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The Old Man still stood talking by my side;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;
And the whole Body of the man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a Man from some far region sent;
To give me human strength, and strong admonishment.
My former thoughts returned : the fear that kills;
The hope that is unwilling to be fed;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
And now, not knowing what the Old Man had said,
My question eagerly did I renew,
"How is it that you live, and what is it you do?"
He with a smile did then his words repeat;
The water* of the Ponds where they abide.
While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The Old Man's shape, and speech, all troubled me:
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
About the weary moors continually,
Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.
, And soon with this he other matter blended, Chearfully uttered, with demeanour kind, But stately in the main; and, when he ended, I could have laugh'd myself to scorn, to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind. "God," said I, "be my help and stay secure; I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor." Vol. i. r