Lyrical Ballads (1798)

LYRICAL BALLADS,
WITH
A FEW OTHER POEMS.
LONDON:
PRINTED FOR J. & A. ARCH, GRACECHURCH-STREET.
1798.
ADVERTISEMENT.
1It is the honourable characteristic of Poetry that
2its materials are to be found in every subject
3which can interest the human mind. The evi­
4dence of this fact is to be sought, not in the
5writings of Critics, but in those of Poets them­
6selves.
7The majority of the following poems are to be
8considered as experiments. They were written
9chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the lan­
10guage of conversation in the middle and lower
11classes of society is adapted to the purposes of
12poetic pleasure. Readers accustomed to the
13[p. ii] gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern
14writers, if they persist in reading this book to its
15conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to
16struggle with feelings of strangeness and auk­
17wardness: they will look round for poetry, and
18will be induced to enquire by what species of
19courtesy these attempts can be permitted to
20assume that title. It is desirable that such
21readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer
22the solitary word Poetry, a word of very disputed
23meaning, to stand in the way of their gratifica­
24tion; but that, while they are perusing this
25book, they should ask themselves if it contains a
26natural delineation of human passions, human
27characters, and human incidents; and if the
28answer be favorable to the author's wishes, that they
29should consent to be pleased in spite of that
30most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own
31pre-established codes of decision.
32[p. iii] Readers of superior judgment may disapprove of the
33style in which many of these pieces are execu­
34ted it must be expected that many lines and phra­
35ses will not exactly suit their taste. It will perhaps
36appear to them, that wishing to avoid the pre­
37valent fault of the day, the author has sometimes
38descended too low, and that many of his expres­
39sions are too familiar, and not of sufficient dig­
40nity. It is apprehended, that the more con­
41versant the reader is with our elder writers, and
42with those in modern times who have been the
43most successful in painting manners and passions,
44the fewer complaints of this kind will he have
45to make.
46An accurate taste in poetry, and in all the other
47arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed, is an
48acquired talent, which can only be produced by
49severe thought, and a long continued intercourse
50with the best models of composition. This is
51[p. iv] mentioned not with so ridiculous a purpose
52as to prevent the most inexperienced reader
53from judging for himself; but merely to temper
54the rashness of decision, and to suggest that if
55poetry be a subject on which much time has not
56been bestowed, the judgment may be erroneous,
57and that in many cases it necessarily will be so.
58The tale of Goody Blake and Harry Gill is
59founded on a well-authenticated fact which hap­
60pened in Warwickshire. Of the other poems in
61the collection, it may be proper to say that they
62are either absolute inventions of the author, or
63facts which took place within his personal obser­
64vation or that of his friends. The poem of the
65Thorn, as the reader will soon discover, is not
66supposed to be spoken in the author's own per­
67son: the character of the loquacious narrator will
68sufficiently shew itself in the course of the story.
69The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere was profes­
70[p. v] sedly written in imitation of the style, as well as
71of the spirit, of the elder poets; but with a few
72exceptions, the Author believes that the lan­
73guage adopted in it has been equally intelligible
74or these three last centuries. The lines entitled
75Expostulation and Reply, and those which
76follow, arose out of conversation with a friend
77who was somewhat unreasonably attached to
78modern books of moral philosophy.
[p. [vi] ]
[p. [vii] ]
CONTENTS.
                         Page
The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere . . . . . . . . . 1
The Foster-Mother's Tale . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree which stands
      near the Lake of Esthwaite . . . . . . . . . . . 59
The Nightingale, a Conversational Poem . . . . . . 63
The Female Vagrant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Goody Blake and Harry Gill . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
Lines written at a small distance from my House,
        and sent by my little Boy to the Person to
        whom they are addressed . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
Simon Lee, the old Huntsman . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Anecdote for Fathers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
We are seven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Lines written in early spring . . . . . . . . . . 115
The Thorn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
The last of the Flock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
The Dungeon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
The Mad Mother . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
The Idiot Boy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames,
        at Evening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Expostulation and Reply . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
The Tables turned; an Evening Scene, on the
        same subject . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186
Old Man travelling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman . . . . . 193
The Convict . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey . . 201
[p. [viii] ]
[p. [1] ] THE RIME
OF THE
ANCYENT MARINERE,
IN
SEVEN PARTS.
[p. [2]]
[p. [3]] ] ARGUMENT.
How a Ship having passed the Line was driven by
Storms to the cold Country towards the South Pole;
and how from thence she made her course to the
tropical Latitude of the Great Pacific Ocean; and
of the strange things that befell; and in what
manner the Ancyent Marinere came back to his
own Country.
[p. [4]]
[p. [5]] THE RIME
OF THE
ANCYENT MARINERE,
IN SEVEN PARTS.
I.
3.79It is an ancyent Marinere,
3.80     And he stoppeth one of three :
3.81" By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
3.82     " Now wherefore stoppest me ?
3.83" The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
3.84     "And I am next of kin ;
3.85" The Guests are met, the Feast is set,--
3.86     " May'st hear the merry din.
3.87[p. 6] But still he holds the wedding-guest--
3.88     There was a Ship, quoth he--
3.89"Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
3.90     "Marinere! come with me."
3.91He holds him with his skinny hand,
3.92     Quoth he, there was a Ship--
3.93"Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
3.94     "Or my Staff shall make thee skip.
3.95He holds him with his glittering eye--
3.96     The wedding guest stood still
3.97And listens like a three year's child;
3.98     The Marinere hath his will.
3.99The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
3.100     He cannot chuse but hear:
3.101And thus spake on that ancyent man,
3.102     The bright-eyed Marinere.
3.103[p. 7] The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd--
3.104     Merrily did we drop
3.105Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
3.106     Below the Light-house top.
3.107The Sun came up upon the left,
3.108     Out of the Sea came he:
3.109And he shone bright, and on the right
3.110     Went down into the Sea.
3.111Higher and Higher every day,
3.112     Till over the mast at noon--
3.113The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
3.114     For he heard the loud bassoon.
3.115The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
3.116     Red as a rose is she;
3.117Nodding their heads before her goes
3.118     The merry Minstralsy.
3.119[p. 8] The wedding-guest he beat his breast
3.120     Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
3.121And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
3.122     The bright-eyed Marinere.
3.123Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
3.124     A Wind and Tempest strong!
3.125For days and weeks it play'd us freaks--
3.126     Like Chaff we drove along.
3.127Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
3.128     And it grew wond'rous cauld:
3.129And Ice mast-high came floating by
3.130     As green as Emerauld.
3.131And thro' the drifts the snowy clifts
3.132     Did send a dismal sheen;
3.133Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken--
3.134     The Ice was all between.
3.135[p. 9] The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
3.136     The Ice was all around:
3.137It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd--
3.138     Like noises of a swound.
3.139At length did cross an Albatross,
3.140     Thorough the Fog it came;
3.141And an it were a Christian Soul,
3.142     We hail'd it in God's name.
3.143The Marineres gave it biscuit-worms,
3.144     And round and round it flew:
3.145The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
3.146     The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.
3.147And a good south wind sprung up behind,
3.148     The Albatross did follow;
3.149And every day for food or play
3.150     Came to the Marinere's hollo!
3.151[p. 10] In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
3.152     It perch'd for vespers nine,
3.154     Glimmer'd the white moon-shine.
3.155"God save thee, ancyent Marinere!
3.156     "From the fiends that plague thee thus--
3.157"Why look'st thou so?"--with my cross bow
3.158     I shot the Albatross.
[p. 11] II.
3.159The Sun came up upon the right,
3.160     Out of the Sea came he;
3.161And broad as a weft upon the left
3.162     Went down into the Sea.
3.163And the good south wind still blew behind,
3.164     But no sweet Bird did follow
3.165Ne any day for food or play
3.166     Came to the Marinere's hollo!
3.167And I had done an hellish thing
3.168     And it would work 'em woe;
3.169For all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
3.170     That made the Breeze to blow.
3.171[p. 12] Ne dim ne red, like God's own head,
3.172     The glorious Sun uprist:
3.173Then all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
3.174     That brought the fog and mist.
3.175T'was right, said they, such birds to slay
3.176     That bring the fog and mist.
3.177The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
3.178     The furrow follow'd free:
3.179We were the first that ever burst
3.180     Into that silent Sea.
3.181Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt down,
3.182     'Twas sad as sad could be
3.183And we did speak only to break
3.184     The silence of the Sea.
3.185[p. 13] All in a hot and copper sky
3.186     The bloody sun at noon,
3.187Right up above the mast did stand,
3.188     No bigger than the moon.
3.189Day after day, day after day,
3.190     We stuck, ne breath ne motion,
3.191As idle as a painted Ship
3.192     Upon a painted Ocean.
3.193Water, water, every where,
3.194     And all the boards did shrink;
3.195Water, water, every where,
3.196     Ne any drop to drink.
3.197The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
3.198     That ever this should be!
3.199Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
3.200     Upon the slimy Sea.
3.201[p. 14] About, about, in reel and rout
3.202     The Death-fires danc'd at night;
3.203The water, like a witch's oils,
3.204     Burnt green and blue and white.
3.205And some in dreams assured were
3.206     Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
3.207Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
3.208     From the Land of Mist and Snow.
3.209And every tongue thro' utter drouth
3.210     Was wither'd at the root;
3.211We could not speak no more than if
3.212     We had been choked with soot.
3.213Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
3.214     Had I from old and young;
3.215Instead of the Cross the Albatross
3.216     About my neck was hung.
[p. 15] III.
3.217I saw a something in the Sky
3.218     No bigger than my fist;
3.219At first it seem'd a little speck
3.220     And then it seem'd a mist:
3.221It mov'd and mov'd, and took at last
3.222     A certain shape, I wist.
3.223A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
3.224     And still it ner'd and ner'd;
3.225And, an it dodged a water-sprite,
3.226     It plung'd and tack'd and veer'd.
3.227[p. 16] With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
3.228     Ne could we laugh, ne wail:
3.229Then while thro' drouth all dumb they stood
3.230     I bit my arm and suck'd the blood
3.231And cry'd, A sail! a sail!
3.232With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
3.233     Agape they hear'd me call:
3.234Gramercy! they for joy did grin
3.235And all at once their breath drew in
3.236     As they were drinking all.
3.237She doth not tack from side to side--
3.238     Hither to work us weal
3.239Withouten wind, withouten tide
3.240     She steddies with upright keel.
3.241[p. 17] The western wave was all a flame,
3.242     The day was well nigh done!
3.243Almost upon the western wave
3.244     Rested the broad bright Sun;
3.245When that strange shape drove suddenly
3.246     Betwixt us and the Sun.
3.247And strait the Sun was fleck'd with bars
3.248     (Heaven's mother send us grace)
3.249As if thro' a dungeon grate he peer'd
3.250     With broad and burning face.
3.251Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
3.252     How fast she neres and neres!
3.253Are those her Sails that glance in the Sun
3.254     Like restless gossameres?
3.256     The sun that did behind them peer?
3.257And are these two all, all the crew,
3.258     That woman and her fleshless Pheere?
3.259His bones were black with many a crack,
3.260     All black and bare, I ween;
3.261Jet-black and bare, save where with rust
3.262Of mouldy damps and charnel crust
3.263     They're patch'd with purple and green.
3.264Her lips are red, her looks are free,
3.265     Her locks are yellow as gold:
3.266Her skin is as white as leprosy,
3.267     And she is far liker Death than he;
3.268Her flesh makes the still air cold.
3.269[p. 19] The naked Hulk alongside came
3.270     And the Twain were playing dice;
3.271"The Game is done! I've won, I've won!"
3.272     Quoth she, and whistled thrice.
3.273A gust of wind sterte up behind
3.274     And whistled thro' his bones;
3.275Thro' the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth
3.276     Half-whistles and half-groans.
3.277With never a whisper in the Sea
3.278     Oft darts the Spectre-ship;
3.279While clombe above the Eastern bar
3.280     The horned Moon, with one bright Star
3.281Almost atween the tips.
3.282[p. 20] One after one by the horned Moon
3.283     (Listen, O Stranger! to me)
3.284Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang
3.285     And curs'd me with his ee.
3.286Four times fifty living men,
3.287     With never a sigh or groan.
3.288With heavy thump, a lifeless lump
3.289     They dropp'd down one by one.
3.290Their souls did from their bodies fly,--
3.291     They fled to bliss or woe;
3.292And every soul it pass'd me by,
3.293     Like the whiz of my Cross-bow.
[p. 21] IV.
3.294"I fear thee, ancyent Marinere!
3.295     "I fear thy skinny hand;
3.296"And thou art long and lank and brown
3.297     "As is the ribb'd Sea-sand.
3.298"I fear thee and thy glittering eye
3.299     "And thy skinny hand so brown--
3.300Fear not, fear not, thou wedding guest!
3.301     This body dropt not down.
3.302Alone, alone, all all alone
3.303     Alone on the wide wide Sea;
3.304And Christ would take no pity on
3.305     My soul in agony.
3.306[p. 22] The many men so beautiful,
3.307     And they all dead did lie!
3.308And a million million slimy things
3.309     Liv'd on--and so did I.
3.310I look'd upon the rotting Sea,
3.311     And drew my eyes away;
3.312I look'd upon the eldritch deck,
3.313     And there the dead men lay.
3.314I look'd to Heaven, and try'd to pray;
3.315     But or ever a prayer had gusht,
3.316A wicked whisper came and made
3.317     My heart as dry as dust.
3.318I clos'd my lids and kept them close,
3.319     Till the balls like pulses beat;
3.320For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
3.321Lay like a load on my weary eye,
3.322     And the dead were at my feet.
3.323[p. 23] The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
3.324     Ne rot, ne reek did they;
3.325The look with which they look'd on me,
3.326     Had never pass'd away.
3.327An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
3.328     A spirit from on high;
3.329But O! more horrible than that
3.330     Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
3.331Seven days, seven nights I saw that curse,
3.332     And yet I could not die.
3.333The moving Moon went up the sky
3.334     And no where did abide:
3.335Softly she was going up
3.336     And a star or two beside--
3.337[p. 24] Her beams bemock'd the sultry main
3.338     Like morning frosts yspread;
3.339But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
3.340The charmed water burnt alway
3.341     A still and awful red.
3.342Beyond the shadow of the ship
3.343     I watch'd the water-snakes:
3.344They mov'd in tracks of shining white
3.345And when they rear'd, the elfish light
3.346     Fell off in hoary flakes.
3.347Within the shadow of the ship
3.348     I watch'd their rich attire:
3.349Blue, glossy green, and velvet black
3.350They coil'd and swam; and every track
3.351     Was a flash of golden fire.
3.352[p. 25] O happy living things! no tongue
3.353     Their beauty might declare:
3.354A spring of love gusht from my heart,
3.355     And I bless'd them unaware!
3.356Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
3.357     And I bless'd them unaware.
3.358The self-same moment I could pray;
3.359     And from my neck so free
3.360The Albatross fell off, and sank
3.361     Like lead into the sea.
[p. 26] V.
3.362O sleep, it is a gentle thing
3.363     Belov'd from pole to pole!
3.364To Mary-queen the praise be yeven
3.365She sent the gentle sleep from heaven
3.366     That slid into my soul.
3.367The silly buckets on the deck
3.368     That had so long remain'd,
3.369I dreamt that they were fill'd with dew
3.370     And when I awoke it rain'd.
3.371My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
3.372     My garments all were dank;
3.373Sure I had drunken in my dreams
3.374     And still my body drank.
3.375[p. 27] I mov'd and could not feel my limbs,
3.376     I was so light, almost
3.377I thought that I had died in sleep,
3.378     And was a blessed Ghost.
3.379The roaring wind! it roar'd far off,
3.380     It did not come anear;
3.381But with its sound it shook the sails
3.382     That were so thin and sere.
3.383The upper air bursts into life,
3.384     And a hundred fire-flags sheen
3.385To and fro they are hurried about;
3.386And to and fro, and in and out
3.387     The stars dance on between.
3.388The coming wind doth roar more loud;
3.389     The sails do sigh, like sedge:
3.390The rain pours down from one black cloud
3.391     And the Moon is at its edge.
3.392[p. 28] Hark! hark! the thick black cloud is cleft,
3.393     And the Moon is at its side:
3.394Like waters shot from some high crag,
3.395The lightning falls with never a jag
3.396     A river steep and wide.
3.397The strong wind reach'd the ship: it roar'd
3.398     And dropp'd down, like a stone!
3.399Beneath the lightning and the moon
3.400     The dead men gave a groan.
3.401They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
3.402     Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
3.403It had been strange, even in a dream
3.404     To have seen those dead men rise.
3.405The helmsman steer'd, the ship mov'd on;
3.406     Yet never a breeze up-blew;
3.407The Marineres all 'gan work the ropes,
3.408     Where they were wont to do:
3.409[p. 29] They rais'd their limbs like lifeless tools--
3.410     We were a ghastly crew.
3.411The body of my brother's son
3.412     Stood by me knee to knee:
3.413The body and I pull'd at one rope,
3.414     But he said nought to me--
3.415And I quak'd to think of my own voice
3.416     How frightful it would be!
3.417The day-light dawn'd--they dropp'd their arms,
3.418     And cluster'd round the mast:
3.419Sweet sounds rose slowly thro' their mouths
3.420     And from their bodies pass'd.
3.421Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
3.422     Then darted to the sun:
3.423Slowly the sounds came back again
3.424     Now mix'd, now one by one.
3.425[p. 30] Sometimes a dropping from the sky
3.426     I heard the Lavrock sing;
3.427Sometimes all little birds that are
3.428How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
3.429     With their sweet jargoning,
3.430And now 'twas like all instruments,
3.431     Now like a lonely flute;
3.432And now it is an angel's song
3.433     That makes the heavens be mute.
3.434It ceas'd: yet still the sails made on
3.435     A pleasant noise till noon,
3.436A noise like of a hidden brook
3.437     In the leafy month of June,
3.438That to the sleeping woods all night
3.439     Singeth a quiet tune.
3.440[p. 31] Listen, O listen, thou Wedding-guest!
3.441     "Marinere! thou hast thy will:
3.442"For that, which comes out of thine eye, doth make
3.443     "My body and soul to be still."
3.444Never sadder tale was told
3.445     To a man of woman born:
3.446Sadder and wiser thou wedding-guest!
3.447     Thou'lt rise to morrow morn.
3.448Never sadder tale was heard
3.449     By a man of woman born:
3.450The Marineres all return'd to work
3.451     As silent as beforne.
3.452The Marineres all 'gan pull the ropes,
3.453     But look at me they n'old:
3.454Thought I, I am as thin as air--
3.455     They cannot me behold.
3.456[p. 32] Till noon we silently sail'd on
3.457     Yet never a breeze did breathe:
3.458Slowly and smoothly went the ship
3.459     Mov'd onward from beneath.
3.460Under the keel nine fathom deep
3.461     From the land of mist and snow
3.462The spirit slid: and it was He
3.463     That made the Ship to go.
3.464The sails at noon left off their tune
3.465     And the Ship stood still also.
3.466The sun right up above the mast
3.467     Had fix'd her to the ocean:
3.468But in a minute she 'gan stir
3.469     With a short uneasy motion--
3.470Backwards and forwards half her length
3.471     With a short uneasy motion.
3.472[p. 33] Then, like a pawing horse let go,
3.473     She made a sudden bound:
3.474It flung the blood into my head,
3.475     And I fell into a swound.
3.476How long in that same fit I lay,
3.477     I have not to declare;
3.478But ere my living life retun'd,
3.479I heard and in my soul discern'd
3.480     Two voices in the air,
3.481"Is it he? quoth one, "Is this the man?
3.482     "By him who died on cross,
3.483"With his cruel bow he lay'd full low
3.484     "The harmless Albatross.
3.485"The spirit who 'bideth by himself
3.486     "In the land of mist and snow,
3.487"He lov'd the bird that lov'd the man
3.488     "Who shot him with his bow.
3.489[p. 34] The other was a softer voice,
3.490     As soft as honey-dew:
3.491Quoth he the man hath penance done,
3.492     And penance more will do.
[p. 35] VI.
FIRST VOICE.
3.493"But tell me, tell me! speak again,
3.494     "Thy soft response renewing--
3.495"What makes that ship drive on so fast
3.496     "What is the Ocean doing?
SECOND VOICE
3.497"Still as a Slave before his Lord,
3.498     "The Ocean hath no blast:
3.499"His great bright eye most silently
3.500     "Up to the moon is cast--
3.501[p. 36] "If he may know which way to go,
3.502     "For she guides him smooth or grim.
3.503"See, brother, see! how graciously
3.504     "She looketh down on him.
FIRST VOICE.
3.505"But why drives on that ship so fast
3.506"Withouten wave or wind?
Second Voice.
3.507"The air is cut away before,
3.508"And closes from behind.
3.509"Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high,
3.510     "Or we shall be belated:
3.511"For slow and slow that ship will go,
3.512     "When the Marinere's trance is abated.''
3.513[p. 37] I woke, and we were sailing on
3.514     As in a gentle weather:
3.515'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
3.516     The dead men stood together.
3.517All stood together on the deck,
3.518     For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
3.519All fix'd on me their stony eyes
3.520     That in the moon did glitter.
3.521The pang, the curse, with which they died,
3.522     Had never pass'd away:
3.523I could not draw my een from theirs
3.524     Ne turn them up to pray.
3.525And in its time the spell was snapt,
3.526     And I could move my een:
3.527I look'd far-forth, but little saw
3.528     Of what might else be seen.
3.529[p. 38] Like one, that on a lonely road
3.530     Doth walk in fear and dread,
3.531And having once turn'd round, walks on
3.532     And turns no more his head:
3.533Because he knows, a frightful fiend
3.534     Doth close behind him tread.
3.535But soon there breath'd a wind on me,
3.536     Ne sound ne motion made:
3.537Its path was not upon the sea
3.538     In ripple or in shade.
3.539It rais'd my hair, it fann'd my cheek,
3.540     Like a meadow-gale of spring--
3.541It mingled strangely with my fears,
3.542     Yet it felt like a welcoming.
3.543[p. 39] Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
3.544     Yet she sail'd softly too:
3.545Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze--
3.546     On me alone it blew.
3.547O dream of joy! is this indeed
3.548     The light-house top I see?
3.549Is this the Hill? Is this the Kirk?
3.550     Is this mine own countrée?
3.551We drifted o'er the Harbour-bar,
3.552     And I with sobs did pray--
3.553"O let me be awake, my God!
3.554     "Or let me sleep alway!"
3.555The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
3.556     So smoothly it was strewn!
3.557And on the bay the moon light lay,
3.558     And the shadow of the moon.
3.559[p. 40] The moonlight bay was white all o'er,
3.560     Till rising from the same,
3.561Full many shapes, that shadows were,
3.562     Like as of torches came.
3.563A little distance from the prow
3.564     Those dark-red shadows were;
3.565But soon I saw that my own flesh
3.566     Was red as in a glare.
3.567I turn'd my head in fear and dread,
3.568     And by the holy rood,
3.569The bodies had advanc'd, and now
3.570     Before the mast they stood.
3.571They lifted up their stiff right arms,
3.572     They held them strait and tight;
3.573And each right-arm burnt like a torch,
3.574     A torch that's borne upright.
3.575Their stony eye-balls glitter'd on
3.576     In the red and smoky light.
3.577[p. 41] I pray'd and turn'd my head away
3.578     Forth looking as before.
3.579There was no breeze upon the bay,
3.580     No wave against the shore.
3.581The rock shone bright, the kirk no less
3.582     That stands above the rock:
3.583The moonlight steep'd in silentness
3.584     The steady weathercock.
3.585And the bay was white with silent light,
3.586     Till rising from the same
3.587Full many shapes, that shadows were,
3.588     In crimson colours came.
3.589A little distance from the prow
3.590     Those crimson shadows were:
3.591I turn'd my eyes upon the deck--
3.592     O Christ! what saw I there?
3.593[p. 42] Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
3.594     And by the Holy rood
3.595A man all light, a seraph-man,
3.596     On every corse there stood.
3.597This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand:
3.598     It was a heavenly sight:
3.599They stood as signals to the land,
3.600     Each one a lovely light:
3.601This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand,
3.602     No voice did they impart--
3.603No voice; but O! the silence sank,
3.604     Like music on my heart.
3.605Eftsones I heard the dash of oars,
3.606     I heard the pilot's cheer:
3.607My head was turn'd perforce away
3.608     And I saw a boat appear.
3.609[p. 43] Then vanish'd all the lovely lights;
3.610     The bodies rose anew:
3.611With silent pace, each to his place,
3.612     Came back the ghastly crew.
3.613The wind, that shade nor motion made,
3.614     On me alone it blew.
3.615The pilot, and the pilot's boy
3.616     I heard them coming fast:
3.617Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
3.618     The dead men could not blast.
3.619I saw a third--I heard his voice:
3.620     It is the Hermit good!
3.621He singeth loud his godly hymns
3.622     That he makes in the wood.
3.623He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
3.624     The Albatross's blood.
[p. 44] VII.
3.625This Hermit good lives in that wood
3.626     Which slopes down to the Sea.
3.627How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
3.628He loves to talk with Marineres
3.629     That come from a far Contrée.
3.630He kneels at morn and noon and eve--
3.631     He hath a cushion plump:
3.632It is the moss, that wholly hides
3.633     The rotted old Oak-stump.
3.634[p. 45] The Skiff-boat ne'rd: I heard them talk,
3.635     "Why, this is strange, I trow!
3.636"Where are those lights so many and fair
3.637     "That signal made but now?
3.638"Strange, by my faith! the Hermit said--
3.639     "And they answer'd not our cheer.
3.640"The planks look warp'd, and see those sails
3.641     "How thin they are and sere!
3.642"I never saw aught like to them
3.643     "Unless perchance it were
3.644"The skeletons of leaves that lag
3.645     "My forest brook along:
3.646"When the Ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
3.647"And the Owlet whoops to the wolf below
3.648     "That eats the she-wolf's young.
3.649[p. 46] "Dear Lord! it has a fiendish look--
3.650     (The Pilot made reply)
3.651"I am a-fear'd.--"Push on, push on!
3.652     "Said the Hermit cheerily.
3.653The Boat came closer to the Ship,
3.654     But I ne spake ne stirr'd!
3.655The Boat came close beneath the Ship,
3.656     And strait a sound was heard!
3.657Under the water it rumbled on,
3.658     Still louder and more dread:
3.659It reach'd the Ship, it split the bay;
3.660     The Ship went down like lead.
3.661Stunn'd by that loud and dreadful sound,
3.662     Which sky and ocean smote:
3.663Like one that hath been seven days drown'd
3.664     My body lay afloat
3.665[p. 47] But, swift as dreams, myself I found
3.666     Within the Pilot's boat.
3.667Upon the whirl, where sank the Ship,
3.668     The boat spun round and round:
3.669And all was still, save that the hill
3.670     Was telling of the sound.
3.671I mov'd my lips: the Pilot shriek'd
3.672     And fell down in a fit.
3.673The Holy Hermit rais'd his eyes
3.674     And pray'd where he did sit.
3.675I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
3.676     Who now doth crazy go,
3.677Laugh'd loud and long, and all the while
3.678     His eyes went to and fro,
3.679"Ha! ha!'' quoth he--"full plain I see,
3.680     "The devil knows how to row."
3.681[p. 48] And now all in my own Countrée
3.682     I stood on the firm land!
3.683The Hermit stepp'd forth from the boat,
3.684     And scarcely he could stand.
3.685"O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy Man!
3.686     The Hermit cross'd his brow--
3.687"Say quick,'' quoth he, "I bid thee say
3.688     "What manner man art thou?
3.689Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd
3.690     With a woeful agony,
3.691Which forc'd me to begin my tale
3.692     And then it left me free.
3.693Since then at an uncertain hour,
3.694     Now oftimes and now fewer,
3.695That anguish comes and makes me tell
3.696     My ghastly aventure.
3.697[p. 49] I pass, like night, from land to land;
3.698     I have strange power of speech;
3.699The moment that his face I see
3.700I know the man that must hear me;
3.701     To him my tale I teach.
3.702What loud uproar bursts from that door!
3.703     The Wedding-guests are there;
3.704But in the Garden-bower the Bride
3.705     And Bride-maids singing are:
3.706And hark the little Vesper-bell
3.707     Which biddeth me to prayer.
3.708O Wedding-guest! this soul hath been
3.709     Alone on a wide wide sea:
3.710So lonely 'twas, that God himself
3.711     Scarce seemed there to be.
3.712[p. 50] O sweeter than the Marriage-feast,
3.713     'Tis sweeter far to me
3.714To walk together to the Kirk
3.715     With a goodly company.
3.716To walk together to the Kirk
3.717     And all together pray,
3.718While each to his great father bends,
3.719Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
3.720     And Youths, and Maidens gay.
3.721Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
3.722     To thee, thou wedding-guest!
3.724     Both man and bird and beast.
3.725He prayeth best who loveth best,
3.726     All things both great and small:
3.727For the dear God, who loveth us,
3.728     He made and loveth all.
3.729[p. 51] The Marinere, whose eye is bright,
3.730     Whose beard with age is hoar,
3.731Is gone; and now the wedding-guest
3.732     Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.
3.733He went, like one that hath been stunn'd
3.734     And is of sense forlorn:
3.735A sadder and a wiser man
3.736     He rose the morrow morn.
[p. [52]]
[p. [53]]
THE
FOSTER-MOTHER'S TALE,
A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
FOSTER-MOTHER.
4.737I never saw the man whom you describe.
MARIA.
4.738'Tis strange! he spake of you familiarly
4.739As mine and Albert's common Foster-mother.
FOSTER-MOTHER.
4.740Now blessings on the man, whoe'er he be,
4.741That joined your names with mine! O my sweet lady,
4.742As often as I think of those dear times
4.743When you two little ones would stand at eve
4.744On each side of my chair, and make me learn
4.745All you had learnt in the day; and how to talk
4.746[p. 54] In gentle phrase, then bid me sing to you--
4.747'Tis more like heaven to come than what has been.
MARIA.
4.748O my dear Mother! this strange man has left me
4.749Troubled with wilder fancies, than the moon
4.750Breeds in the love-sick maid who gazes at it,
4.751Till lost in inward vision, with wet eye
4.752She gazes idly!--But that entrance, Mother!
FOSTER-MOTHER.
4.753Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale!
MARIA.
4.754No one.
FOSTER-MOTHER.
4.755             My husband's father told it me,
4.756Poor old Leoni!--Angels rest his soul!
4.757He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
4.758With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam
4.759Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel?
4.760Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree
4.761[p. 55] He found a baby wrapt in mosses, lined
4.762With thistle-beards, and such small locks of wool
4.763As hang on brambles. Well, he brought him home,
4.764And reared him at the then Lord Velez' cost.
4.765And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
4.766A pretty boy, but most unteachable--
4.767And never learnt a prayer, nor told a bead,
4.768But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
4.769And whistled, as he were a bird himself.
4.770And all the autumn 'twas his only play
4.771To get the seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
4.772With earth and water, on the stumps of trees.
4.773A Friar, who gathered simples in the wood,
4.774A grey-haired man--he loved this little boy,
4.775The boy loved him--and, when the Friar taught him,
4.776He soon could write with the pen: and from that time,
4.777Lived chiefly at the Convent or the Castle.
4.778So he became a very learned youth.
4.779But Oh! poor wretch!--he read, and read, and read,
4.780'Till his brain turned--and ere his twentieth year,
4.781[p. 56] He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
4.782And though he prayed, he never loved to pray
4.783With holy men, nor in a holy place--
4.784But yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet,
4.785The late Lord Velez ne'er was wearied with him.
