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- BENEATH the hedge or near the stream,
- A worm is known to stray,
- That shows by night a lucid beam,
- Which disappears by day.
- Disputes have been and still prevail
- From whence his rays proceed;
- Some give that honour to his tail,
- And others to his head.
- But this is sure,--the hand of might
- That kindles up the skies,
- Gives him a modicum of light,
- Proportion'd to his size.
- Perhaps indulgent Nature meant
- By such a lamp bestow'd,
- To bid the traveller, as he went,
- Be careful where he trod;
- Nor crush a worm, whose useful light
- Might serve, however small,
- To show a stumbling stone by night,
- And save him from a fall.
- Whate'er she meant, this truth divine
- Is legible and plain,
- 'Tis power Almighty bids him shine,
- Nor bids him shine in vain.
- Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme
- Teach humbler thoughts to you,
- Since such a reptile has its gem,
- And boasts its splendour, too.
- William Cowper
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