Imatges de pÓgina
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We lay beneath a spreading oak,
Beside a mossy seat;

And from the turf a fountain broke,

And gurgled at our feet.

"Now, Matthew!" said I, "let us match This water's pleasant tune

With some old border-song, or catch
That suits a summer's noon;

Or of the church-clock and the chimes

Sing here beneath the shade,
That half-mad thing of witty rhymes
Which you last April made!"

In silence Matthew lay, and eyed

The spring beneath the tree;

And thus the dear old Man replied, The grey-haired man of glee:

"No check, no stay, this Streamlet fears; How merrily it goes!

"Twill murmur on a thousand years, And flow as now it flows.

And here, on this delightful day,

I cannot choose but think
How oft, a vigorous man, I lay
Beside this fountain's brink.

My eyes are dim with childish tears,

My heart is idly stirred,

For the same sound is in my ears

Which in those days I heard.

Thus fares it still in our decay:

And yet the wiser mind

Mourns less for what age takes away

Than what it leaves behind.

The blackbird amid leafy trees,

The lark above the hill,

Let loose their carols when they please, Are quiet when they will.

With Nature never do they wage A foolish strife; they see

A happy youth, and their old age Is beautiful and free:

But we are pressed by heavy laws;
And often, glad no more,
We wear a face of joy, because
We have been glad of yore.

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I AM not One who much or oft delight
To season my fireside with personal talk,—
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
Or neighbours, daily, weekly, in my sight:
And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like Forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-night.
Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence, square with my desire;
To sit without emotion, hope, or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage-fire,
And listen to the flapping of the flame,
Or kettle whispering its faint undersong.

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"Yet life," you say, "is life; we have seen and see,
And with a living pleasure we describe;
And fits of sprightly malice do but bribe
The languid mind into activity.

Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and glee
Are fostered by the comment and the gibe.”
Even be it so: yet still among your tribe,
Our daily world's true Worldlings, rank not me !
Children are blest, and powerful; their world lies
More justly balanced; partly at their feet,
And part far from them :-sweetest melodies
Are those that are by distance made more sweet;
Whose mind is but the mind of his own eyes,
He is a Slave; the meanest we can meet !

III.

Wings have we,—and as far as we can go
We may find pleasure: wilderness and wood,
Blank ocean and mere sky, support that mood
Which with the lofty sanctifies the low.
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we
know,

Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.
There find I personal themes, a plenteous store,
Matter wherein right voluble I am,
To which I listen with a ready ear;
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,--
The gentle Lady married to the Moor;
And heavenly Una with her milk-white Lamb.

IV.

Nor can I not believe but that hereby
Great gains are mine; for thus I live remote
From evil-speaking; rancour, never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyous
thought:

And thus from day to day my little boat
Rocks in its harbour, lodging peaceably.
Blessings be with them—and eternal praise,
Who gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares-
The Poets, who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight by heavenly lays!
Oh! might my name be numbered among theirs,
Then gladly would I end my mortal days.

XIV.

TO THE SPADE OF A FRIEND.

(AN AGRICULTURIST.)

COMPOSED WHILE WE WERE LABOURING TOGETHER IN HIS PLEASURE-GROUND.

SPADE! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands, And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side, Thou art a tool of honour in my hands;

I press thee, through the yielding soil, with pride.

Rare master has it been thy lot to know;
Long hast Thou served a man to reason true;
Whose life combines the best of high and low,
The labouring many and the resting few;

Health, meekness, ardour, quietness secure,
And industry of body and of mind;
And elegant enjoyments, that are pure
As nature is ;-too pure to be refined.

Here often hast Thou heard the Poet sing In concord with his river murmuring by ; Or in some silent field, while timid spring Is yet uncheered by other minstrelsy.

Who shall inherit Thee when death has laid Low in the darksome cell thine own dear lord? That man will have a trophy, humble Spade! A trophy nobler than a conqueror's sword.

If he be one that feels, with skill to part
False praise from true, or, greater from the less,
Thee will he welcome to his hand and heart,
Thou monument of peaceful happiness!

He will not dread with Thee a toilsome dayThee his loved servant, his inspiring mate! And, when thou art past service, worn away, No dull oblivious nook shall hide thy fate.

His thrift thy uselessness will never scorn;
An heir-loom in his cottage wilt thou be :-
High will he hang thee up, well pleased to adorn
His rustic chimney with the last of Thee!

1804,

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If kindred humours e'er would make
My spirit droop for drooping's sake,
From Fancy following in thy wake,
Bright ship of heaven!

A counter impulse let me take
And be forgiven.

MUSIC has no heart to follow,

Little MUSIC, she stops short.
She hath neither wish nor heart,
Hers is now another part:

A loving creature she, and brave!

And fondly strives her struggling friend to save.

From the brink her paws she stretches,

Very hands as you would say!
And afflicting moans she fetches,
As he breaks the ice away.
For herself she hath no fears,-
Him alone she sees and hears,-

Makes efforts with complainings; nor gives o'er
Until her fellow sinks to re-appear no more.

1805.

XVI. INCIDENT

CHARACTERISTIC OF A FAVOURite dog.

On his morning rounds the Master
Goes to learn how all things fare;
Searches pasture after pasture,
Sheep and cattle eyes with care;
And, for silence or for talk,
He hath comrades in his walk;

Four dogs, each pair of different breed,
Distinguished two for scent, and two for speed.

See a hare before him started!
-Off they fly in earnest chase;
Every dog is eager-hearted,
All the four are in the race:
And the hare whom they pursue,
Knows from instinct what to do;
Her hope is near: no turn she makes;
But, like an arrow, to the river takes.

Deep the river was, and crusted
Thinly by a one night's frost;
But the nimble Hare hath trusted
To the ice, and safely crost;
She hath crost, and without heed
All are following at full speed,
When, lo! the ice, so thinly spread,

Breaks-and the greyhound, DART, is over-head!

XVII. TRIBUTE

TO THE MEMORY OF THE SAME DOG.

LIE here, without a record of thy worth,
Beneath a covering of the common earth!
It is not from unwillingness to praise,
Or want of love, that here no Stone we raise;
More thou deserv'st; but this man gives to man,
Brother to brother, this is all we can.

Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
Shall find thee through all changes of the year:
This Oak points out thy grave; the silent tree
Will gladly stand a monument of thee.

We grieved for thee, and wished thy end were

past;

And willingly have laid thee here at last:
For thou hadst lived till every thing that cheers
In thee had yielded to the weight of years;
Extreme old age had wasted thee away,
And left thee but a glimmering of the day;
Thy ears were deaf, and feeble were thy knees,-
I saw thee stagger in the summer breeze,
Too weak to stand against its sportive breath,
And ready for the gentlest stroke of death.

It came, and we were glad; yet tears were shed;
Both man and woman wept when thou wert dead;
Not only for a thousand thoughts that were,
Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy

share;

But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee,
Found scarcely any where in like degree!
For love, that comes wherever life and sense
Are given by God, in thee was most intense;

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