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“ Nine summers had she scarcely seen,
The pride of all the vale ;
And then she sang ;—she would have been
A very nightingale.
“ Six feet in earth my Emma lay;
And yet I loved her more,
For so it seemed, than till that day
I e'er had loved before.
“ And, turning from her grave, I met
Beside the church-yard Yew
A blooming Girl, whose hair was wet
With points of morning dew.
“ A basket on her head she bare;
Her brow was smooth and white:
To see a Child so very fair,
It was a pure delight!
“ No fountain from its rocky cave
E’er tripped with foot so free;
She seemed as happy as a wave
That dances on the sea.
“ There came from me a sigh of pain Which I could ill confine; I looked at her and looked again: -And did not wish her mine.”
Matthew is in his grave, yet now
Methinks I see him stand,
As at that moment, with his bough
Of wilding in his hand.
We talked with open heart, and tongue
Affectionate and true;
A pair of Friends, though I was young,
And Matthew seventy-two.
We lay beneath a spreading oak,
Beside a mossy seat;
And from the turf a fountain broke,
And gurgled at our feet.
“ Now, Matthew! let us try to match
This water's pleasant tune
With some old Border-song, or Catch
That suits a summer's noon.
“ 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:
“ Down to the vale this water steers,
How merrily it goes !
'Twill 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 in the summer trees,
The Lark upon 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 is one who need bemoan
His kindred laid in earth,
The household hearts that were his own,
It is the man of mirth.