4.786At once, as by the north side of the Chapel
4.787They stood together, chained in deep discourse,
4.788The earth heaved under them with such a groan,
4.789That the wall tottered, and had well-nigh fallen
4.790Right on their heads. My Lord was sorely frightened;
4.791A fever seized him, and he made confession
4.792Of all the heretical and lawless talk
4.793Which brought this judgment: so the youth was seized
4.794And cast into that hole. My husband's father
4.795Sobbed like a child--it almost broke his heart:
4.796And once as he was working in the cellar,
4.797He heard a voice distinctly; 'twas the youth's,
4.798Who sung a doleful song about green fields,
4.799How sweet it were on lake or wild savannah,
4.800To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
4.801[p. 57] And wander up and down at liberty.
4.802He always doted on the youth, and now
4.803His love grew desperate; and defying death,
4.804He made that cunning entrance I described:
4.805And the young man escaped.
MARIA.
4.806                        'Tis a sweet tale:
4.807Such as would lull a listening child to sleep,
4.808His rosy face besoiled with unwiped tears.--
4.809And what became of him?
FOSTER-MOTHER.
4.810                    He went on ship-board
4.811With those bold voyagers, who made discovery
4.812Of golden lands. Leoni's younger brother
4.813Went likewise, and when he returned to Spain,
4.814He told Leoni, that the poor mad youth,
4.815Soon after they arrived in that new world,
4.816In spite of his dissuasion, seized a boat,
4.817And all alone, set sail by silent moonlight
4.818[p. 58] Up a great river, great as any sea,
4.819And ne'er was heard of more: but 'tis supposed,
4.820He lived and died among the savage men.
[p. [59]] LINES
LEFT UPON A SEAT IN
A YEW-TREE
WHICH STANDS NEAR THE LAKE OF ESTHWAITE,
ON A DESOLATE PART OF THE SHORE,
YET COMMANDING A BEAUTIFUL PROSPECT.
5.821--Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands
5.822Far from all human dwelling: what if here
5.823No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb;
5.824What if these barren boughs the bee not loves;
5.825Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
5.826That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
5.827By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
5.828--- --- --- --- Who he was
5.829That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod
5.830[p. 60] First covered o'er, and taught this aged tree,
5.831Now wild, to bend its arms in circling shade,
5.832I well remember.--He was one who own'd
5.833No common soul. In youth, by genius nurs'd,
5.834And big with lofty views, he to the world
5.835Went forth, pure in his heart, against the taint
5.836Of dissolute tongues, 'gainst jealousy, and hate,
5.837And scorn, against all enemies prepared,
5.838All but neglect: and so, his spirit damped
5.839At once, with rash disdain he turned away,
5.840And with the food of pride sustained his soul
5.841In solitude.--Stranger! these gloomy boughs
5.842Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit,
5.843His only visitants a straggling sheep,
5.844The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper;
5.845And on these barren rocks, with juniper,
5.846And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o'er,
5.847Fixing his downward eye, he many an hour
5.848A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here
5.849An emblem of his own unfruitful life:
5.850[p. 61] And lifting up his head, he then would gaze
5.851On the more distant scene; how lovely 'tis
5.852Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became
5.853Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain
5.854The beauty still more beauteous. Nor, that time,
5.855Would he forget those beings, to whose minds,
5.856Warm from the labours of benevolence,
5.857The world, and man himself, appeared a scene
5.858Of kindred loveliness: then he would sigh
5.859With mournful joy, to think that others felt
5.860What he must never feel: and so, lost man!
5.861On visionary views would fancy feed,
5.862Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale
5.863He died, this seat his only monument.
5.864If thou be one whose heart the holy forms
5.865Of young imagination have kept pure,
5.866Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know, that pride,
5.867Howe'er disguised in its own majesty,
5.868Is littleness; that he, who feels contempt
5.869[p. 62] For any living thing, hath faculties
5.870Which he has never used; that thought with him
5.871Is in its infancy. The man, whose eye
5.872Is ever on himself, doth look on one,
5.873The least of nature's works, one who might move
5.874The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
5.875Unlawful, ever. O, be wiser thou!
5.876Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,
5.877True dignity abides with him alone
5.878Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
5.879Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
5.880In lowliness of heart.
[p. 63] THE NIGHTINGALE;
A CONVERSATIONAL POEM, WRITTEN IN APRIL,
1798.
6.881No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
6.882Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
6.883Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.
6.884Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge!
6.885You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
6.886But hear no murmuring: it flows silently
6.887O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
6.888A balmy night! and tho' the stars be dim,
6.889Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
6.890That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
6.891[p. 64] A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
6.892And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
6.894A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!
6.895In nature there is nothing melancholy.
6.896--But some night-wandering Man, whose heart was pierc'd
6.897With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
6.898Or slow distemper or neglected love,
6.899(And so, poor Wretch! fill'd all things with himself
6.900And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
6.901Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
6.902First nam'd these notes a melancholy strain;
6.903And many a poet echoes the conceit,
6.904Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
6.905When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
6.906Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell
6.907By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
6.908Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
6.909Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
6.910And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
6.911Should share in nature's immortality,
6.912A venerable thing! and so his song
6.913Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
6.914Be lov'd, like nature!--But 'twill not be so;
6.915And youths and maidens most poetical
6.916Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring
6.917In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
6.918Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
6.919O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
6.920My Friend, and my Friend's Sister! we have learnt
6.921A different lore: we may not thus profane
6.922Nature's sweet voices always full of love
6.923[p. 66] And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale
6.924That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
6.925With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
6.926As he were fearful, that an April night
6.927Would be too short for him to utter forth
6.928His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
6.929Of all its music! And I know a grove
6.930Of large extent, hard by a castle huge
6.931Which the great lord inhabits not: and so
6.932This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
6.933And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
6.934Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
6.935But never elsewhere in one place I knew
6.936So many Nightingales: and far and near
6.937In wood and thicket over the wide grove
6.938They answer and provoke each other's songs--
6.939With skirmish and capricious passagings,
6.940And murmurs musical and swift jug jug
6.941And one low piping sound more sweet than all--
6.942[p. 67] Stirring the air with such an harmony,
6.943That should you close your eyes, you might almost
6.944Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,
6.945Whose dewy leafits are but half disclos'd,
6.946You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
6.947Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
6.948Glistning, while many a glow-worm in the shade
6.949Lights up her love-torch.
6.950                    A most gentle maid
6.951Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
6.952Hard by the Castle, and at latest eve,
6.953(Even like a Lady vow'd and dedicate
6.954To something more than nature in the grove)
6.955Glides thro' the pathways; she knows all their notes,
6.956That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment's space,
6.957What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
6.958Hath heard a pause of silence: till the Moon
6.959Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
6.960[p. 68] With one sensation, and those wakeful Birds
6.961Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
6.962As if one quick and sudden Gale had swept
6.963An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd
6.964Many a Nightingale perch giddily
6.965On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,
6.966And to that motion tune his wanton song,
6.967Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.
6.968Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
6.969And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
6.970We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
6.971And now for our dear homes.--That strain again!
6.972Full fain it would delay me!--My dear Babe,
6.973Who, capable of no articulate sound,
6.974Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
6.975How he would place his hand beside his ear,
6.976His little hand, the small forefinger up,
6.977And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
6.978[p. 69] To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
6.979The evening star: and once when he awoke
6.980In most distressful mood (some inward pain
6.981Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
6.982I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
6.983And he beholds the moon, and hush'd at once
6.984Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
6.985While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
6.986Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well--
6.987It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
6.988Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
6.989Familiar with these songs, that with the night
6.990He may associate Joy! Once more farewell,
6.991Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.
[p. [69] THE
FEMALE VAGRANT.
7.992By Derwent's side my Father's cottage stood,
7.993(The Woman thus her artless story told)
7.994One field, a flock, and what the neighbouring flood
7.995Supplied, to him were more than mines of gold.
7.996Light was my sleep; my days in transport roll'd:
7.997With thoughtless joy I stretch'd along the shore
7.998My father's nets, or watched, when from the fold
7.999High o'er the cliffs I led my fleecy store,
7.1000A dizzy depth below! his boat and twinkling oar.
7.1001[p. 70] My father was a good and pious man,
7.1002An honest man by honest parents bred,
7.1003And I believe that, soon as I began
7.1004To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed,
7.1005And in his hearing there my prayers I said:
7.1006And afterwards, by my good father taught,
7.1007I read, and loved the books in which I read;
7.1008For books in every neighbouring house I sought,
7.1009And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought.
7.1010Can I forget what charms did once adorn
7.1011My garden, stored with pease, and mint, and thyme,
7.1012And rose and lilly for the sabbath morn?
7.1013The sabbath bells, and their delightful chime;
7.1014The gambols and wild freaks at shearing time;
7.1015My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied;
7.1016The cowslip-gathering at May's dewy prime;
7.1017The swans, that, when I sought the water-side,
7.1018>From far to meet me came, spreading their snowy pride.
7.1019[p. 71] The staff I yet remember which upbore
7.1020The bending body of my active sire;
7.1021His seat beneath the honeyed sycamore
7.1022When the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire;
7.1023When market-morning came, the neat attire
7.1024With which, though bent on haste, myself I deck'd;
7.1025My watchful dog, whose starts of furious ire,
7.1026When stranger passed, so often I have check'd;
7.1027The red-breast known for years, which at my casement
7.1028      peck'd.
7.1029The suns of twenty summers danced along,--
7.1030Ah! little marked, how fast they rolled away:
7.1031Then rose a mansion proud our woods among,
7.1032And cottage after cottage owned its sway,
7.1033No joy to see a neighboUring house, or stray
7.1034Through pastures not his own, the master took;
7.1035My Father dared his greedy wish gainsay;
7.1036He loved his old hereditary nook,
7.1037And ill could I the thought of such sad parting brook.
7.1038[p. 72] But, when he had refused the proffered gold,
7.1039To cruel injuries he became a prey,
7.1040Sore traversed in whate'er he bought and sold:
7.1041His troubles grew upon him day by day,
7.1042Till all his substance fell into decay.
7.1044All but the bed where his old body lay,
7.1045All, all was seized, and weeping, side by side,
7.1046We sought a home where we uninjured might abide.
7.1047Can I forget that miserable hour,
7.1048When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,
7.1049Peering above the trees, the steeple tower,
7.1050That on his marriage-day sweet music made?
7.1051Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid,
7.1052Close by my mother in their native bowers:
7.1053Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,--
7.1054I could not pray:--through tears that fell in showers,
7.1055Glimmer'd our dear-loved home, alas! no longer ours!
7.1056[p. 73] There was a youth whom I had loved so long,
7.1057That when I loved him not I cannot say.
7.1058'Mid the green mountains many and many a song
7.1059We two had sung, like little birds in May.
7.1060When we began to tire of childish play
7.1061We seemed still more and more to prize each other:
7.1062We talked of marriage and our marriage day;
7.1063And I in truth did love him like a brother,
7.1064For never could I hope to meet with such another.
7.1065His father said, that to a distant town
7.1066He must repair, to ply the artist's trade.
7.1067What tears of bitter grief till then unknown!
7.1068What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed!
7.1069To him we turned:--we had no other aid.
7.1070Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,
7.1071And her whom he had loved in joy, he said
7.1072He well could love in grief: his faith he kept;
7.1073And in a quiet home once more my father slept.
7.1074[p. 74] Four years each day with daily bread was blest,
7.1075By constant toil and constant prayer supplied.
7.1076Three lovely infants lay upon my breast;
7.1077And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed,
7.1078And knew not why. My happy father died
7.1079When sad distress reduced the children's meal:
7.1080Thrice happy! that from him the grave did hide
7.1081The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel,
7.1082And tears that flowed for ills which patience could
7.1083      not heal.
7.1084'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come;
7.1085We had no hope, and no relief could gain.
7.1086But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum
7.1087Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain.
7.1088My husband's arms now only served to strain
7.1089Me and his children hungering in his view:
7.1090In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain:
7.1091To join those miserable men he flew;
7.1092And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew.
7.1093[p. 75] There foul neglect for months and months we bore,
7.1094Nor yet the crowded fleet its anchor stirred.
7.1095Green fields before us and our native shore,
7.1096By fever, from polluted air incurred,
7.1097Ravage was made, for which no knell was heard.
7.1098Fondly we wished, and wished away, nor knew,
7.1099'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes deferr'd,
7.1100That happier days we never more must view:
7.1101The parting signal streamed, at last the land withdrew,
7.1102But from delay the summer calms were past.
7.1103On as we drove, the equinoctial deep
7.1104Ran mountains-high before the howling blast.
7.1105We gazed with terror on the gloomy sleep
7.1106Of them that perished in the whirlwind's sweep,
7.1107Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue,
7.1108Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap,
7.1109That we the mercy of the waves should rue.
7.1110We reached the western world, a poor, devoted crew.
7.1111[p. 76] Oh! dreadful price of being to resign
7.1112All that is dear in being! better far
7.1113In Want's most lonely cave till death to pine,
7.1114Unseen, unheard, unwatched by any star;
7.1115Or in the streets and walks where proud men are,
7.1116Better our dying bodies to obtrude,
7.1117Than dog-like, wading at the heels of war,
7.1118Protract a curst existence, with the brood
7.1119That lap (their very nourishment!) their brother's blood.
7.1120The pains and plagues that on our heads came down,
7.1121Disease and famine, agony and fear,
7.1122In wood or wilderness, in camp or town,
7.1123It would thy brain unsettle even to hear.
7.1124All perished--all, in one remorseless year,
7.1125Husband and children! one by one, by sword
7.1126And ravenous plague, all perished: every tear
7.1127Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board
7.1128A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.
7.1129[p. 77] Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
7.1130By the first beams of dawning light impress'd,
7.1131In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main.
7.1132The very ocean has its hour of rest,
7.1133That comes not to the human mourner's breast.
7.1134Remote from man, and storms of mortal care,
7.1135A heavenly silence did the waves invest;
7.1136I looked and looked along the silent air,
7.1137Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair.
7.1138Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps!
7.1139And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke,
7.1140Where looks inhuman dwelt on festering heaps!
7.1141The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke!
7.1142The shriek that from the distant battle broke!
7.1143The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host
7.1144Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke
7.1145To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,
7.1146Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!
7.1147[p. 78] Yet does that burst of woe congeal my frame,
7.1148When the dark streets appeared to heave and gape,
7.1149While like a sea the storming army came,
7.1150And Fire from Hell reared his gigantic shape,
7.1151And Murder, by the ghastly gleam, and Rape
7.1152Seized their joint prey, the mother and the child!
7.1153But from these crazing thoughts my brain, escape!
7.1154--For weeks the balmy air breathed soft and mild,
7.1155And on the gliding vessel Heaven and Ocean smiled.
7.1156Some mighty gulph of separation past,
7.1157I seemed transported to another world:--
7.1158A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast
7.1159The impatient mariner the sail unfurl'd,
7.1160And whistling, called the wind that hardly curled
7.1161The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home,
7.1162And from all hope I was forever hurled.
7.1163For me--farthest from earthly port to roam
7.1164Was best, could I but shun the spot where man might
7.1165      come.
7.1166[p. 79] And oft, robb'd of my perfect mind, I thought
7.1167At last my feet a resting-place had found:
7.1168Here will I weep in peace, (so fancy wrought,)
7.1169Roaming the illimitable waters round;
7.1170Here watch, of every human friend disowned,
7.1171All day, my ready tomb the ocean-flood--
7.1172To break my dream the vessel reached its bound:
7.1173And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
7.1174And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.
7.1175By grief enfeebled was I turned adrift,
7.1176Helpless as sailor cast on desart rock;
7.1177Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,
7.1178Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.
7.1179I lay, where with his drowsy mates, the cock
7.1180>From the cross timber of an out-house hung;
7.1181How dismal tolled, that night, the city clock!
