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“ 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 eye
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, to the church-yard come, 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 church-yard 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.

Wordsworth. STEPPING WESTWARD.

[While my fellow-traveller and I were walking by the side of Loch Ketterine one fine evening after sunset, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region, two well-dressed women, one of whom said to us, by way of greeting, “What, you are stepping westward ?”]

“ WHAT, you are stepping westward ?" " Yea.
—'Twould be a wildish destiny,
If we, who thus together roam
In a strange land, and far from home,
Were in this place the guests of Chance;
Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter he had none,
With such a sky to lead him on?

The dewy ground was dark and cold:
Behind, all gloomy to behold;
And stepping westward seemed to be
A kind of heavenly destiny:
I liked the greeting ; 'twas a sound
Of something without place or bound :
And seemed to give me spiritual right
To travel through that region bright.

221 The voice was soft, and she who spake Was walking by her native lake : The salutation had to me The very sound of courtesy : Its power was felt; and while my eye Was fixed upon the glowing sky, The echo of the voice enwrought A human sweetness with the thought Of travelling through the world that lay Before me in my endless way.

Wordsworth.

THE SOLITARY REAPER.

Behold 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 chant
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,

Among Arabian sands:

A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard,
In spring-time 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.

Wordsworth.

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