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Below, a circling fence, its leaves are seen
Wrinkled and keen;

No grazing cattle through their prickly round
Can reach to wound;

But as they grow where nothing is to fear, Smooth and unarm'd the pointless leaves appear.


I love to view these things with curious eyes,
And moralize :

And in this wisdom of the Holly Tree

Can emblems see

Wherewith perchance to make a pleasant rhyme, One which may profit in the after time.


Thus, though abroad perchance I might appear Harsh and austere,

To those who on my leisure would intrude
Reserved and rude,

Gentle at home amid my friends I'd be
Like the high leaves upon the Holly Tree.


And should my youth, as youth is apt I know, Some harshness show,

All vain asperities I day by day

Would wear away,

Till the smooth temper of my age should be
Like the high leaves upon the Holly Tree.


And as when all the summer trees are seen
So bright and green,

The Holly leaves a sober hue display

Less bright than they,

But when the bare and wintry woods we see,
What then so cheerful as the Holly Tree?


So serious should my youth appear among
The thoughtless throng,

So would I seem amid the young and gay
More grave than they,

That in my age as cheerful I might be
As the green winter of the Holly Tree.



It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,

And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.


She saw her brother Peterkin

Roll something large and round,
Which he beside the rivulet

In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.


Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;

And then the old man shook his head,

And with a natural sigh,

"Tis some poor fellow's skull,' said he,
'Who fell in the great victory.


'I find them in the garden,

For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,

The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men,' said he,
'Were slain in that great victory.'


'Now tell us what 't was all about,'
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up

With wonder-waiting eyes;
'Now tell us all about the war,

And what they fought each other for,'


'It was the English,' Kaspar cried,
'Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for,
I could not well make out;
But every body said,' quoth he,
'That 't was a famous victory.


'My father lived at Blenheim then, Yon little stream hard by ;

They burnt his dwelling to the ground, And he was forced to fly;

So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.


'With fire and sword the country round Was wasted far and wide,

And many a childing mother then,

And new-born baby died;

But things like that, you know, must be At every famous victory.


'They say it was a shocking sight After the field was won;

For many thousand bodies here

Lay rotting in the sun;

But things like that, you know, must be After a famous victory.


'Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won, And our good Prince Eugene.' 'Why 't was a very wicked thing!'

Said little Wilhelmine.

‘Nay. . nay . . my little girl,' quoth he. 'It was a famous victory.


'And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win.'
'But what good came of it at last?'
Quoth little Peterkin.

'Why that I cannot tell,' said he, 'But 't was a famous victory.'



My days among the Dead are past;
Around me I behold,

Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.


With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.


My thoughts are with the Dead, with them
I live in long-past years,

Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
Partake their hopes and fears,

And from their lessons seek and find
Instruction with an humble mind.


My hopes are with the Dead, anon
My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on

Through all Futurity;

Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
That will not perish in the dust.

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