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7. BESIDE the church upon the hill
One daughter, little Jane, had he A cottage stood of aspect gray,
The silent Sexton's only child; Whose owner's task it was to till And when she laughed aloud and free, The three fair fields that round him The gray old Sexton smiled. lay.
For she within his heart had crept,
All else to him appeared as dead, 3.
Awaiting but the shroud and pall; The church and tall church-spire at It seemed that to himself he said, hand,
“I soon shall dig the graves of all." Around the cottage shed repose,
10. And gravely watch the teeming land, And beast, and man, and home, and Where slow a stream through meadows wife, flows.
He saw with cold, accustomed eye; 4.
Jane only looked so full of life Below, upon the prosperous plain,
As if that she could never die. From that high church the gazer sees
11, A village small
, with fields of grain, And when she still could hardly walk And pastures bright, and shading trees. By holding fast his wrinkled finger, 5.
So well he loved her prattling talk, To him who owned the church-side He often from his work would linger. farm,
12 The churchyard yielded gain as well; Around her waist in sport he tied The Sexton he, whose strenuous arm The coffin-ropes for leading-strings, Dug all the graves, and tolled the bell. And on his spade she learnt to ride, 6.
And handled all his churchyard Sad seemed the dull gray-headed man,
things Of sluggish thought, and careful heed;
13. He shaped his life by rule and plan, Henceforth on many a summer day, And hoarded all beyond his need. While hollowing deep the sunlit grave,
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