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His hunting feats have him bereft
Of his right eye, as you may see :
And then, what limbs those feats have left old Simon Lee!
He has no son, he has no child,
His Wife, an aged woman,
Lives with him, near the waterfall,
Upon the village Common.
Old Ruth works out of doors with him,
And does what Simon cannot do;
For she, not over stout of limb,
Is stouter of the two.
And, though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
Alas! 'tis very little, all
Which they can do between them.
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
A scrap of land they have, but they
This scrap of land he from the heath
But what avails the land to them,
Few months of life has he in store,
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
poor old ancles swell.
My gentle Reader, I perceive
And I'm afraid that you expect
O Reader! had you in your mind
O gentle Reader! you would find
A tale in every thing.
What more I have to say is short,
I hope you'll kindly take it:
It is no tale; but, should you think,
One summer-day I chanced to see
This Old Man doing all he could
About the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock tottered in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.
"You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool," to him I said;
And at the word right gladly he
I struck, and with a single blow
At which the poor Old Man so long
The tears into his eyes were brought,
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
-I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas! the gratitude of men
Has oftener left me mourning.
Written in April, 1798.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
A balmy night! and though the stars be dim,
That gladden the green earth, and we shall find A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.