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A RURAL SKETCH.
1. By the way-side, on a mossy stone,
Sat a hoary pilgrim, sadly musing ;
Poor unknown !
2. Buckled knee and shoe, and broad-rimmed hat,
Coat as ancient as the form 't was folding,
There he sat ;
3. Seemed it pitiful he should sit there,
No one sympathizing, no one heeding ;
Age, and care;
4. It was summer, and we went to school,
Dapper country lads and little maidens,
“ Here's a fool!"
5. Still, in sooth, our tasks we seldom tried;
Sportive pastime only worth our learning ;
And we cried !
6. When the stranger seemed to mark our play,
(Some of us were joyous, some sad-hearted,) I remember well — too well — that day! Oftentimes the tears unbidden started
Would not stay,
7. When we cautiously adventured nigh,
We could see his lip with anguish quiver ;
8. One sweet spirit broke the silent spell —
Ah! to me her name was always heaven!
9. Softly asked she, with a voice divine,
Why so lonely hast thou wandered hither? Hast no mother?- come with me to mine; There's our cottage, let me lead thee thither ;
Why repine ? Softly asked she with a voice divine.
10. Angel, said he sadly, I am old ;
Earthly hope no longer hath a morrow;
Down it rolled!
11. I have tottered here to look once more
On the pleasant scene where I delighted
To the core !
12. All the picture now to me how dear!
E'en this gray old rock, where I am seated,
With a tear!
13. Old stone school-house !- it is still the same;
There's the very step so oft I mounted ;
For the game!
14. In the cottage, yonder, I was born ;
Long my happy home — that humble dwelling;
15. Those two gate-way sycamores you see,
Then were planted, just so far asunder
16. There's the orchard where we used to climb
When my mates and I were boys together,
Past its prime!
17. There, the rude three-cornered chestnut rails,
Round the pasture where the flocks were grazing,
Traps and trails!
18. How in summer have I traced that stream,
There through mead and woodland sweetly gliding,
All a dream!
19. There's the mill that ground our yellow grain;
Pond and river still serenely flowing ;
Mary Jane !
20. There's the gate on which I used to swing ;
Brook and bridge, and barn, and old red stable ;
21. I am fleeing! - all I loved are fled ;
Yon green meadow was our place for playing :
She is dead!
22. Yon white spire, a pencil on the sky,
Tracing silently life's changeful story,
There on high!
23. Oft the aisle of that old church we trod,
Guided thither by an angel mother;
Gone to God!
24. There I heard of wisdom's pleasant ways,
Bless the holy lesson! -- but ah, never
25. There my Mary blessed me with her hand,
When our souls drank in the nuptial blessing,
Broken band !
26. I have come to see that grave once more,
And the sacred place where we delighted,
To the core !
27. Haply, ere the verdure there shall fade,
I, all withering with years, shall perish;
Her dear shade!
28. Angel, said he sadly, I am old !
Earthly hope no longer hath a morrow :
Down it rolled !
29. By the way-side, on a mossy stone,
Sat the hoary pilgrim, sadly musing ;