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Along those banks my boyhood strayed,
And hearts were linked with mine;
Ah, many were the pranks we played,—
While youth yet seemed divine!

Then would we wander all the day
And dream the live-long night,
Our very dreams so full of play
We scarcely missed the light.

My brothers bathed in yonder pool,
For it was clear indeed,

Where now the moorhen holds her rule
And dabbles in the weed.

Then Harry clomb the topmost tree
And Willy swam the flood,

No fish in pond or brook went free,
No nest in all the wood.

What autumn nuttings up the glen!
What wild-flower hunts in May!
The very copse we rifted then

Is standing corn to-day.

Ah! now 'tis twice score years since both
Stood on that bridge, and I
Now turned from one to other, loth
To give the last good-bye.

Yet while we talked of distant days
And all that they should bear,
Strange shadows fell before my gaze
And hushed me unaware.

But when we parted, trusting God,
I bid the boys be brave:
Now one lies under battle sod

And one beneath the wave.


There stands the school-how oft I drew
My hand from off the latch,
Half-thinking of some task o'er-due,
Half of some coming match.

And then our dear old dame so wise
With glasses on the nose,

You'd think she had two pairs of eyes.
They watched us all so close.

Beneath yon yew she sleepeth well,
It was her chosen place;

And stranger lips must teach to spell
And sway the younger race.

Now some trim mistress fresh from school
Sits in th' old elbow-chair:
Though she be prompt with plan and rule,
I grieve to see her there.

Sufficient for the simple heart,

That simple code of yore,

But they who play the modern part
Must learn the modern lore.

And there's the Sexton, rare old man,
Thy dealings with the dead,
Though stretching half a century's span
Touch not thy heart or head.

And should thy grim task-master come
To call thee in at last,

Though quick to help thy neighbours home,
Thou wilt not answer fast.

But when God takes me, fain would I

Be laid in earth by thee,

And may no village upstart try
His prentice spade for me.

The vicar too 'bides with us yet,
So long has been his reign,
His every Sunday text is set
In order on my brain.

'Twas he that marked the cross of truth

Upon my infant brow;

And his the lips that taught my youth
Its earliest offered vow.

My dying father blessed his name,
E'en with his passing breath,
Then surely I, his child, may claim
His guidance unto death.

It cannot be our time is long,
So many gone before,
And only we of all the throng
Stand waiting on the shore.

Oh golden past, I dare not ask
That aught should be withdrawn,
Though bitter seems the evening task
Of gazing back to dawn.

The present is not wholly vain,

Nor future wholly dark,

And though mine eyes are dim, I strain Still forward to the Ark.

Our time is short, God's rest is sure,
Though waiting seem so hard,
But if so be the soul endure,

It hath its own reward.

Then let the stream run by my door
As in the former years,

"Tis dearer for these thoughts of yore,
And these awakened tears.



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[Mr. Watts is the author of two small volumes of poetry, Clare, the Good Seeker," and "Fun, Feeling, and Fancy." As an entirely self-taught man, his productions may be characterized as remarkable; and he adds another instance to those of Gerald Massey and Edward Capern, that the present race of really working-men are as capable of advancing into the ranks of the literati as, in a past generation, were the Bloomfields and Clare's. Mr. Watts has studied Thackeray's comic vein, in his Punch poetry, to some purpose, as our extract, which is worthy of the great humourist himself, will prove.]

ONCE at Hygate lived a fam❜ly,

But for this unknown to fame,
Most respecterbullest people,
Notwithstandin' Bunks by name.

Mr. Wilyam Bunks, Ersquier,
Kep' a footman, Tomas Brown,
Wich the 'ousemaids did admier,
All the way to London town.

Tomas Brown 'ad bushee viskers,
And a kurly 'ed o' 'air,
And a kipple o' karves hoose eakvals
Coodent be found any vare.

W'en he got behind the karridge,
And he riz upon their vews,
Five feet ten he stood afore 'em,
Five feet nine without his shoes.

Slender ousemaids' eyes would glissen
As the karridge took its flight,
And fat kooks wot scarce cood voddle,
Arter it wood take a site,

But this footman node his manners,

Seem'd a gen'l'man born and bred, And from kooks, and 'ouse, and nus-maids Allvays turned avay his 'ed.

Mister Bunks he 'ad a doorter,
Not pertick'lar 'ansum she,
Not pertick'lar hugly neether,
Wich most people did agree.

She wos werry short in stature,
But a plumpish kind o' lass;
'Air as black as any black'moor's,
Eyes as bright as shinen brass.

One day Tomas Brown the footman,
W'en old Bunks vos out o' site,
As he 'elped her from the karridge,
Felt his arm squedge werry tite.

Vos it, vos it haxidental ?

Vos it 'cos she feared a fall?

No!- the side vay

look she

Plainly told him—not at all.

guv him

How his buzzum flitter fluttered,
How his 'art went pit-a-pat,
Yes, she luv'd him, and no gammon,
Squedge and look 'ad taught him that.

W'en he carried in the dinner

She vos oppersite the door; And another look she guv him, Jest as she had dun afore.

That there look it made him tremble
Vith hexitement, and he kood
Skarsely 'and for them the plates round,
As they served the preshus food.

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