[1]

POEMS.


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A WINTER'S DAY.


THE cock warm roosting 'mid his feathered mates,
Now lifts his beak and snuffs the morning air,
Stretches his neck and claps his heavy wings,
Gives three hoarse crows, and glad his task is done,
Low chuckling turns himself upon the roost,
Then nestles down again into his place.
The labouring hind, who on his bed of straw
Beneath his home-made coverings, coarse but warm,
Locked in the kindly arms of her who spun them,

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Dreams of the gain that next year's crop should bring;
Or at some fair, disposing of his wool,
Or by some lucky and unlooked-for bargain,
Fills his skin purse with store of tempting gold,
Now wakes from sleep at the unwelcome call,
And finds himself but just the same poor man
As when he went to rest.
He hears the blast against his window beat
And wishes to himself he were a laird,
That he might lie a-bed. It may not be:
He rubs his eyes and stretches out his arms;
Heigh ho! heigh ho! he drawls with gaping mouth,
Then, most unwillingly creeps from his lair,
And without looking-glass puts on his clothes.
With rueful face he blows the smothered fire,
And lights his candle at the reddening coal;
First sees that all be right among his cattle,
Then hies him to the barn with heavy tread,
Printing his footsteps on the new-fallen snow.
From out the heaped-up mow he draws his sheaves,
Dislodging the poor red-breast from his shelter

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Where all the live-long night he slept secure;
But now, affrighted, with uncertain flight,
Flutters round walls, and roof, to find some hole
Through which he may escape.
Then whirling o'er his head, the heavy flail
Descends with force upon the jumping sheaves,
While every rugged wall and neighbouring cot
The noise re-echoes of his sturdy strokes.

The family cares call next upon the wife
To quit her mean but comfortable bed.
And first she stirs the fire and fans the flame,
Then from her heap of sticks for winter stored
An armful brings; loud crackling as they burn,
Thick fly the red sparks upward to the roof,
While slowly mounts the smoke in wreathy clouds.
On goes the seething pot with morning cheer,
For which some little wistful folk await,
Who, peeping from the bed-clothes, spy well pleased,
The cheery light that blazes on the wall,
And bawl for leave to rise.
Their busy mother knows not where to turn,

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Her morning's work comes now so thick upon her.
One she must help to tie his little coat,
Unpin another's cap, or seek his shoe
Or hosen lost, confusion soon o'er-mastered!
When all is o'er, out to the door they run
With new-combed sleeky hair and glistening faces,
Each with some little project in his head.
His new-soled shoes one on the ice must try;
To view his well-set trap another hies,
In hopes to find some poor unwary bird,
(No worthless prize) entangled in his snare;
While one, less active, with round rosy cheeks,
Spreads out his purple fingers to the fire,
And peeps most wishfully into the pot.

But let us leave the warm and cheerful house
To view the bleak and dreary scene without,
And mark the dawning of a Winter day.
The morning vapour rests upon the heights
Lurid and red, while growing gradual shades
Of pale and sickly light spread o'er the sky.
Then slowly from behind the southern hills

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Enlarged and ruddy comes the rising sun,
Shooting askance the hoary waste his beams
That gild the brow of every ridgy bank,
And deepen every valley with a shade.
The crusted window of each scattered cot,
The icicles that fringe the thatched roof,
The new-swept slide upon the frozen pool,
All keenly glance, new kindled with his rays;
And even the rugged face of scowling Winter
Looks somewhat gay. But only for a time
He shews his glory to the brightening earth,
Then hides his face behind a sullen cloud.

The birds now quit their holes and lurking sheds,
Most mute and melancholy, where through night,
All nestling close to keep each other warm,
In downy sleep they had forgot their hardships;
But not to chant and carol in the air,
Or lightly swing upon some waving bough,
And merrily return each other's notes;
No; silently they hop from bush to bush,
Can find no seeds to stop their craving want,

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Then bend their flight to the low smoking cot,
Chirp on the roof, or at the window peck,
To tell their wants to those who lodge within.
The poor lank hare flies homeward to his den,
But little burthened with his nightly meal
Of withered colworts from the farmer's garden;
A wretched scanty portion, snatched in fear;
And fearful creatures, forced abroad by hunger,
Are now to every enemy a prey.

The husbandman lays by his heavy flail,
And to the house returns, where for him wait
His smoking breakfast and impatient children,
Who, spoon in hand, and ready to begin,
Toward the door cast many an eager look
To see their Dad come in.
Then round they sit, a cheerful company;
All quickly set to work, and with heaped spoons
From ear to ear besmear their rosy cheeks.
The faithful dog stands by his master's side
Wagging his tail and looking in his face;
While humble puss pays court to all around,

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And purs and rubs them with her furry sides,
Nor goes this little flattery unrewarded.
But the laborious sit not long at table;
The grateful father lifts his eyes to heaven
To bless his God, whose ever bounteous hand
Him and his little ones doth daily feed,
Then rises satisfied to work again.

The varied rousing sounds of industry
Are heard through all the village.
The humming wheel, the thrifty housewife's tongue,
Who scolds to keep her maidens to their work,
The wool-card's grating most unmusical!
Issue from every house.
But hark! the sportsman from the neighbouring hedge
His thunder sends! loud bark the village curs;
Up from her cards or wheel the maiden starts
And hastens to the door; the housewife chides,
Yet runs herself to look, in spite of thrift,
And all the little town is in a stir.

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Strutting before, the cock leads forth his train,
And chuckling near the barn-door 'mid the straw,
Reminds the farmer of his morning's service.
His grateful master throws a liberal handful;
They flock about it, while the hungry sparrows,
Perched on the roof, look down with envious eye,
Then, aiming well, amidst the feeders light,
And seize upon the feast with greedy bill,
Till angry partlets peck them off the field.
But at a distance, on the leafless tree,
All woe-begone, the lonely blackbird sits;
The cold north wind ruffles his glossy feathers;
Full oft he looks, but dare not make approach,
Then turns his yellow beak to peck his side
And claps his wings close to' his sharpened breast.
The wandering fowler from behind the hedge,
Fastens his eye upon him, points his gun,
And firing wantonly, as at a mark,
Of life bereaves him in the cheerful spot
That oft hath echoed to his summer's song.

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The mid-day hour is near, the pent-up kine
Are driven from their stalls to take the air.
How stupidly they stare! and feel how strange!
They open wide their smoking mouths to low,
But scarcely can their feeble sound be heard,
Then turn and lick themselves, and step by step,
Move, dull and heavy, to their stalls again.

In scattered groups the little idle boys
With purple fingers moulding in the snow
Their icy ammunition, pant for war;
And drawing up in opposite array,
Send forth a mighty shower of well-aimed balls,
Each tiny hero tries his growing strength,
And burns to beat the foe-men off the field.
Or on the well-worn ice in eager throngs,
After short race, shoot rapidly along,
Trip up each other's heels and on the surface
With studded shoes draw many a chalky line.
Untired and glowing with the healthful sport
They cease not till the sun hath run his course
And threatening clouds, slow rising from the north,

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Spread leaden darkness o'er the face of heaven;
Then by degrees they scatter to their homes,
Some with a broken head or bloody nose,
To claim their mother's pity, who most skilful!
Cures all their troubles with a bit of bread.

The night comes on apace—
Chill blows the blast and drives the snow in wreaths;
Now every creature looks around for shelter,
And whether man or beast, all move alike
Towards their homes, and happy they who have
A house to skreen them from the piercing cold!
Lo, o'er the frost a reverend form advances!
His hair white as the snow on which he treads,
His forehead marked with many a care-worn furrow,
Whose feeble body bending o'er a staff,
Shews still that once it was the seat of strength,
Though now it shakes like some old ruined tower.
Clothed indeed, but not disgraced with rags,
He still maintains that decent dignity
Which well becomes those who have served their country.

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With tottering steps he gains the cottage door:
The wife within, who hears his hollow cough,
And pattering of his stick upon the threshold,
Sends out her little boy to see who's there.
The child looks up to mark the stranger's face,
And, seeing it enlightened with a smile,
Holds out his tiny hand to lead him in.
Round from her work, the mother turns her head,
And views them, not ill pleased.
The stranger whines not with a piteous tale,
But only asks a little to relieve
A poor old soldier's wants.
The gentle matron brings the ready chair
And bids him sit to rest his weary limbs,
And warm himself before her blazing fire.
The children full of curiosity,
Flock round, and with their fingers in their mouths
Stand staring at him, while the stranger, pleased,
Takes up the youngest urchin on his knee.
Proud of its seat, it wags its little feet,
And prates and laughs and plays with his white locks.
But soon a change comes o'er the soldier's face;

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His thoughtful mind is turned on other days,
When his own boys were wont to play around him,
Who now lie distant from their native land
In honourable but untimely graves:
He feels how helpless and forlorn he is,
And big, round tears course down his withered cheeks.
His toilsome daily labour at an end,
In comes the wearied master of the house,
And marks with satisfaction his old guest,
In the chief seat, with all the children round him.
His honest heart is filled with manly kindness,
He bids him stay and share their homely meal,
And take with them his quarters for the night.
The aged wanderer thankfully accepts,
And by the simple hospitable board,
Forgets the by-past hardships of the day.

When all are satisfied, about the fire
They draw their seats and form a cheerful ring.
The thrifty house-wife turns her spinning wheel;
The husband, useful even in his hour

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Of ease and rest, a stocking knits, belike,
Or plaits stored rushes, which with after skill
Into a basket formed may do good service,
With eggs or butter filled at fair or market.

Some idle neighbours now come dropping in,
Draw round their chairs and widen out the circle;
And every one in his own native way,
Does what he can to cheer the social group.
Each tells some little story of himself,
That constant subject upon which mankind
Whether in court or country, love to dwell.
How, at a fair, he saved a simple clown
From being tricked in buying of a cow;
Or laid a bet on his own horse's head
Against his neighbour's bought at twice his price,
Which failed not to repay his better skill;
Or on a harvest day bound in an hour
More sheaves of corn than any of his fellows,
Though e'er so stark, could do in twice the time;
Or won the bridal race with savoury bruise
And first kiss of the bonny bride, though all

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The fleetest youngsters of the parish strove
In rivalry against him.
But chiefly the good man, by his own fire,
Hath privilege of being listened to,
Nor dare a little pratling tongue presume
Though but in play, to break upon his story.
The children sit and listen with the rest;
And should the youngest raise its lisping voice,
The careful mother, ever on the watch,
And ever pleased with what her husband says,
Gives it a gentle tap upon the fingers,
Or stops its ill-timed prattle with a kiss.
The soldier next, but not unasked, begins
His tale of war and blood. They gaze upon him,
And almost weep to see the man so poor
So bent and feeble, helpless and forlorn,
Who has undaunted stood the battle's brunt
While roaring cannons shook the quaking earth,
And bullets hissed round his defenceless head.
Thus passes quickly on the evening hour,
Till sober folks must needs retire to rest,
Then all break up, and, by their several paths,

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Hie homeward, with the evening pastime cheered
Far more, belike, than those who issue forth
From city theatre's gay scenic show,
Or crowded ball-room's splendid moving maze.
But where the song and story, joke and gibe
So lately circled, what a solemn change
In little time takes place!
The sound of psalms, by mingled voices raised
Of young and old, upon the night-air borne,
Haply to some benighted traveller,
Or the late parted neighbours on their way,
A pleasing notice gives that, those whose sires
In former days on the bare mountain's side,
In deserts, heaths, and caverns, praise and prayer,
At peril of their lives, in their own form
Of covenanted worship offered up,
In peace and safety in their own quiet home
Are—(as in quaint and modest phrase is termed)
Are now engaged in evening exercise.

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But long accustomed to observe the weather,
The farmer cannot lay him down in peace
Till he has looked to mark what bodes the night.
He lifts the latch, and moves the heavy door,
Sees wreaths of snow heaped up on every side,
And black and dismal all above his head.
Anon the norther blast begins to rise,
He hears its hollow growling from afar,
Which, gathering strength, rolls on with doubled might
And raves and bellows o'er his head. The trees
Like pithless saplings bend. He shuts his door
And, thankful for the roof that covers him,
Hies him to bed.

[17]

A SUMMER'S DAY.


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THE dark-blue clouds of night, in dusky lines
Drawn wide and streaky o'er the purer sky,
Wear faintly morning purple on their skirts.
The stars that full and bright shone in the west,
But dimly twinkle to the stedfast eye,
And seen and vanishing and seen again,
Like dying tapers winking in the socket,
Are by degrees shut from the face of heaven;
The fitful lightning of the summer cloud,
And every lesser flame that shone by night;
The wandering fire that seems, across the marsh,
A beaming candle in a lonely cot,
Cheering the hopes of the benighted hind,
Till, swifter than the very change of thought,

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It shifts from place to place, eludes his sight,
And makes him wondering rub his faithless eyes;
The humble glow-worm and the silver moth,
That cast a doubtful glimmering o'er the green,—
All die away.
For now the sun, slow moving in his glory,
Above the eastern mountains lifts his head;
The webs of dew spread o'er the hoary lawn,
The smooth, clear bosom of the settled pool,
The polished ploughshare on the distant field,
Catch fire from him and dart their new got beams
Upon the gazing rustic's dazzled sight.

The wakened birds upon the branches hop,
Peck their soft down, and bristle out their feathers,
Then stretch their throats and trill their morning song,
While dusky crows, high swinging over head,
Upon the topmost boughs, in lordly pride,
Mix their hoarse croaking with the linnet's note,
Till in a gathered band of close array,
They take their flight to seek their daily food.

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The villager wakes with the early light,
That through the window of his cot appears,
And quits his easy bed; then o'er the fields
With lengthened active strides betakes his way,
Bearing his spade or hoe across his shoulder,
Seen glancing as he moves, and with good will
His daily work begins.
The sturdy sun-burnt boy drives forth the cattle,
And, pleased with power, bawls to the lagging kine
With stern authority, who fain would stop
To crop the tempting bushes as they pass.
At every open door, in lawn or lane,
Half naked children, half awake are seen
Scratching their heads and blinking to the light,
Till, rousing by degrees, they run about,
Roll on the sward and in some sandy nook
Dig caves, and houses build, full oft defaced
And oft begun again, a daily pastime.
The housewife, up by times, her morning cares
Tends busily; from tubs of curdled milk
With skilful patience draws the clear green whey
From the pressed bosom of the snowy curd,

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While her brown comely maid, with tucked-up sleeves
And swelling arm, assists her. Work proceeds,
Pots smoke, pails rattle, and the warm confusion
Still more confused becomes, till in the mould
With heavy hands the well-squeezed curd is placed.

So goes the morning till the powerful sun,
High in the heavens, sends down his strengthened beams,
And all the freshness of the morn is fled.
The idle horse upon the grassy field
Rolls on his back; the swain leaves off his toil,
And to his house with heavy steps returns,
Where on the board his ready breakfast placed
Looks most invitingly, and his good mate
Serves him with cheerful kindness.
Upon the grass no longer hangs the dew;
Forth hies the mower with his glittering scythe,
In snowy shirt bedight and all unbraced.
He moves athwart the mead with sideling bend,
And lays the grass in many a swathey line;

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In every field in every lawn and meadow
The rousing voice of industry is heard;
The hay-cock rises and the frequent rake
Sweeps on the fragrant hay in heavy wreaths.
The old and young, the weak and strong are there,
And, as they can, help on the cheerful work.
The father jeers his awkward half-grown lad,
Who trails his tawdry armful o'er the field,
Nor does he fear the jeering to repay.
The village oracle and simple maid
Jest in their turns and raise the ready laugh;
All are companions in the general glee;
Authority, hard favoured, frowns not there.
Some, more advanced, raise up the lofty rick,
Whilst on its top doth stand the parish toast
In loose attire and swelling ruddy cheek.
With taunts and harmless mockery she receives
The tossed-up heaps from fork of simple youth,
Who, staring on her, takes his aim awry,
While half the load falls back upon himself.
Loud is her laugh, her voice is heard afar;
The mower busied on the distant lawn,

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The carter trudging on his dusty way,
The shrill sound know, their bonnets toss in the air
And roar across the field to catch her notice:
She waves her arm to them, and shakes her head,
And then renews her work with double spirit.
Thus do they jest and laugh away their toil
Till the bright sun, now past his middle course,
Shoots down his fiercest beams which none may brave.
The stoutest arm feels listless, and the swart
And brawny-shouldered clown begins to fail.
But to the weary, lo—there comes relief!
A troop of welcome children o'er the lawn
With slow and wary steps approach, some bear
In baskets oaten cakes or barley scones,
And gusty cheese and stoups of milk or whey.
Beneath the branches of a spreading tree,
Or by the shady side of the tall rick,
They spread their homely fare, and seated round,
Taste every pleasure that a feast can give.

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A drowsy indolence now hangs on all;
Each creature seeks some place of rest, some shelter
From the oppressive heat; silence prevails;
Nor low nor bark nor chirping bird are heard.
In shady nooks the sheep and kine convene;
Within the narrow shadow of the cot
The sleepy dog lies stretched upon his side,
Nor heeds the footsteps of the passer by,
Or at the sound but raises half an eye-lid,
Then gives a feeble growl and sleeps again;
While puss composed and grave on threshold stone
Sits winking in the light.
No sound is heard but humming of the bee,
For she alone retires not from her labour,
Nor leaves a meadow flower unsought for gain.

Heavy and slow, so pass the sultry hours,
Till gently bending on the ridge's top
The drooping seedy grass begins to wave,
And the high branches of the aspin tree
Shiver the leaves and gentle rustling make.
Cool breathes the rising breeze, and with it wakes

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The languid spirit from its state of stupor.
The lazy boy springs from his mossy lair
To chase the gaudy butterfly, who oft
Lights at his feet as if within his reach,
Spreading upon the ground its mealy wings,
Yet still eludes his grasp, and high in air
Takes many a circling flight, tempting his eye
And tiring his young limbs.
The drowzy dog, who feels the kindly air
That passing o'er him lifts his shaggy ear,
Begins to stretch him, on his legs half-raised,
Till fully waked with bristling cocked-up tail,
He makes the village echo to his bark.

But let us not forget the busy maid,
Who by the side of the clear pebbly stream
Spreads out her snowy linens to the sun,
And sheds with liberal hand the crystal shower
O'er many a favourite piece of fair attire,
Revolving in her mind her gay appearance,
So nicely tricked, at some approaching fair.
The dimpling half-checked smile and muttering lip

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Her secret thoughts betray. With shiny feet,
There, little active bands of truant boys
Sport in the stream and dash the water round,
Or try with wily art to catch the trout,
Or with their fingers grasp the slippery eel.
The shepherd-lad sits singing on the bank
To while away the weary lonely hours,
Weaving with art his pointed crown of rushes,
A guiltless easy crown, which, having made,
He places on his head, and skips about,
A chaunted rhyme repeats, or calls full loud
To some companion lonely as himself,
Far on the distant bank; or else delighted
To hear the echoed sound of his own voice,
Returning answer from some neighbouring rock,
Or roofless barn, holds converse with himself.

Now weary labourers perceive well pleased
The shadows lengthen, and the oppressive day
With all its toil fast wearing to an end.
The sun, far in the west, with level beam
Gleams on the cocks of hay, on bush or ridge,

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And fields are checkered with fantastic shapes,
Or tree or shrub or gate or human form,
All lengthened out in antic disproportion
Upon the darkened ground. Their task is finished,
Their rakes and scattered garments gathered up,
And all right gladly to their homes return.

The village, lone and silent through the day,
Receiving from the fields its merry bands,
Sends forth its evening sound, confused but cheerful;
Yelping of curs, and voices stern and shrill,
And true-love ballads in no plaintive strain,
By household maid at open window sung;
And lowing of the home-returning kine,
And herd's dull droning trump and tinkling bell,
Tied to the collar of the master-sheep,
Make no contemptible variety
To ears not over nice.
With careless lounging gait the favoured youth
Upon his sweetheart's open window leans,
Diverting her with joke and harmless taunt.

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Close by the cottage door with placid mien,
The old man sits upon his seat of turf.
His staff with crooked head laid by his side,
Which oft some tricky youngling steals away,
And straddling o'er it, shews his horsemanship
By raising clouds of sand; he smiles thereat,
But seems to chide him sharply:
His silver locks upon his shoulders fall,
And not ungraceful is his stoop of age.
No stranger passes him without regard,
And neighbours stop to wish him a good e'en,
And ask him his opinion of the weather.
They fret not at the length of his remarks
Upon the various seasons he remembers;
For well he knows the many divers signs
That do foretell high winds, or rain, or drought,
Or aught that may affect the rising crops.
The silken-clad who courtly breeding boast,
Their own discourse still sweetest to their ear,
May at the old man's lengthened story fret,
Impatiently, but here it is not so.

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From every chimney mounts the curling smoke,
Muddy and grey, of the new evening fire;
On every window smokes the family supper,
Set out to cool by the attentive housewife,
While cheerful groups, at every door convened,
Bawl 'cross the narrow lane the parish news,
And oft the bursting laugh disturbs the air.
But see who comes to set them all agape;
The weary-footed pedlar with his pack;
Stiffly he bends beneath his bulky load,
Covered with dust, slip-shod and out at elbows;
His greasy hat set backwards on his head;
His thin straight hair, divided on his brow,
Hangs lank on either side his glistening cheeks,
And woe-begone yet vacant is his face.
His box he opens and displays his ware.
Full many a varied row of precious stones
Cast forth their dazzling lustre to the light,
And ruby rings and china buttons, stamped
With love devices, the desiring maid
And simple youth attract; while streaming garters,
Of many colours, fastened to a pole,

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Aloft in air their gaudy stripes display,
And from afar the distant stragglers lure.
The children leave their play and round him flock;
Even sober, aged grand-dame quits her seat,
Where by the door she twines her lengthened threads,
Her spindle stops, and lays her distaff by,
Then joins with step sedate the curious throng.
She praises much the fashions of her youth,
And scorns each useless nonsense of the day;
Yet not ill-pleased the glossy riband views,
Unrolled and changing hues with every fold,
Just measured out to deck her grand-child's head.

Now red but languid the last beams appear
Of the departed sun, across the lawn,
Gilding each sweepy ridge on many a field,
And from the openings of the distant hills
A level brightness pouring, sad though bright;
Like farewell smiles from some dear friend they seem,
And only serve to deepen the low vale,
And make the shadows of the night more gloomy.

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The varied noises of the cheerful village
By slow degrees now faintly die away,
And more distinctly distant sounds are heard
That gently steal adown the river's bed,
Or through the wood come on the ruffling breeze.
The white mist rises from the meads, and from
The dappled skirting of the sober sky
Looks out with steady gleam the evening star.
The lover, skulking in some neighbouring copse,
(Whose half-seen form, shewn through the dusky air
Large and majestic, makes the traveller start,
And spreads the story of a haunted grove,)
Curses the owl, whose loud ill-omened hoot
With ceaseless spite takes from his listening ear
The well-known footsteps of his darling maid,
And fretful chases from his face the night-fly,
That, buzzing round his head, doth often skim
With fluttering wings across his glowing cheek;
For all but him in quiet balmy sleep
Forget the toils of the oppressive day;
Shut is the door of every scattered cot,
And silence dwells within.

[31]

NIGHT SCENES OF OTHER TIMES.


_____

A Poem, in Three Parts.


_____

PART I.


"THE night winds bellow o'er my head
Dim grows the fading light;
Where shall I find some friendly shed
To screen me from the night?

"Ah! round me lies a desert vast,
No habitation near;
And dark and pathless is the waste
And fills my mind with fear.

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"Thou distant tree, whose lonely top
Has bent to many a storm,
No more canst thou deceive my hope
And take my lover's form;

"For o'er thy head the dark cloud rolls,
Dark as thy blasted pride;
How deep the angry tempest growls
Along the mountain's side.

"Safely within the shaggy brake
Are couched the mountain deer;
A sound unbroken sleep they take;
No haunts of men are near.

"Beneath the fern the moorcock sleeps,
And twisted adders lie;
Back to his rock the night-bird creeps,
Nor gives his wonted cry.

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"For angry spirits of the night
Ride on the troubled air,
And to their dens, in strange affright,
The beasts of prey repair.

"But thou, my love! where dost thou rest?
What shelter covers thee?
O may this cold and wintry blast
But only beat on me!

"Some friendly dwelling mayst thou find,
Where sleep may banish care
And thou feel not the chilly wind
That scatters Margaret's hair.

"Ah no! for thou didst give thy word
To meet me on the way:
Nor friendly roof nor social board
Will tempt a lover's stay.

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"O raise thy voice if thou art near!
Its weakest sound were bliss;
What other sound my heart can cheer
In such a gloom as this?

"But from the hills with deafening roar
The dashing torrents fall,
And heavy beats the drifted shower,
And mock a lover's call.

"Ha! see, across the dreary waste,
A moving form appears,
It is my love, my cares are past;
How vain were all my fears!"

The form advanced, but sad and slow,
Not with a lover's tread;
And from his cheek the youthful glow
And greeting smile were fled.

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Dim sadness sat upon his brow;
Fixed was his beamless eye;
His face was like a moon-light bow
Upon a wintry sky.

And fixed and ghastly to the sight
His strengthened features rose,
And bended was his graceful height,
And bloody were his clothes.

"My Margaret, calm thy troubled breast;
Thy sorrow now is vain;
Thy Edward from his peaceful rest
Shall ne'er return again.

"A treacherous friend has laid me low,
Has fixed my early doom,
And laid my corse with feigned woe
Beneath a vaunted tomb.

36

"To take thee to my home I sware,
And here we were to meet;
Wilt thou a narrow coffin share,
And part my winding sheet?

"But late the lord of many lands,
And now a grave is all:
My blood is warm upon his hands
Who revels in my hall.

"Yet think, thy father's hoary hair
Is watered with his tears;
He has but thee to soothe his care,
And prop his load of years.

"Remember Edward when he's gone
He only lived for thee;
And when thou art pensive and alone
Dear Margaret, call on me!

37

"Though deep beneath the mouldering clod
I rest my wounded head,
And terrible that call and loud
Which shall awake the dead!"

"No, Edward; I will follow thee,
And share thy hapless doom;
Companions shall our spirits be,
Though distant is thy tomb.

"O! never to my father's tower
Will I return again;
A bleeding heart has little power
To ease another's pain.

"Upon the wing my spirit flies,
I feel my course is run;
Nor shall these dim and weary eyes
Behold to-morrow's sun."

38

Like early dew, or hoary frost
Spent with the beaming day,
So shrunk the pale and watery ghost,
And dimly wore away.

No longer Margaret felt the storm,
She bowed her lovely head,
And, with her lover's fleeting form,
Her gentle spirit fled.

39

PART II.


"LOUD roars the wind that shakes the wall,
It is no common blast;
Deep hollow sounds pass through my hall:
O would the night were past!

"Methinks the demons of the air
Upon the turrets growl,
While down the empty winding stair
Their deepening murmurs roll.

"The glimmering fire cheers not the gloom,
Blue burns the quivering ray,
And, like a taper in a tomb,
But spreads the more dismay.

40

"Athwart its melancholy light
The lengthened shadow falls;
My grandsires to my troubled sight
Lower on me from these walls.

"Methinks yon angry warrior's head
Doth in its panel frown,
And dart a look, as if it said,
'Where hast thou laid my son?'

"But will these fancies never cease?
O would the night were run!
My troubled soul can find no peace
But with the morning sun,

"Vain hope! the guilty never rest;
Dismay is always near;
There is a midnight in the breast
No morn shall ever cheer.

41

"Now soundly sleeps the weary hind,
Though lowly lies his head;
An easy lair the guiltless find
Upon the hardest bed.

"The beggar, in his wretched haunt,
May now a monarch be;
Forget his woe, forget his want,
For all can sleep but me.

"I've dared whate'er the boldest can,
Then why this childish dread?
I never feared a living man,
And shall I fear the dead?

"No; whistling blasts may shake my tower,
And passing spirits scream:
Their shadowy arms are void of power,
And but a gloomy dream.

42

"But, lo! a form advancing slow
Across the dusky hall,
Art thou a friend?—art thou a foe?
O answer to my call!"

Still nearer to the glimmering light
The stately figure strode,
Till full, and horrid to the sight,
The murthered Edward stood.

A broken shaft his right hand swayed,
Like Time's dark, threatening dart,
And pointed to a rugged blade
That quivered in his heart.

The blood still trickled from his head,
And clotted was his hair;
His severed vesture stained and red;
His mangled breast was bare.

43

His face was like a muddy sky
Before the coming snow;
And dark and dreadful was his eye,
And cloudy was his brow.

Pale Conrad shrunk, but drew his sword—
Fear thrilled in every vein;
His quivering lips gave out no word;
He paused, and shrunk again.

Then utterance came—"At this dread hour
Why dost thou haunt the night?
Has the deep gloomy vault no power
To keep thee from my sight?

"Why dost thou glare and slowly wave
That fatal shaft of strife?
The deed is done, and from the grave
Who can recall to life?

44

"Why roll thine eyes beneath thy brow
Dark as the midnight storm?
What dost thou want? O let me know,
But hide thy dreadful form.

"I'd give the life-blood from my heart
To wash my crime away:
If thou a spirit art, depart,
Nor haunt a wretch of clay!

"Say, dost thou with the blessed dwell?—
Return and blessed be!
Or comest thou from the lowest hell?—
I am more cursed than thee."

The form advanced with solemn steps
As if it meant to speak,
And seemed to move its pallid lips,
But silence did not break.

45

Then sternly stalked with heavy pace
Which shook the floor and wall,
And turned away its fearful face,
And vanished from the hall.

Transfixed and powerless, Conrad stood;
Ears ring, and eyeballs swell;
Back to his heart runs the cold blood;
Into a trance he fell.

Night fled, and through the windows 'gan
The early light to play;
But on a more unhappy man
Ne'er shone the dawning day.

The gladsome sun all nature cheers,
But cannot charm his cares;
Still dwells his mind with gloomy fears,
And murdered Edward glares.

46

PART III.


"No rest nor comfort can I find:
I watch the midnight hour;
I sit and listen to the wind
That beats upon my tower.

"Methinks low voices from the ground
Break mournful on my ear,
And through these empty chambers sound
So dismal and so drear!

"The ghost of some departed friend
Doth in my sorrows share;
Or is it but the rushing wind
That mocketh my despair?

47

"Sad through the hall the pale lamp gleams
Upon my father's arms;
My soul is filled with gloomy dreams,
I fear unknown alarms.

"O, I have known this lonely place
With every blessing stored,
And many a friend with cheerful face
Sit smiling at my board!

"While round the hearth, in early bloom,
My harmless children played,
Who now within the narrow tomb
Are with their mother laid.

"Now sadly bends my wretched head,
And those I loved are gone:
My friends, my family, all are fled,
And I am left alone.

48

"Oft as the cheerless fire declines,
In it I sadly trace,
As lone I sit, the half-formed lines
Of many a much-loved face.

"But chiefly, Margaret, to my mind,
Thy lovely features rise;
I strive to think thee less unkind,
And wipe my streaming eyes.

"For only thee I had to vaunt,
Thou wert thy mother's pride;
She left thee like a shooting plant,
To screen my widowed side.

"But thou forsakest me, weak, forlorn,
And chilled with age's frost,
To count my weary days and mourn
The comforts I have lost.

49

"Unkindly child! why didst thou go?
O, had I known the truth!
Though Edward's father was my foe,
I would have blessed the youth.

"Could I but see that face again,
Whose smile calmed every strife,
And hear that voice which soothed my pain,
And made me wish for life!

"Thy harp hangs silent by the wall:
My nights are sad and long,
And thou art in a distant hall,
Where strangers raise the song.

"Ha! some delusion of the mind
My senses doth confound!
It is the harp, and not the wind,
That did so sweetly sound."

50

Old Arno rose all wan as death,
And turned his eager ear,
And checked the while his quickened breath
The sound again to hear.

When like a full, but distant choir,
The swelling notes returned;
And with the softly trembling wire
Surrounding echoes mourned;

Then softly whispered o'er the song
That Margaret loved to play,
Its well-known measure lingered long,
And faintly died away.

His dim-worn eyes to heaven he cast,
Where all his griefs were known,
And smote upon his troubled breast,
And heaved a heavy groan.

51

"I know it is my daughter's hand,
But 'tis no hand of clay;
And here a lonely wretch I stand,
All childless, bent, and grey.

"And art thou low, my lovely child,
And hast thou met thy doom,
And has thy flattering morning smiled,
To lead but to the tomb?

"O let me see thee ere we part,
For souls like thine are blest;
O let me fold thee to my heart,
If aught of form thou hast!

"This passing mist conceals thy shape,
But it is shrunk or flown;
Why dost thou from mine arms escape,
Art thou not still mine own?

52

"Thou'rt fled like the low evening breath,
That sighs upon the hill:
O stay! though in thy weeds of death,—
Thou art my daughter still."

Loud waked the sound, then fainter grew,
And long and sadly mourned,
And softly sighed a long adieu,
And never more returned.

Old Arno stretched him on the ground;
Thick as the gloom of night,
Death's misty shadows gathered round,
And swam before his sight.

He heaved a deep and deadly groan,
That rent his labouring breast,
And long before the morning shone,
His spirit was at rest.

53

ADDRESS TO THE MUSES.


_____

YE tuneful sisters of the lyre,
Who dreams and fantasies inspire,
Who over poesy preside,
And on a lofty hill abide
Above the ken of mortal sight,
Fain would I sing of you, could I address ye right.

Thus known, your power of old was sung,
And temples with your praises rung;
And when the song of battle rose,
Or kindling wine, or lovers' woes,
The Poet's spirit inly burned,
And still to you his upcast eyes were turned.

54

The youth, all wrapped in vision bright,
Beheld your robes of flowing white;
And knew your forms benignly grand,—
An awful but a lovely band;
And felt your inspiration strong
And warmly poured his rapid lay along.

The aged bard all heavenward glowed,
And hailed you daughters of a God.
Though to his dimmer eyes were seen
Nor graceful form nor heavenly mien,
Full well he felt that ye were near,
And heard you in the breeze that raised his hoary hair.

Ye lightened up the valley's bloom,
And gave the forest deeper gloom;
The mountain peak sublimer stood,
And grander rose the mighty flood;
For then religion lent her aid,
And o'er the mind of man your sacred empire spread.

55

Though rolling ages now are past,
And altars low and temples waste;
Though rites and oracles are o'er,
And Gods and heroes rule no more,
Your fading honours still remain,
And still your votaries call, a long and motley train.

They seek you not on hill or plain,
Nor court you in the sacred fane;
Nor meet you in the mid-day dream,
Upon the bank of hallowed stream;
Yet still for inspiration sue,
And still each lifts his fervent prayer to you.

He woos ye not in woodland gloom,
But in the close and shelfed room,
And seeks ye in the dusty nook,
And meets ye in the lettered book:
Full well he knows ye by your names,
And still with poet's faith your presence claims.

56

Now youthful Poet, pen in hand,
All by the side of blotted stand,
In reverie deep which none may break,
Sits rubbing of his beardless cheek,
And well his inspiration knows,
E'en by the dewy drops that trickle o'er his nose.

The tuneful sage, of riper fame,
Perceives you not in heated frame;
But at conclusion of his verse,
Which still his muttering lips rehearse,
Oft waves his hand in grateful pride,
And owns the heavenly power that did his fancy guide.

O lovely Sisters! is it true
That they are all inspired by you,
And write by inward magic charmed,
And high enthusiasm warmed?
We dare not question heavenly lays,
And well, I wot, they give you all the praise.

57

O lovely Sisters! well it shews
How wide and far your bounty flows.
Then why from me withhold your beams?
Unvisited of visioned dreams,
Whene'er I aim at heights sublime,
Still downward am I called to seek some stubborn rhyme.

No hasty lightning breaks my gloom,
Nor flashing thoughts unsought for come,
Nor fancies wake in time of need:
I labour much with little speed,
And, when my studied task is done,
Too well alas! I mark it for my own.

Yet, should you never smile on me,
And rugged still my verses be,
Unpleasing to the tuneful train,
Who only prize a flowing strain,
And still the learned scorn my lays,
I'll lift my heart to you and sing your praise.

58

Your varied ministry of grace,
Your honoured names and godlike race,
Your sacred caves where fountains flow
They will rehearse, who better know;
I praise ye not with Grecian lyre,
Nor hail ye daughters of a heathen sire.

Ye are the spirits who preside
In earth and air and ocean wide;
In rushing flood and crackling fire,
In horror dread and tumult dire;
In stilly calm and stormy wind,
And rule the answering changes in the human mind.

High on the tempest-beaten hill,
Your misty shapes ye shift at will;
The wild fantastic clouds ye form;
Your voice is in the midnight storm,
While in the dark and lonely hour
Oft starts the boldest heart, and owns your secret power.

59

When lightning ceases on the waste,
And when the battle's broil is past,
When scenes of strife and blood are o'er,
And groans of death are heard no more,
Ye then renew each sound and form,
Like after echoing of the overpassed storm.

The shining day and nightly shade,
The cheerful plain and sunny glade;
The homeward kine, the children's play,
The busy hamlet's closing day,
Give pleasure to the peasant's heart,
Who lacks the gift his feelings to impart.

Oft when the moon looks from on high,
And black around the shadows lie,
And bright the sparkling waters gleam,
And rushes rustle by the stream,
Voices and fairy forms are known
By simple folk who wander late alone.

60

Ye kindle up the inward glow,
Ye strengthen every outward show;
Ye overleap the strongest bar,
And join what nature sunders far,
And visit oft in fancies wild,
The breast of learned sage and simple child.

From him who wears a monarch's crown
To the unlettered simple clown,
All in some fitful, lonely hour
Have felt, unsought, your secret power,
And loved your inward visions well;
You add but to the bard the art to tell.

