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The Old Man still stood talking by my side;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;
And the whole Body of the man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a Man from some far region sent;
To give me human strength, and strong admonishment.

My former thoughts return’d: the fear that kills;
The hope that is unwilling to be fed;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
And now, not knowing what the Old Man had said,
My question eagerly did I renew,
“ How is it that you live, and what is it you

do ?”

He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said, that, gathering Leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet

The waters of the Ponds where they abide.
“ Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."

my mind's

While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The Old Mau's shape, and speech, all troubled me:


I seem'd to see him pace About the weary moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently. While I these thoughts within myself pursued, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.

And soon with this he other matter blended,
Chearfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main ; and, when he ended,
I could have laugh'd myself to scorn, to find
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
“ God,” said I, “ be my help and stay secure;
I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor."

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