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The work he wrought was rarely meant
Or finished as begun.
Ill served his tides of feeling strong
To turn the common mills of use;
And, over restless wings of song,
His birthright garb hung loose!
His eye was beauty's powerless slave,
And his the ear which discord pains;
Few guessed beneath his aspect grave
What passions strove in chains.
He had his share of care and pain,
No holiday was life to him;
Still in the heirloom cup we drain
The bitter drop will swim.
Yet Heaven was kind, and here a bird
And there a flower beguiled his way;
And, cool, in summer noons, he heard
The fountains plash and play.
On all his sad or restless moods
The patient peace of Nature stole;
The quiet of the fields and woods
Sank deep into his soul.
He worshipped as his fathers did,
And kept the faith of childish days,
And, howsoe'er he strayed or slid,
He loved the good old ways.
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