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Work while yet the daylight shines,

Man of strength and will!
Never does the streamlet glide

Useless by the mill;
Wait not till to-morrow's sun

Beams upon thy way,
All that thou canst call thine own

Lies in thy “to-day.”
Power, and intellect, and health

May not always last-
“The mill cannot grind

With the water that is past."

Oh, the wasted hours of life

That have drifted by!
Oh, the good that might have been,

Lost, without a sigh!
Love that we might once have saved

By a single word,

Thoughts conceived, but never penned,

Perishing unheard;
Take the proverb to thine heart,

Take, and hold it fast
“The mill cannot grind

With the water that is past."

Lăn'guid ly, feebly, lazily; prov'ērb, an old saying in common use; spěll, charm, magic power; con ceived' (kon sēvd'), existing in the mind. STUDY HELPS

Mention all the sounds you can hear in stanza 1.
How can a proverb “haunt" the mind?

What are you told about the leaves, and the corn, and the streamlet, in stanza 2?

What lesson are you asked to take to yourself in stanza 3?
What lines tell you why it is important to learn this lesson?
What lesson about work is stated in stanza 4?
What “may not always last"?

Read the lines in the last stanza that tell the things that have been lost by not paying attention to the truth in the proverb.

Repeat the proverb from memory.



There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,

There's no rain left in heaven;
I've said my “seven times” over and over,

Seven times one are seven.

I am old, so old I can write a letter;

My birthday lessons are done;
The lambs play always, they know no better;

They are only one times one.


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O moon! in the night I have seen you sailing

And shining so round and low; You were bright! ah, bright! but your light is failing,–

You are nothing now but a bow.

You moon, have you done something wrong in heaven

That God has hidden your face?
I hope if you have you will soon be forgiven

And shine again in your place.

O velvet bee, you 're a dusty feliow;

You ’ve powdered your legs with gold!
O brave marshmary buds, rich and yellow,

Give me your money to hold!

O columbine, open your folded wrapper,

Where two twin turtledoves dwell!
O cuckoopint, toll me the purple clapper

That hangs in your clear green bell!

And show me your nest, with the young ones in it,

I will not steal it away;
I am old! you may trust me, linnet, linnet, -

I am seven times one to-day.

Brāve, showy; märsk'mā'ry, the marsh marigold, a golden flowered plant growing in moist places; col'um bine (kol'um bīn), a garden plant with a flower like clustered pigeons; cuck'oo pint (kook'oo pint'), a common European flower, called also “lords-and-ladies"; lin'nět, a very common small song bird. STUDY HELPS

This is a birthday poem. How old is the speaker?
What can you tell of the time of day from the opening lines?
What has the speaker already done on this birthday?

What does she say about the moon? What question does she ask the moon, and what hope does she express?

Can you tell from stanzas 5 and 6 whether the speaker is having a good time?

Why can the linnet safely show her the “nest with the young ones in it”?

Choose a stanza that you like.



There was a man who had three sons. The youngest was called Dummling, and was on all occasions despised and ill-treated by the whole family. It happened that the eldest took it into his head one day to go into the wood to

cut fuel; and his mother gave him a delicious pasty and a bottle of wine to take with him, that he might refresh himself at his work.

As he went into the wood, a little old man bade him good day, and said, “Give me a little piece of meat from your plate, and a little wine out of your bottle; I am very hungry and thirsty." But this clever young man said, “Give you my meat and wine! No, I thank you; I should not have enough left for myself”: and away he went. He soon began to cut down a tree; but he had not worked long before he missed his stroke, and cut himself, and was obliged to go home to have the wound dressed. Now it was the little old man that caused him this mischief.

Next went out the second son to work; and his mother gave him too a pasty and a bottle of wine. And the same little old man met him also, and asked him for something to eat and drink. But he too thought himself vastly clever, and said, “Whatever you get, I shall lose; so go your way!” The little man took care that he should have his reward; and the second stroke that he aimed against a tree, hit him on the leg; so that he too was forced to go home.

Then Dummling said, “Father, I should like to go and cut wood too.” But his father answered, “Your brothers have both lamed themselves; you had better stay at home, for you know nothing of the business.” But Dummling was very pressing; and at last his father said, “Go your way; you will be wiser when you have suffered for your folly.” And his mother gave him only some dry bread, and a bottle of sour beer; but when he went into the wood, he met the little old man, who said, “Give me some meat

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