Ye mighty spirits of the song,
To whom the poet's prayers belong,
My lowly bosom to inspire
And kindle with your sacred fire,
Your wild and dizzy heights to brave,
Is boon alas! too great for me to crave.

61

But O, such sense of nature bring!
As they who feel and never sing
Wear on their hearts; it will avail
With simple words to tell my tale;
And still contented will I be,
Though greater inspiration never fall to me.

62

A MELANCHOLY LOVER'S FAREWELL
TO HIS MISTRESS.


_____

DEAR Phillis, all my hopes are o'er
And I shall see thy face no more.
Since every secret wish is vain,
I will not stay to give thee pain.
Then do not drop thy lowering brow,
But let me bless thee ere I go:
Oh! do not scorn my last adieu!
I've loved thee long, and loved thee true.

The prospects of my youth are crost,
My health is flown, my vigour lost;
My soothing friends augment my pain,
And cheerless is my native plain;
Dark o'er my spirits hangs the gloom,
And thy disdain has fixed my doom.

63

But light waves ripple o'er the sea
That soon shall bear me far from thee;
And, wheresoe'er our course is cast,
I know will bear me to my rest.
Full deep beneath the briny wave,
Where lie the venturous and brave,
A place may be for me decreed;
But, should the winds my passage speed,
Far hence upon a foreign land,
Whose sons perhaps with friendly hand
The stranger's lowly tomb may raise,
A broken heart will end my days.

But Heaven's blessing on thee rest!
And may no troubles vex thy breast!
Perhaps, when pensive and alone,
You'll think of me when I am gone,
And gentle tears of pity shed,
When I am in my narrow bed.
But softly will thy sorrows flow
And greater mayest thou never know!
Free from all worldly care and strife,

64

Long mayest thou live a happy life!
And every earthly blessing find,
Thou loveliest of woman kind:
Yea, blest thy secret wishes be,
Though cruel thou hast proved to me!

And dost thou then thine arm extend?
And may I take thy lovely hand?
And do thine eyes thus gently look,
As though some kindly wish they spoke?
My gentle Phillis, though severe,
I do not grudge the ills I bear;
But still my greatest grief will be
To think my love has troubled thee.
Oh do not scorn this swelling grief!
The laden bosom seeks relief;
Nor yet this infant weakness blame,
For thou hast made me what I am.
Hark now! the sailors call away,
No longer may I lingering stay.
May peace within thy mansion dwell!
O gentle Phillis, fare thee well!

65

A CHEERFUL-TEMPERED LOVER'S FAREWELL
TO HIS MISTRESS.


_____

THE light winds on the streamers play
That soon shall bear me far away;
My comrades give the parting cheer,
And I alone have lingered here.
Now dearest Phill, since it will be,
And I must bid farewell to thee—
Since every cherished hope is flown,
Send me not from thee with a frown,
But kindly let me take thy hand,
And bid God bless me in a foreign land.
No more I'll loiter by thy side,
Well pleased thy gamesome taunts to bide;
Nor lover's gambols lightly try
To make me graceful in thine eye;

66

Nor sing a merry roundelay
To cheer thee at the close of day.
Yet ne'ertheless though we must part,
I'll have thee still within my heart;
Still to thy health my glass I'll fill,
And drink it with a right good-will.
Far hence upon a foreign shore,
There will I keep an open door,
And there my little fortune share
With all who ever breathed my native air.
And he who once thy face hath seen,
Or ever near thy dwelling been,
Shall freely push the flowing bowl
And be the master of the whole.
And every woman, for thy sake,
Shall of my slender store partake,
Shall in my home protection find,
Thou fairest of a fickle kind!
O dearly, dearly have I paid,
Thou little, haughty, cruel maid!
To give that inward peace to thee
Which thou hast ta'en away from me.

67

Soft hast thou slept with bosom light,
While I have watched the weary night;
And now I cross the surgy deep
That thou mayest still untroubled sleep.
But in thine eyes what do I see
That looks as though they pitied me?
I thank thee, Phillis; be not sad,
I leave no blame upon thy head.
To gain thy gentle heart I strove,
But ne'er was worthy of thy love.
And yet, perhaps, when I shall dwell
Far hence, thou'lt sometimes think how well—
I dare not stay, since we must part,
To expose a fond and foolish heart;
Where'er it goes, it beats for you,
God bless ye, Phill, adieu! adieu!

68

A PROUD LOVER'S FAREWELL
TO HIS MISTRESS.


_____

FAREWELL, thou haughty, cruel fair!
Upon thy brow no longer wear
That sombre look of cold disdain,
I ne'er shall see thy face again.
Now every foolish wish is o'er,
And fears and doubtings are no more.

All cruel as thou art to me,
Long has my heart been fixed on thee.
I've tracked thy footstep o'er the green,
And shared thy rambles oft unseen;
I've lingered near thee night and day
When thou hast thought me far away;

69

I've watched the changes of thy face,
And fondly marked thy moving grace;
I've wept with joy thy smiles to see;
I've been a fool for love of thee.
Yet do not think I stay the while
Thy feeble pity to beguile:
Let favour forced still fruitless prove!
The pity cursed that brings not love!

No woman e'er shall give me pain
Or ever break my rest again:
Nor aught that comes of womankind
Again have power to move my mind.
Far on a foreign shore I'll seek
Some lonely Island bare and bleak;
There find some wild and rugged cell,
And with the untamed creatures dwell.
To hear their cries is now my choice,
Rather than man's deceitful voice;
To hear the tempest's boisterous song
Than woman's softly witching tongue:

70

They wear no guise, nor promise good,
But roughsome seem as they are rude.

O Phillis! thou hast wrecked a heart
That proudly bears, but feels the smart.
Adieu, adieu! shouldst thou e'er prove
The pangs of ill requited love,
Thou'lt know what I have borne for thee,
And then thou wilt remember me.

71

A POETICAL OR SOUND-HEARTED LOVER'S
FAREWELL TO HIS MISTRESS.


_____

FAIR Nymph, who dost my fate controul
And reignest Mistress of my soul,
Where thou all bright in beauty's ray
Hast held a long tyrannic sway!
They who the hardest rule maintain,
In their commands do still refrain
From what impossible must prove,
Yet thou hast bade me cease to love.
Ah! when the magnet's power is o'er,
The needle then will point no more,
And when no verdure clothes the spring,
The tuneful birds forget to sing;

72

But thou, all sweet and heavenly fair,
Wouldst have thy swain from love forbear.
In pity let thine own dear hand
A death's-wound to this bosom send:
This tender heart of purest faith
May then resign thee with its breath;
And in the sun-beam of thine eye
A proud and willing victim die.

But since thou wilt not have it so,
Far from thy presence will I go;
Far from my heart's dear bliss I'll stray,
Since I no longer can obey.
In foreign climes I'll henceforth roam
No more to hail my native home:
To foreign swains I'll pour my woe,
In foreign plains my tears shall flow;
By murmuring stream and shady grove
Shall other echoes tell my love;
And richer flowers of vivid hue
Upon my grave shall other maidens strew.

73

Adieu, dear Phillis! shouldst thou e'er
Some soft and plaintive story hear
Of hapless youth, who vainly strove
With wayward fate, and died for love,
O think of me! nor then deny
The gentle tribute of a sigh.

74

A REVERIE.


_____

BESIDE a spreading elm, from whose high boughs
Like knotted tufts the crow's light dwelling shows,
Skreened from the northern blast and winter-proof,
Snug stands the parson's barn with thatched roof.
At chaff-strewed door where in the morning ray
The gilded mots in mazy circles play,
And sleepy Comrade in the sun is laid,
More grateful to the cur than neighb'ring shade:
In snowy shirt, unbraced, brown Robin stood,
And leant upon his flail in thoughtful mood.
His ruddy cheeks that wear their deepest hue,
His forehead brown that glist'ning drops bedew,
His neck-band loose and hosen rumpled low,
A careful lad, nor slack at labour, shew.

75

Nor scraping chickens chirping in the straw,
Nor croaking rook o'er-head, nor chattering daw,
Loud-breathing cow among the juicy weeds,
Nor grunting sow that in the furrow feeds,
Nor sudden breeze that stirs the quaking leaves
And makes disturbance 'mong the scattered sheaves,
Nor floating straw that skims athwart his nose
The deeply musing youth may discompose.
For Nelly fair, and blythest village maid,
Whose tuneful voice beneath the hedge-row shade,
At early milking o'er the meadow borne,
E'er cheered the ploughman's toil at rising morn;
The neatest maid that e'er in linen gown
Bore cream and butter to the market town;
The tightest lass that e'er at wake or fair
Footed the ale-house floor with lightsome air,
Since Easter last had Robin's heart possest,
And many a time disturbed his nightly rest.
Full oft returning from the loosened plough,
He slacked his pace, and knit his careful brow;
And oft, ere half his thresher's task was o'er,
Would muse with arms across at cooling door.

76

His mind thus bent, with downcast eyes he stood,
And leant upon his flail in thoughtful mood.
His soul o'er many a soft remembrance ran
And muttering to himself the youth began.

"Ah! happy is the man whose early lot
Hath made him master of a furnished cot;
Who trains the vine that round his window grows,
And after setting sun his garden hoes;
Whose wattled pales his own enclosure shield,
Who toils not daily in another's field.
Where'er he goes, to church or market town,
With more respect he and his dog are known,
With brisker face at pedlar's booth he stands,
And takes each tempting gew-gaw in his hands,
And buys at will or ribands, gloves, or beads,
And willing partners to the green he leads:
And oh! secure from toils that cumber life,
He makes the maid he loves an easy wife.
Ah! Nelly! canst thou with contented mind
Become the help-mate of a labouring hind,

77

And share his lot, whate'er the chances be,
Who hath no dower but love to fix on thee?
Yes; gayest maid may meekest matron prove,
And things of little note betoken love.
When from the Church thou cam'st at eventide,
And I and red-haired Susan by thy side,
I pulled the blossoms from the bending tree,
And some to Susan gave and some to thee;
Thine were the fairest, and thy smiling eye
The difference marked, and guessed the reason why.
When on that holiday we rambling strayed,
And passed Old Hodge's cottage in the glade;
Neat was the garden dressed, sweet humm'd the bee,
I wished the Cot and Nelly made for me;
And well, methought, thy very eyes revealed,
The self-same wish within thy breast concealed.
When, artful, once I sought my love to tell,
And spoke to thee of one who loved thee well,
You saw the cheat, and jeering homeward hied,
Yet secret pleasure in thy looks I spied.
Ay, gayest maid may meekest matron prove,
And smaller signs than these betoken love."

78

Now at a distance on the neighb'ring plain,
With creaking wheels slow comes the harvest wain,
High on its shaking load a maid appears,
And Nelly's voice sounds shrill in Robin's ears.
Quick from his hand he throws the cumbrous flail,
And leaps with lightsome limbs the enclosing pale.
O'er field and fence he scours, and furrow wide,
With wakened Comrade barking by his side;
While tracks of trodden grain and tangled hay,
And broken hedge-flowers sweet, mark his impetuous way.

79

A DISAPPOINTMENT.


_____

ON village green whose smooth and well-worn sod,
Cross pathed, with many a gossip's foot is trod;
By cottage door where playful children run,
And cats and curs sit basking in the sun;
Where o'er an earthen seat the thorn is bent,
Cross-armed and back to wall poor William leant.
His bonnet all awry, his gathered brow,
His hanging lip and lengthened visage shew
A mind but ill at ease. With motions strange
His listless limbs their wayward postures change;
While many a crooked line and curious maze
With clouted shoon he on the sand pourtrays.
At length the half-chew'd straw fell from his mouth,
And to himself low spoke the moody youth.

80

"How simple is the lad, and reft of skill,
Who thinks with love to fix a woman's will!
Who every Sunday morn to please her sight,
Knots up his neck-cloth gay and hosen white;
Who for her pleasure keeps his pockets bare,
And half his wages spends on pedlar's ware;
When every niggard clown or dotard old,
Who hides in secret nooks his oft-told gold,
Whose field or orchard tempts, with all her pride,
At little cost may win her for his bride!
While all the meed her silly lover gains,
Is but the neighbours' jeering for his pains.
On Sunday last, when Susan's banns were read,
And I astonished sat with hanging head,
Cold grew my shrinking frame, and loose my knee,
While every neighbour's eye was fixed on me.
Ah Sue! when last we worked at Hodge's hay,
And still at me you mocked in wanton play—
When last at fair, well pleased by chapman's stand,
You took the new-bought fairing from my hand—
When at old Hobb's you sung that song so gay,
'Sweet William,' still the burthen of the lay, —

81

I little thought, alas! the lots were cast,
That thou shouldst be another's bride at last:
And had, when last we tripped it on the green,
And laughed at stiff-back'd Rob, small thoughts I ween,
Ere yet another scanty month was flown
To see thee wedded to the hateful clown;
Ay, lucky churl! more gold thy pockets line;
But did these shapely limbs resemble thine,
I'd stay at home and tend the household geer,
Nor on the green with other lads appear.
Ay, lucky churl! no store thy cottage lacks,
And round thy barn thick stand the sheltered stacks,
But did such features coarse my visage grace,
I'd never budge the bonnet from my face.
Yet let it be; it shall not break my ease!
He best deserves who doth the maiden please.
Such silly cause no more shall give me pain,
Nor ever maiden cross my rest again.
Such grizzled suitors with their taste agree,
And the black fiend may have them all for me!

82

Now through the village rise confused sounds,
Hoarse lads, and children shrill, and yelping hounds.
Straight every housewife at her door is seen,
And pausing hedgers on their mattocks lean.
At every narrow lane and alley's mouth,
Loud-laughing lasses stand and joking youth.
A bridal band tricked out in colours gay,
With minstrels blythe before to cheer the way,
From clouds of curling dust that onward fly,
In rural splendour breaks upon the eye.
As in their way they hold so gayly on,
Caps, beads, and buttons, glancing to the sun,
Each village wag with eye of roguish cast,
Some maiden jogs and vents the ready jest;
While village toast the passing belles deride,
And sober matrons marvel at their pride.
But William, head erect with settled brow,
In sullen silence viewed the passing show;
And oft he scratched his pate with careless grace,
And scorned to pull the bonnet o'er his face;
But did with steady look unaltered wait,
Till hindmost man had passed the Churchyard gate,

83

Then turned him to his cot with visage flat,
Where honest Lightfoot on the threshold sat.
Up leaped the kindly beast his hand to lick,
And for his pains received an angry kick.
Loud shuts the door with harsh and thundering din;
The echoes round their circling course begin.
From cot to cot, church tower, and rocky dell,
It grows amain with wide progressive swell,
And Lightfoot joins the coil with loud and piteous yell.

84

A LAMENTATION.


_____

WHERE ancient broken wall encloses round,
From tread of lawless feet, the hallowed ground,
And sombre yews their dewy branches wave,
O'er many a graven stone and mounded grave;
Where Parish Church, confusedly to the sight,
With deeper darkness prints the shades of night,
In garb deranged and loose, with scattered hair,
His bosom open to the nightly air,
Lone, o'er a new-heaped grave poor Basil bent,
And to himself began his simple plaint.
"Alas, how cold thy home, how low thou art,
Who wert the pride and mistress of my heart!
The fallen leaves now rustling o'er thee pass,
And o'er thee waves the dank and dewy grass,

85

The new-laid sods and twisted osier tell,
How narrow is the space where thou must dwell.
Now rough and wintry winds may on thee beat,
Chill rain, and drifting snow, and summer's heat;
Each passing season's rub, for woe is me!
Or gloom or sunshine is the same to thee.
Ah Mary! lovely was thy slender form,
And bright thy cheerful brow that knew no storm.
Thy steps were graceful on the village green,
As though thou hadst some courtly lady been.
At Church or market still the gayest lass,
Each youngster slacked his speed to see thee pass.
At early milking tuneful was thy lay,
And sweet thy homeward song at close of day;
But sweeter far, and every youth's desire,
Thy cheerful converse by the evening fire.
Alas! no more thou'lt foot the village sward,
No song of thine shall ever more be heard,
And they full soon will trip it on the green,
As blythe and gay as thou hadst never been.
Around the evening fire with little care,
Will neighbours sit and scarcely miss thee there;

86

And when the sober parting hour comes round,
Will to their rest retire, and slumber sound.
But Basil cannot rest; his days are sad,
And long his nights upon the weary bed.
Yet still in broken dreams thy form appears,
And still my bosom proves a lover's fears.
I guide thy footsteps through the tangled wood;
I catch thee sinking in the boisterous flood;
I shield thy bosom from the threatened stroke;
I clasp thee falling from the headlong rock;
But ere we reach the dark and dreadful deep,
High heaves my troubled breast, I wake and weep.
At every wailing of the midnight wind,
Thy lowly dwelling comes into my mind.
When rain beats on my roof, wild storms abroad,
I think upon thy bare and beaten sod;
I hate the comfort of a sheltered home,
And hie me forth, o'er pathless fields to roam.
"O Mary! loss of thee hath fixed my doom,
This world around me is a weary gloom,
Dull heavy musings lead my mind astray,
I cannot sleep by night, nor work by day.

87

Or wealth or pleasure dullest hinds inspire,
But cheerless is their toil who nought desire;
Let happier friends divide my farmer's stock,
Cut down my grain, and shear my little flock;
For now my only care on earth will be
Here every Sunday morn to visit thee,
And in the holy Church with heart sincere
And humble mind our worthy Curate hear;
He best can tell, when earthly woes are past,
The surest way to meet with thee at last.
I'll thus a while a weary life abide,
Till wasting time hath laid me by thy side;
For now on earth there is no place for me,
Nor peace nor slumber till I rest with thee."

Loud from the lofty spire, with piercing knell,
Solemn and awful, toll'd the parish bell,
A later hour than rustics deem it meet
That Churchyard ground be trod by mortal feet.
The wailing lover started at the sound,
And raised his head and cast his eyes around.

88

The gloomy pile in strengthened horror lowered,
Large and majestic every object towered;
Dun through the gloom, they shewed like forms unknown,
And tall and ghastly, rose each whitened stone;
Aloft the dismal screech-owl 'gan to sing,
And past him skimm'd the bat with flapping wing.
The fears of nature woke within his breast,
He left the hallowed spot of Mary's rest,
And sped his way the Churchyard wall to gain,
Then check'd his fear and stopp'd and would remain.
But shadows round a deeper horror wear;
A deeper silence falls upon his ear;
An awful stillness broods upon the scene,
His fluttering heart recoils, he turns again.
With hasty steps he measures back the ground,
And leaps with summoned force the Churchyard bound;
Then home, with shaking limbs and quickened breath,
His footsteps urges from the place of death.

89

A MOTHER TO HER WAKING INFANT.


_____

NOW in thy dazzled half-op'd eye,
Thy curled nose and lip awry,
Up-hoisted arms and noddling head,
And little chin with crystal spread,
Poor helpless thing! what do I see,
That I should sing of thee?