7.1182At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,
7.1183Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my tongue.
7.1184[p. 80] So passed another day, and so the third:
7.1185Then did I try, in vain, the crowd's resort,
7.1186In deep despair by frightful wishes stirr'd,
7.1187Near the sea-side I reached a ruinous fort:
7.1188There, pains which nature could no more support,
7.1189With blindness linked, did on my vitals fall;
7.1190Dizzy my brain, with interruption short
7.1191Of hideous sense; I sunk, nor step could crawl,
7.1192And thence was borne away to neighbouring hospital.
7.1193Recovery came with food: but still, my brain
7.1194Was weak, nor of the past had memory.
7.1195I heard my neighbours, in their beds, complain
7.1196Of many things which never troubled me;
7.1197Of feet still bustling round with busy glee,
7.1198Of looks where common kindness had no part,
7.1199Of service done with careless cruelty,
7.1200Fretting the fever round the languid heart,
7.1201And groans, which, as they said, would make a dead
7.1202      man start.
7.1203[p. 81] These things just served to stir the torpid sense,
7.1204Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised.
7.1205Memory, though slow, returned with strength; and thence
7.1206Dismissed, again on open day I gazed,
7.1207At houses, men, and common light, amazed.
7.1208The lanes I sought, and as the sun retired,
7.1209Came, where beneath the trees a faggot blazed;
7.1210The wild brood saw me weep, my fate enquired,
7.1211And gave me food, and rest, more welcome, more desired.
7.1212My heart is touched to think that men like these,
7.1213The rude earth's tenants, were my first relief:
7.1214How kindly did they paint their vagrant ease!
7.1215And their long holiday that feared not grief,
7.1216For all belonged to all, and each was chief.
7.1217No plough their sinews strained; on grating road
7.1218No wain they drove, and yet, the yellow sheaf
7.1219In every vale for their delight was stowed:
7.1220For them, in nature's meads, the milky udder flowed.
7.1221[p. 82] Semblance, with straw and panniered ass, they made
7.1222Of potters wandering on from door to door:
7.1223But life of happier sort to me pourtrayed,
7.1224And other joys my fancy to allure;
7.1225The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor
7.1226In barn uplighted, and companions boon
7.1227Well met from far with revelry secure,
7.1228In depth of forest glade, when jocund June
7.1229Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon.
7.1230But ill it suited me, in journey dark
7.1231O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch;
7.1232To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,
7.1233Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch;
7.1234The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,
7.1235The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
7.1236And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
7.1237Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill;
7.1238Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding still.
7.1239[p. 83] What could I do, unaided and unblest?
7.1240Poor Father! gone was every friend of thine:
7.1241And kindred of dead husband are at best
7.1242Small help, and after marriage such as mine,
7.1243With little kindness would to me incline.
7.1244Ill was I then for toil or service fit:
7.1245With tears whose course no effort could confine,
7.1246By high-way side forgetful would I sit
7.1247Whole hours, my idle arms in moping sorrow knit.
7.1248I lived upon the mercy of the fields,
7.1249And oft of cruelty the sky accused;
7.1250On hazard, or what general bounty yields,
7.1251Now coldly given, now utterly refused.
7.1252The fields I for my bed have often used:
7.1253But, what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth
7.1254Is, that I have my inner self abused,
7.1255Foregone the home delight of constant truth,
7.1256And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth.
7.1257[p. 84] Three years a wanderer, often have I view'd,
7.1258In tears, the sun towards that country tend
7.1259Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude:
7.1260And now across this moor my steps I bend--
7.1261Oh! tell me whither----for no earthly friend
7.1262Have I.----She ceased, and weeping turned away,
7.1263As if because her tale was at an end
7.1264She wept;--because she had no more to say
7.1265Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay.
[p. 85] GOODY BLAKE,
AND
HARRY GILL,
A TRUE STORY.
8.1266Oh! what's the matter? what's the matter?
8.1267What is't that ails young Harry Gill?
8.1268That evermore his teeth they chatter,
8.1269Chatter, chatter, chatter still.
8.1270Of waistcoats Harry has no lack,
8.1271Good duffle grey, and flannel fine;
8.1272He has a blanket on his back,
8.1273And coats enough to smother nine.
8.1274[p. 86] In March, December, and in July,
8.1275'Tis all the same with Harry Gill;
8.1276The neighbours tell, and tell you truly,
8.1277His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
8.1278At night, at morning, and at noon,
8.1279'Tis all the same with Harry Gill;
8.1280Beneath the sun, beneath the moon,
8.1281His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
8.1282Young Harry was a lusty drover,
8.1283And who so stout of limb as he?
8.1284His cheeks were red as ruddy clover,
8.1285His voice was like the voice of three.
8.1286Auld Goody Blake was old and poor,
8.1287Ill fed she was, and thinly clad;
8.1288And any man who pass'd her door,
8.1289Might see how poor a hut she had.
8.1290[p. 87] All day she spun in her poor dwelling,
8.1291And then her three hours' work at night!
8.1292Alas! 'twas hardly worth the telling,
8.1293It would not pay for candle-light.
8.1294--This woman dwelt in Dorsetshire,
8.1295Her hut was on a clod hill-side,
8.1296And in that country coals are dear,
8.1297For they come far by wind and tide.
8.1298By the same fire to boil their pottage,
8.1299Two poor old dames, as I have known,
8.1300Will often live in one small cottage,
8.1301But she, poor woman, dwelt alone.
8.1302'Twas well enough when summer came,
8.1303The long, warm, lightsome summer-day,
8.1304Then at her door the canty dame
8.1305Would sit, as any linnet gay.
8.1306[p. 88] But when the ice our streams did fetter,
8.1307Oh! then how her old bones would shake!
8.1308You would have said, if you had met her,
8.1309'Twas a hard time for Goody Blake.
8.1310Her evenings then were dull and dead;
8.1311Sad case it was, as you may think,
8.1312For very cold to go to bed,
8.1313And then for cold not sleep a wink.
8.1314Oh joy for her! when e'er in winter
8.1315The winds at night had made a rout,
8.1316And scatter'd many a lusty splinter,
8.1317And many a rotten bough about.
8.1318Yet mever bad she, well or sick,
8.1319As every man who knew her says,
8.1320A pile before-hand, wood or stick,
8.1321Enough to warm her for three days.
8.1322[p. 89] Now, when the frost was past enduring,
8.1323And made her poor old bones to ache,
8.1324Could any thing be more alluring,
8.1325Than an old hedge to Goody Blake?
8.1326And now and then, it must be said,
8.1327When her old bones were cold and chill,
8.1328She left her fire, or left her bed,
8.1329To seek the hedge of Harry Gill.
8.1330Now Harry he had long suspected
8.1331This trespass of old Goody Blake,
8.1332And vow'd that she should be detected,
8.1333And he on her would vengeance take.
8.1334And oft from his warm fire he'd go,
8.1335And to the fields his road would take,
8.1336And there, at night, in frost and snow,
8.1337He watch'd to seize old Goody Blake.
8.1338[p. 90] And once, behind a rick of barley,
8.1339Thus looking out did Harry stand;
8.1340The moon was full and shining clearly,
8.1341And crisp with frost the stubble-land.
8.1342--He hears a noise--he's all awake--
8.1343Again?--on tip-toe down the hill
8.1344He softly creeps--'Tis Goody Blake,
8.1345She's at the hedge of Harry Gill.
8.1346Right glad was he when he beheld her:[[read `her.'?]]
8.1347Stick after stick did Goody pull,
8.1348He stood behind a bush of elder,
8.1349Till she had filled her apron full.
8.1350When with her load she turned about,
8.1351The bye-road back again to take,
8.1352He started forward with a shout,
8.1353And sprang upon poor Goody Blake.
8.1354[p. 91] And fiercely by the arm he took her,
8.1355And by the arm he held her fast,
8.1356And fiercely by the arm he shook her,
8.1357And cried, "I've caught you then at last!"
8.1358Then Goody, who had nothing said,
8.1359Her bundle from her lap let fall;
8.1360And kneeling on the sticks, she pray'd
8.1361To God that is the judge of all.
8.1362She pray'd, her wither'd hand uprearing,
8.1363While Harry held her by the arm--
8.1364"God! who art never out of hearing,
8.1365"O may he never more be warm!"
8.1366The cold, cold moon above her head,
8.1367Thus on her knees did Goody pray,
8.1368Young Harry heard what she had said,
8.1369And icy-cold he turned away.
8.1370[p. 92] He went complaining all the morrow
8.1371That he was cold and very chill:
8.1372His face was gloom, his heart was sorrow,
8.1373Alas! that day for Harry Gill!
8.1374That day he wore a riding-coat,
8.1375But not a whit the warmer he:
8.1376Another was on Thursday brought,
8.1377And ere the Sabbath he had three.
8.1378'Twas all in vain, a useless matter,
8.1379And blankets were about him pinn'd;
8.1380Yet still his jaws and teeth they clatter,
8.1381Like a loose casement in the wind.
8.1382And Harry's flesh it fell away;
8.1383And all who see him say 'tis plain,
8.1384That, live as long as live he may,
8.1385He never will be warm again.
8.1386[p. 93] No word to any man he utters,
8.1387A-bed or up, to young or old;
8.1388But ever to himself he mutters,
8.1389"Poor Harry Gill is very cold."
8.1390A-bed or up, by night or day;
8.1391His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
8.1392Now think, ye farmers all, I pray,
8.1393Of Goody Blake and Harry Gill.
[p. [94]]
[p. [95]] LINES
WRITTEN AT A SMALL DISTANCE FROM MY HOUSE,
AND SENT BY MY LITTLE BOY TO THE
PERSON TO WHOM THEY ARE
ADDRESSED.
9.1394It is the first mild day of March:
9.1395Each minute sweeter than before,
9.1396The red-breast sings from the tall larch
9.1397That stands beside our door.
9.1398There is a blessing in the air,
9.1399Which seems a sense of joy to yield
9.1400To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
9.1401And grass in the green field.
9.1402[p. 96] My Sister! ('tis a wish of mine)
9.1403Now that our morning meal is done,
9.1404Make haste, your morning task resign;
9.1405Come forth and feel the sun.
9.1406Edward will come with you, and pray,
9.1407Put on with speed your woodland dress,
9.1408And bring no book, for this one day
9.1409We'll give to idleness.
9.1410No joyless forms shall regulate
9.1411Our living Calendar:
9.1412We from to-day, my friend, will date
9.1413The opening of the year.
9.1414Love, now an universal birth,
9.1415>From heart to heart is stealing,
9.1416>From earth to man, from man to earth,
9.1417--It is the hour of feeling.
9.1418[p. 97] One moment now may give us more
9.1419Than fifty years of reason;
9.1420Our minds shall drink at every pore
9.1421The spirit of the season.
9.1422Some silent laws our hearts may make,
9.1423Which they shall long obey;
9.1424We for the year to come may take
9.1425Our temper from to-day.
9.1426And from the blessed power that rolls
9.1427About, below, above;
9.1428We'll frame the measure of our souls,
9.1429They shall be tuned to love.
9.1430Then come, my sister! come, I pray,
9.1431With speed put on your woodland dress,
9.1432And bring no book; for this one day
9.1433We'll give to idleness.
[p. [98]] SIMON LEE,
THE OLD HUNTSMAN,
WITH AN INCIDENT IN WHICH HE WAS
CONCERNED.
10.1434In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
10.1435Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
10.1436An old man dwells, a little man,
10.1437I've heard he once was tall.
10.1438Of years he has upon his back,
10.1439No doubt, a burthen weighty;
10.1440He says he is three score and ten,
10.1441But others say he's eighty.
10.1442[p. 99] A long blue livery-coat has he,
10.1443That's fair behind, and fair before;
10.1444Yet, meet him where you will, you see
10.1445At once that he is poor.
10.1446Full five and twenty years he lived
10.1447A running huntsman merry;
10.1448And, though he has but one eye left,
10.1449His cheek is like a cherry.
10.1450No man like him the horn could sound,
10.1451And no man was so full of glee;
10.1452To say the least, four counties round
10.1453Had heard of Simon Lee;
10.1454His master's dead, and no one now
10.1455Dwells in the hall of Ivor;
10.1456Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;
10.1457He is the sole survivor.
10.1458[p. 100] His hunting feats have him bereft
10.1459Of his right eye, as you may see:
10.1460And then, what limbs those feats have left
10.1461To poor old Simon Lee!
10.1462He has no son, he has no child,
10.1463His wife, and aged woman,
10.1464Lives with him, near the waterfall,
10.1465Upon the village common.
10.1466And he is lean and he is sick,
10.1467His little body's half awry
10.1468His ancles they are swoln and thick;
10.1469His legs are thin and dry.
10.1470When he was young he little knew
10.1471Of husbandry or tillage;
10.1472And now he's forced to work, though weak,
10.1473--The weakest in the village.
10.1474[p. 101] He all the country could outrun,
10.1475Could leave both man and horse behind;
10.1476And often, ere the race was done,
10.1477He reeled and was stone-blind.
10.1478And still there's something in the world
10.1479At which his heart rejoices;
10.1480For when the chiming hounds are out,
10.1481He dearly loves their voices!
10.1482Old Ruth works out of doors with him,
10.1483And does what Simon cannot do;
10.1484For she, not over stout of limb,
10.1485Is stouter of the two.
10.1486And though you with your utmost skill
10.1487>From labour could not wean them,
10.1488Alas! 'tis very little, all
10.1489Which they can do between them.
10.1490[p. 102] Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
10.1491Not twenty paces from the door,
10.1492A scrap of land they have, but they
10.1493Are poorest of the poor.
10.1494This scrap of land he from the heath
10.1495Enclosed when he was stronger;
10.1496But what avails the land to them,
10.1497Which they can till no longer?
10.1498Few months of life has he in store,
10.1499As he to you will tell,
10.1500For still, the more he works, the more
10.1501His poor old ancles swell.
10.1502My gentle reader, I perceive
10.1503How patiently you've waited,
10.1504And I'm afraid that you expect
10.1505Some tale will be related.
10.1506[p. 103] O reader! had you in your mind
10.1507Such stores as silent thought can bring,
10.1508O gentle reader! you would find
10.1509A tale in every thing.
10.1510What more I have to say is short,
10.1511I hope you'll kindly take it;
10.1512It is no tale; but should you think,
10.1513Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
10.1514One summer-day I chanced to see
10.1515This old man doing all he could
10.1516About the root of an old tree,
10.1517A stump of rotten wood.
10.1518The mattock totter'd in his hand;
10.1519So vain was his endeavour
10.1520That at the root of the old tree
10.1521He might have worked for ever.
10.1522[p. 104] "You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
10.1523Give me your tool'' to him I said;
10.1524And at the word right gladly he
10.1525Received my proffer'd aid.
10.1526I struck, and with a single blow
10.1527The tangled root I sever'd,
10.1528At which the poor old man so long
10.1529And vainly had endeavour'd.
10.1530The tears into his eyes were brought,
10.1531And thanks and praises seemed to run
10.1532So fast out of his heart, I thought
10.1533They never would have done.
10.1534--I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
10.1535With coldness still returning.
10.1536Alas! the gratitude of men
10.1537Has oftner left me mourning.
[p. 105] ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS,
SHEWING HOW THE ART OF LYING MAY BE
TAUGHT.
11.1538I have a boy of five years old,
11.1539His face is fair and fresh to see;
11.1540His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,
11.1541And dearly he loves me.
11.1542One morn we stroll'd on our dry walk,
11.1543Our quiet house all full in view,
11.1544And held such intermitted talk
11.1545As we are wont to do.
11.1546[p. 106] My thoughts on former pleasures ran;
11.1547I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,
11.1548My pleasant home, when spring began,
11.1549A long, long year before.
11.1550A day it was when I could bear
11.1551To think, and think, and think again;
11.1552With so much happiness to spare,
11.1553I could not feel a pain.
