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This scrap of land he from the heath
Enclosed when he was stronger ;
'Tis his, but what avails the land
Which he can till no longer ?
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
That 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 every thing.
What more I have to say is short,
And you must kindly take it:
It is no tale ; but, should you think,
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 yonr 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.
In the school of is a Tablet, on which are inscribed, in gilt letters, the names of the several persons who have been Schoolmasters there since the foundation of the School, with the time at which they entered upon and quitted their office. Opposite to one of those names, the author wrote the following lines.
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.
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 al. that must remain of thee?'
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 grey,
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 ?"