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These things just served to stir the slumbering
sense, Nor pain, nor pity, in my bosom raised. With strength did memory return : and thence Dismissed, again on open day I gazed, At houses, men, and common light amazed. The lanes I sought, and, as the sun retired, Came where beneath the trees a faggot blazed ; The travellers saw me weep, my fate enquired, And gave me food, and rest, more welcome,
Rough potters seemed they, trading soberly,
With panniered asses driven from door to door,
But life of happier sort set forth to me,
And other joys my fancy to allure.
The bagpipe, dinning on the midnight moor,
In barn uplighted; and companions boon
Well met from far with revelry secure,
Among the forest-glades, while jocund June
Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial
But ill they suited me—those journeys dark,
O’er moor and mountain, midnight theft to
To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,
Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch.
The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,
The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill :
Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were
What could I do, unaided and unblest ?
My father! gone was every friend of thine ;
And kindred of dead husband are at best
Small help ; and after marriage such as mine,
With little kindness would to me incline.
Ill was I then for toil or service fit,
My deep-drawn sighs no effort could confine :
In the open air forgetful would I sit
Whole hours, with idle arms in moping sorrow
The roads I paced, I loitered through the fields :
Contentedly, yet sometimes self-accused,
Trusted my life to what chance-bounty yields,
Now coldly given, now utterly refused.
The ground I for my bed have often used ;
But what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth
Is, that I have my inner self abused,
Foregone the home delight of constant truth,
And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless
Through tears the rising sun I oft have viewed, Through tears have seen him towards that world
descend, Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude : Three years a wanderer now my course I bend, Oh! tell me whither--for no earthly friend Have I.—She ceased, and weeping turned away: As if because her tale was at an end, She wept :--because she had no more to say Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit
'Tis eight o'clock,-a clear March night,
The moon is up,—the sky is blue,
The owlet, in the moonlight air,
Shouts, from nobody knows where ;
He lengthens out his lonely shout,
Hallo! halloo ! a long halloo !
- Why bustle thus about your door,
What means this bustle, Betty Foy?
Why are you in this mighty fret ?
And why on horseback have you set
Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy ?
Scarcely a soul is out of bed :
Good Betty, put him down again ;
His lips with joy they burr at you;
But, Betty! what has he to do
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein ?
But Betty's bent on her intent;
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
I's sick, and makes a piteous moan,
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress,
Old Susan lies a-bed in pain,
And sorely puzzled are the twain,
For what she ails they cannot guess.
And Betty's husband's at the wood,
Where by the week he doth abide ;
A woodman in the distant vale :
There's none to help poor Susan Gale ;
What must be done? what will betide ?
And Betty from the lane has fetched
Her pony, that is mild and good,
Whether he be in joy or pain,
Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he is all in travelling trim,-
And, by the moonlight, Betty Foy
Has on the well-girt saddle set
(The like was never heard of yet)
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy.
And he must post without delay
Across the bridge, and through the dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a Doctor from the town,
Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
There is no need of boot or spur, There is no need of whip or wand; For Johnny has his holly-bough, And with a hurly-burly now He shakes the green bough in his hand.
And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The Boy, who is her best delight,
Both what to follow, what to shun,
What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge,
Was, “ Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
Come home again, nor stop at all-
Come home again, whate'er befall,
My Johnny, do, I pray you do."