We walked along, while bright and red
Uprose the morning sun;
And Matthew stopped, he looked, and said
`The will of God be done!'
A village schoolmaster was he,
With hair of glittering grey;
As blithe a man as you could see
On a spring holiday.
And on that morning, through the grass
And by the steaming rills
We travelled merrily, to pass
A day among the hills.
`Our work,' said I, `was well begun;
Then, from thy breast what thought,
Beneath so beautiful a sun,
So sad a sigh has brought?'
A second time did Matthew stop;
And fixing still his eye
Upon the eastern mountain-top,
To me he made reply:
`Yon cloud with that long purple cleft
Brings fresh into my mind
A day like this, which I have left
Full thirty years behind.
`And just above yon slope of corn
Such colours, and no other,
Were in the sky, that April morn,
Of this the very brother.
`With rod and line I sued the sport
Which that sweet season gave,
And, to the churchyard come, stopped short
Beside my daughter's grave.
`Nine summers had she scarcely seen,
The pride of all the vale;
And then she sang: she would have been
A very nightingale.
`Six feet in earth my Emma lay;
And yet I loved her more
For so it seemed, than till that day
I e'er had loved before.
`And turning from her grave, I met
Beside the churchyard yew
A blooming girl, whose hair was wet
With points of morning dew.
`A basket on her head she bare;
Her brow was smooth and white:
To see a child so very fair,
It was a pure delight!
`No fountain from its rocky cave
E'er tripped with foot so free;
She seemed as happy as a wave
That dances on the sea.
`There came from me a sigh of pain
Which I could ill confine;
I looked at her, and looked again:
And did not wish her mine!'
Matthew is in his grave, yet now
Methinks I see him stand
As that moment, with a bough
Of wilding in his hand.