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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 hands.



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 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.

“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.



How richly glows the water's breast
Before us, tinged with evening hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent course pursues !
And see how dark the backward stream :
A little moment past so smiling!
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
Some other loiterers beguiling.

Such views the youthful bark allure :
But, heedless of the following gloom,
He deems their colours shall endure
Till peace go with him to the tomb.
And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow !
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow !

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