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"Now, Matthew!" said I, "let us match This water's pleasant tune
With some old border-song, or catch
Or of the church-clock and the chimes
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
And flow as now it flows.
And here, on this delightful day,
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 happy youth, and their old age
But we are pressed by heavy laws;
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 grasped my hand, and said, "Alas! that cannot be."
We rose up from the fountain-side;
And, ere we came to Leonard's rock,
[WRITTEN at Town-end, Grasmere. The last line but two stood, at first, better and more characteristically, thus :
"By my half-kitchen and half-parlour fire."
My Sister and I were in the habit of having the tea-kettle in our little sitting-room; and we toasted the bread ourselves, which reminds me of a little circumstance not unworthy of being set down among these minutia. Happening both of us to be engaged a few minutes one morning when we had a young prig of a Scotch lawyer to breakfast with us, my dear Sister, with her usual simplicity, put the toasting-fork with a slice of bread into the hands of this Edinburgh genius. Our little book-case stood on one side of the fire. To prevent loss of time, he took down a book, and fell to reading, to the neglect of the toast, which was burnt to a cinder. Many a time bave we laughed at this circumstance, and other cottage simplicities of that day. By the bye, I have a spite at one of this series of Sonnets (I will leave the reader to discover which) as having been the means of nearly putting off for ever our acquaintance with dear Miss Fenwick, who has always stigmatised one line of it as vulgar, and worthy only of having been composed by a country squire.]
I AM not One who much or oft delight
And, for my chance-acquaintance, ladies bright,
is life; we have seen and see,
"Yet life," you say,
Sound sense, and love itself, and mirth and glee
Wings have we, and as far as we can go,
Dreams, books, are each a world; and books, we know,
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
To which I listen with a ready ear;
Two shall be named, pre-eminently dear,-
Nor can I not believe but that hereby