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"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-haired man of glee :

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

'T will 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.

"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 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 bewildered chimes.

XIII.

PERSONAL TALK.

I.

1799.

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 neighbors, 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.

II.

"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,
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, preeminently 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; rancor, never sought,
Comes to me not; malignant truth, or lie.
Hence have I genial seasons, hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourses, and joyous
thought:

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And thus from day to day my little boat
Rocks in its harbor, lodging peaceable.
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.

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