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' But Philip chatter'd more than brook or bird ; Old Philip; all about the fields you caught His weary daylong chirping, like the dry High-elbow'd grigs that leap in summer grass.

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

O darling Katie Willows, his one child !
A maiden of our century, yet most meek;
A daughter of our meadows, yet not coarse;

Straight, but as lissome as a hazel wand;
Her eyes a bashful azure, and her hair
In gloss and hue the chestnut, when the shell

Divides threefold to show the fruit within.

'Sweet Katie, once I did her a good turn, Her and her far-off cousin and betrothed,

James Willows, of one name and heart with her.

For here I came, twenty years back-the week Before I parted with poor Edmund; crost

By that old bridge which, half in ruins then,
Still makes a hoary eyebrow for the gleam

Beyond it, where the waters marry-crost,

Whistling a random bar of Bonny Doon,

And push'd at Philip’s garden-gate. The gate, Half-parted from a weak and scolding hinge,

Stuck; and he clamour'd from a casement,

run

To Katie somewhere in the walks below,

“Run, Katie !” Katie never ran : she moved

To meet me, winding under woodbine bowers,

A little flutter'd, with her eyelids down,

Fresh apple-blossom, blushing for a boon.

"What was it? less of sentiment than sense

Had Katie; not illiterate ; nor of those

Who dabbling in the fount of fictive tears,
And nursed by mealy-mouth'd philanthropies,
Divorce the Feeling from her mate the Deed.

6

She told me.

She and James had quarrell’d.

Why?

What cause of quarrel ? None, she said, no cause ;

James had no cause : but when I prest the cause,

I learnt that James had flickering jealousies

Which anger'd her. Who anger'd James ? I said.

But Katie snatch'd her eyes at once from mine,

And sketching with her slender pointed foot
Some figure like a wizard's pentagram

On garden gravel, let my query pass

Unclaim'd, in flushing silence, till I ask'd

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If James were coming. Coming every day,"
She answer'd, "ever longing to explain,

But evermore her father came across

With some long-winded tale, and broke him short;
And James departed vext with him and her.”
How could I help her ? “ Would I-was it

wrong?

(Claspt hands and that petitionary grace
Of sweet seventeen subdued me ere she spoke)
“O would I take her father for one hour,

For one half-hour, and let him talk to me!”

And even while she spoke, I saw where James
Made toward us, like a wader in the surf,

Beyond the brook, waist-deep in meadow-sweet.

O Katie, what I suffer'd for

your

sake!

For in I went, and call'd old Philip out

To show the farm : full willingly he rose :

He led me thro' the short sweet-smelling lanes

Of his wheat-suburb, babbling as he went.

He praised his land, his horses, his machines ;
He praised his ploughs, his cows, his hogs, his dogs ;
He praised his hens, his geese, his guinea-hens ;
His pigeons, who in session on their roofs
Approved him, bowing at their own deserts :
Then from the plaintive mother's teat he took
Her blind and shuddering puppies, naming each,
And naming those, his friends, for whom they

were :

Then crost the common into Darnley chase

To show Sir Arthur's deer.

In copse and fern

Twinkled the innumerable ear and tail.

Then, seated on a serpent-rooted beech,
He pointed out a pasturing colt, and said :
“That was the four-year-old I sold the Squire.”
And there he told a long long-winded tale

Of how the Squire had seen the colt at grass,
And how it was the thing his daughter wish'd,

And how he sent the bailiff to the farm

To learn the price, and what the price he ask'd,

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