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Canto LXIV

Dost thou look back on what hath been,    As some divinely gifted man,    Whose life in low estate began And on a simple village green;

Who breaks his birth's invidious bar,   And grasps the skirts of happy chance,   And breasts the blows of circumstance, And grapples with his evil star;

Who makes by force his merit known   And lives to clutch the golden keys,   To mould a mighty state's decrees, And shape the whisper of the throne;

And moving up from high to higher,   Becomes on Fortune's crowning slope   The pillar of a people's hope, The centre of a world's desire;

Yet feels, as in a pensive dream,   When all his active powers are still,   A distant dearness in the hill, A secret sweetness in the stream,

The limit of his narrower fate,   While yet beside its vocal springs   He play'd at counsellors and kings, With one that was his earliest mate;

Who ploughs with pain his native lea   And reaps the labour of his hands,   Or in the furrow musing stands; "Does my old friend remember me?"

-Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H., Canto LXIV

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