11.1554My boy was by my side, so slim
11.1555And graceful in his rustic dress!
11.1556And oftentimes I talked to him,
11.1557In very idleness.
11.1558The young lambs ran a pretty race;
11.1559The morning sun shone bright and warm;
11.1560"Kilve,'' said I, "was a pleasant place,
11.1561"And so is Liswyn farm.
11.1562[p. 107] "My little boy, which like you more,"
11.1563I said and took him by the arm--
11.1564"Our home by Kilve's delightful shore,
11.1565"Or here at Liswyn farm?"
11.1566"And tell me, had you rather be,"
11.1567I said and held him by the arm,
11.1568"At Kilve's smooth shore by the green sea,
11.1569"Or here at Liswyn Farm?
11.1570In careless mood he looked at me,
11.1571While still I held him by the arm,
11.1572And said, "At Kilve I'd rather be
11.1573"Than here at Liswyn farm."
11.1574"Now, little Edward, say why so;
11.1575My little Edward, tell me why;"
11.1576"I cannot tell, I do not know."
11.1577"Why this is strange,'' said I.
11.1578[p. 108] For, here are woods and green-hills warm;
11.1579"There surely must some reason be
11.1580"Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm
11.1581For Kilve by the green sea."
11.1582At this, my boy, so fair and slim,
11.1583Hung down his head, nor made reply;
11.1584And five times did I say to him,
11.1585"Why? Edward, tell me why?"
11.1586His head he raised--there was in sight,
11.1587It caught his eye, he saw it plain--
11.1588Upon the house-top, glittering bright,
11.1589A broad and gilded vane.
11.1590Then did the boy his tongue unlock,
11.1591And thus to me he made reply;
11.1592"At Kilve there was no weather-cock,
11.1593"And that's the reason why."
11.1594[p. 109] Oh dearest, dearest boy! my heart
11.1595For better lore would seldom yearn,
11.1596Could I but teach the hundredth part
11.1597Of what from thee I learn.
[p. 110] WE ARE SEVEN.
12.1598A simple child, dear brother Jim,
12.1599That lightly draws its breath,
12.1600And feels its life in every limb,
12.1601What should it know of death?
12.1602I met a little cottage girl,
12.1603She was eight years old, she said;
12.1604Her hair was thick with many a curl
12.1605That cluster'd round her head.
12.1606She had a rustic, woodland air,
12.1607And she was wildly clad;
12.1608Her eyes were fair, and very fair,
12.1609--Her beauty made me glad.
12.1610[p. 111] "Sisters and brothers, little maid,
12.1611"How many may you be?"
12.1612"How many? Seven in all,'' she said,
12.1613And wondering looked at me.
12.1614"And where are they, I pray you tell?"
12.1615She answered, "Seven are we,
12.1616"And two of us at Conway dwell,
12.1617"And two are gone to sea.
12.1618"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
12.1619"My sister and my brother,
12.1620"And in the church-yard cottage, I
12.1621"Dwell near them with my mother."
12.1622"You say that two at Conway dwell,
12.1623"And two are gone to sea,
12.1624"Yet you are seven; I pray you tell
12.1625"Sweet Maid, how this may be?"
12.1626[p. 112] Then did the little Maid reply,
12.1627"Seven boys and girls are we;
12.1628"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
12.1629"Beneath the church-yard tree."
12.1630"You run about, my little maid,
12.1631"Your limbs they are alive;
12.1632"If two are in the church-yard laid,
12.1633"Then ye are only five."
12.1634"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
12.1635The little Maid relied,
12.1636"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
12.1637"And they are side by side.
12.1638"My stockings there I often knit,
12.1639"My 'kerchief there I hem;
12.1640"And there upon the ground I sit--
12.1641"I sit and sing to them.
12.1642[p. 113] "And often after sunset, Sir,
12.1643"When it is light and fair,
12.1644"I take my little porringer,
12.1645"And eat my supper there.
12.1646"The first that died was little Jane;
12.1647"In bed she moaning lay,
12.1648"Till God released her of her pain,
12.1649"And then she went away.
12.1650"So in the church-yard she was laid,
12.1651"And all the summer dry,
12.1652"Together round her grave we played,
12.1653"My brother John and I.
12.1654"And when the ground was white with snow,
12.1655"And I could run and slide,
12.1656"My brother John was forced to go,
12.1657"And he lies by her side."
12.1658[p. 114] "How many are you then,'' said I,
12.1659"If they two are in Heaven?"
12.1660The little Maiden did reply,
12.1661"O master! We are seven."
12.1662"But they are dead; those two are dead!
12.1663"Their spirits are in heaven!"
12.1664'Twas throwing words away; for still
12.1665The little Maid would have her will,
12.1666And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
[p. [115]] LINES
WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING.
13.1667I heard a thousand blended notes,
13.1668While in a grove I sate reclined,
13.1669In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
13.1670Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
13.1671To her fair works did nature link
13.1672The human soul that through me ran;
13.1673And much it griev'd me my heart to think
13.1674What man has made of man.
13.1675[p. 116] Through primrose-tufts, in that sweet bower,
13.1676The periwinkle trail'd its wreathes;
13.1677And 'tis my faith that every flower
13.1678Enjoys the air it breathes.
13.1679The birds around me hopp'd and play'd:
13.1680Their thoughts I cannot measure,
13.1681But the least motion which they made,
13.1682It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.
13.1683The budding twigs spread out their fan,
13.1684To catch the breezy air;
13.1685And I must think, do all I can,
13.1686That there was pleasure there.
13.1687If I these thoughts may not prevent,
13.1688If such be of my creed the plan,
13.1689Have I not reason to lament
13.1690What man has made of man?
[p. [117]] THE
THORN.
I.
14.1691There is a thorn; it looks so old,
14.1692In truth you'd find it hard to say,
14.1693How it could ever have been young,
14.1694It looks so old and grey.
14.1695Not higher than a two-year's child,
14.1696It stands erect this aged thorn;
14.1697No leaves it has, no thorny points;
14.1698It is a mass of knotted joints,
14.1699A wretched thing forlorn.
14.1700It stands erect, and like a stone
14.1701With lichens it is overgrown.
[p. 118] II.
14.1702Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown
14.1703With lichens to the very top,
14.1704And hung with heavy tufts of moss,
14.1705A melancholy crop:
14.1706Up from the earth these mosses creep,
14.1707And this poor thorn they clasp it round
14.1708So close, you'd say that they were bent
14.1709With plain and manifest intent,
14.1710To drag it to the ground;
14.1711And all had joined in one endeavour
14.1712To bury this poor thorn for ever.
III.
14.1714Where oft the stormy winter gale
14.1715Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds
14.1716It sweeps from vale to vale;
14.1717Not five yards from the mountain-path,
14.1718[p. 119] This thorn you on your left espy;
14.1719And to the left, three yards beyond,
14.1720You see a little muddy pond
14.1721Of water, never dry;
14.1722I've measured it from side to side:
14.1723'Tis three feet long, and two feet wide.
IV.
14.1724And close beside this aged thorn,
14.1725There is a fresh and lovely sight,
14.1726A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
14.1727Just half a foot in height.
14.1728All lovely colours there you see,
14.1729All colours that were ever seen,
14.1730And mossy network too is there,
14.1731As if by hand of lady fair
14.1732The work had woven been,
14.1733And cups, the darlings of the eye,
14.1734So deep is their vermilion dye.
[p. 120] V.
14.1735Ah me! what lovely tints are there!
14.1736Of olive-green and scarlet bright,
14.1737In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
14.1738Green, red, and pearly white.
14.1739This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss,
14.1740Which close beside the thorn you see,
14.1741So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,
14.1742Is like as like can be:
14.1743But never, never any where,
14.1744An infant's grave was half so fair.
VI.
14.1745Now would you see this aged thorn,
14.1746This pond and beauteous hill of moss,
14.1747You must take care and chuse your time
14.1748The mountain when to cross.
14.1749For oft there sits, between the heap
14.1750[p. 121] That's like an infant's grave in size,
14.1751And that same pond of which I spoke,
14.1752A woman in a scarlet cloak,
14.1753And to herself she cries,
14.1754"Oh misery! oh misery!
14.1755"Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
VII.
14.1756At all times of the day and night
14.1757This wretched woman thither goes,
14.1758And she is known to every star,
14.1759And every wind that blows;
14.1760And there beside the thorn she sits
14.1761When the blue day-light's in the skies,
14.1762And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
14.1763Or frosty air is keen and still,
14.1764And to herself she cries,
14.1765"Oh misery! oh misery!
14.1766"Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
[p. 122] VIII.
14.1767"Now wherefore thus, by day and night,
14.1768"In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
14.1769"Thus to the dreary mountain-top
14.1770"Does this poor woman go?
14.1771"And why sits she beside the thorn
14.1772"When the blue day-light's in the sky,
14.1773"Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
14.1774"Or frosty air is keen and still,
14.1775"And wherefore does she cry?--
14.1776"Oh wherefore? wherefore? tell me why
14.1777"Does she repeat that doleful cry?"
IX.
14.1778I cannot tell; I wish I could;
14.1779For the true reason no one knows,
14.1780But if you'd gladly view the spot,
14.1781The spot to which she goes;
14.1782The heap that's like an infant's grave,
14.1783[p. 123] The pond--and thorn, so old and grey,
14.1784Pass by her door--tis seldom shut--
14.1785And if you see her in her hut,
14.1786Then to the spot away!--
14.1787I never heard of such as dare
14.1788Approach the spot when she is there.
X.
14.1789"But wherefore to the mountain-top
14.1790"Can this unhappy woman go,
14.1791"Whatever star is in the skies,
14.1792"Whatever wind may blow?"
14.1793Nay rack your brain--'tis all in vain,
14.1794I'll tell you every thing I know;
14.1795But to the thorn, and to the pond
14.1796Which is a little step beyond,
14.1797I wish that you would go:
14.1798Perhaps when you are at the place
14.1799You something of her tale may trace.
[p. 124] XI.
14.1800I'll give you the best help I can:
14.1801Before you up the mountain go,
14.1802Up to the dreary mountain-top,
14.1803I'll tell you all I know.
14.1804'Tis now some two and twenty years,
14.1805Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
14.1806Gave with a maiden's true good will
14.1807Her company to Stephen Hill;
14.1808And she was blithe and gay,
14.1809And she was happy, happy still
14.1810Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.
XII.
14.1811And they had fix'd the wedding-day,
14.1812The morning that must wed them both;
14.1813But Stephen to another maid
14.1814Had sworn another oath;
14.1815And with this other maid to church
14.1816[p. 125] Unthinking Stephen went--
14.1817Poor Martha! on that woful day
14.1818A cruel, cruel fire, they say,
14.1819Into her bones was sent:
14.1820It dried her body like a cinder,
14.1821And almost turn'd her brain to tinder.
XIII.
14.1822They say, full six months after this,
14.1823While yet the summer-leaves were green,
14.1824She to the mountain-top would go,
14.1825And there was often seen.
14.1826'Tis said, a child was in her womb,
14.1827As now to any eye was plain;
14.1828She was with child, and she was mad,
14.1829Yet often she was sober sad
14.1830>From her exceeding pain.
14.1831Oh me! ten thousand times I'd rather
14.1832That he had died, that cruel father!
[p. 126] XIV.
14.1833Sad case for such a brain to hold
14.1834Communion with a stirring child!
14.1835Sad case, as you may think, for one
14.1836Who had a brain so wild!
14.1837Last Christmas when we talked of this,
14.1838Old Farmer Simpson did maintain,
14.1839That in her womb the infant wrought
14.1840About its mother's heart, and brought
14.1841Her senses back again:
14.1842And when at last her time drew near,
14.1843Her looks were calm, her senses clear.
XV.
14.1844No more I know, I wish I did,
14.1845And I would tell it all to you;
14.1846For what became of this poor child
14.1847There's none that ever knew:
14.1848And if a child was born or no,
14.1849[p. 127] There's no one that could ever tell;
14.1850And if 'twas born alive or dead,
14.1851There's no one knows, as I have said,
14.1852But some remember well,
14.1853That Martha Ray about this time
14.1854Would up the mountain often climb.
XVI.
14.1855And all that winter, when at night
14.1856The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
14.1857'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
14.1858The church-yard path to seek:
14.1859For many a time and oft were heard
14.1860Cries coming from the mountain-head,
14.1861Some plainly living voices were,
14.1862And others, I've heard many swear,
14.1863Were voices of the dead:
14.1864I cannot think, whate'er they say,
14.1865They had to do with Martha Ray.
[p. 128] XVII.
14.1866But that she goes to this old thorn,
14.1867The thorn which I've described to you,
14.1868And there sits in a scarlet cloak,
14.1869I will be sworn is true.
14.1870For one day with my telescope,
14.1871To view the ocean wide and bright,
14.1872When to this country first I came,
14.1873Ere I had heard of Martha's name,
14.1874I climbed the mountain's height:
14.1875A storm came on, and I could see
14.1876No object higher than my knee.
XVIII.
14.1877'Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain,
14.1878No screen, no fence could I discover,
14.1879And then the wind! in faith, it was
14.1880A wind full ten times over.
14.1881I looked around, I thought I saw
14.1882[p. 129] A jutting crag, and off I ran,
14.1883Head-foremost, through the driving rain,
14.1884The shelter of the crag to gain,
14.1885And, as I am a man,
14.1886Instead of jutting crag, I found
14.1887A woman seated on the ground.
XIX.
14.1888I did not speak--I saw her face,
14.1889Her face it was enough for me;
14.1890I turned about and heard her cry,
14.1891"O misery! O misery!"
14.1892And there she sits, until the moon
14.1893Through half the clear blue sky will go,
14.1894And when the little breezes make
14.1895The waters of the pond to shake,
14.1896As all the country know,
14.1897She shudders and you hear her cry,
14.1898"Oh misery! oh misery!
[p. 130] XX.
14.1899"But what's the thorn? and what's the pond?
14.1900"And what's the hill of moss to her?
14.1901"And what's the creeping breeze that comes
14.1902"The little pond to stir?"
14.1903I cannot tell; but some will say
14.1904She hanged her baby on the tree,
14.1905Some say she drowned it in the pond,
14.1906Which is a little step beyond,
14.1907But all and each agree,
14.1908The little babe was buried there,
14.1909Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
XXI.
14.1910I've heard the scarlet moss is red
14.1911With drops of that poor infant's blood;
14.1912But kill a new-born infant thus!
14.1913I do not think she could.
14.1914Some say, if to the pond you go,
14.1915[p. 131] And fix on it a steady view,
14.1916The shadow of a babe you trace,
14.1917A baby and a baby's face,
14.1918And that it looks at you;
14.1919Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain
14.1920The baby looks at you again.
XXII.
14.1921And some had sworn an oath that she
14.1922Should be to public justice brought;
14.1923And for the little infant's bones
14.1924With spades they would have sought.
14.1925But then the beauteous hill of moss
14.1926Before their eyes began to stir;
14.1927And for full fifty yards around,
14.1928The grass it shook upon the ground;
14.1929But all do still aver
14.1930The little babe is buried there,
14.1931Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
[p. 132] XXIII.
14.1932I cannot tell how this may be,
14.1933But plain it is, the thorn is bound
14.1934With heavy tufts of moss, that strive
14.1935To drag it to the ground.
14.1936And this I know, full many a time,
14.1937When she was on the mountain high,
14.1938By day, and in the silent night,
14.1939When all the stars shone clear and bright,
14.1940That I have heard her cry,
14.1941"Oh misery! oh misery!
14.1942"O woe is me! oh misery!"
[p. 133] THE
LAST OF THE FLOCK.
15.1943In distant countries I have been,
15.1944And yet I have not often seen
15.1945A healthy man, a man full grown,
15.1946Weep in the public roads alone.
15.1947But such a one, on English ground,
15.1948And in the broad high-way, I met;
15.1949Along the broad high-way he came,
15.1950His cheeks with tears were wet.
