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XCIX.

I CLIMB the hill: from end to end,
Of all the landscape underneath,
I find no place that does not breathe
Some gracious memory of my friend;

No gray old grange, or lonely fold,

Or low morass and whispering reed, Or simple stile from mead to mead, Or sheepwalk up the windy wold;

Nor hoary knoll of ash and haw

That hears the latest linnet trill, Nor quarry trenched along the hill, And haunted by the wrangling daw;

Nor runlet tinkling from the rock ;

Nor pastoral rivulet that swerves

To left and right through meadowy curves, That feed the mothers of the flock;

But each has pleased a kindred eye,
And each reflects a kindlier day;
And, leaving these, to pass away,
I think once more he seems to die.

C.

UNWATCHED the garden bough shall sway,
The tender blossom flutter down,
Unloved that beech will gather brown,

This maple burn itself away ;

Unloved, the sunflower, shining fair,

Ray round with flames her disk of seed,
And many a rose-carnation feed

With summer spice the humming air ;

Unloved, by many a sandy bar,

The brook shall babble down the plain, At noon, or when the lesser wain Is twisting round the polar star;

Uncared for, gird the windy grove,

And flood the haunts of hern and crake;
Or into silver arrows break
The sailing moon in creek and cove;

Till from the garden and the wild
A fresh association blow,

And year by year the landscape grow
Familiar to the stranger's child;

As year by year the laborer tills

His wonted glebe, or lops the glades; And year by year our memory fades From all the circle of the hills.

CI.

We leave the well-beloved place
Where first we gazed upon the sky;
The roofs that heard our earliest cry

Will shelter one of stranger race.

We go, but ere we go from home,

As down the garden-walks I move, Two spirits of a diverse love Contend for loving masterdom.

One whispers, here thy boyhood sung

Long since its matin song, and heard
The low love-language of the bird

In native hazels tassel-hung.

The other answers, "Yea, but here

Thy feet have strayed in after hours With thy lost friend among the bowers, And this hath made them trebly dear."

These two have striven half the day,
And each prefers his separate claim,
Poor rivals in a losing game,

That will not yield each other way.

I turn to go: my feet are set

To leave the pleasant fields and farms;
They mix in one another's arms

To one pure image of regret.

CII.

On that last night before we went
From out the doors where I was bred,
I dreamed a vision of the dead,
Which left my after morn content.

Methought I dwelt within a hall,

And maidens with me; distant hills
From hidden summits fed with rills,

A river sliding by the wall.

The hall with harp and carol rang,

They sang of what is wise and good And graceful. In the centre stood A statue veiled, to which they sang;

And which, though veiled, was known to me, The shape of him I loved, and love

Forever: then flew in a dove,

And brought a summons from the sea:

And when they learnt that I must go,
They wept and wailed, but led the way
To where a little shallop lay

At anchor in the flood below;

And on by many a level mead,

And shadowing bluff that made the banks,
We glided, winding under ranks

Of iris, and the golden reed;

And still, as vaster grew the shore,

And rolled the floods in grander space,

The maidens gathered strength and grace,

And presence lordlier than before;

And I myself, who sat apart

And watched them, waxed in every limb;
I felt the thews of Anakim,

The pulses of a Titan's heart;

As one would sing the death of war,
And one would chant the history
Of that great race, which is to be,
And one the shaping of a star;

Until the forward-creeping tides
Began to foam, and we to draw
From deep to deep, to where we saw

A great ship lift her shining sides.

The man we loved was there on deck,
But thrice as large as man he bent
To greet us. Up the side I went,
And fell in silence on his neck:

Whereat those maidens, with one mind,

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Bewailed their lot; I did them wrong: "We served thee here," they said, so long, And wilt thou leave us now behind?

So rapt I was, they could not win
An answer from my lips, but he
Replying, "Enter likewise ye
And go with us:" they entered in.

And while the wind began to sweep

A music out of sheet and shroud,

We steered her toward a crimson cloud That landlike slept along the deep.

CIII.

THE time draws near the birth of Christ;
The moon is hid, the night is still;

A single church below the hill

Is pealing, folded in the mist.

A single peal of bells below,

That wakens at this hour of rest: A single murmur in the breast, That these are not the bells I know.

Like strangers' voices here they sound,
In lands where not a memory strays,
Nor landmark breathes of other days,
But all is new, unhallowed ground.

CIV.

THIS holly by the cottage-eave,
To-night, ungathered, shall it stand :
We live within the stranger's land,
And strangely falls our Christmas eve.

Our father's dust is left alone

And silent under other snows:

There in due time the woodbine blows

The violet comes, but we are gone.

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