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Read o'er these lines; and then review
This tablet, that thus humbly rears

In such diversity of hue

Its history of two hundred years.

When through this little wreck of fame,
Cipher and syllable! thine eye

Has travelled down to Matthew's name,
Pause with no common sympathy.

And if a sleeping tear should wake,
Then be it neither checked nor stayed:
For Matthew a request I make
Which for himself he had not made.

Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er,
Is silent as a standing pool;
Far from the chimney's merry roar,
And murmur of the village school.

The sighs which Matthew heaved were sighs
Of one tired out with fun and madness;
The tears which came to Matthew's eyes
Were tears of light, the dew of gladness.

Yet sometimes, when the secret cup
Of still and serious thought went round,
It seemed as if he drank it up,
He felt with spirit so profound.

Thou soul of God's best earthly mould!
Thou happy soul! and can it be
That these two words of glittering gold
Are all that must remain of thee?


WE walked along, while bright and red
Up rose the morning sun;

And Matthew stopped, he looked, and said, "The will of God be done!"

A village schoolmaster was he,
With hair of glittering grey;

As blithe a man as you could see
On a spring holiday.

And on that morning, through the grass,

And by the steaming rills,

We travelled merrily, to pass

A day among the hills.

"Our work," said I, "was well begun, Then from thy breast what thought, Beneath so beautiful a sun,

So sad a sigh has brought?"

A second time did Matthew stop;
And fixing still his eye

Upon the eastern mountain-top,
To me he made reply:

"Yon cloud with that long purple cleft

Brings fresh into my mind

A day like this which I have left
Full thirty years behind.

"And just above yon slope of corn

Such colours, and no other,

Were in the sky, that April morn,

Of this the very brother.

"With rod and line I sued the sport

Which that sweet season gave,

And, to the churchyard come, stopped short

Beside my daughter's grave.

"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 churchyard 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 a 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!" said I, "let us 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 grey-haired man of glee:

"No check, no stay, this streamlet fears;

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
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;

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