15.1951Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad;
15.1952And in his arms a lamb he had.
15.1953[p. 134] He saw me, and he turned aside,
15.1954As if he wished himself to hide:
15.1955Then with his coat he made essay
15.1956To wipe those briny tears away.
15.1957I follow'd him, and said, "My friend
15.1958"What ails you? wherefore weep you so?"
15.1959--"Shame on me, Sir! this lusty lamb,
15.1960He makes my tears to flow.
15.1961To-day I fetched him from the rock;
15.1962He is the last of all my flock.
15.1963When I was young, a single man,
15.1964And after youthful follies ran,
15.1965Though little given to care and thought,
15.1966Yet, so it was, a ewe I bought;
15.1967And other sheep from her I raised,
15.1968As healthy sheep as you might see,
15.1969And then I married, and was rich
15.1970As I could wish to be;
15.1971Of sheep I number'd a full score,
15.1972And every year encreas'd my store.
15.1973[p. 135] Year after year my stock it grew,
15.1974And from this one, this single ewe,
15.1975Full fifty comely sheep I raised,
15.1976As sweet a flock as ever grazed!
15.1977Upon the mountain did they feed;
15.1978They throve, and we at home did thrive.
15.1979--This lusty lamb of all my store
15.1980Is all that is alive:
15.1981And now I care not if we die,
15.1982And perish all of poverty.
15.1983Ten children, Sir! had I to feed,
15.1984Hard labour in a time of need!
15.1985My pride was tamed, and in our grief,
15.1986I of the parish ask'd relief.
15.1987They said I was a wealthy man;
15.1988My sheep upon the mountain fed,
15.1989And it was fit that thence I took
15.1990Whereof to buy us bread:"
15.1991"Do this; how can we give to you,"
15.1992They cried, "what to the poor is due?"
15.1993[p. 136] I sold a sheep as they had said,
15.1994And bought my little children bread,
15.1995And they were healthy with their food;
15.1996For me it never did me good.
15.1997A woeful time it was for me,
15.1998To see the end of all my gains,
15.1999The pretty flock which I had reared
15.2000With all my care and pains,
15.2001To see it melt like snow away!
15.2002For me it was a woeful day.
15.2003Another still! and still another!
15.2004A little lamb, and then its mother!
15.2005It was a vein that never stopp'd,
15.2006Like blood-drops from my heart they dropp'd.
15.2007Till thirty were not left alive
15.2008They dwindled, dwindled, one by one,
15.2009And I may say that many a time
15.2010I wished they all were gone:
15.2011They dwindled one by one away;
15.2012For me it was a woeful day.
15.2013[p. 137] To wicked deeds I was inclined,
15.2014And wicked fancies cross'd my mind,
15.2015And every man I chanc'd to see,
15.2016I thought he knew some ill of me.
15.2017No peace, no comfort could I find,
15.2018No ease, within doors or without,
15.2019And crazily, and wearily,
15.2020I went my work about.
15.2021Oft-times I thought to run away;
15.2022For me it was a woeful day.
15.2023Sir! 'twas a precious flock to me,
15.2024As dear as my own children be;
15.2025For daily with my growing store
15.2026I loved my children more and more.
15.2027Alas! it was an evil time;
15.2028God cursed me in my sore distress,
15.2029I prayed, yet every day I thought
15.2030I loved my children less;
15.2031And every week, and every day,
15.2032My flock, it seemed to melt away.
15.2033[p. 138] They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see!
15.2034>From ten to five, from five to three,
15.2035A lamb, a weather, and a ewe;
15.2036And then at last, from three to two;
15.2037And of my fifty, yesterday
15.2038I had but only one,
15.2039And here it lies upon my arm,
15.2040Alas! and I have none;
15.2041To-day I fetched it from the rock;
15.2042It is the last of all my flock."
[p. 139] THE DUNGEON.
16.2043And this place our forefathers made for man!
16.2044This is the process of our love and wisdom,
16.2045To each poor brother who offends against us--
16.2046Most innocent, perhaps--and what if guilty?
16.2047Is this the only cure? Merciful God!
16.2048Each pore and natural outlet shrivell'd up
16.2049By ignorance and poaching poverty,
16.2050His energies roll back upon his heart,
16.2051And stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison,
16.2052They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot;
16.2053Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks--
16.2054And this is their best cure! uncomforted
16.2055[p. 140] And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
16.2057Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
16.2058By the lamp's dismal twilight! So he lies
16.2059Circled with evil, till his very soul
16.2060Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
16.2061By sights of ever more deformity!
16.2062With other ministrations thou, O nature!
16.2063Healest thy wandering and distempered child:
16.2064Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
16.2065Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
16.2066Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
16.2067Till he relent, and can no more endure
16.2068To be a jarring and a dissonant thing,
16.2069Amid this general dance and minstrelsy;
16.2070But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,
16.2071His angry spirit healed and harmonized
16.2072By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
[p. 141] THE
MAD MOTHER.
17.2073Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
17.2074The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,
17.2075Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,
17.2076And she came far from over the main.
17.2077She has a baby on her arm,
17.2078Or else she were alone;
17.2079And underneath the hay-stack warm,
17.2080And on the green-wood stone,
17.2081She talked and sung the woods among;
17.2082And it was in the English tongue.
17.2083[p. 142] "Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,
17.2084But nay, my heart is far too glad;
17.2085And I am happy when I sing
17.2086Full many a sad and doleful thing:
17.2087Then, lovely baby, do not fear!
17.2088I pray thee have no fear of me,
17.2089But, safe as in a cradle, here
17.2090My lovely baby! thou shalt be,
17.2091To thee I know too much I owe;
17.2092I cannot work thee any woe.
17.2093A fire was once within my brain;
17.2094And in my head a dull, dull pain;
17.2095And fiendish faces one, two, three,
17.2096Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.
17.2097But then there came a sight of joy;
17.2098It came at once to do me good;
17.2099I waked, and saw my little boy,
17.2100My little boy of flesh and blood;
17.2101Oh joy for me that sight to see!
17.2102For he was here, and only he.
17.2103[p. 143] Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
17.2104It cools my blood; it cools my brain;
17.2105Thy lips I feel them, baby! they
17.2106Draw from my heart the pain away.
17.2107Oh! press me with thy little hand;
17.2108It loosens something at my chest;
17.2109About that tight and deadly band
17.2110I feel thy little fingers press'd.
17.2111The breeze I see is in the tree;
17.2112It comes to cool my babe and me.
17.2113Oh! love me, love me, little boy!
17.2114Thou art thy mother's only joy;
17.2115And do not dread the waves below,
17.2116When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go;
17.2117The high crag cannot work me harm,
17.2118Nor leaping torrents when they howl;
17.2119The babe I carry on my arm,
17.2120He saves for me my precious soul;
17.2121Then happy lie, for blest am I;
17.2122Without me my sweet babe would die.
17.2123[p. 144] Then do not fear, my boy! for thee
17.2124Bold as a lion I will be;
17.2125And I will always be thy guide,
17.2126Through hollow snows and rivers wide.
17.2127I'll build an Indian bower; I know
17.2128The leaves that make the softest bed:
17.2129And if from me thou wilt not go,
17.2130But still be true 'till I am dead,
17.2131My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing,
17.2132As merry as the birds in spring.
17.2133Thy father cares not for my breast,
17.2134'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest:
17.2135'Tis all thine own! and if its hue
17.2136Be changed, that was so fair to view,
17.2137'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove!
17.2138My beauty, little child, is flown;
17.2139But thou wilt live with me in love,
17.2140And what if my poor cheek be brown?
17.2141'Tis well for me; thou canst not see
17.2142How pale and wan it else would be.
17.2143[p. 145] Dread not their taunts, my little life!
17.2144I am thy father's wedded wife;
17.2145And underneath the spreading tree
17.2146We two will live in honesty.
17.2147If his sweet boy he could forsake,
17.2148With me he never would have stay'd:
17.2149>From him no harm my babe can take,
17.2150But he, poor man! is wretched made,
17.2151And every day we two will pray
17.2152For him that's gone and far away.
17.2153I'll teach my boy the sweetest things;
17.2154I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
17.2155My little babe! thy lips are still,
17.2156And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
17.2157--Where art thou gone my own dear child?
17.2158What wicked looks are those I see?
17.2159Alas! alas! that look so wild,
17.2160It never, never came from me:
17.2161If thou art mad, my pretty lad,
17.2162Then I must be for ever sad.
17.2163[p. 146] Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!
17.2164For I thy own dear mother am.
17.2165My love for thee has well been tried:
17.2166I've sought thy father far and wide.
17.2167I know the poisons of the shade,
17.2168I know the earth-nuts fit for food;
17.2169Then, pretty dear, be not afraid;
17.2170We'll find thy father in the wood.
17.2171Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!
17.2172And there, my babe; we'll live for aye.
[p. [147]]
THE
IDIOT BOY.
[p. [148]]
[p. 149] THE
IDIOT BOY.
18.2173'Tis eight o'clock,--a clear March night,
18.2174The moon is up--the sky is blue,
18.2175The owlet in the moonlight air,
18.2176He shouts from nobody knows where;
18.2177He lengthens out his lonely shout,
18.2178Halloo! halloo! a long halloo!
18.2179--Why bustle thus about your door,
18.2180What means this bustle, Betty Foy?
18.2181Why are you in this mighty fret?
18.2182And why on horseback have you set
18.2183Him whom you love, your idiot boy?
18.2184[p. 150] Beneath the moon that shines so bright,
18.2185Till she is tired, let Betty Foy
18.2186With girt and stirrup fiddle-faddle;
18.2187But wherefore set upon a saddle
18.2188Him whom she loves, her idiot boy?
18.2189There's scarce a soul that's out of bed;
18.2190Good Betty! put him down again;
18.2191His lips with joy they burr at you,
18.2192But, Betty! what has he to do
18.2193With stirrup, saddle, or with rein?
18.2194The world will say 'tis very idle,
18.2195Bethink you of the time of night;
18.2196There's not a mother, no not one,
18.2197But when she hears what you have done,
18.2198Oh! Betty she'll be in a fright.
18.2199[p. 151] But Betty's bent on her intent,
18.2200For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
18.2201Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
18.2202Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
18.2203As if her very life would fail.
18.2204There's not a house within a mile,
18.2205No hand to help them in distress:
18.2206Old Susan lies a bed in pain,
18.2207And sorely puzzled are the twain,
18.2208For what she ails they cannot guess.
18.2209And Betty's husband's at the wood,
18.2210Where by the week he doth abide,
18.2211A woodman in the distant vale;
18.2212There's none to help poor Susan Gale,
18.2213What must be done? what will betide?
18.2214[p. 152] And Betty from the lane has fetched
18.2215Her pony, that is mild and good,
18.2216Whether he be in joy or pain,
18.2217Feeding at will along the lane,
18.2218Or bringing faggots from the wood.
18.2219And he is all in travelling trim,
18.2220And by the moonlight, Betty Foy
18.2221Has up upon the saddle set,
18.2222The like was never heard of yet,
18.2223Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
18.2224And he must post without delay
18.2225Across the bridge that's in the dale,
18.2226And by the church, and o'er the down,
18.2227To bring a doctor from the town,
18.2228Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
18.2229[p. 153] There is no need of boot or spur,
18.2230There is no need of whip or wand,
18.2231For Johnny has his holly-bough,
18.2232And with a hurly-burly now
18.2233He shakes the green bough in his hand.
18.2234And Betty o'er and o'er has told
18.2235The boy who is her best delight,
18.2236Both what to follow, what to shun,
18.2237What do, and what to leave undone,
18.2238How turn to left, and how to right.
18.2239And Betty's most especial charge,
18.2240Was, "Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
18.2241"Come home again, nor stop at all,
18.2242"Come home again, whate'er befal,
18.2243"My Johnny do, I pray you do."
18.2244[p. 154] To this did Johnny answer make,
18.2245Both with his head, and with his hand,
18.2246And proudly shook the bridle too,
18.2247And then! his words were not a few,
18.2248Which Betty well could understand.
18.2249And now that Johnny is just going,
18.2250Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
18.2251She gently pats the pony's side,
18.2252On which her idiot boy must ride,
18.2253And seems no longer in a hurry.
18.2254But when the pony moved his legs,
18.2255Oh! then for the poor idiot boy!
18.2256For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
18.2257For joy his head and heels are idle,
18.2258He's idle all for very joy.
18.2259[p. 155] And while the pony moves his legs,
18.2260In Johnny's left-hand you may see,
18.2261The green bough's motionless and dead;
18.2262The moon that shines above his head
18.2263Is not more still and mute than he.
18.2264His heart it was so full of glee,
18.2265That till full fifty yards were gone,
18.2266He quite forgot his holly whip,
18.2267And all his skill in horsemanship,
18.2268Oh! happy, happy, happy John.
18.2269And Betty's standing at the door,
18.2270And Betty's face with joy o'erflows,
18.2271Proud of herself, and proud of him,
18.2272She sees him in his travelling trim;
18.2273How quietly her Johnny goes.
18.2274[p. 156] The silence of her idiot boy,
18.2275What hope it sends to Betty's heart!
18.2276He's at the guide-post--he turns right,
18.2277She watches till he's out of sight,
18.2278And Betty will not then depart.
18.2279Burr, burr--now Johnny's lips they burr,
18.2280As loud as any mill, or near it,
18.2281Meek as a lamb the pony moves,
18.2282And Johnny makes the noise he loves,
18.2283And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
18.2284Away she hies to Susan Gale:
18.2285And Johnny's in a merry tune,
18.2286The owlets hoot, the owlets curr,
18.2287And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr,
18.2288And on he goes beneath the moon.
18.2289[p. 157] His steed and he right well agree,
18.2290For of this pony there's a rumour,
18.2291That should he lose his eyes and ears,
18.2292And should he live a thousand years,
18.2293He never will be out of humour.
18.2294But then he is a horse that thinks!
18.2295And when he thinks his pace is slack;
18.2296Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,
18.2297Yet for his life he cannot tell
18.2298What he has got upon his back.
18.2299So through the moonlight lanes they go,
18.2300And far into the moonlight dale,
18.2301And by the church, and o'er the down,
18.2302To bring a doctor from the town,
18.2303To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
18.2304[p. 158] And Betty, now at Susan's side,
18.2305Is in the middle of her story,
18.2306What comfort Johnny soon will bring,
18.2307With many a most diverting thing,
18.2308Of Johnny's wit and Johnny's glory.
18.2309And Betty's still at Susan's side:
18.2310By this time she's not quite so flurried;
18.2311Demure with porringer and plate
18.2312She sits, as if in Susan's fate
18.2313Her life and soul were buried.
18.2314But Betty, poor good woman! she,
18.2315You plainly in her face may read it,
18.2316Could lend out of that moment's store
18.2317Five years of happiness or more,
18.2318To any that might need it.
18.2319[p. 159] But yet I guess that now and then
18.2320With Betty all was not so well,
18.2321And to the road she turns her ears,
18.2322And thence full many a sound she hears,
18.2323Which she to Susan will not tell.
18.2324Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
18.2325"As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"
18.2326Cries Betty, "he'll be back again;
18.2327"They'll both be here, 'tis almost ten,
18.2328"They'll both be here before eleven."
18.2329Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
18.2330The clock gives warning for eleven;
18.2331'Tis on the stroke--"If Johnny's near,"
18.2332Quoth Betty "he will soon be here,
18.2333"As sure as there's a moon in heaven."
18.2334[p. 160] The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
18.2335And Johnny is not yet in sight,
18.2336The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,
18.2337But Betty is not quite at ease;
18.2338And Susan has a dreadful night.
18.2339And Betty, half an hour ago,
18.2340On Johnny vile reflections cast;
18.2341"A little idle sauntering thing!"
18.2342With other names, an endless string,
18.2343But now that time is gone and past.
18.2344And Betty's drooping at the heart,
18.2345That happy time all past and gone,
18.2346"How can it be he is so late?
