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A long blue livery-coat has he, That's fair behind, and fair before; Yet, meet him where you will, you see At once that he is poor. Full five-and-twenty years he lived A running Huntsman merry; And, though he has but one eye left, His cheek is like a cherry.
No man like him the horn could sound,
And no man was so full of glee ;
To say the least, four counties round
Had heard of Simon Lee;
His Master's dead, and no one now
Dwells in the hall of Ivor;
Men, Dogs, and Horses, all are dead;
He is the sole survivor.
And he is lean and he is sick,
His dwindled body's half awry;
His ancles they are swoln and thick;
His legs are thin and dry.
When he was young he little knew
Of husbandry or tillage;
And now he's forced to work, though weak,
- The weakest in the village.
He all the country could outrun,
Could leave both man and horse behind ;
And often, ere the race was done,
He reeled and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world
At which bis heart rejoices ;
For when the chiming hounds are out,
He dearly loves their voices !
His hunting feats have him bereft
Of his right eye, as you may see :
And then, what limbs those feats have left
To poor old Simon Lee!
He has no son, he has no child,
His Wife, an aged woman,
Lives with bim, near the waterfall,
Upon the village Common.
Old Ruth works out of doors with him,
And does what Simon cannot do ;
For she, not over stout of limb,
Is stouter of the two.
And, though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
Alas! 'tis very little, all
Which they can do between them.
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
Not twenty paces from the door,
A scrap of land they have, but they
Are poorest of the poor.
This scrap of land he from the heath
Enclosed when he was stronger ;
But what avails the land to them,
Which they can till no longer ?
Few months of life has he in store,
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
His poor old ancles swell.
My gentle Reader, I perceive
How patiently you've waited,
And I'm afraid that you expect
Some tale will be related.
O Reader ! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring,
O gentle Reader ! you would find
A tale in every thing.
What more I have to say is short,
I hope you 'll kindly take it :
It is no tale ; but, should you think,
Perhaps a tale you 'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see
This Old Man doing all he could
About the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock tottered in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.