hireling in the cottage which ought to
have descended to me,  and  the
lonely life that  I  led  upon   the
mountain, overwhelmed me with
melancholy;  and   my poor  eyes
: were  often   red   with   weeping,
whilst my lambkins were bounding
sportively by my side, and the face
of creation was literally -drest" in
" One evening while I was
tending my fleecy charge, and
offering up a little song of praise
to my Creator, a stranger approached me, and enquired the distance
from   the public   road.—On   my
replying that it was several miles,
he pointed to my master's cottage,
and  asked   whether  my parents
could not supply him with a bed
for the night?"    I told him that
my dear parents were dead, and '
that I and my sister were at present in  servitude;   but that   my ,
master would most  probably ac-'
commodate him.    Accordingly I
led him to the cottage, and had
the satisfaction to find that he was
entertained with the utmost kind- '
ness and hospitality.
" Next morning I was informed
that my master's son would attend
the sheep, as the stranger had
orooosed taking me with him, and
nad expressed a strong desire of
serving me.—-I was truly grateful
for the stranger's kindness, but my
heart was sensibly grieved at the
thought of quitting the dear place
of my Nativity, and my still dearer
sister. After a few moments,
however, I armed myself with
some degree of fortitude, and left
my beloved Jenny, with a. solemn
assurance, that my prayers should
be continually offered up for her
happiness and preservation.
45 My new protector was a
man of about forty years of age,
of a remarkably quick understanding, and most . fascinating
manners; but the loss of a beloved   wife  had thrown a shade
 14        THE   MOUNTAIN  LUTE*
of melancholy over his features,
and his complexion was remarkably pale. His profession was
that of a musician, and his execution on the lute, his favourite instrument, was such as might have
secured him some important advantages; hut he seldom visited the
busy scenes of life, having a little
competency from his father, and
being passionately fond of rural
" When I first accepted the
offer of his patronage, he instructed
me in reading and writing; and
soon afterwards undertook to teach
me the lute, on which I soon made
a very tolerable proficiency. He
also furnished me with sojne ad-
mirable selections from the works
of.our greatest poets; and, in short,
it may be justly said, that he exerted   himself  with   unremitting
assiduity, for the space of five years,
to cultivate my  heart, my taste,
and  my understanding,   without
expecting any other reward than
the   self  approval   of   conscious
virtue, and  the  blessing  of that
God  who is emphatically styled
c the father of the fatherless.'
" In the midst of all my acquirements, amusements, and occupations, I never forgot my natal
cottage, nor my beloved sister;
but frequently spoke of them to niy
patron, who always consoled me
with the cheering hope that some
providential turn might yet take
place in my favour.
" One morning, in the month
of May, this generous man desired me to follow him, and after
a very long walk, he brought me
to the mountain where I had first
met with him. He then sat
down upon the grass, and addressed me in the following manner.
" My dear Griffith, I have long1
observed the sorrow which oppresses you whenever you think
upon yonder little cottage which
was unfortunately torn from your
industrious father ; but I now propose the means of your obtaining
possession of it again, and consequently of fixing your sister in
a more agreeable situation.—■,
" My heart seemed to bound
within my breast at this discourse.
I pressed his hand to my lips, and
bedewed it with tears, whilst he
" I have fulfilled the duty which
I   conceive  Providence   to  have
imposed upon me, by  giving you
a^ decent education;   and I now
present you  with   my  lute, with
which I desire that you will travel
in   the character of an itinerant
musician, and I am confident that
by care  and  frugality, you  may
soon amass a   sufficient   sum   of
money to enable you to return, and
purchase your-'father's cottage."—-
He then pressed me, with the most
affectionate tenderness, to his bo-
.    b 3
som, and, putting two guineas
into mv hand, bade me adieu with
visible emotion.
"It would occupy too much time
were I to relate all the particulars
of my journey. Suffice it, therefore, to say, that in the space of
four years, I travelled on foot
through the greatest part of Wales
and England, and met with a
success still greater than had been
expected by my kind patron. In
every town and village I was cordially received, and even in the
most opulent cities my execution
on this lute introduced me to the
very best company. In some
places I had ad van
held out, to induce  me
i iU
amongst the inhabitants, but these
were always counterbalanced by
the recollection of my dear sister,
and the idea of once more claiming
my parent's cottage as my own.
" After I had completed the
fourth year of my travels, I examined the state of my purse, and
imagined myself rich enough to
revisit my native country. I therefore set out with the most eager
impatience, and proceeded as rapidly as possible, in the fond hope
of seeing my dear benefactor, of
throwing myself at his feet, and
of expressing those grateful acknowledgments which had long
existed within  mv  bosom.     But
alas! my revered patron had been
 20        THE   MOUNTAIN   LUTE.
dead upwards of three months,
and I found it impossible to realize
the picture of supreme happiness,
which had been drawn by my
glowing imagination. I wrent,
however, to pour out my sorrows
on his grave, and to offer up my
devout thanks to the Almighty for
the assistance he had granted in
my time of greatest need.
On the same evening, I arrived
at this hamlet, where 1 found that
my person wras forgotten, but
my lute, as usual, procured me
admission into the cottages, and
I had theoleasure of being invited
to my. father's cottage, without
any one recognising my features.
My sister was grown much taller
since I left  her, and  I observed
with secret  satisfaction   that  my
old master treated her rather as his
child, than in the  character of a
dependant.—She was busily employed at her spinning wheel when
1 went in, but she seemed struck
with my appearance, as if recollecting some resemblance to her
unfortunate   brother.      I   played
several airs on my lute, and after
some time ventured to play and
sing my favourite song of rural
" Will you have the goodness,"
said I, interrupting him," to oblige
me with a recital of that song ?"
He bowed compliance, and immediately  played   a  cheerful  air
upon his lute, to which himself
and his amiable sister sang the
following words ;-—
Sequestered from noise,in the humble retreat,
Where shepherds recline on the ground,
The children of virtue felicity gre^t,
And paradise blossoms around,
No scenes of contention, no terrible news
The heart's constant pleasures remove,
But zephyrs ambrosial their odours diffuse*
While music enlivens the grove.
Around their kindmaster the wandering flock
Wind carelessly over the hill;
Or follow the kids to the clifts of the rock.
And drink from the murmuring rill.
Whilst blest in each other, their owners enjoy
JEach comfort that nature bestows ;
In praise to their Maker the day they employ,
And thankfully sink to repose.
Griffith and Jenny sung these
lines with such expressive sweetness as revived in my mind the
• old fable of Apollo, and I almost
fancied that I heard the strains of
that celestial performer in the
vales of Thessaly; but whilst I
desired to express my feelings*
' I found my emotion too great to
admit of utterance. Griffith,
therefore, embraced that opportunity of resuming his narration.
" My sister," said he, " was
evidently affected whilst I was
singing, and the worthy owner of
the cottage highly applauded my
skill, but on being pressed to sit
down to supper a more affecting
scene ensued .;   for Jenny caught
a glimpse of the mole which you
may observe on my chin, and
immediately sprang into my arms,
exclaiming, i( It is, it is my beloved brother !"—An explanation
now took place, and on my relating the success of my travels,
my old master readily consented
to sell me the cottage, on condition that I would let him reside
with me. This I agreed to, and
he in return, kindly instructed me
in the art of husbandry, and ren
dered me several other important
.." The news of my return was
soon spread through our little
hamlet, and all the peasantry
congratulated me on my singular
good fortune, which they justly
considered as the result of my
youthful integrity, and my unshaken confidence in the care of
an all-righteous Providence; and
from that time to the present, I
have made it a constant rule to
indulge my honest neighbours
with the nocturnal diversion which
first induced you to visit this retired spot. The good old gentleman who succeeded my father
is now very infirm, but Jenny and
myself exert ourselves as much
as possible for his assistance and
amusement, and he regards us
as his darling children. My beloved Jenny is now completely
happy ;   and for my own part as
 26,      THE  MOUNTAIN   LUTE.
I am once more 'possessed of my
little patrimony, my utmost ambition is to tread in the footsteps of
a father, who was respected by
the rich, and beloved by the poor,
as a truly pious and honest man,"
Having thanked Griffith for his
artless narration, my attention was
almost insensibly fixed upon his
person ; and it is but justice to say
that the animation of his fine*
countenance, the fluency of his
conversation, and the tmfeigned
gratitude which he expressed towards his worthy deceased patron,
formed a most striking contrast
with his rustic dress, and humble
situation; and almost induced me
to consider him as a being superior
to the ordinary race of men. His
sister was, also, equally interesting,
and agreeable in her manners, and
might have appeared to advantage
in the most brilliant circles, but
I remarked the truth of the poet's
beautiful assertion, that
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomM caves of ocean bear,
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen
And waste its sweetness on the desert air/*
In one particular, however, these
couplets did not apply to the
amiable Jenny, as her native
•goodness of heart diffused blessings
around the humble sphere in which
she moved, and the music of her
Voice was at all times sufficiently
captivating to render the little
hamlet a scene of perpetual
After! had for some time enjoyed the refreshing breeze, and
contemplated the azure expanse
of heaven brilliantly illuminated
by countless stars, I withdrew to
a little chamber, the furniture of
which was peculiarly clean and
neat, and although the bed was
not very soft, I enjoyed a sleep
more tranquil and refreshing than
was, perhaps, ever experienced
by the votary of sloth and luxury.
Next morning I was awakened
by the harmonious warbling of a
sky-lark, and found by the warmth
of the sun that I had slept beyond
my usual hour. I therefore hastened to join my kind host, whom
I found at his little breakfast
table, with his sister and his old
master.—When I entered, the old
gentleman was saying grace with
the most unfeigned devotion, and
the happy countenances of his companions fully illustrated the truth
of the assertion, that all the ways
of religion are " ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are
After partaking of their rural
repast, I accompanied the young
musician to a neighbouring field,
where the reapers were employed
in cutting the yellow bearded
corn, and binding it up in sheaves,
while several indigent women and
children followed in the capacity
of gleaners, and the valley resounded with songs of joy and
Among the interesting groupe,
I particularly noticed a young lad
about twelve years of age, who
seemed eminently distinguished
by his cheerfulness and activity;
and whose manners appeared more
polished than those of his companions.—I begged my kind host
to inform me of his name and
parentage, observing that I felt a
peculiar interest in his fortune,
and that I had some faint recollection of his features.
The musician of the mountain
seemed rather surprised at the
eagerness with which I made this
request. However he promised
to gratify my curiosity, and leading
me to a seat beneath the branches
of a spreading oak, he recited the
following particulars :—
(< Shortly after I had returned
to my native village, and taken
possession of my father's cottage,
a gang of gipsies came into the
neighbourhood, and committed
several little depredations ; in
consequence of which the villagers
united to expel them from this
part of the country. Our threats
and 'determined manner had the
desired effect, and they retired one
night with precipitation;  but m
the morning, as I was going to my
usual labour, I discovered this poor
boy (whose name is William) lying
asleep under a bank. I awakened
him, and asked to whom he belonged ? and added that the gipsies
had been gone several hours,-—
The lad looked fearfully round, as
if doubtful of their departure, but
on finding they were really gone,
he threw himself at my feet, and
earnestly begged that I would
give him some employment, to
prevent him from again falling
into the hands of those wicked
people*—He then told me that he
had been stolen from his parents
when he was about five vears old,
and that he had passed a most
unhappy life in the society of
those wretches, who had frequently
beaten and almost starved him,
because he would not assist in
their dishonest method of obtaining
a subsistence.—The boy's artless
tale and streaming tears made so
deep an impression on my heart,
that I immediately gave him employment, and placed him with an
old widow whose tenderness and
care reflect the highest honour
upon her humanity. He is nowj
as you see, the most cheerful member of our little community, and
whilst I reflect on the goodness
of my own patron who rendered
me such important services, I feel
an unspeakable pleasure in being
 34        THE   MOUNTAIN   LUTE.
able to afford some little assistance
to this boy, who, without some
friendly interposition, might have
perished with want, or have been
decoyed into some of those base
practices which he has hitherto
beheld with horror and detestation."
Delighted as I had been with
my host's music  and hospitality,
I was  still   more truly charmed
with his humane and charitable
disposition; but what were   my
sensations when on questioning the
youth himself, I recognised in this
poor outcast, the dear, the long-
lost  child of my own  sister !—
I clasped him to my bosom with
unutterable extacy, and satisfied,
THE  MOUNTAIN LUTE.        3 5
as well as I was able, the curiosity
of the villagers, who now crowded
around us.—" My dear friends,"
said 1, " this poor boy was born to
affluence, and nurtured in the most
tender manner, but having unfortunately rambled into the fields,
about seven years ago, without
permission, he was lost, and his
mother has been the victim of
sorrow and dejection ever since.
The mystery which enveloped his
fate is now happily elucidated,
and I shall have the supreme pleasure of restoring him to the arms
of his affectionate parent."
A general surprise pervaded the
whole assembly; every eye glis„
tened with the tear of sensibility.
 $6        THE   MOUNTAIN   LUTE.
every heart throbbed with pleasure, and I immediately set out
with my dear nephew, whose
emotions maybe much better conceived than expressed.
It only remains to add, that I
was commissioned to remunerate
,the Welch musician for his goodness, and on his refusing to accept
of any recompence, I distributed
my sister's bounty among the more
indigent villagers, while every
voice united in ardent thanksgiving to that Divine Being who
had first induced me to turn aside,
to listen to the sweet sounds of the
Mountain Lute.
$ryer, Printer, Bridge-Street, Jllachfriars.


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