18.2347"The doctor he has made him wait,
18.2348"Susan! they'll both be here anon."
18.2349[p. 161] And Susan's growing worse and worse,
18.2350And Betty's in sad quandary;
18.2351And then there's nobody to say
18.2352If she must go or she must stay:
18.2353--She's in a sad quandary.
18.2354The clock is on the stroke of one;
18.2355But neither Doctor nor his guide
18.2356Appear along the moonlight road
18.2357There's neither horse nor man abroad,
18.2358And Betty's still at Susan's side.
18.2359And Susan she begins to fear
18.2360Of sad mischances not a few,
18.2361That Johnny may perhaps be drown'd,
18.2362Or lost perhaps, and never found;
18.2363Which they must both for ever rue.
18.2364[p. 162] She prefaced half a hint of this
18.2365With, "God forbid it should be true!"
18.2366At the first word that Susan said
18.2367Cried Betty, rising from the bed,
18.2368"Susan, I'd gladly stay with you.
18.2369"I must be gone, I must away,
18.2370"Consider, Johnny's but half-wise;
18.2371"Susan, we must take care of him,
18.2372"If he is hurt in life or limb"--
18.2373"Oh God forbid!'' poor Susan cries.
18.2374"What can I do?'' says Betty, going,
18.2375"What can I do to ease your pain?
18.2376"Good Susan tell me, and I'll stay;
18.2377"I fear you're in a dreadful way,
18.2378"But I shall soon be back again."
18.2379[p. 163] "Good Betty go, good Betty go,
18.2380"There's nothing that can ease my pain."
18.2381Then off she hies, but with a prayer
18.2382That God poor Susan's life would spare,
18.2383Till she comes back again.
18.2384O, through the moonlight lane she goes,
18.2385And far into the moonlight dale;
18.2386And how she ran, and how she walked,
18.2387And all that to herself she talked,
18.2388Would surely be a tedious tale.
18.2389In high and low, above, below,
18.2390In great and small, in round and square,
18.2391In tree and tower was Johnny seen,
18.2392In bush and brake, in black and green,
18.2393'Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where.
18.2394[p. 164] She's past the bridge that's in the dale,
18.2395And now the thought torments her sore,
18.2396Johnny perhaps his horse forsook,
18.2397To hunt the moon that's in the brook,
18.2398And never will be heard of more.
18.2399And now she's high upon the down,
18.2400Alone amid a prospect wide;
18.2401There's neither Johnny nor his horse,
18.2402Among the fern or in the gorse;
18.2403There's neither doctor nor his guide.
18.2404"Oh saints! what is become of him?
18.2405"Perhaps he's climbed into an oak,
18.2406"Where he will stay till he is dead;
18.2407"Or sadly he has been misled,
18.2408"And joined the wandering gypsey-folk.
18.2409[p. 165] "Or him that wicked pony's carried
18.2410"To the dark cave, the goblins' hall,
18.2411"Or in the castle he's pursuing,
18.2412"Among the ghosts, his own undoing;
18.2413"Or playing with the waterfall."
18.2414At poor old Susan then she railed,
18.2415While to the town she posts away;
18.2416"If Susan had not been so ill,
18.2417"Alas! I should have had him still,
18.2418"My Johnny, till my dying day."
18.2419Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,
18.2420The doctor's self would hardly spare,
18.2421Unworthy things she talked and wild,
18.2422Even he, of cattle the most mild,
18.2423The pony had his share.
18.2425And to the doctor's door she hies;
18.2426'Tis silence all on every side;
18.2427The town so long, the town so wide,
18.2428Is silent as the skies.
18.2429And now she's at the doctor's door,
18.2430She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap,
18.2431The doctor at the casement shews,
18.2432His glimmering eyes that peep and doze;
18.2433And one hand rubs his old night-cap.
18.2434"Oh Doctor! Doctor! where's my Johnny?"
18.2435"I'm here, what is't you want with me?"
18.2436"Oh Sir! you know I'm Betty Foy,
18.2437"And I have lost my poor dear boy,
18.2438"You know him--him you often see;
18.2439[p. 167] "He's not as wise as some folks be,''
18.2440"The devil take his wisdom!'' said
18.2441The Doctor, looking somewhat grim,
18.2442"What, woman! should I know of him?"
18.2443And, grumbling, he went back to bed.
18.2444"O woe is me! O woe is me!
18.2445"Here will I die; here will I die;
18.2446"I thought to find my Johnny here,
18.2447"But he is neither far nor near,
18.2448"Oh! what a wretched mother I!"
18.2449She stops, she stands, she looks about,
18.2450Which way to turn she cannot tell.
18.2451Poor Betty! it would ease her pain
18.2452If she had the heart to knock again;
18.2453--The clock strikes three--a dismal knell!
18.2454[p. 168] Then up along the town she hies,
18.2455No wonder if her senses fail,
18.2456This piteous news so much it shock'd her,
18.2457She quite forgot to send the Doctor,
18.2458To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
18.2459And now she's high upon the down,
18.2460And she can see a mile of road,
18.2461"Oh cruel! I'm almost three-score;
18.2462"Such night as this was ne'er before,
18.2463"There's not a single soul abroad."
18.2464She listens, but she cannot hear
18.2465The foot of horse, the voice of man;
18.2466The streams with softest sound are flowing,
18.2467The grass you almost hear it growing,
18.2468You hear it now if e'er you can.
18.2469[p. 169] The owlets through the long blue night
18.2470Are shouting to each other still:
18.2471Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob,
18.2472They lengthen out the tremulous sob,
18.2473That echoes far from hill to hill.
18.2474Poor Betty now has lost all hope,
18.2475Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin;
18.2476A green-grown pond she just has pass'd,
18.2477And from the brink she hurries fast,
18.2478Lest she should drown herself therein.
18.2479And now she sits her down and weeps;
18.2480Such tears she never shed before;
18.2481"Oh dear, dear pony! my sweet joy!
18.2482"Oh carry back my idiot boy!
18.2483"And we will ne'er o'erload thee more."
18.2484[p. 170] A thought is come into her head;
18.2485"The pony he is mild and good,
18.2486"And we have always used him well;
18.2488"And carried Johnny to the wood."
18.2489Then up she springs as if on wings;
18.2490She thinks no more of deadly sin;
18.2491If Betty fifty ponds should see,
18.2492The last of all her thoughts would be,
18.2493To drown herself therein.
18.2494Oh reader! now that I might tell
18.2495What Johnny and his horse are doing!
18.2496What they've been doing all this time,
18.2497Oh could I put it into rhyme,
18.2498A most delightful tale pursuing!
18.2499[p. 171] Perhaps, and no unlikely thought!
18.2500He with his pony now doth roam
18.2501The cliffs and peaks so high that are,
18.2502To lay his hands upon a star,
18.2503And in his pocket bring it home.
18.2504Perhaps he's turned himself about,
18.2505His face unto his horse's tail,
18.2506And still and mute, in wonder lost,
18.2507All like a silent horseman-ghost,
18.2508He travels on along the vale.
18.2509And now, perhaps, he's hunting sheep,
18.2510A fierce and dreadful hunter he!
18.2511Yon valley, that's so trim and green,
18.2512In five months' time, should he be seen,
18.2513A desart wilderness will be.
18.2514[p. 172] Perhaps, with head and heels on fire,
18.2515And like the very soul of evil,
18.2516He's galloping away, away,
18.2517And so he'll gallop on for aye,
18.2518The bane of all that dread the devil.
18.2519I to the muses have been bound,
18.2520These fourteen years, by strong indentures;
18.2521Oh gentle muses! let me tell
18.2522But half of what to him befel,
18.2523For sure he met with strange adventures.
18.2524Oh gentle muses! Is this kind?
18.2525Why will ye thus my suit repel?
18.2526Why of your further aid bereave me?
18.2527And can you thus unfriended leave me?
18.2528Ye muses! whom I love so well.
18.2529[p. 173] Who's yon, that, near the waterfall,
18.2530Which thunders down with headlong force,
18.2531Beneath the moon, yet shining fair,
18.2532As careless as if nothing were,
18.2533Sits upright on a feeding horse?
18.2534Unto his horse, that's feeding free,
18.2535He seems, I think, the reins to give;
18.2536Of moon or stars he takes no heed;
18.2537Of such we in romances read,
18.2538--'Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live.
18.2539And that's the very pony too.
18.2540Where is she, where is Betty Foy?
18.2541She hardly can sustain her fears;
18.2542The roaring water-fall she hears,
18.2543And cannot find her idiot boy.
18.2544[p. 174] Your pony's worth his weight in gold,
18.2545Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy!
18.2546She's coming from among the trees,
18.2547And now, all full in view, she sees
18.2548Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
18.2549And Betty sees the pony too:
18.2550Why stand you thus Good Betty Foy?
18.2551It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost,
18.2552'Tis he whom you so long have lost,
18.2553He whom you love, your idiot boy.
18.2554She looks again--her arms are up--
18.2555She screams--she cannot move for joy;
18.2556She darts as with a torrent's force,
18.2557She almost has o'erturned the horse,
18.2558And fast she holds her idiot boy.
18.2559[p. 175] And Johnny burrs and laughs aloud,
18.2560Whether in cunning or in joy,
18.2561I cannot tell; but while he laughs,
18.2562Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs,
18.2563To hear again her idiot boy.
18.2564And now she's at the pony's tail,
18.2565And now she's at the pony's head,
18.2566On that side now, and now on this,
18.2567And almost stifled with her bliss,
18.2568A few sad tears does Betty shed.
18.2569She kisses o'er and o'er again,
18.2570Him whom she loves, her idiot boy,
18.2571She's happy here, she's happy there,
18.2572She is uneasy every where:
18.2573Her limbs are all alive with joy.
18.2574[p. 176] She pats the pony, where or when
18.2575She knows not, happy Betty Foy!
18.2576The little pony glad may be,
18.2577But he is milder far than she,
18.2578You hardly can perceive his joy.
18.2579"Oh! Johnny, never mind the Doctor;
18.2580"You've done your best, and that is all."
18.2581She took the reins, when this was said,
18.2582And gently turned the pony's head
18.2583>From the loud water-fall.
18.2584By this the stars were almost gone,
18.2585The moon was setting on the hill,
18.2586So pale you scarcely looked at her:
18.2587The little birds began to stir,
18.2588Though yet their tongues were still.
18.2589[p. 177] The pony, Betty, and her boy,
18.2590Wind slowly through the windy dale:
18.2591And who is she, be-times abroad,
18.2592That hobbles up the steep rough road?
18.2593Who is it, but old Susan Gale?
18.2594Long Susan lay deep lost in thought,
18.2595And many dreadful fears beset her,
18.2596Both for her messenger and nurse;
18.2597And as her mind grew worse and worse,
18.2598Her body it grew better.
18.2599She turned, she toss'd herself in bed,
18.2600On all sides doubts and terrors met her;
18.2601Point after point did she discuss;
18.2602And while her mind was fighting thus,
18.2603Her body still grew better.
18.2604[p. 178] "Alas! what is become of them?
18.2605"These fears can never be endured,
18.2606"I'll to the wood."--The word scarce said,
18.2607Did Susan rise up from her bed,
18.2608As if by magic cured.
18.2609Away she posts up hill and down,
18.2610And to the wood at length is come,
18.2611She spies her friends, she shouts a greeting;
18.2612Oh me! it is a merry meeting,
18.2613As ever was in Christendom.
18.2614The owls have hardly sung their last,
18.2615While our four travellers homeward wend;
18.2616The owls have hooted all night long,
18.2617And with the owls began my song,
18.2618And with the owls must end.
18.2619[p. 179] For while they all were travelling home,
18.2620Cried Betty, "Tell us Johnny, do,
18.2621"Where all this long night you have been,
18.2622"What you have heard, what you have seen,
18.2623"And Johnny, mind you tell us true."
18.2624Now Johnny all night long had heard
18.2625The owls in tuneful concert strive;
18.2626No doubt too he the moon had seen;
18.2627For in the moonlight he had been
18.2628>From eight o'clock till five.
18.2629And thus to Betty's question, he
18.2630Made answer, like a traveller bold,
18.2631(His very words I give to you,)
18.2632"The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,
18.2633"And the sun did shine so cold."
18.2634--Thus answered Johnny in his glory,
18.2635And that was all his travel's story.
[p. 180] LINES
WRITTEN NEAR RICHMOND, UPON THE THAMES,
AT EVENING.
19.2636How rich the wave, in front, imprest
19.2637With evening-twilight's summer hues,
19.2638While, facing thus the crimson west,
19.2639The boat her silent path pursues!
19.2640And see how dark the backward stream!
19.2641A little moment past, so smiling!
19.2642And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
19.2643Some other loiterer beguiling.
19.2644[p. 181] Such views the youthful bard allure,
19.2645But, heedless of the following gloom,
19.2646He deems their colours shall endure
19.2647'Till peace go with him to the tomb.
19.2648--And let him nurse his fond deceit,
19.2649And what if he must die in sorrow!
19.2650Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
19.2651Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?
19.2652Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
19.2653O Thames! that other bards may see,
19.2654As lovely visions by thy side
19.2655As now, fair river! come to me.
19.2656Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
19.2657Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
19.2658'Till all our minds for ever flow,
19.2659As thy deep waters now are flowing.
19.2660[p. 182] Vain thought! yet be as now thou art,
19.2661That in thy waters may be seen
19.2662The image of a poet's heart,
19.2663How bright, how solemn, how serene!
19.2664Such heart did once the poet bless,
19.2666Could find no refuge from distress,
19.2667But in the milder grief of pity.
19.2668Remembrance! as we glide along,
19.2669For him suspend the dashing oar,
19.2670And pray that never child of Song
19.2671May know his freezing sorrows more
19.2672How calm! how still! the only sound,
19.2673The dripping of the oar suspended!
19.2674--The evening darkness gathers round
19.2675By virtue's holiest powers attended.
[p. 183] EXPOSTULATION
AND
REPLY.
20.2676"Why William, on that old grey stone,
20.2677"Thus for the length of half a day,
20.2678"Why William, sit you thus alone,
20.2679"And dream your time away?
20.2680"Where are your books? that light bequeath'd
20.2681"To beings else forlorn and blind!
20.2682"Up! Up! and drink the spirit breath'd
20.2683"From dead men to their kind.
20.2684[p. 184] "You look round on your mother earth,
20.2685"As if she for no purpose bore you;
20.2686"As if you were her first-born birth,
20.2687"And none had lived before you!"
20.2688One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
20.2689When life was sweet I knew not why,
20.2690To me my good friend Matthew spake,
20.2691And thus I made reply.
20.2692"The eye it cannot chuse but see,
20.2693"We cannot bid the ear be still;
20.2694"Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
20.2695"Against, or with our will.
20.2696"Nor less I deem that there are powers,
20.2697"Which of themselves our minds impress.
20.2698"That we can feed this mind of ours,
20.2699"In a wise passiveness.
20.2700[p. 185] "Think you, mid all this mighty sum
20.2701"Of things for ever speaking,
20.2702"That nothing of itself will come,
20.2703"But we must still be seeking?
20.2704"--Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
20.2705"Conversing as I may,
20.2706"I sit upon this old grey stone,
20.2707"And dream my time away."
[p. 186] THE TABLES TURNED;
AN EVENING SCENE, ON THE SAME SUBJECT.
21.2708Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks,
21.2709Why all this toil and trouble?
21.2710Up! up! my friend, and quit your books,
21.2711Or surely you'll grow double.
21.2712The sun above the mountain's head,
21.2713A freshening lustre mellow,
21.2714Through all the long green fields has spread,
21.2715His first sweet evening yellow.
21.2716[p. 187] Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife,
21.2717Come, hear the woodland linnet,
21.2718How sweet his music; on my life
21.2719There's more of wisdom in it.
21.2720And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
21.2721And he is no mean preacher;
21.2722Come forth into the light of things,
21.2723Let Nature be your teacher.
