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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;
And said, that, gathering Leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet

The water* of the Ponds where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."

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


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