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Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
We walk'd along, while bright and red
Uprose the morning sun;
And Matthew stopp'd, he look'd, and said
The will of God be done!'
A village schoolmaster was he,
With hair of glittering gray;
As blithe a man as you could see
On a spring holiday.
And on that morning, through the grass
And by the steaming rills
We travell’d merrily, to pass
A day among the hills.
*Our work,' said I, 'was well begun;
Then from thy breast what thought,
Beneath so beautiful a sun,
So sad a sigh has brought?'
A second time did Matthew stop;
And fixing still his eye
Upon the eastern mountain-top,
To me he made reply:
Yon cloud with that long purple cleft
Brings fresh into my mind
A day like this, which I have left
Full thirty years behind.
And just above yon slope of corn
Such colours, and no other,
Were in the sky that April morn
Of this the very brother.
With rod and line I sued the sport
Which that sweet season gave,
And coming to the church, stopp'd short
Beside my daughter's grave.
• Nine summers had she scarcely seen,
The pride of all the vale;
And then she sang :-she would have been
A very nightingale.
'Six feet in earth my Emma lay;
And yet I loved her more-
For so it seem'd,—than till that day
I e'er had loved before.
* And turning from her grave, I met,
Beside the churchyard yew,
A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet
With points of morning dew.
*No fountain from its rocky cave
E’er tripp'd with foot so free;
She seem'd as happy as a wave
That dances on the sea.
*There came from me a sigh of pain
Which I could ill confine;
I look'd at her, and look'd again:
And did not wish her mine!'
-Matthew is in his grave, yet now
Methinks I see him stand
As at that moment, with a bough
Of wilding in his hand.
We talk'd with open heart, and tongue
Affectionate and true,
A pair of friends, though I was young,
And Matthew seventy-two.
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 gray-hair'd 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 stirr'd,
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 press’d by heavy laws;
And often, glad no more,
We wear a face of joy, because
We have been glad of yore.
'If there be one who need bemoan
His kindred laid in earth,
The household hearts that were his own,
It is the man of mirth.
• My days, my friend, are almost gone,
My life has been approved,
And many love me; but by none
Am I enough beloved.'
• Now both himself and me he wrongs,
The man who thus complains !
I live and sing my idle songs
Upon these happy plains:
* And Matthew, for thy children dead
I'll be a son to thee!'
At this he grasp'd my hand and said,
• Alas! that cannot be.'
We rose up from the fountain-side;
And down the smooth descent
Of the green sheep-track did we glide,
And through the wood we went;
And ere we came to Leonard's rock
He sang those witty rhymes
About the crazy old church-clock,
And the bewilder'd, chimes.
WRITTEN IN MARCH
While resting on the Bridge at the foot of Brother's Water
The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;