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Have taught some sweet, some bitter lessons, none
Wiser than this, to spend in all things else,
But of old friends to be most miserly.
Each

year to ancient friendships adds a ring, 165 As to an oak, and precious more and more,

Without deservingness or help of ours,
They grow, and, silent, wider spread, each year,
Their unbought ring of shelter or of shade.

Sacred to me the .ichens on the bark,
170 Which Nature's milliners would scrape away;

Most dear and sacred every withered limb!
'Tis good to set them early, for our faith
Pines as we age, and, after wrinkles come,

Few plant, but water dead ones with vain tears. 175 This willow is as old to me as life;

And under it full often have I stretched,
Feeling the warm earth like a thing alive,
And gathering virtue in at every pore

Till it possessed me wholly, and thought ceased, 180 Or was transfused in something to which thought

Is coarse and dull of sense. Myself was lost,
Gone from me like an ache, and what remained
Became a part of the universal joy.

My soul went forth, and, mingling with the tree, 185 Danced in the leaves; or, floating in the cloud,

Saw its white double in the stream below;
Or else, sublimed to purer ecstasy,
Dilated in the broad blue over all.

I was the wind that dappled the lush grass, 190 The tide that crept with roolness to its roots,

The thin-winged swallow skating on the air ;
The life that gladdened everything was mine.
Was I then truly all that I beheld ?

Or is this stream of being but a glass 95 Where the mind see its visionary self,

As, when the kingfisher flits o'er his bay,
Across the river's'hollow heaven below,
His picture flits, — another, yet the same ?

But suddenly the sound of human voice 200 Or footfall, like the drop a chemist pours,

Doth in opacous cloud precipitate
The consciousness that seemed but now dissolved
Into an essence rarer than its own,
And I am narrowed to myself once more.

205 For here not long is solitude secure,

Nor Fantasy left vacant to her spell.
Here, sometimes, in this paradise of shade,
Rippled with western winds, the dusty Tramp,

Seeing the treeless causey burn beyond, 210 Halts to unroll his bundle of strange food

And munch an unearned meal. I cannot help
Liking this creature, lavish Summer's bedesman,
Who from the almshouse steals when nights grow

warm,
Himself his large estate and only charge,
215 To be the guest of haystack or of hedge,

Nobly superior to the household gear
That forfeits us our privilege of nature.
I bait him with my match-box and my pouch,

Nor grudge the uncostly sympathy of smoke, 220 His equal now, divinely unemployed.

Some smack of Robin Hood is in the man,
Some secret league with wild wood-wandering

things;
He is our ragged Duke, our barefoot Earl,

By right of birth exonerate from toil, 125 Who levies rent from us his tenants all,

And serves the state by merely being. Here,
The Scissors-grinder, pausing, doffs his hat,

And lets the kind breeze, with its delicate

fan, Winnow the heat from out his dank gray hair, 230 A grimy Ulysses, a much-wandered man,

Whose feet are known to all the populous ways,
And many men and manners he hath seen,
Not without fruit of solitary thought.

He, as the habit is of lonely men,
235 Unused to try the temper of their mind

In fence with others, positive and shy,
Yet knows to put an edge upon his speech,
Pithily Saxon in unwilling talk.

Him I entrap with my long-suffering knife, 240 And, while its poor blade hums away in sparks,

Sharpen my wit upon his gritty mind,
In motion set obsequious to his wheel,
And in its quality not much unlike.

Nor wants my tree more punctual visitors. 245 The children, they who are the only rich,

Creating for the moment, and possessing
W'hate'er they choose to feign, — for still with

them
Kind Fancy plays the fairy godmother,

Strewing their lives with cheap material 250 For winged horses and Aladdin's lamps,

Pure elfin-gold, by manhood's touch profane
To dead leaves disenchanted, – long ago
Between the branches of the tree fixed seats,

Making an o’erturned box their table. Oft 255 The shrilling girls sit here between school hours,

230. Ulysses, the hero of Homer's Odyssey, receives the epithet much wandered in the first line of that poem, an epithet often repeated, and is described as one wbo hard seen many cities of men, and known many minds.

And play at What's my thought like! while the

boys,
With whom the age chivalric ever bides,
Pricked on by knightly spur of female eyes,

Climb high to swing and shout on perilous boughs, 260 Or, from the willow's armory equipped

With musket dumb, green banner, edgeless sword,
Make good the rampart of their tree-redoubt
'Gainst

eager

British storming from below,
And keep alive the tale of Bunker's Hill.

265 Here, too, the men that mend our village ways,

Vexing McAdam's ghost with pounded slate,
Their nooning take; much noisy talk they spend
On borses and their ills; and, as John Bull

Tells of Lord This or That, who was his friend, 270 So these make boast of intimacies long

With famons teams, and add large estimates,
By competition swelled from mouth to mouth,
Of how much they could draw, till one, ill pleased

To have his legend overbid, retorts : 275 " You take and stretch truck-horses in a string

From here to Long Wharf end, one thing I know,
Not heavy neither, they could never draw, –
Ensign's long bow!” Then laughter loud and

long
So they in their leaf-shadowed microcosm
280 Image the larger world; for wheresoe'er

Ten men are gathered, the observant eye
Will find mankind in little, as the stars
Glide up and set, and all the heavens revolve

In the small welkin of a drop of dew. 266. Macadamized roads have kept alive the name of Sir John Loudon Macadam, who introduced the mode at the beginning of this century.

285 I love to enter pleasure by a postern,

Not the broad popular gate that gulps the mob;
To find my theatres in roadside nooks,
Where men are actors, and suspect it not;

Where Nature all unconscious works her will, 290 And every passion moves with human gait,

Unhampered by the buskin or the train.
Hating the crowd, where we gregarious men
Lead lonely lives, I love society,

Nor seldom find the best with simple souls
295 Unswerved by culture from their native bent,

The ground we meet on being primal man
And nearer the deep bases of our lives.

But oh, half heavenly, earthly half, my soul,

Canst thou from those late ecstasies descend, 300 Thy lips still wet with the miraculous wine

That transubstantiates all thy baser stuff
To such divinity that soul and sense,
Once more commingled in their source, are lost, –

Canst thou descend to quench a vulgar thirst 305 With the mere dregs and rin sings of the world?

Well, if my nature find her pleasure so,
I am content, nor need to blush; I take
My little gift of being clean from God,

Not haggling for a better, holding it 310 Good as was ever any in the world,

My days as good and full of miracle.
I pluck my nutriment from any bush,
Finding out poison as the first men did

By tasting and then suffering, if I must. 315 Sometimes my bush burns, and sometimes it is

A leasless wilding shivering by the wall ;
But I have known when winter barberries

315. As did Moses's bush.

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