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Poem by William Wordsworth


To the Spade of a Friend


Composed while We Were Labouring Together
in His Pleasure-Ground

SPADE! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands,
And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honour in my hands;
I press thee, through the yielding soil, with pride.

Rare master has it been thy lot to know;
Long hast Thou served a man to reason true;
Whose life combines the best of high and low,
The labouring many and the resting few;

Health, meekness, ardour, quietness secure,
And industry of body and of mind;
And elegant enjoyments, that are pure
As nature is; too pure to be refined.

Here often hast Thou heard the Poet sing
In concord with his river murmuring by;
Or in some silent field, while timid spring
Is yet uncheered by other minstrelsy.

Who shall inherit Thee when death has laid
Low in the darksome cell thine own dear lord?
That man will have a trophy, humble Spade!
A trophy nobler than a conqueror's sword.

If he be one that feels, with skill to part
False praise from true, or, greater from the less,
Thee will he welcome to his hand and heart,
Thou monument of peaceful happiness!

He will not dread with Thee a toilsome day--
Thee his loved servant, his inspiring mate!
And, when thou art past service, worn away,
No dull oblivious nook shall hide thy fate.

His thrift thy uselessness will never scorn;
An 'heir-loom' in his cottage wilt thou be:--
High will he hang thee up, well pleased to adorn
His rustic chimney with the last of Thee!

1804

William Wordsworth


William Wordsworth's other poems:
  1. Monastery of Old Bangor
  2. To the Lady Eleanor Butler and the Hon. Miss Ponsonby
  3. Mona
  4. Miserrimus
  5. The Brownie


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