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CHAPTER LXXIX.

A RURAL SKETCH.

1. By the way-side, on a mossy stone,

Sat a hoary pilgrim, sadly musing ;
Oft I marked him sitting there alone,
All the landscape, like a page, perusing ;

Poor unknown !
By the way-side, on a mossy stone.

2. Buckled knee and shoe, and broad-rimmed hat,

Coat as ancient as the form 't was folding,
Silver buttons, queue, and crimped cravat,
Oaken staff his feeble hand upholding,

There he sat ;
Buckled knee and shoe, and broad-rimmed hat.

3. Seemed it pitiful he should sit there,

No one sympathizing, no one heeding ;
None to love him for his thin

gray

hair
And the furrows all so mutely pleading

Age, and care;
Seemed it pitiful he should sit there.

4. It was summer, and we went to school,

Dapper country lads and little maidens,
Taught the motto of the "Dunce's Stool,"
Its grave import still my fancy ladens

“ Here's a fool!"
It was summer, and we went to school.

5. Still, in sooth, our tasks we seldom tried;

Sportive pastime only worth our learning ;
But we listened when the old man sighed,
And that lesson to our hearts went burning -

And we cried !
Still, in sooth, our tasks we seldom tried.

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,
When the stranger seemed to mark our play.

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7. When we cautiously adventured nigh,

We could see his lip with anguish quiver ;
Yet no word he uttered, but his eye
Seemed in mournful converse with the river

Murm’ring by,
When we cautiously adventured nigh.

8. One sweet spirit broke the silent spell —

Ah! to me her name was always heaven!
She besought him all his grief to tell —
(I was thirteen and she eleven,)

Isabel !
One sweet spirit broke the silent spell.

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;
Yet why I sit here thou shalt be told.
Then his eye betrayed a pearl of sorrow -

Down it rolled!
Angel, said he sadly, I am old.

11. I have tottered here to look once more

On the pleasant scene where I delighted
In the careless, happy days of yore,
Ere the garden of my heart was blighted

To the core !
I have tottered here to look once more,

12. All the picture now to me how dear!

E'en this gray old rock, where I am seated,
Seems a jewel worth my journey here;
Ah! that such a scene must be completed

With a tear!
All the picture now to me how dear!

13. Old stone school-house !- it is still the same;

There's the very step so oft I mounted ;
There's the window creaking in its frame,
And the notches that I cut and counted

For the game!
Old stone school-house! — it is still the same.

14. In the cottage, yonder, I was born ;

Long my happy home — that humble dwelling;
There the fields of clover, wheat and corn,
There the stream with limpid nectar swelling ;

Ah, forlorn!-
In the cottage, yonder, I was born.

15. Those two gate-way sycamores you see,

Then were planted, just so far asunder
That long well-pole from the path to free,
And the wagon to pass safely under ;

Ninety-three!
Those two gate-way sycamores you see.

16. There's the orchard where we used to climb

When my mates and I were boys together,
Thinking nothing of the flight of time,
Fearing nought but work and rainy weather ;

Past its prime!
There's the orchard where we used to climb.

17. There, the rude three-cornered chestnut rails,

Round the pasture where the flocks were grazing,
Where so sly I used to watch for quails,
In the crops of buckwheat we were raising -

Traps and trails!
There the rude three-cornered chestnut rails.

18. How in summer have I traced that stream,

There through mead and woodland sweetly gliding,
Luring simple trout with many a scheme
From some nook where I have found them hiding ;

All a dream!
How in summer have I traced that stream

19. There's the mill that ground our yellow grain;

Pond and river still serenely flowing ;
Cot, there nestling in the shaded lane,
Where the lily of my heart was blowing -

Mary Jane !
There's the mill that ground our yellow grain !

20. There's the gate on which I used to swing ;

Brook and bridge, and barn, and old red stable ;
But, alas ! the morn no more shall bring
That dear group around a father's table;

Taken wing!
There's the gate on which I used to swing.

21. I am fleeing! - all I loved are fled ;

Yon green meadow was our place for playing :
That old tree can tell of sweet things said,
When around it Jane and I were straying ;

She is dead!
I am fleeing ! — all I loved are fled.

22. Yon white spire, a pencil on the sky,

Tracing silently life's changeful story,
So familiar to my dim old eye,
Points me to seven that are now in glory

There on high!
Yon white spire, a pencil on the sky.

23. Oft the aisle of that old church we trod,

Guided thither by an angel mother;
Now she sleeps beneath its sacred sod.
Sire and sisters, and my little brother

Gone to God!
Oft the aisle of that old church we trod.

24. There I heard of wisdom's pleasant ways,

Bless the holy lesson! -- but ah, never
Shall I hear again those songs of praise -
Those sweet voices, silent now forever!

Peaceful days!
There I heard of wisdom's pleasant ways.

25. There my Mary blessed me with her hand,

When our souls drank in the nuptial blessing,
Ere she hastened to the spirit-land ;
Yonder turf her gentle bosom pressing ;

Broken band !
There my Mary blessed me with her hand.

26. I have come to see that grave once more,

And the sacred place where we delighted,
Where we worshipped in the days of yore,
Ere the garden of my heart was blighted

To the core !
I have come to see that grave once more.

27. Haply, ere the verdure there shall fade,

I, all withering with years, shall perish;
With my Mary may I there be laid,
Join forever-all the wish I cherish -

Her dear shade!
Haply, ere the verdure there shall fade.

28. Angel, said he sadly, I am old !

Earthly hope no longer hath a morrow :
Now why I sit here thou hast been told ;
In his eye another pearl of sorrow -

Down it rolled !
Angel, said he sadly, I am old.

29. By the way-side, on a mossy stone,

Sat the hoary pilgrim, sadly musing ;
Still I marked him sitting there alone,
All the landscape, like a page, perusing ;

Poor unknown!
By the way-side, on a mossy stone.

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