The Old Mill

by Thomas Dunn English

Here from the brow of the hill I look,
  Through a lattice of boughs and leaves.
On the old gray mill with its gambrel roof,
  And the moss on its rotting eaves.
I hear the clatter that jars its walls,
  And the rushing water’s sound,
And I see the black floats rise and fall
  As the wheel goes slowly round

I rode there often when I was young,
  With my grist on the horse before,
And talked with Nelly, the miller’s girl,
  As I waited my turn at the door;
And while she tossed her ringlets brown,
  And flirted and chatted so free,
The wheel might stop, or the wheel might go,
  It was all the same to me.

‘Tis twenty years since last I stood
  On the spot where I stand today,
And Nelly is wed, and the miller is dead,
  And the mill and I are gray.
But both, till we fall into ruin and wreck,
  To our fortune of toil are bound;
And the man goes, and the stream flows,
  And the wheel moves slowly round.

This poem was put to music by Kenneth Riggs. You can listen to it at this link: