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580

Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.

Since then, at an uncertain hour
That agony returns :
And till my ghastly tale is told,
This heart within me burns.

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I

pass, like night, from land to land ;
I have strange power of speech;
The moment that his face I see,
I know the man that must hear me:
To him my tale I teach.

590

What loud uproar bursts from that door!
The wedding-guests are there :
But in the garden-bower the bride
And bride-maids singing are:
And hark the little vesper bell,
Which biddeth me to prayer !

595

O wedding-guest! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea :
So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.

600

O sweeter than the marriage-feast,
"Tis sweeter far to me,
To walk together to the kirk
With a goodly company !-

605

To walk together to the kirk,
And all together pray,
While each to his great Father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
And youths and maidens gay!

610

And to teach, Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell
by his own
example, To thee, thou wedding-guest !
love and re-
verence to
all things

He prayeth well, who loveth well
that God
made and

Both man and bird and beast. loveth.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

615

The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone : and now the wedding-guest
Turned from the bridegroom's door.

620

He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

625

YOUTH AND AGE.

5

VERSE, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee-
Both were mine! Life went a maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,

When I was young!
When I was young?—Ah, woful when !
Ah! for the change 'twixt now and then !
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along :-
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I liv'd in't together.

10

15

Flowers are lovely ; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,

Ere I was old !

20 25

30

Ere I was old ? Ah woful ere,
Which tells me, Youth's no longer here !
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
'Tis known, that thou and I were one;
I'll think it but a fond conceit-
It cannot be, that thou art gone !
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll’d :
And thou wert aye a masker bold !
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou art gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But springtide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes !
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.

35

40

Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life's a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,

When we are old :
That only serves to makes us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist,
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.

45

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THREE years she grew in sun and shower,
Then Nature said, 66 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.

5

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.

10

15

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

the mountain springs ;
And her's shall be the breathing balm,
And her's the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.

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