From thy poor tongue no accents come,
Which can but rub thy toothless gum:
Small understanding boasts thy face,
Thy shapeless limbs nor step nor grace:
A few short words thy feats may tell,
And yet I love thee well.

90

When wakes the sudden bitter shriek,
And redder swells thy little cheek;
When rattled keys thy woes beguile,
And through thine eye-lids gleams the smile,
Still for thy weakly self is spent
Thy little silly plaint.

But when thy friends are in distress,
Thou'lt laugh and chuckle ne'ertheless,
Nor with kind sympathy be smitten,
Though all are sad but thee and kitten;
Yet, puny varlet that thou art,
Thou twitchest at the heart.

Thy smooth round cheek so soft and warm;
Thy pinky hand and dimpled arm;
Thy silken locks that scantly peep,
With gold-tipp'd ends, where circles deep,
Around thy neck in harmless grace,
So soft and sleekly hold their place,
Might harder hearts with kindness fill,
And gain our right goodwill.

91

Each passing clown bestows his blessing,
Thy mouth is worn with old wives' kissing;
E'en lighter looks the gloomy eye
Of surly sense when thou art by;
And yet, I think, whoe'er they be,
They love thee not like me.

Perhaps when time shall add a few
Short months to thee thou'lt love me too;
And after that, through life's long way,
Become my sure and cheering stay;
Will care for me and be my hold,
When I am weak and old.

Thou'lt listen to my lengthened tale,
And pity me when I am frail
But see, the sweepy spinning fly,
Upon the window takes thine eye.
Go to thy little senseless play;
Thou dost not heed my lay.

92

A CHILD TO HIS SICK GRANDFATHER.


_____

GRAND-DAD, they say you're old and frail,
Your stiffened legs begin to fail:
Your staff, no more my pony now,
Supports your body bending low,
While back to wall you lean so sad,
I'm vex'd to see you, Dad.

You used to smile and stroke my head,
And tell me how good children did;
But now, I wot not how it be,
You take me seldom on your knee,
Yet ne'ertheless I am right glad,
To sit beside you, Dad.

93

How lank and thin your beard hangs down!
Scant are the white hairs on your crown:
How wan and hollow are your cheeks,
Your brow is crossed with many streaks;
But yet although his strength be fled,
I love my own old Dad.

The housewives round their potions brew,
And gossips come to ask for you;
And for your weal each neighbour cares;
And good men kneel and say their prayers,
And every body looks so sad,
When you are ailing, Dad.

You will not die and leave us then?
Rouse up and be our Dad again.
When you are quiet and laid in bed,
We'll doff our shoes and softly tread;
And when you wake we'll still be near,
To fill old Dad his cheer.

94

When through the house you change your stand,
I'll lead you kindly by the hand:
When dinner's set I'll with you bide,
And aye be serving by your side;
And when the weary fire burns blue,
I'll sit and talk with you.

I have a tale both long and good,
About a partlet and her brood,
And greedy cunning fox that stole
By dead of midnight through a hole,
Which slyly to the hen-roost led,—
You love a story, Dad?

And then I have a wondrous tale
Of men all clad in coats of mail,
With glittering swords,—you nod,—I think
Your heavy eyes begin to wink;—
Down on your bosom sinks your head:—
You do not hear me, Dad.

95

THUNDER.


_____

SPIRIT of strength! to whom in wrath 'tis given,
To mar the earth and shake its vasty dome,
Behold the sombre robes whose gathering folds,
Thy secret majesty conceal. Their skirts
Spread on mid air move slow and silently,
O'er noon-day's beam thy sultry shroud is cast,
Advancing clouds from every point of heaven,
Like hosts of gathering foes in pitchy volumes,
Grandly dilated, clothe the fields of air,
And brood aloft o'er the empurpled earth.
Spirit of strength! it is thy awful hour;
The wind of every hill is laid to rest,
And far o'er sea and land deep silence reigns.

96

Wild creatures of the forest homeward hie,
And in their dens with fear unwonted cower;
Pride in the lordly palace is put down,
While in his humble cot the poor man sits
With all his family round him hushed and still,
In awful expectation. On his way
The traveller stands aghast and looks to heaven.
On the horizon's verge thy lightning gleams,
And the first utterance of thy deep voice
Is heard in reverence and holy fear.

From nearer clouds bright burst more vivid gleams,
As instantly in closing darkness lost;
Pale sheeted flashes cross the wide expanse
While over boggy moor or swampy plain,
A streaming cataract of flame appears,
To meet a nether fire from earth cast up,
Commingling terribly; appalling gloom
Succeeds, and lo! the rifted centre pours
A general blaze, and from the war of clouds,
Red, writhing falls the embodied bolt of heaven.
Then swells the roiling peal, full, deep'ning, grand,

97

And in its strength lifts the tremendous roar,
With mingled discord, rattling, hissing, growling;
Crashing like rocky fragments downward hurled,
Like the upbreaking of a ruined world,
In awful majesty the explosion bursts
Wide and astounding o'er the trembling land.
Mountain, and cliff, repeat the dread turmoil,
And all to man's distinctive senses known,
Is lost in the immensity of sound.
Peal after peal, succeeds with waning strength,
And hushed and deep each solemn pause between.

Upon the lofty mountain's side
The kindled forest blazes wide;
Huge fragments of the rugged steep
Are tumbled to the lashing deep;
Firm rooted in his cloven rock,
Crashing falls the stubborn oak.
The lightning keen in wasteful ire
Darts fiercely on the pointed spire,
Rending in twain the iron-knit stone,
And stately towers to earth are thrown.

98

No human strength may brave the storm,
Nor shelter skreen the shrinking form,
Nor castle wall its fury stay,
Nor massy gate impede its way:
It visits those of low estate,
It shakes the dwellings of the great,
It looks athwart the vaulted tomb,
And glares upon the prison's gloom.
Then dungeons black in unknown light,
Flash hideous on the wretches' sight,
And strangely groans the downward cell,
Where silence deep is wont to dwell.

Now eyes, to heaven up-cast, adore,
Knees bend that never bent before,
The stoutest hearts begin to fail,
And many a manly face is pale;
Benumbing fear awhile up-binds,
The palsied action of their minds,
Till waked to dreadful sense they lift their eyes,
And round the stricken corse shrill shrieks of horror rise.

99

Now rattling hailstones, bounding as they fall
To earth, spread motley winter o'er the plain,
Receding peals sound fainter on the ear,
And roll their distant grumbling far away:
The lightning doth in paler flashes gleam,
And through the rent cloud, silvered with his rays,
The sun on all this wild affray looks down,
As, high enthroned above all mortal ken,
A higher Power beholds the strife of men.

100

THE HORSE AND HIS RIDER.


_____

BRACED in the sinewy vigour of thy breed,
In pride of generous strength, thou stately steed!
Thy broad chest to the battle's front is given,
Thy mane fair floating to the winds of heaven;
Thy stamping hoofs the flinty pebbles break;
Graceful the rising of thine arched neck;
Thy bridle-bits white flakes of foam enlock;
From thy moved nostrils bursts the curling smoke
Thy kindling eye-balls brave the glaring south,
And dreadful is the thunder of thy mouth:
Whilst low to earth thy curving haunches bend,
Thy sweepy tail involved in clouds of sand,
Erect in air thou rearest thy front of pride,
And ring'st the plated harness on thy side.

101

But lo! what creature, goodly to the sight,
Dares thus bestride thee, chafing in thy might;
Of portly stature, and determined mien,
Whose dark eye dwells beneath a brow serene,
And forward looks unmoved to scenes of death,
And smiling, gently strokes thee in thy wrath;
Whose right hand doth its flashing falchion wield?
A British soldier girded for the field.

102

FRAGMENT OF A POEM.


______

GLOOMY and still was the broad solemn deep,
Whose rolling tides for twice a hundred years,
Had lashed the rugged walls of Tora's Towers,
The strong abode of Curdmore's haughty kings.
Its frowning battlements o'erhung the sea,
Where in the fair serene of summer days,
Each answering Tower a nether heaven did meet,
And cast its pictured shadow on the waves.
But now, no mild blue sky in gentle grandeur,
Did lend its azure covering to the main,
Softening the most majestic work of nature,
Nor even a sunbeam through the rifted cloud,
Glanced on the distant wave.

103

Dull heavy clouds hung in the lower air,
Misty and shapeless, like the humid chaos,
Ere God divided it and called it water.
The creatures of the deep forgot their prey,
Leaving the upper waves to seek the bottom;
The flocking sea-fowl homeward bent their flight,
In dusky bands to caverned rock or cliff.
A deadly calm reigned in the stately woods,
That hung aloft upon the hardy shore;
The mingled music of the forest ceased
Before the day had run its wonted term,
Yet birds of night forgot their twilight song,
And every creature, whether fierce or tame,
Skulked in its hole, seized with unwonted fear.

Nor was that creature styled the lord of earth
Without his fear: that secret worst of fears,
The mind unknowing what it has to dread.
Fenced in the seeming safety of his home,
Man's sometime-haughty spirit sank within him,
And dark uncertainty of ill unseen
Encreased the sombre gloom of Tora's Halls.

104

The sullen watch did lean upon their arms,
With quickened breath half-check'd and listening ear,
In expectation of some unknown thing.
Each smothered in his breast his untold fears,
And wished within himself the hours might speed,
But that the night with tenfold horror came,
To close the frightful day.
No cheerful converse graced the evening board,
Slow went the goblet round, each face was grave;
And ere the first dark watch fulfilled its term,
All were retired to rest in Tora's Halls.

