Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
Lyrical Ballads (1798)
A FEW OTHER POEMS.
PRINTED FOR J. & A. ARCH, GRACECHURCH-STREET.
It is the honourable characteristic of Poetry that
its materials are to be found in every subject
which can interest the human mind. The evi
dence of this fact is to be sought, not in the
writings of Critics, but in those of Poets them
The majority of the following poems are to be
considered as experiments. They were written
chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the lan
guage of conversation in the middle and lower
classes of society is adapted to the purposes of
poetic pleasure. Readers accustomed to the
[p. ii] gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern
writers, if they persist in reading this book to its
conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to
struggle with feelings of strangeness and auk
wardness: they will look round for poetry, and
will be induced to enquire by what species of
courtesy these attempts can be permitted to
assume that title. It is desirable that such
readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer
the solitary word Poetry, a word of very disputed
meaning, to stand in the way of their gratifica
tion; but that, while they are perusing this
book, they should ask themselves if it contains a
natural delineation of human passions, human
characters, and human incidents; and if the
answer be favorable to the author's wishes, that they
should consent to be pleased in spite of that
most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own
pre-established codes of decision.
[p. iii] Readers of superior judgment may disapprove of the
style in which many of these pieces are execu
ted it must be expected that many lines and phra
ses will not exactly suit their taste. It will perhaps
appear to them, that wishing to avoid the pre
valent fault of the day, the author has sometimes
descended too low, and that many of his expres
sions are too familiar, and not of sufficient dig
nity. It is apprehended, that the more con
versant the reader is with our elder writers, and
with those in modern times who have been the
most successful in painting manners and passions,
the fewer complaints of this kind will he have
An accurate taste in poetry, and in all the other
arts, Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed, is an
acquired talent, which can only be produced by
severe thought, and a long continued intercourse
with the best models of composition. This is
[p. iv] mentioned not with so ridiculous a purpose
as to prevent the most inexperienced reader
from judging for himself; but merely to temper
the rashness of decision, and to suggest that if
poetry be a subject on which much time has not
been bestowed, the judgment may be erroneous,
and that in many cases it necessarily will be so.
The tale of Goody Blake and Harry Gill is
founded on a well-authenticated fact which hap
pened in Warwickshire. Of the other poems in
the collection, it may be proper to say that they
are either absolute inventions of the author, or
facts which took place within his personal obser
vation or that of his friends. The poem of the
Thorn, as the reader will soon discover, is not
supposed to be spoken in the author's own per
son: the character of the loquacious narrator will
sufficiently shew itself in the course of the story.
The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere was profes
[p. v] sedly written in imitation of the style, as well as
of the spirit, of the elder poets; but with a few
exceptions, the Author believes that the lan
guage adopted in it has been equally intelligible
or these three last centuries. The lines entitled
Expostulation and Reply, and those which
follow, arose out of conversation with a friend
who was somewhat unreasonably attached to
modern books of moral philosophy.
[p. [vi] ]
[p. [vii] ]
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.  ] THE RIME
[p. ] ] 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
[p. ] THE RIME
IN SEVEN PARTS.
1.1It is an ancyent Marinere,
1.2 And he stoppeth one of three :
1.3" By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
1.4 " Now wherefore stoppest me ?
1.5" The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
1.6 "And I am next of kin ;
1.7" The Guests are met, the Feast is set,--
1.8 " May'st hear the merry din.
1.9[p. 6] But still he holds the wedding-guest--
1.10 There was a Ship, quoth he--
1.11"Nay, if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
1.12 "Marinere! come with me."
1.13He holds him with his skinny hand,
1.14 Quoth he, there was a Ship--
1.15"Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon!
1.16 "Or my Staff shall make thee skip.
