Henry Alford

Epimenides

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He went into the woods a laughing boy;
Each flower was in his heart; the happy bird
Flitting across the morning sun, or heard
From wayside thicket, was to him a joy:
The water springs that in their moist employ
Leaped from the banks, with many an inward word
Spoke to his soul, and every leaf that stirred
Found notice from his quickly-glancing eye.

There wondrous sleep fell on him: many a year
His lids were closed: youth left him, and he woke
A careful noter of men's ways: of clear
And lofty spirit: sages, when he spoke,
Forgot their systems; and the worldly-wise
Shrunk from the gaze of truth with baffled eyes.

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Henry Alford