Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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MATTHEW

          IF Nature, for a favourite child,
          In thee hath tempered so her clay,
          That every hour thy heart runs wild,
          Yet never once doth go astray,

          Read o'er these lines; and then review
          This tablet, that thus humbly rears
          In such diversity of hue
          Its history of two hundred years.

          --When through this little wreck of fame,
          Cipher and syllable! thine eye                              10
          Has travelled down to Matthew's name,
          Pause with no common sympathy.

          And, if a sleeping tear should wake,
          Then be it neither checked nor stayed:
          For Matthew a request I make
          Which for himself he had not made.

          Poor Matthew, all his frolics o'er,
          Is silent as a standing pool;
          Far from the chimney's merry roar,
          And murmur of the village school.                           20

          The sighs which Matthew heaved were sighs
          Of one tired out with fun and madness;
          The tears which came to Matthew's eyes
          Were tears of light, the dew of gladness.

          Yet, sometimes, when the secret cup
          Of still and serious thought went round,
          It seemed as if he drank it up--
          He felt with spirit so profound.

          --Thou soul of God's best earthly mould!
          Thou happy Soul! and can it be                              30
          That these two words of glittering gold
          Are all that must remain of thee?
                                                              1799.


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