Sleep came, and closed full many a weary eye,
But not that gentle kindly visitor,
That oft-times bringeth to the poor man's cot,
More wealth than e'er enjoyed his haughty lord;
Or to the couch of the dejected lover
Brings true love-knots, and kind remembrances,
And cheering glances, making him by night
The favoured man he fain would be by day;
Nor yet that haggard tyrant of the night,

105

Who comes oft-times to shake the ill man's bed,
Tearing him from his heaps of silk and down,
To hang his quivering carcase o'er the gulf,
Or through the air by foul fiends goaded on,
Bears him with dizzy, furious speed along;
But she, stiff shrouded in her blackest weed,
And swathed with leaden bands, awful and still,
Who by the couch of the condemned wretch,
Harassed and spent, before the morning breaks,
Whose setting sun he never shall behold,
Oft takes her stand, and scarce is known from death.

But still the red lamp, pendent from the roof,
Did cast its trembling and unjoyous light
Athwart the lofty chamber of the king;
For he alone felt not her weighty power.
A load of cares lay heavy at his heart;
His thoughtful eyes were bent upon the ground;
And the unsuiting gravity of age,
Had sadly sobered o'er his cheek of youth,
That newly blushed beneath a galling crown.

106

Long had his warlike father ruled the land,
Whose vengeful bloody sword no scabbard knew.
Wild was his fury in the field of battle,
And dreadful was his wrath to nations round,
But kind and glowing yearned his manly heart,
To the brave hardy sons of his blue hills.
He owned a friend and brother of the field,
In each broad-chested brawny warrior,
Who followed to the fight his daring steps.
One deed of fame, done by a son of Curdmore,
He prized more than the wealth of peaceful realms,
And dealt them death and ruin in his love.
Unshaped and rude the state, and knew no law,
Save that plain sense which nature gives to all,
Of right and wrong within the monarch's breast;
And when no storm of passion shook his soul,
It was a court of mildest equity.

One distant nation only in the field,
Could meet his boasted arms with equal strength.
Impetuous, rushing from their mountains rude,
Oft had they striven like two adverse winds,

107

That bursting from their pent and narrow glens,
On the wide desert meet,—in wild contention
Tossing aloft in air dun clouds of sand,
Tearing the blasted herbage from its bed,
And bloating the clear face of beauteous heaven
With the dissevered fragments of the earth,
Till spent their force, low growling they retire,
And for a time within their caverns keep,
Gathering new force with which they issue forth
To rage and roar again.—So held they strife.
But even while Corvan gloried in his might,
Death came and laid him low.

His spear was hung high in the sombre hall,
Whose lofty walls with darkening armour clad,
Spoke to the valiant of departed heroes,
A fellow now to those which rest ungrasped,
Unburnished, and know no master's hand.
A hardy people, scattered o'er the hills,
And wild uncultivated plains of Curdmore,
Depending more upon to-morrow's chace,
Than on the scanty produce of their fields,

108

Where the proud warrior, as debased by toil,
Throws down unwillingly his boasted weapons,
To mar the mossy earth with his rude tillage,
Bedding his dwarfish grain in tracks less deep,
Than he would plough the bosom of a foe;
A people rude but generous now looked up,
With wistful and expecting eyes, to Allener,
The son of their beloved, their only hope.
The general burthen, though but new to care,
Was laid on him. His heart within him whispered
That he was left in rough and perilous times,
Like elder brother of a needy race,
To watch and care for all, and it was thoughtful;
Sombre and thoughtful as unjoyous age.
But never had he felt his mind so dark,
As in this heavy and mysterious hour.

With drooping head and arms crossed o'er his breast,
His spirit all collected in itself,
As it had ceased to animate the body,
He sat, when like pent air from a dank cave,

109

He felt a cold and shivering wind pass o'er him,
And from his sinking bosom raised his head.
A thick and mazy mist had filled the chamber,
Thro' which the feeble lamp its blue flame showed
With a pale moony circlet compassed round,
As when the stars through dank unwholesome air
Show thro' the night their blunted heads, enlarged,
Foretelling plagues to some affrighted land.
When, lo! a strange light, breaking thro' the gloom,
Struck his astonished mind with awe and wonder.
It rose before him in a streamy column,
As, seen upon the dim benighted ocean,
By partial moon-beams through some severed cloud,
The towering, wan, majestic waterspout
Delights and awes the wondering mariner.

Soul-awed within himself shrunk Curdmore's king;
Thick beat his fluttering heart against his breast,
As towards him the moving light approached,
While opening by degrees its beamy sides,
A mighty phantom showed his awful form,

110

Gigantic, far above the sons of men.
A robe of watery blue in wreathy folds,
Did lightly float o'er his majestic limbs:
Firm in their strength more than was ever pictured,
Of fabled heroes in their fields of war.
One hand was wide outstretchd in threatened act,
As if to draw down vengeance from the skies,
The other, spread upon his ample breast,
Seemed to betoken what restrained its fellow.
Thus far to mortal eye he stood revealed,
But misty vapour shrouded all above,
Save that a ruddy glow did oft break through
With hasty flash, according with the vehemence
And agitation of the form beneath,
Speaking the terrors of that countenance,
The friendly darkness veiled.
Commotions strange disturbed the heaving earth.
A hollow muffled rumbling from beneath,
Rolled deeply in its dark and secret course.
The castle trembled on its rocky base;
And loosened fragments from the nodding towers,
Fell on the flinty ground with hideous crash.

111

The bursting gates against the portal rung,
And windows clattered in their trembling walls;
And as the phantom trode, far echoing loud,
The smitten pavement gave a fearful sound.
He stopped, the trembling walls their motion ceased,
The earth was still; he raised his awful voice.

"Thou creature, set o'er creatures like thyself,
To bear the rule for an appointed season,
Bethink thee well, and commune with thy heart.
If one man's blood can mark the unblest front,
And visit with extreme of inward pangs
The dark breast of the secret murderer,
Canst thou have strength all singly in thyself,
To bear the blood of thousands on thy head,
And wrongs which cry to heaven and shall be heard?
Kings to the slaughter lead their people forth,
And home return again with thinned bands,
Bearing to every house its share of mourning,
Whilst high in air they hang their trophied spoils,
And call themselves the heroes of the earth.

112

"Thy race is stained with blood: such were thy fathers:
But they are passed away and have their place,
And thou still breathest in thy weeds of clay,
Therefore to thee their doom is veiled in night.
Yet mayst thou be assured, that mighty Power
Who gave to thee thy form of breathing flesh,
Of such like creatures as thyself endowed,
Although innumerable on this earth,
Doth knowledge take, and careth for the least,
And will prepare his vengeance for the man
Whose wasteful pride uproots what he hath sown.
And now he sets two paths before thy choice,
Which are permitted thee: even thou thyself
Mayst fix thy doom,—a doom which cannot change.
Wilt thou draw out securely on thy throne
A life of such content and happiness
As thy wild country and rude people yield,
Laying thee late to rest in peaceful age,
Where thy forefathers sleep; thy name respected,
Thy children after thee to fill thy seat?
Or wilt thou, as thy secret thoughts incline,

113

Across the untried deep conduct thy bands,
Attack the foe on their unguarded coast,
O'ercome their strength at little cost of blood,
And raise thy trophies on a distant shore,
Where none of all thy race have footing gained,—
Gaining for Curdmore wealth, and power, and fame,
But not that better gain, content and happiness?
Wealth, power, renown, thou mayest for Curdmore earn,
But mayest not live to see her rising state:
For far from hence, upon that hostile shore,
A sepulchre which owns no kindred bone,
Gapes to receive thee in the pride of youth.
This is the will of Heaven: then choose thy fate,
Weak son of earth, I leave thee to thy troubles;
A little while shall make us more alike,
A spirit shalt thou be when next we meet.

It vanished. Black mist thickened where it stood.
A hollow sounding wind rushed thro' the chamber,

114

And rent in twain the deep embodied darkness
Which, curling round in many a pitchy volume,
On either side, did slowly roll away,
Like two huge waves of death.

And now the waving banners of the castle,
In early breath of morn began to play,
And faintly through the lofty windows looked
The doubtful grey-light on the silent chambers
Sleep's deadly heaviness fled with the night,
And lighter airy fancies of the dawn
Confusedly floated in the half-waked mind,
Till roused with fuller beams of powerful light,
Up sprung the dreamers from their easy beds,
And saw with a relieved and thankful heart,
The fair blue sky, the uncapped distant hills,
The woods, and streams, and valleys brightening gladly,
In the blest light of heaven.

But neither hill, nor vale, nor wood, nor stream,
Nor yet the sun high riding in his strength,

115

That beauty gave to all, cheered Allener,
Who wist not when it rose, nor when it set.
Silent but troubled in his lofty chamber
Two days he sat and shunned the searching eyes,
The sidelong looks of many a friendly chief.
Oft in his downcast eye the round tear hung,
Whilst by his side he clenched his trembling hand,
As if to rouse the ardour of his soul.
His seat beneath him shook,—high heaved his breast,
And burst the bracings of its tightened vestment.
The changing passions of his troubled soul
Passed with dark speed across his varied face;
Each passing shadow followed by a brother,
Like clouds across the moon in a wild storm:
So warred his doubtful mind, till by degrees
The storm subsided, calmer thoughts prevailed;
Slow wore the gloom away like morning mist;
A gleam of joy spread o'er his lightened visage,
And from his eye-balls shot that vivid fire,

116

Which kindles in the bosoms of the brave,
When the loud trumpet calls them forth to battle.
"Gird on mine armour," said the rising youth,
"I am the son of Corvan!"