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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, John Greenleaf Whittier, Chapter 1: childhood (search)
try side; We heard the hawks at twilight play, The boat-horn on Piscataqua, The loon's weird laughter far away; We fished her little trout-brook, knew What flowers in wood and meadow grew, What sunny hillsides autumn-brown She climbed to shake the ripe nuts down; Saw where in sheltered cove and bay The ducks' black squadron anchored lay, And heard the wild geese calling loud Beneath the gray November cloud. Then, haply with a look more grave And soberer tone, some tale she gave From painful Sewell's ancient tome, Beloved in every Quaker home, Of faith fire-winged by martyrdom, Or Chalkley's Journal, old and quaint,-- Gentlest of skippers, rare sea-saint!-- Or his uncle told of the lore of fields and brooks. Himself to Nature's heart so near That all her voices in his ear Of beast or bird had meanings clear, Like Apollonius of old, Who knew the tales the sparrows told, Or Hermes who interpreted What the sage cranes of Nilus said; A simple, guileless, childlike man, Content to live w