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He seems ten birthdays younger,
green Twice as fast as before does his blood run about ; You would
that each hair of his beard was alive, And his fingers are busy as bees in a hive.
For he 's not like an Old Man that leisurely goes
About work that he knows, in a track that he knows;
But often his mind is compelled to demur,
And you guess that the more then his body must stir.
In the throng of the Town like a Stranger is he,
Like one whose own Country's far over the sea ;
And Nature, while through the great City he hies,
Full ten times a day takes his heart by surprise.
This gives him the fancy of one that is young,
More of soul in his face than of words on his tongue;
Like a Maiden of twenty he trembles and sighs,
And tears of fifteen will come into his eyes.
What's a tempest to him, or the dry parching heats ?
Yet he watches the clouds that pass over the streets ;
With a look of such earnestness often will stand,
You might think he'd twelve Reapers at work in the Strand.
Where proud Covent-garden, in desolate hours
Of snow and hoar-frost, spreads her fruit and her flowers,
Old Adam will smile at the pains that have made
Poor Winter look fine in such strange masquerade.
Mid coaches and chariots, a Waggon of straw,
Like a magnet, the heart of old Adam can draw;
With a thousand soft pictures his memory will team,
And his hearing is touched with the sounds ofa dream.
Up the Haymarket hill he oft whistles his way,
Thrusts his hands in the Waggon, and smells at the hay;
He thinks of the fields he so often hath mown,
And is happy as if the rich freight were his own.
But chiefly to Smithfield he loves to repair,-
If you pass by at morning, you 'll meet with him there:
The breath of the Cows you may see him inhale,
And his heart all the while is in Tilsbury Vale.
Now farewell, Old Adam! when low thou art laid, May one blade of grass spring up over thy head; And I hope that thy grave, wheresoever it be, Will hear the wind sigh through the leaves of a tree
There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!
When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm, Or blasts the green field and the trees distressed Oft have I seen it muffled
from harm, In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.
But lately, one rough day, this Flower I passed And recognized it, though an altered Form, Now standing forth an offering to the Blast, And buffeted at will by Rain and Storm.
I stopped, and said with inly-muttered voice,
“ It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold :
This neither is its courage nor its choice,
But its necessity in being old.
The sunshine may not cheer it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue."
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was gray.
To be a Prodigal's Favourite - then, worse truth,
A Miser's Pensioner - behold our lot!
O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!
THE LAST STAGE OF AVARICE.
O now that the genius of Bewick were mine,
And the skill which he learned on the banks of the Tyne!
Then the Muses might deal with me just as they chose,
For I'd take my
last leave both of verse and of prose.
What feats would I work with my magical hand !
Book-learning and books should be banished the land:
And, for hunger and thirst, and such troublesome calls,
Every Ale-house should then have a feast on its walls.
The Traveller would hang his wet clothes on a chair;
Let them smoke, let them burn, not a straw would he care!
For the Prodigal Son, Joseph's Dream and his Sheaves,
Oh, what would they be to my tale of two Thieves ?