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To the Spade of a Friend

Composed while we were labouring together in his Pleasure-Ground.

Spade! with which Wilkinson hath till'd his Lands,
And shap'd these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honour in my hands;
I press thee through the yielding soil with pride.

Rare Master has it been thy lot to know;
Long hast Thou serv'd a Man to reason true;
Whose life combines the best of high and low,
The toiling many and the resting few;

Health, quiet, meekness, ardour, hope secure,
And industry of body and of mind; 10
And elegant enjoyments, that are pure
As Nature is; too pure to be refined.

Here often hast Thou heard the Poet sing
In concord with his River murmuring by;
Or in some silent field, while timid Spring
Is yet uncheer'd by other minstrelsy.

Who shall inherit Thee when Death hath laid
Low in the darksome Cell thine own dear Lord?
That Man will have a trophy, humble, Spade!
More noble than the noblest Warrior's sword. 20

If he be One that feels, with skill to part
False praise from true, or greater from the less,
Thee will he welcome to his hand and heart,
Thou monument of peaceful happiness!

With Thee he will not dread a toilsome day,
His powerful Servant, his inspiring Mate!
And, when thou art past service, worn away,
Thee a surviving soul shall consecrate.

His thrift thy uselessness will never scorn;
An _Heir-loom_ in his cottage wilt thou be:-- 30
High will he hang thee up, and will adorn
His rustic chimney with the last of Thee!

William Wordsworth