21.2724She has a world of ready wealth,
21.2725Our minds and hearts to bless--
21.2726Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
21.2727Truth breathed by chearfulness.
21.2728One impulse from a vernal wood
21.2729May teach you more of man;
21.2730Of moral evil and of good,
21.2731Than all the sages can.
21.2732[p. 188] Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
21.2733Our meddling intellect
21.2734Mishapes the beauteous forms of things;
21.2735--We murder to dissect.
21.2736Enough of science and of art;
21.2737Close up these barren leaves;
21.2738Come forth, and bring with you a heart
21.2739That watches and receives.
[p. 189] OLD MAN TRAVELLING;
ANIMAL TRANQUILLITY AND DECAY,
A SKETCH.
22.2740      The little hedge-row birds,
22.2741That peck along the road, regard him not.
22.2742He travels on, and in his face, his step,
22.2743His gait, is one expression; every limb,
22.2744His look and bending figure, all bespeak
22.2745A man who does not move with pain, but moves
22.2746With thought--He is insensibly subdued
22.2747To settled quiet: he is one by whom
22.2748All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
22.2749Long patience has such mild composure given,
22.2750That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
22.2751He hath no need. He is by nature led
22.2752[p. 190] To peace so perfect, that the young behold
22.2753With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
22.2754--I asked him whither he was bound, and what
22.2755The object of his journey; he replied
22.2756"Sir! I am going many miles to take
22.2757"A last leave of my son, a mariner,
22.2758"Who from a sea-fight has been brought to
22.2759    Falmouth,
22.2760"And there is dying in an hospital."
[p. 191] THE COMPLAINT
OF A FORSAKEN
INDIAN WOMAN.
[When a Northern Indian, from sickness, is unable
to continue his journey with his companions; he is
left behind, covered over with Deer-skins, and is
supplied water, food, and fuel if the situation
of the place will afford it. He is informed of the
track which his companions intend to pursue, and
if he is unable to follow, or overtake them, he
perishes alone in the Desart; unless he should have
the good fortune to fall in with some other Tribes
of Indians. It is unnecessary to add that the
females are equally, or still more, exposed to the
same fate. See that very interesting work,
[p. 192] Harne's Journey from Hudson's Bay to the
Northern Ocean. When the Northern Lights,
as the same writer informs us, vary their position
in the air, they make a rustling and a crackling
noise. This circumstance is alluded to in the
first stanza of the following poem.]
[p. 193] THE COMPLAINT,
&c.
23.2761Before I see another day,
23.2762Oh let my body die away!
23.2763In sleep I heard the northern gleams;
23.2764The stars they were among my dreams;
23.2765In sleep did I behold the skies,
23.2766I saw the crackling flashes drive;
23.2767And yet they are upon my eyes,
23.2768And yet I am alive.
23.2769Before I see another day,
23.2770Oh let my body die away!
23.2771[p. 194] My fire is dead: it knew no pain;
23.2772Yet is it dead, and I remain.
23.2773All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
23.2774And they are dead, and I will die.
23.2775When I was well, I wished to live,
23.2776For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire;
23.2777But they to me no joy can give,
23.2778No pleasure now, and no desire.
23.2779Then here contented will I lie;
23.2780Alone I cannot fear to die.
23.2781Alas! you might have dragged me on
23.2782Another day, a single one!
23.2783Too soon despair o'er me prevailed;
23.2784Too soon my heartless spirit failed;
23.2785When you were gone my limbs were stronger,
23.2786And Oh how grievously I rue,
23.2787That, afterwards, a little longer,
23.2788My friends, I did not follow you!
23.2789For strong and without pain I lay,
23.2790My friends, when you were gone away.
23.2791[p. 195] My child! they gave thee to another,
23.2792A woman who was not thy mother.
23.2793When from my arms my babe they took,
23.2794On me how strangely did he look!
23.2795Through his whole body something ran,
23.2796A most strange something did I see;
23.2797--As if he strove to be a man,
23.2798That he might pull the sledge for me.
23.2799And then he stretched his arms, how wild!
23.2800Oh mercy! like a little child.
23.2801My little joy! my little pride!
23.2802In two days more I must have died.
23.2803Then do not weep and grieve for me;
23.2804I feel I must have died with thee.
23.2805Oh wind that o'er my head art flying,
23.2806The way my friends their course did bend,
23.2807I should not feel the pain of dying,
23.2808Could I with thee a message send.
23.2809Too soon, my friends, you went away;
23.2810For I had many things to say.
23.2811[p. 196] I'll follow you across the snow,
23.2812You travel heavily and slow:
23.2813In spite of all my weary pain,
23.2814I'll look upon your tents again.
23.2815My fire is dead, and snowy white
23.2816The water which beside it stood;
23.2817The wolf has come to me to-night,
23.2818And he has stolen away my food.
23.2819For ever left alone am I,
23.2820Then wherefore should I fear to die?
23.2821My journey will be shortly run,
23.2822I shall not see another sun,
23.2823I cannot lift my limbs to know
23.2824If they have any life or no.
23.2825My poor forsaken child! if I
23.2826For once could have thee close to me,
23.2827With happy heart I then would die,
23.2828And my last thoughts would happy be.
23.2829I feel my body die away,
23.2830I shall not see another day.
[p. 197] THE CONVICT.
24.2831The glory of evening was spread through the west;
24.2832     --On the slope of a mountain I stood,
24.2833While the joy that precedes the calm season of rest
24.2834     Rang loud through the meadow and wood.
24.2835"And must we then part from a dwelling so fair?"
24.2836     In the pain of my spirit I said,
24.2837And with a deep sadness I turned, to repair
24.2838     To the cell where the convict is laid.
24.2839The thick-ribbed walls that o'ershadow the gate
24.2840     Resound; and the dungeons unfold:
24.2841I pause; and at length, through the glimmering grate,
24.2842     That outcast of pity behold.
24.2843[p. 198] His black matted head on his shoulder is bent,
24.2844     And deep is the sigh of his breath,
24.2845And with stedfast dejection his eyes are intent
24.2846     On the fetters that link him to death.
24.2847'Tis sorrow enough on that visage to gaze,
24.2848     That body dismiss'd from his care;
24.2849Yet my fancy has pierced to his heart, and pourtrays
24.2850     More terrible images there.
24.2851His bones are consumed, and his life-blood is dried,
24.2852     With wishes the past to undo;
24.2853And his crime, through the pains that o'erwhelm him,
24.2854descried,
24.2855     Still blackens and grows on his view.
24.2856When from the dark synod, or blood-reeking field,
24.2857     To his chamber the monarch is led,
24.2858All soothers of sense their soft virtue shall yield,
24.2859     And quietness pillow his head.
24.2860[p. 199] But if grief, self-consumed, in oblivion would doze,
24.2861     And conscience her tortures appease,
24.2862'Mid tumult and uproar this man must repose;
24.2863     In the comfortless vault of disease.
24.2864When his fetters at night have so press'd on his limbs,
24.2865     That the weight can no longer be borne,
24.2866If, while a half-slumber his memory bedims,
24.2867     The wretch on his pallet should turn,
24.2868While the jail-mastiff howls at the dull clinking chain,
24.2869     From the roots of his hair there shall start
24.2870A thousand sharp punctures of cold-sweating pain,
24.2871     And terror shall leap at his heart.
24.2872But now he half-raises his deep-sunken eye,
24.2873     And the motion unsettles a tear;
24.2874The silence of sorrow it seems to supply,
24.2875     And asks of me why I am here.
24.2876[p. 200] "Poor victim! no idle intruder has stood
24.2877     "With o'erweening complacence our state to compare,
24.2878"But one, whose first wish is the wish to be good,
24.2879     "Is come as a brother thy sorrows to share.
24.2880"At thy name though compassion her nature resign,
24.2881     "Though in virtue's proud mouth thy report be a
24.2882       stain,
24.2883"My care, if the arm of the mighty were mine,
24.2884     "Would plant thee where yet thou might'st blossom
24.2885       again."
[p. 201] LINES
WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE
TINTERN ABBEY,
ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING
A TOUR,
July 13, 1798.
25.2886Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
25.2887     Of five long winters! and again I hear
25.2888These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
25.2890Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
25.2891Which on a wild secluded scene impress
25.2892Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
25.2893[p. 202] The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
25.2894The day is come when I again repose
25.2895Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
25.2896These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
25.2897Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits,
25.2898Among the woods and copses lose themselves,
25.2899Nor, with their green and simple hue, disturb
25.2900The wild green landscape. Once again I see
25.2901These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
25.2902Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms
25.2903Green to the very door; and wreathes of smoke
25.2905With some uncertain notice, as might seem,
25.2906Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
25.2907Or of some hermit's cave, where by his fire
25.2908The hermit sits alone.
25.2909                    Though absent long,
25.2910These forms of beauty have not been to me,
25.2911[p. 203] As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
25.2912But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din
25.2913Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
25.2914In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
25.2915Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
25.2916And passing even into my purer mind
25.2917With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
25.2918Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,
25.2919As may have had no trivial influence
25.2920On that best portion of a good man's life;
25.2921His little, nameless, unremembered acts
25.2922Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
25.2923To them I may have owed another gift,
25.2924Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
25.2925In which the burthen of the mystery,
25.2926In which the heavy and the weary weight
25.2927Of all this unintelligible world
25.2928Is lighten'd--that serene and blessed mood,
25.2929In which the affections gently lead us on,
25.2930[p. 204] Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
25.2931And even the motion of our human blood
25.2932Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
25.2933In body, and become a living soul:
25.2934While with an eye made quiet by the power
25.2935Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
25.2936We see into the life of things.
25.2937                   If this
25.2938Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft,
25.2939In darkness, and amid the many shapes
25.2940Of joyless day-light; when the fretful stir
25.2941Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
25.2942Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
25.2943How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee
25.2944O sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods,
25.2945How often has my spirit turned to thee!
25.2946And now, with gleams of half-extinguish'd thought,
25.2947[p. 205] With many recognitions dim and faint,
25.2948And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
25.2949The picture of the mind revives again:
25.2950While here I stand, not only with the sense
25.2951Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
25.2952That in this moment there is life and food
25.2953For future years. And so I dare to hope
25.2954Though changed, no doubt, from what I was, when
25.2955       first
25.2956I came among these hills; when like a roe
25.2957I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
25.2958Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
25.2959Wherever nature led; more like a man
25.2960Flying from something that he dreads, than one
25.2961Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
25.2962(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
25.2963And their glad animal movements all gone by,)
25.2964To me was all in all.--I cannot paint
25.2965[p. 206] What then I was. The sounding cataract
25.2966Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
25.2967The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
25.2968Their colours and their forms, were then to me
25.2969An appetite: a feeling and a love,
25.2970That had no need of a remoter charm,
25.2971By thought supplied, or any interest
25.2972Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is
25.2973       past,
25.2974And all its aching joys are now no more,
25.2975And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
25.2976Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur: other gifts
25.2977Have followed, for such loss, I would believe,
25.2978Abundant recompence. For I have learned
25.2979To look on nature, not as in the hour
25.2980Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
25.2981The still, sad music of humanity,
25.2982Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power
25.2983[p. 207] To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
25.2984A presence that disturbs me with the joy
25.2985Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
25.2986Of something far more deeply interfused,
25.2987Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
25.2988And the round ocean, and the living air,
25.2989And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
25.2990A motion and a spirit, that impels
25.2991All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
25.2992And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
25.2993A lover of the meadows and the woods,
25.2994And mountains; and of all that we behold
25.2995>From this green earth; of all the mighty world
25.2997[p. 208] And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
25.2998In nature and the language of the sense,
25.2999The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
25.3000The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
25.3001Of all my moral being.
25.3002                   Nor, perchance,
25.3003If I were not thus taught, should I the more
25.3004Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
25.3005For thou art with me, here, upon the banks
25.3006Of this fair river; thou, my dearest Friend,
25.3007My dear, dear Friend, and in thy voice I catch
25.3008The language of my former heart, and read
25.3009My former pleasures in the shooting lights
25.3010Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
25.3011May I behold in thee what I was once,
25.3012My dear, dear Sister! And this prayer I make,
25.3013Knowing that Nature never did betray
25.3014[p. 209] The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
25.3015Through all the years of this our life, to lead
25.3016>From joy to joy: for she can so inform
25.3017The mind that is within us, so impress
25.3018With quietness and beauty, and so feed
25.3019With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
25.3020Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
25.3021Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
25.3022The dreary intercourse of daily life,
25.3023Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
25.3024Our chearful faith that all which we behold
25.3025Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
25.3026Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
25.3027And let the misty mountain winds be free
25.3028To blow against thee: and in after years,
25.3029When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
25.3030Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
25.3031Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
25.3032Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
25.3033[p. 210] For all sweet sounds and harmonies; Oh! then,
25.3034If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
25.3035Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
25.3036Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
25.3037And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance,
25.3038If I should be, where I no more can hear
25.3039Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
25.3040Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
25.3041That on the banks of this delightful stream
25.3042We stood together; and that I, so long
25.3043A worshipper of Nature, hither came,
25.3044Unwearied in that service: rather say
25.3045With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal
25.3046Of holier love. Now wilt thou then forget,
25.3047That after many wanderings, many years
25.3048Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
25.3049And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
25.3050More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake.
END.
[p. [211] ERRATA.
Page
10 for "fog smoke-white,'' read "fog-smoke white.''
18 "those,'' read "these.''
50 Omit the comma after "loveth well.''
140 after "clanking hour,'' place a comma.
202 omit the sixth line from the bottom,
        "And the low copses coming from the trees.''
[p. [212]]
[p. [213]]

Notes

3.153] fog smoke-white: "fog smoke-white" in original. Back to Line
3.255] these: "those" in the original. Back to Line
3.723] well,: "well" in original. Back to Line
6.893] *"Most musical, most melancholy.'' This passage in Milton possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description: it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has therefore a dramatic propriety. The Author makes this remark, to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity to a line in Milton: a charge than which none could be more painful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his Bible. Back to Line
6.991] A break in the book occurs here. This results from a change in the contents. Richard S. Bear, in his transcription of the British Library copies of the Bristol imprint of the book, says: "The copy in the British Museum contains two tables of contents, one including Coleridge's `The Nightingale,' while the other includes his `Lewti.' Both poems appear in the book, with duplicate pagination ... '' The text of "Lewti'' appeared at this point in the Bristol imprint, from new page 63 to new page 67. Back to Line
7.1043] *Several of the Lakes in the north of England are let out to different fisher­ men, in parcels marked out by imaginary lines drawn from rock to rock. Back to Line
14.1713] mountain's: "mountain s" in the original. Back to Line
16.2056] hour,: "hour" in original. Back to Line
18.2424] she's: "she s" in the original. Back to Line
18.2487] he's: "he s" in the original. along: "a ong" in the original. Back to Line
19.2665] *Collins's Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written, I believe, of the poems which were published during his life-time. This Ode is also alluded to in the next stanza. Back to Line
25.2889] *The river is not affected by the tides a few miles above Tintern. Back to Line
25.2904] After this line the original reads, " And the low copse--coming from the trees" (a line cut in the Errata). Back to Line
25.2996] * This line has a close resemblance to an admirable line of Young, the exact expression of which I cannot recollect. Back to Line
Original Text: 
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (London: Printed for J. and A. Arch, 1798). Photographic facsimile edition (Kobe, Japan: Konan Joshi Gakuen, 1980). PR 5869 L9 1798AA C. 1 Robarts Library. The electronic text is based on OTA U-1704-A, an electronic transcription of the first anonymous Bristol imprint of 1798 by Richard S. Bear, Department of English, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403, USA; bear@oregon.uoregon.edu. The OTA copy, based on two British Library copies, differs substantially from this electronic copy and was untagged. The present text was originally published in Using TACT with Electronic Texts: A Guide to Text-Analysis Computing Tools, Version 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS, by Ian Lancashire in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM. QA 76.9.T48 L36.
Publication Start Year: 
1798
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
1997