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84. — THE POPLAR FIELD. THE poplars are felled, farewell to the shade, And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade; The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves, Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives. Twelve years have elapsed, since I last took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew. And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat, that once lent me a shade. The blackbird has fled to another retreat, Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat ; And the scene, where his melody charmed me before, Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more. My fugitive years are all hasting away, And I must ere long lie as lowly as they ; With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head, Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead. The change both my heart and my fancy employs, I reflect on the frailty of man, and his joys ; Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see, Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.
85. — CONTENTMENT.
Such perfect joy therein I find,
That world affords, or grows by kind:
Content I live—this is my stay;
I seek no more than may suffice I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look-what I lack my mind supplies. Lo! thus I triumph like a king, Content with that my mind doth bring. I see how plenty surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers oft do fall ;
Mishap doth threaten most of all;
I grudge not at another's gain ;
I brook that is another's pain.
I little have, yet seek no more:
And I am rich—with little store.
I wander not to seek for more: I like the plain; I climb no hill:
In greatest storm I sit on shore, And laugh at those that toil in vain, To get what must be lost again. This is my choice; for why-I find No wealth is like a quiet mind.
86. - I REMEMBER.
87. – WHAT IS THAT, MOTHER ? What is that, Mother?—The lark, my child ! The morn has but just looked out, and smiled, When he starts from his humble grassy nest, And is up and away, with the dew on his breast, And a hymn in his heart, to yon pure, bright sphere, To warble it out in his Maker's ear. Ever, my child, be thy morn's first lays, Tuned, like the lark's, to thy Maker's praise. What is that, Mother?—The dove, my son!And that low, sweet voice, like a widow's moan, Is flowing out from her gentle breast, Constant and pure, by that lonely nest, As the wave is poured from some crystal urn, For her distant dear one's quick return: Ever, my son, be thou like the dove, In friendship as faithful, as constant in love. What is that, Mother?—The eagle, boy!Proudly careering his course of joy: Firm, on his own mountain vigour relying, Breasting the dark storm, the red bolt defying, His wing on the wind, and his eye on the sun, He swerves not a hair, but bears onward, right on. Boy, may the eagle's flight ever be thine, Onward, and upward, and true to the line. What is that, Mother?—The swan, my love! He is floating down from his native grove; No loved one now, no nestling nigh, He is floating down, by himself to die: Death darkens his eye, and unplumes his wings: Yet his sweetest song is the last he sings, Live so, my love, that when death shall come, Swan-like and sweet, it may waft thee home.
88. — THE MILLER OF THE DEE.
THERE dwelt a miller hale and bold,
Beside the river Dee;
No lark more blithe than he;
For ever used to be, “I envy nobody: no not I,
“And nobody envies me!".
“Thou’rt wrong my friend !” said old King Hal,
“Thou’rt wrong as wrong can be ; “For could my heart be light as thine,
“I'd gladly change with thee. " And tell me now what makes thee sing
“ With voice so loud and free, “While I am sad, though I'm the King,
“Beside the river Dee.”
The miller smiled and doff'd his cap:
“I earn my bread,” quoth he ; “I love my wife, I love my friend,
“I love my children three; “I owe no penny I cannot pay ;
“I thank the river Dee, " That turns the mill that grinds the corn,
“ To feed my babes and me.”