Page:Our Common Land (and other short essays).djvu/27

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15
OUR COMMON LAND.

ings, is there to pass away from our people the sense that they have any share in the soil of their native England? I think the sense of owning some spaces of it in common may be healthier for them than even the possession of small bits by individuals, and certainly it now seems more feasible. Lowell tells us that what is free to all is the best of all possessions:

’Tis heaven alone that is given away,
’Tis only God may be had for the asking;
There is no price set on the lavish summer,
And June may be had by the poorest comer.

Hugh Miller, too, points out how intimately the right to roam over the land is connected with the love of it, and hence with patriotism. He says, speaking of his first visit to Edinburgh: “I threw myself, as usual, for compensatory pleasures, on my evening walks, but found the inclosed state of the district, and the fence of a rigorously-administered trespass-law, serious drawbacks; and ceased to