1.17He holds him with his glittering eye--
1.18 The wedding guest stood still
1.19And listens like a three year's child;
1.20 The Marinere hath his will.
1.21The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
1.22 He cannot chuse but hear:
1.23And thus spake on that ancyent man,
1.24 The bright-eyed Marinere.
1.25[p. 7] The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd--
1.26 Merrily did we drop
1.27Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
1.28 Below the Light-house top.
1.29The Sun came up upon the left,
1.30 Out of the Sea came he:
1.31And he shone bright, and on the right
1.32 Went down into the Sea.
1.33Higher and Higher every day,
1.34 Till over the mast at noon--
1.35The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
1.36 For he heard the loud bassoon.
1.37The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
1.38 Red as a rose is she;
1.39Nodding their heads before her goes
1.40 The merry Minstralsy.
1.41[p. 8] The wedding-guest he beat his breast
1.42 Yet he cannot chuse but hear:
1.43And thus spake on that ancyent Man,
1.44 The bright-eyed Marinere.
1.45Listen, Stranger! Storm and Wind,
1.46 A Wind and Tempest strong!
1.47For days and weeks it play'd us freaks--
1.48 Like Chaff we drove along.
1.49Listen, Stranger! Mist and Snow,
1.50 And it grew wond'rous cauld:
1.51And Ice mast-high came floating by
1.52 As green as Emerauld.
1.53And thro' the drifts the snowy clifts
1.54 Did send a dismal sheen;
1.55Ne shapes of men ne beasts we ken--
1.56 The Ice was all between.
1.57[p. 9] The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
1.58 The Ice was all around:
1.59It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd--
1.60 Like noises of a swound.
1.61At length did cross an Albatross,
1.62 Thorough the Fog it came;
1.63And an it were a Christian Soul,
1.64 We hail'd it in God's name.
1.65The Marineres gave it biscuit-worms,
1.66 And round and round it flew:
1.67The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit;
1.68 The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.
1.69And a good south wind sprung up behind,
1.70 The Albatross did follow;
1.71And every day for food or play
1.72 Came to the Marinere's hollo!
1.73[p. 10] In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
1.74 It perch'd for vespers nine,
1.75Whiles all the night thro' fog-smoke white
1.76 Glimmer'd the white moon-shine.
1.77"God save thee, ancyent Marinere!
1.78 "From the fiends that plague thee thus--
1.79"Why look'st thou so?"--with my cross bow
1.80 I shot the Albatross.
[p. 11] II.
1.81The Sun came up upon the right,
1.82 Out of the Sea came he;
1.83And broad as a weft upon the left
1.84 Went down into the Sea.
1.85And the good south wind still blew behind,
1.86 But no sweet Bird did follow
1.87Ne any day for food or play
1.88 Came to the Marinere's hollo!
1.89And I had done an hellish thing
1.90 And it would work 'em woe;
1.91For all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
1.92 That made the Breeze to blow.
1.93[p. 12] Ne dim ne red, like God's own head,
1.94 The glorious Sun uprist:
1.95Then all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
1.96 That brought the fog and mist.
1.97T'was right, said they, such birds to slay
1.98 That bring the fog and mist.
1.99The breezes blew, the white foam flew,
1.100 The furrow follow'd free:
1.101We were the first that ever burst
1.102 Into that silent Sea.
1.103Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt down,
1.104 'Twas sad as sad could be
1.105And we did speak only to break
1.106 The silence of the Sea.
1.107[p. 13] All in a hot and copper sky
1.108 The bloody sun at noon,
1.109Right up above the mast did stand,
1.110 No bigger than the moon.
1.111Day after day, day after day,
1.112 We stuck, ne breath ne motion,
1.113As idle as a painted Ship
1.114 Upon a painted Ocean.
1.115Water, water, every where,
1.116 And all the boards did shrink;
1.117Water, water, every where,
1.118 Ne any drop to drink.
1.119The very deeps did rot: O Christ!
1.120 That ever this should be!
1.121Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
1.122 Upon the slimy Sea.
1.123[p. 14] About, about, in reel and rout
1.124 The Death-fires danc'd at night;
1.125The water, like a witch's oils,
1.126 Burnt green and blue and white.
1.127And some in dreams assured were
1.128 Of the Spirit that plagued us so:
1.129Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
1.130 From the Land of Mist and Snow.
1.131And every tongue thro' utter drouth
1.132 Was wither'd at the root;
1.133We could not speak no more than if
1.134 We had been choked with soot.
1.135Ah wel-a-day! what evil looks
1.136 Had I from old and young;
1.137Instead of the Cross the Albatross
1.138 About my neck was hung.
[p. 15] III.
1.139I saw a something in the Sky
1.140 No bigger than my fist;
1.141At first it seem'd a little speck
1.142 And then it seem'd a mist:
1.143It mov'd and mov'd, and took at last
1.144 A certain shape, I wist.
1.145A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
1.146 And still it ner'd and ner'd;
1.147And, an it dodged a water-sprite,
1.148 It plung'd and tack'd and veer'd.
1.149[p. 16] With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
1.150 Ne could we laugh, ne wail:
1.151Then while thro' drouth all dumb they stood
1.152 I bit my arm and suck'd the blood
1.153And cry'd, A sail! a sail!
1.154With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
1.155 Agape they hear'd me call:
1.156Gramercy! they for joy did grin
1.157And all at once their breath drew in
1.158 As they were drinking all.
1.159She doth not tack from side to side--
1.160 Hither to work us weal
1.161Withouten wind, withouten tide
1.162 She steddies with upright keel.
1.163[p. 17] The western wave was all a flame,
1.164 The day was well nigh done!
1.165Almost upon the western wave
1.166 Rested the broad bright Sun;
1.167When that strange shape drove suddenly
1.168 Betwixt us and the Sun.
1.169And strait the Sun was fleck'd with bars
1.170 (Heaven's mother send us grace)
1.171As if thro' a dungeon grate he peer'd
1.172 With broad and burning face.
1.173Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
1.174 How fast she neres and neres!
1.175Are those her Sails that glance in the Sun
1.176 Like restless gossameres?
1.177[p. 18] Are these her naked ribs, which fleck'd
1.178 The sun that did behind them peer?
1.179And are these two all, all the crew,
1.180 That woman and her fleshless Pheere?
1.181His bones were black with many a crack,
1.182 All black and bare, I ween;
1.183Jet-black and bare, save where with rust
1.184Of mouldy damps and charnel crust
1.185 They're patch'd with purple and green.
1.186Her lips are red, her looks are free,
1.187 Her locks are yellow as gold:
1.188Her skin is as white as leprosy,
1.189 And she is far liker Death than he;
1.190Her flesh makes the still air cold.
1.191[p. 19] The naked Hulk alongside came
1.192 And the Twain were playing dice;
1.193"The Game is done! I've won, I've won!"
1.194 Quoth she, and whistled thrice.
1.195A gust of wind sterte up behind
1.196 And whistled thro' his bones;
1.197Thro' the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth
1.198 Half-whistles and half-groans.
1.199With never a whisper in the Sea
1.200 Oft darts the Spectre-ship;
1.201While clombe above the Eastern bar
1.202 The horned Moon, with one bright Star
1.203Almost atween the tips.
1.204[p. 20] One after one by the horned Moon
1.205 (Listen, O Stranger! to me)
1.206Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang
1.207 And curs'd me with his ee.
1.208Four times fifty living men,
1.209 With never a sigh or groan.
1.210With heavy thump, a lifeless lump
1.211 They dropp'd down one by one.
1.212Their souls did from their bodies fly,--
1.213 They fled to bliss or woe;
1.214And every soul it pass'd me by,
1.215 Like the whiz of my Cross-bow.
[p. 21] IV.
1.216"I fear thee, ancyent Marinere!
1.217 "I fear thy skinny hand;
1.218"And thou art long and lank and brown
1.219 "As is the ribb'd Sea-sand.
1.220"I fear thee and thy glittering eye
1.221 "And thy skinny hand so brown--
1.222Fear not, fear not, thou wedding guest!
