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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: Our tears from passion and from reason came, And, 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.
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?
THE TWO APRIL MORNINGS. We walked along, while bright and red Uprose 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 gray;
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
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, coming to the church, 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 gray-haired man of glee: