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Oft, working by her husband's side,
Ruth does what Simon cannot do:
For she, with scanty cause for pride,
Is stouter of the two.
And, though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
Alas! 'tis very little--all
Which they can do between them.
Few months of life has he in store,
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
Do his weak ankles swell.
My gentle reader, I perceive
How patiently you've waited,
And now I fear that you expect
Some tale will be related.
O reader! had you in your
mind Such stores as silent thought can bring, O gentle reader! you would find A tale in everything. What more I have to say is short, And you must kindly take it : It is no tale; but, should Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see
This old man doing all he could
To unearth the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock tottered in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour,
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.
“You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool,” to him I said;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffered aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I severed,
At which the poor old man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought,
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning,
Alas! the gratitude of men
Hath oftener left me mourning.
CHARACTERISTIC OF A FAVOURITE DOG.
On his morning rounds the master
Goes to learn how all things fare;
Searches pasture after pasture,
Sheep and cattle eyes with care;
And, for silence or for talk,
He hath comrades in his walk;
Four dogs, each pair of different breed,
Distinguished, two for scent, and two for speed.
See a hare before him started!
Off they fly in earnest chase;
Every dog is eager-hearted,
All the four are in the race:
And the hare whom they pursue,
Hath an instinct what to do;
Her hope is near: no turn she makes;
But, like an arrow, to the river takes.
Deep the river
and crusted Thinly by a one night's frost; But the nimble hare hath trusted To the ice, and safely crossed; She hath crossed, and without heed All are following at full speed, When, lo! the ice, so thinly spread, Breaks--and the greyhound, Dart, is over head !
Better fate have Prince and Swallow-
See them cleaving to the sport !
Music has no heart to follow,
Little Music, she stops short.
She hath neither wish nor heart,
Hers is now another part:
A loving creature she, and brave!
And fondly strives her struggling friend to save.
From the brink her paws she stretches,
Very hands as you would say !
And afflicting moans she fetches,
As he breaks the ice away.
For herself she hath no fears,
Him alone she sees and hears-
Makes efforts and complainings; nor gives o'er
Until her fellow sank, and re-appeared no more.
TO THE MEMORY OF THE SAME DOG.
Lie here, without a record of thy worth,
Beneath a covering of the common earth!
It is not from unwillingness to praise,
Or want of love, that here no stone we raise ;
More thou deserv'st; but this man gives to man,
Brother, to brother, this is all we can.
Yet they to whom thy virtues made thee dear
Shall find thee through all changes of the year:
This oak points out thy grave; the silent tree
Will gladly stand a monument of thee.
I grieved for thee, and wished thy end were passed; And willingly have laid thee here at last: For thou hadst lived, till everything that cheers In thee had yielded to the weight of years; Extreme old age had wasted thee away; And left thee but a glimmering of the day; Thy ears were deaf; and feeble were thy knees, I saw thee stagger in the summer breeze, Too weak to stand against its sportive breath, And ready for the gentlest stroke of death. It came, and we were glad ; yet tears were shed; Both man and woman wept when thou wert dead; Not only for a thousand thoughts that were Old household thoughts, in which thou hadst thy share; But for some precious boons vouchsafed to thee, Found scarcely any where in like degree! For love, that comes to all--the holy sense, Best gift of God-in thee was most intense; A chain of heart, a feeling of the mind, A tender sympathy, which did thee bind Not only to us men, but to thy kind : Yea, for thy fellow-brutes in thee we saw The soul of love, love's intellectual law: Hence, if we wept, it was not done in shame: ir tears from passion and from reason came,
therefore, shalt thou be an honoured name!
If Nature, for a favourite child
In thee hath tempered so her clay
That every hour thy heart runs wild
Yet never once doth go astray,*
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.
• Written opposite one of the names on a tablet in a school, on which were inscribed, in gilt letters, the names of the various schoolmasters, with the times at which they entered on and quitted the office.