1.223 This body dropt not down.
1.224Alone, alone, all all alone
1.225 Alone on the wide wide Sea;
1.226And Christ would take no pity on
1.227 My soul in agony.
1.228[p. 22] The many men so beautiful,
1.229 And they all dead did lie!
1.230And a million million slimy things
1.231 Liv'd on--and so did I.
1.232I look'd upon the rotting Sea,
1.233 And drew my eyes away;
1.234I look'd upon the eldritch deck,
1.235 And there the dead men lay.
1.236I look'd to Heaven, and try'd to pray;
1.237 But or ever a prayer had gusht,
1.238A wicked whisper came and made
1.239 My heart as dry as dust.
1.240I clos'd my lids and kept them close,
1.241 Till the balls like pulses beat;
1.242For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
1.243Lay like a load on my weary eye,
1.244 And the dead were at my feet.
1.245[p. 23] The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
1.246 Ne rot, ne reek did they;
1.247The look with which they look'd on me,
1.248 Had never pass'd away.
1.249An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
1.250 A spirit from on high;
1.251But O! more horrible than that
1.252 Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
1.253Seven days, seven nights I saw that curse,
1.254 And yet I could not die.
1.255The moving Moon went up the sky
1.256 And no where did abide:
1.257Softly she was going up
1.258 And a star or two beside--
1.259[p. 24] Her beams bemock'd the sultry main
1.260 Like morning frosts yspread;
1.261But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
1.262The charmed water burnt alway
1.263 A still and awful red.
1.264Beyond the shadow of the ship
1.265 I watch'd the water-snakes:
1.266They mov'd in tracks of shining white
1.267And when they rear'd, the elfish light
1.268 Fell off in hoary flakes.
1.269Within the shadow of the ship
1.270 I watch'd their rich attire:
1.271Blue, glossy green, and velvet black
1.272They coil'd and swam; and every track
1.273 Was a flash of golden fire.
1.274[p. 25] O happy living things! no tongue
1.275 Their beauty might declare:
1.276A spring of love gusht from my heart,
1.277 And I bless'd them unaware!
1.278Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
1.279 And I bless'd them unaware.
1.280The self-same moment I could pray;
1.281 And from my neck so free
1.282The Albatross fell off, and sank
1.283 Like lead into the sea.
[p. 26] V.
1.284O sleep, it is a gentle thing
1.285 Belov'd from pole to pole!
1.286To Mary-queen the praise be yeven
1.287She sent the gentle sleep from heaven
1.288 That slid into my soul.
1.289The silly buckets on the deck
1.290 That had so long remain'd,
1.291I dreamt that they were fill'd with dew
1.292 And when I awoke it rain'd.
1.293My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
1.294 My garments all were dank;
1.295Sure I had drunken in my dreams
1.296 And still my body drank.
1.297[p. 27] I mov'd and could not feel my limbs,
1.298 I was so light, almost
1.299I thought that I had died in sleep,
1.300 And was a blessed Ghost.
1.301The roaring wind! it roar'd far off,
1.302 It did not come anear;
1.303But with its sound it shook the sails
1.304 That were so thin and sere.
1.305The upper air bursts into life,
1.306 And a hundred fire-flags sheen
1.307To and fro they are hurried about;
1.308And to and fro, and in and out
1.309 The stars dance on between.
1.310The coming wind doth roar more loud;
