William Wordsworth

Here you will find the Long Poem Simon Lee: The Old Huntsman of poet William Wordsworth

Simon Lee: The Old Huntsman

. With an incident in which he was concerned
 In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
 Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
 An old Man dwells, a little man,--
 'Tis said he once was tall.
 For five-and-thirty years he lived
 A running huntsman merry;
 And still the centre of his cheek
 Is red as a ripe cherry.
 No man like him the horn could sound,
 And hill and valley rang with glee
 When Echo bandied, round and round
 The halloo of Simon Lee.
 In those proud days, he little cared
 For husbandry or tillage;
 To blither tasks did Simon rouse
 The sleepers of the village.

 He all the country could outrun,
 Could leave both man and horse behind;
 And often, ere the chase was done,
 He reeled, and was stone-blind.
 And still there's something in the world
 At which his heart rejoices;
 For when the chiming hounds are out,
 He dearly loves their voices!

 But, oh the heavy change!--bereft
 Of health, strength, friends, and kindred, see!
 Old Simon to the world is left
 In liveried poverty.
 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 body, dwindled and awry,
 Rests upon ankles swoln and thick;
 His legs are thin and dry.
 One prop he has, and only one,
 His wife, an aged woman,
 Lives with him, near the waterfall,
 Upon the village Common.

 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 to them avails the land
 Which he can till no longer?

 Oft, working by her Husband's side,
 Ruth does what Simon cannot do;
 For she, with scanty cause for pride,
 Is stouter of the two.
 And, though you with your utmost skill
 From labour could not wean them,
 'Tis little, very little--all
 That they can do between them.

 Few months of life has he in store
 As he to you will tell,
 For still, the more he works, the more
 Do his weak ankles swell.
 My gentle Reader, I perceive,
 How patiently you've waited,
 And now I fear 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,
 And you must 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
 To unearth 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.

 "You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
 Give me your tool," to him I said;
 And at the word right gladly he
 Received my proffered aid.
 I struck, and with a single blow
 The tangled root I severed,
 At which the poor old Man so long
 And vainly had endeavoured.

 The tears into his eyes were brought,
 And thanks and praises seemed to run
 So fast out of his heart, I thought
 They never would have done.
 --I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
 With coldness still returning;
 Alas! the gratitude of men
 Hath oftener left me mourning.