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     And through the bleak and wintry day
It keeps its steady green alway,—
     So, even my after-thoughts may have a charm for thee.

Art's perfect forms no moral need,
     And beauty is its own excuse;1
But for the dull and flowerless weed
     Some healing virtue still must plead,
And the rough ore must find its honors in its use.

So haply these, my simple lays
     Of homely toil, may serve to show
The orchard bloom and tasselled maize
     That skirt and gladden duty's ways,
The unsung beauty hid life's common things below.

Haply from them the toiler, bent
     Above his forge or plough, may gain,
A manlier spirit of content,
     And feel that life is wisest spent
Where the strong working hand makes strong the working brain.

The doom which to the guilty pair
     Without the walls of Eden came,
Transforming sinless ease to care
     And rugged toil, no more shall bear
The burden of old crime, or mark of primal shame.

A blessing now, a curse no more;
     Since He, whose name we breathe with awe,

1 For the idea of this line, I am indebted to Emerson, in his inimitable sonnet to the Rhodora,—

“If eyes were made for seeing,
     Then Beauty is its own excuse for being.”

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