1.311 The sails do sigh, like sedge:
1.312The rain pours down from one black cloud
1.313 And the Moon is at its edge.
1.314[p. 28] Hark! hark! the thick black cloud is cleft,
1.315 And the Moon is at its side:
1.316Like waters shot from some high crag,
1.317The lightning falls with never a jag
1.318 A river steep and wide.
1.319The strong wind reach'd the ship: it roar'd
1.320 And dropp'd down, like a stone!
1.321Beneath the lightning and the moon
1.322 The dead men gave a groan.
1.323They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
1.324 Ne spake, ne mov'd their eyes:
1.325It had been strange, even in a dream
1.326 To have seen those dead men rise.
1.327The helmsman steer'd, the ship mov'd on;
1.328 Yet never a breeze up-blew;
1.329The Marineres all 'gan work the ropes,
1.330 Where they were wont to do:
1.331[p. 29] They rais'd their limbs like lifeless tools--
1.332 We were a ghastly crew.
1.333The body of my brother's son
1.334 Stood by me knee to knee:
1.335The body and I pull'd at one rope,
1.336 But he said nought to me--
1.337And I quak'd to think of my own voice
1.338 How frightful it would be!
1.339The day-light dawn'd--they dropp'd their arms,
1.340 And cluster'd round the mast:
1.341Sweet sounds rose slowly thro' their mouths
1.342 And from their bodies pass'd.
1.343Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
1.344 Then darted to the sun:
1.345Slowly the sounds came back again
1.346 Now mix'd, now one by one.
1.347[p. 30] Sometimes a dropping from the sky
1.348 I heard the Lavrock sing;
1.349Sometimes all little birds that are
1.350How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
1.351 With their sweet jargoning,
1.352And now 'twas like all instruments,
1.353 Now like a lonely flute;
1.354And now it is an angel's song
1.355 That makes the heavens be mute.
1.356It ceas'd: yet still the sails made on
1.357 A pleasant noise till noon,
1.358A noise like of a hidden brook
1.359 In the leafy month of June,
1.360That to the sleeping woods all night
1.361 Singeth a quiet tune.
1.362[p. 31] Listen, O listen, thou Wedding-guest!
1.363 "Marinere! thou hast thy will:
1.364"For that, which comes out of thine eye, doth make
1.365 "My body and soul to be still."
1.366Never sadder tale was told
1.367 To a man of woman born:
1.368Sadder and wiser thou wedding-guest!
1.369 Thou'lt rise to morrow morn.
1.370Never sadder tale was heard
1.371 By a man of woman born:
1.372The Marineres all return'd to work
1.373 As silent as beforne.
1.374The Marineres all 'gan pull the ropes,
1.375 But look at me they n'old:
1.376Thought I, I am as thin as air--
1.377 They cannot me behold.
1.378[p. 32] Till noon we silently sail'd on
1.379 Yet never a breeze did breathe:
1.380Slowly and smoothly went the ship
1.381 Mov'd onward from beneath.
1.382Under the keel nine fathom deep
1.383 From the land of mist and snow
1.384The spirit slid: and it was He
1.385 That made the Ship to go.
1.386The sails at noon left off their tune
1.387 And the Ship stood still also.
1.388The sun right up above the mast
1.389 Had fix'd her to the ocean:
1.390But in a minute she 'gan stir
1.391 With a short uneasy motion--
1.392Backwards and forwards half her length
1.393 With a short uneasy motion.
1.394[p. 33] Then, like a pawing horse let go,
1.395 She made a sudden bound:
1.396It flung the blood into my head,
1.397 And I fell into a swound.
1.398How long in that same fit I lay,
1.399 I have not to declare;
1.400But ere my living life retun'd,
1.401I heard and in my soul discern'd
1.402 Two voices in the air,
1.403"Is it he? quoth one, "Is this the man?
1.404 "By him who died on cross,
1.405"With his cruel bow he lay'd full low
1.406 "The harmless Albatross.
1.407"The spirit who 'bideth by himself
1.408 "In the land of mist and snow,
1.409"He lov'd the bird that lov'd the man
1.410 "Who shot him with his bow.
1.411[p. 34] The other was a softer voice,
1.412 As soft as honey-dew:
1.413Quoth he the man hath penance done,
1.414 And penance more will do.
[p. 35] VI.
1.415"But tell me, tell me! speak again,
1.416 "Thy soft response renewing--
1.417"What makes that ship drive on so fast
1.418 "What is the Ocean doing?
