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Changed, or but truer seen, one sees in her
Alone they met, from alien eyes away,
Why linger now why waste the sands of life?
To his old frailty do not be severe,
No, truly no, it was not to obtain,
" Yet in the eye of life's all-seeing sun
Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill ;
No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed,
But when the fields are still,
And only the white sheep are sometimes seen
Cross and recross the strips of moon-blanch'd green, Come, shepherd, and again begin the quest !
Here, where the reaper was at work of late —
His coat, his basket, and his earthen cruse,
Here will I sit and wait,
The bleating of the folded flocks is borne,
With distant cries of reapers in the corn All the live murmur of a summer's day.
Screen'd is this nook o'er the high, half-reap'd field,
Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep,
Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers
Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid,
And bower me from the August sun with shade; And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers.
And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's book-
The story of the Oxford scholar poor,
One summer-morn forsook
And roam'd the world with that wild brotherhood,
And came, as most men deem'd, to little good, But came to Oxford and his friends no more.
But once, years after, in the country-lanes,
Met him, and of his way of life enquired;
The workings of men's brains,
“ And I," he said, “ the secret of their art,
When fully learn'd, will to the world impart; But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill."
This said, he left them, and return'd no more. -
That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray,
The same the gipsies wore.
At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors,
On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock'd boors Had found him seated at their entering,
But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he would fly.
And I myself seem half to know thy looks,
And put the shepherds, wanderer! on thy trace;
Or in my boat I lie
'Mid wide grass meadows which the sunshine fills,
And watch the warm, green-muffled Cumner hills, And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy retreats.
For most, I know, thou lov'st retired ground:
Returning home on summer-nights, have met,
As the punt's rope chops round;
And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers
Pluck'd in shy fields and distant Wychwood bowers, And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream.
And then they land, and thou art seen no more !
To dance around the Fyfield elm in May,
Oft thou hast given them store
Dark bluebells drench'd with dews of summer eves,
And purple orchises with spotted leaves But none hath words she can report of thee.
And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time's here
Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass
Have often pass'd thee near Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown;
Mark'd thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare,
Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air
At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills,
Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate
For cresses from the rills,
The springing pastures and the feeding kine;
And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and shine, Through the long dewy grass move slow away.
In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood –
Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see
The blackbird, picking food,
So often has he known thee past him stray,
Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray, And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.
And once, in winter, on the causeway chill
Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge,
And thou hast climb’d the hill,
Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall,
The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange.
But what I dream! Two hundred years are flown
And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe