Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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ADDRESS TO THE SCHOLARS OF THE VILLAGE SCHOOL OF ----

          I COME, ye little noisy Crew,
          Not long your pastime to prevent;
          I heard the blessing which to you
          Our common Friend and Father sent.
          I kissed his cheek before he died;
          And when his breath was fled,
          I raised, while kneeling by his side,
          His hand:--it dropped like lead.
          Your hands, dear Little-ones, do all
          That can be done, will never fall                           10
          Like his till they are dead.
          By night or day blow foul or fair,
          Ne'er will the best of all your train
          Play with the locks of his white hair,
          Or stand between his knees again.
            Here did he sit confined for hours;
          But he could see the woods and plains,
          Could hear the wind and mark the showers
          Come streaming down the streaming panes.
          Now stretched beneath his grass-green mound                 20
          He rests a prisoner of the ground.
          He loved the breathing air,
          He loved the sun, but if it rise
          Or set, to him where now he lies,
          Brings not a moment's care.
          Alas! what idle words; but take
          The Dirge which for our Master's sake
          And yours, love prompted me to make.
          The rhymes so homely in attire
          With learned ears may ill agree,                            30
          But chanted by your Orphan Quire
          Will make a touching melody.

                                 DIRGE

          Mourn, Shepherd, near thy old grey stone;
          Thou Angler, by the silent flood;
          And mourn when thou art all alone,
          Thou Woodman, in the distant wood!

          Thou one blind Sailor, rich in joy
          Though blind, thy tunes in sadness hum;
          And mourn, thou poor half-witted Boy!
          Born deaf, and living deaf and dumb.                        40

          Thou drooping sick Man, bless the Guide
          Who checked or turned thy headstrong youth,
          As he before had sanctified
          Thy infancy with heavenly truth.

          Ye Striplings, light of heart and gay,
          Bold settlers on some foreign shore,
          Give, when your thoughts are turned this way,
          A sigh to him whom we deplore.

          For us who here in funeral strain
          With one accord our voices raise,                           50
          Let sorrow overcharged with pain
          Be lost in thankfulness and praise.

          And when our hearts shall feel a sting
          From ill we meet or good we miss,
          May touches of his memory bring
          Fond healing, like a mother's kiss.

               BY THE SIDE OF THE GRAVE SOME YEARS AFTER

          LONG time his pulse hath ceased to beat
          But benefits, his gift, we trace--
          Expressed in every eye we meet
          Round this dear Vale, his native place.                     60

          To stately Hall and Cottage rude
          Flowed from his life what still they hold,
          Light pleasures, every day, renewed;
          And blessings half a century old.

          Oh true of heart, of spirit gay,
          Thy faults, where not already gone
          From memory, prolong their stay
          For charity's sweet sake alone.

          Such solace find we for our loss;
          And what beyond this thought we crave                       70
          Comes in the promise from the Cross,
          Shining upon thy happy grave.
                                                              1798.


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