1.419"Still as a Slave before his Lord,
1.420 "The Ocean hath no blast:
1.421"His great bright eye most silently
1.422 "Up to the moon is cast--
1.423[p. 36] "If he may know which way to go,
1.424 "For she guides him smooth or grim.
1.425"See, brother, see! how graciously
1.426 "She looketh down on him.
1.427"But why drives on that ship so fast
1.428"Withouten wave or wind?
1.429"The air is cut away before,
1.430"And closes from behind.
1.431"Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high,
1.432 "Or we shall be belated:
1.433"For slow and slow that ship will go,
1.434 "When the Marinere's trance is abated.''
1.435[p. 37] I woke, and we were sailing on
1.436 As in a gentle weather:
1.437'Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
1.438 The dead men stood together.
1.439All stood together on the deck,
1.440 For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
1.441All fix'd on me their stony eyes
1.442 That in the moon did glitter.
1.443The pang, the curse, with which they died,
1.444 Had never pass'd away:
1.445I could not draw my een from theirs
1.446 Ne turn them up to pray.
1.447And in its time the spell was snapt,
1.448 And I could move my een:
1.449I look'd far-forth, but little saw
1.450 Of what might else be seen.
1.451[p. 38] Like one, that on a lonely road
1.452 Doth walk in fear and dread,
1.453And having once turn'd round, walks on
1.454 And turns no more his head:
1.455Because he knows, a frightful fiend
1.456 Doth close behind him tread.
1.457But soon there breath'd a wind on me,
1.458 Ne sound ne motion made:
1.459Its path was not upon the sea
1.460 In ripple or in shade.
1.461It rais'd my hair, it fann'd my cheek,
1.462 Like a meadow-gale of spring--
1.463It mingled strangely with my fears,
1.464 Yet it felt like a welcoming.
1.465[p. 39] Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
1.466 Yet she sail'd softly too:
1.467Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze--
1.468 On me alone it blew.
1.469O dream of joy! is this indeed
1.470 The light-house top I see?
1.471Is this the Hill? Is this the Kirk?
1.472 Is this mine own countrée?
1.473We drifted o'er the Harbour-bar,
1.474 And I with sobs did pray--
1.475"O let me be awake, my God!
1.476 "Or let me sleep alway!"
1.477The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
1.478 So smoothly it was strewn!
1.479And on the bay the moon light lay,
1.480 And the shadow of the moon.
1.481[p. 40] The moonlight bay was white all o'er,
1.482 Till rising from the same,
1.483Full many shapes, that shadows were,
1.484 Like as of torches came.
1.485A little distance from the prow
1.486 Those dark-red shadows were;
1.487But soon I saw that my own flesh
1.488 Was red as in a glare.
1.489I turn'd my head in fear and dread,
1.490 And by the holy rood,
1.491The bodies had advanc'd, and now
1.492 Before the mast they stood.
1.493They lifted up their stiff right arms,
1.494 They held them strait and tight;
1.495And each right-arm burnt like a torch,
1.496 A torch that's borne upright.
1.497Their stony eye-balls glitter'd on
1.498 In the red and smoky light.
1.499[p. 41] I pray'd and turn'd my head away
1.500 Forth looking as before.
1.501There was no breeze upon the bay,
1.502 No wave against the shore.
1.503The rock shone bright, the kirk no less
1.504 That stands above the rock:
1.505The moonlight steep'd in silentness
1.506 The steady weathercock.
1.507And the bay was white with silent light,
1.508 Till rising from the same
1.509Full many shapes, that shadows were,
1.510 In crimson colours came.
1.511A little distance from the prow
1.512 Those crimson shadows were:
1.513I turn'd my eyes upon the deck--
1.514 O Christ! what saw I there?
1.515[p. 42] Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat;
1.516 And by the Holy rood
1.517A man all light, a seraph-man,
1.518 On every corse there stood.
1.519This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand:
