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[163] It touched the tangled golden curls,
     And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
     When all the school were leaving.

For near her stood the little boy
     Her childish favor singled:
His cap pulled low upon a face
     Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
     To right and left, he lingered;—
As restlessly her tiny hands
     The blue-checked apron fingered.

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!

He lives to learn, in life's hard school,
     How few who pass above him

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