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[141]

He saw her lift her eyes, he felt
The soft hand's light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault confessing.

‘ I'm sorry that I spelt the word;
I hate to go above you:
Because,’--the brown eyes lower fell-
‘Because, you see, I love you.’

Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing.

I withhold the closing verse with its moral; a thing always hard for Whittier to forego.

The next example of Whittier's range of love poetry is to be found in that exquisite romance of New England life and landscape, known as “My Playmate,” of which Tennyson said justly to Mrs. Maria S. Porter, “It is a perfect poem; in some of his descriptions of scenery and wild flowers, he would rank with Wordsworth.” It interprets the associations around him and the dreams of the long past as neither Longfellow, nor Lowell, nor Holmes, could have done it; the very life of life in love-memories in the atmosphere where he was born and dwelt. Many a pilgrim has sought the arbutus at Follymill or listened to the pines on Ramoth Hill with as much affection as he would seek the haunts of Chaucer; and has felt anew the charm of the association, the rise and fall of the simple music, the skill of the cadence, the way the words fall into place, the unexplained gift by which this man who could scarcely tell one tune from another on the piano became musical by instinct when innocent early memories

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