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Intent upon her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes;
Pure-bosomed as that watery glass,
And Heaven reflected in her face.

William Cowper

104

THREE

years

she grew in sun and shower;
Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown:
This child I to myself will take;
She shall be mine, and I will make

A lady of my own.

“Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me

The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power

To kindle or restrain.

“She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn

Or up the mountain springs;
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm,

Of mute insensate things.

“The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;

Nor shall she fail to see
E’en in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mold the maiden's form

By silent sympathy.

“The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear

In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall
pass

into her face.

“And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,

Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live

Here in this happy dell.”

Thus Nature spake. The work was done,-
How soon my Lucy's race was run!

She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.

William Wordsworth

105

THE SOLITARY REAPER

B

EHOLD her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary

bands
Of travelers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands;
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In springtime from the cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

William Wordsworth

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S

HE stood breast high amid the corn,

Clasped by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun
Who many a glowing kiss had won.

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Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell;
But long lashes veiled a light
That had else been all too bright.

And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim ;-
Thus she stood amid the stooks
Praising God with sweetest looks:

Sure, I said, heav'n did not mean
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean;
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

Thomas Hood

107

TO PERDITA, SINGING 1

TH

HY voice is like a fountain,

Leaping up in clear moonshine;
Silver, silver, ever mounting,

Ever sinking,

Without thinking,
To that brimful heart of thine.
Every sad and happy feeling,

Thou hast had in bygone years, 1 Only the first strophes of the poem are given. Four lines of the second strophe are used by W. H. Hudson in describing the note of a South American thrush. See Prose, Pp.

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Through thy lips comes stealing, stealing,

Clear and low;
All thy smiles and all thy tears
In thy voice awaken,
And sweetness, wove of joy and woe,
From their teaching it hath taken:
Feeling and music move together,
Like a swan and shadow ever
Floating on a sky-blue river
In a day of cloudless weather.

It hath caught a touch of sadness,

Yet it is not sad;
It hath tones of clearest gladness,

Yet it is not glad;
A dim, sweet twilight voice it is
Where to-day's accustomed blue
Is over-grayed with memories,
With starry feelings quivered through.

Thy voice is like a fountain,
Leaping up in sunshine bright,
And I never weary counting
Its clear droppings, lone and single,
Or when in one full gush they mingle,
Shooting in melodious light.

James Russell Lowell

108

HE was a phantom of delight

my sight:

A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;

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