1.520 It was a heavenly sight:
1.521They stood as signals to the land,
1.522 Each one a lovely light:
1.523This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand,
1.524 No voice did they impart--
1.525No voice; but O! the silence sank,
1.526 Like music on my heart.
1.527Eftsones I heard the dash of oars,
1.528 I heard the pilot's cheer:
1.529My head was turn'd perforce away
1.530 And I saw a boat appear.
1.531[p. 43] Then vanish'd all the lovely lights;
1.532 The bodies rose anew:
1.533With silent pace, each to his place,
1.534 Came back the ghastly crew.
1.535The wind, that shade nor motion made,
1.536 On me alone it blew.
1.537The pilot, and the pilot's boy
1.538 I heard them coming fast:
1.539Dear Lord in Heaven! it was a joy
1.540 The dead men could not blast.
1.541I saw a third--I heard his voice:
1.542 It is the Hermit good!
1.543He singeth loud his godly hymns
1.544 That he makes in the wood.
1.545He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
1.546 The Albatross's blood.
[p. 44] VII.
1.547This Hermit good lives in that wood
1.548 Which slopes down to the Sea.
1.549How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
1.550He loves to talk with Marineres
1.551 That come from a far Contrée.
1.552He kneels at morn and noon and eve--
1.553 He hath a cushion plump:
1.554It is the moss, that wholly hides
1.555 The rotted old Oak-stump.
1.556[p. 45] The Skiff-boat ne'rd: I heard them talk,
1.557 "Why, this is strange, I trow!
1.558"Where are those lights so many and fair
1.559 "That signal made but now?
1.560"Strange, by my faith! the Hermit said--
1.561 "And they answer'd not our cheer.
1.562"The planks look warp'd, and see those sails
1.563 "How thin they are and sere!
1.564"I never saw aught like to them
1.565 "Unless perchance it were
1.566"The skeletons of leaves that lag
1.567 "My forest brook along:
1.568"When the Ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
1.569"And the Owlet whoops to the wolf below
1.570 "That eats the she-wolf's young.
1.571[p. 46] "Dear Lord! it has a fiendish look--
1.572 (The Pilot made reply)
1.573"I am a-fear'd.--"Push on, push on!
1.574 "Said the Hermit cheerily.
1.575The Boat came closer to the Ship,
1.576 But I ne spake ne stirr'd!
1.577The Boat came close beneath the Ship,
1.578 And strait a sound was heard!
1.579Under the water it rumbled on,
1.580 Still louder and more dread:
1.581It reach'd the Ship, it split the bay;
1.582 The Ship went down like lead.
1.583Stunn'd by that loud and dreadful sound,
1.584 Which sky and ocean smote:
1.585Like one that hath been seven days drown'd
1.586 My body lay afloat
1.587[p. 47] But, swift as dreams, myself I found
1.588 Within the Pilot's boat.
1.589Upon the whirl, where sank the Ship,
1.590 The boat spun round and round:
1.591And all was still, save that the hill
1.592 Was telling of the sound.
1.593I mov'd my lips: the Pilot shriek'd
1.594 And fell down in a fit.
1.595The Holy Hermit rais'd his eyes
1.596 And pray'd where he did sit.
1.597I took the oars: the Pilot's boy,
1.598 Who now doth crazy go,
1.599Laugh'd loud and long, and all the while
1.600 His eyes went to and fro,
1.601"Ha! ha!'' quoth he--"full plain I see,
1.602 "The devil knows how to row."
1.603[p. 48] And now all in my own Countrée
1.604 I stood on the firm land!
1.605The Hermit stepp'd forth from the boat,
1.606 And scarcely he could stand.
1.607"O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy Man!
1.608 The Hermit cross'd his brow--
1.609"Say quick,'' quoth he, "I bid thee say
1.610 "What manner man art thou?
1.611Forthwith this frame of mine was wrench'd
1.612 With a woeful agony,
1.613Which forc'd me to begin my tale
1.614 And then it left me free.
1.615Since then at an uncertain hour,
1.616 Now oftimes and now fewer,
1.617That anguish comes and makes me tell
1.618 My ghastly aventure.
1.619[p. 49] I pass, like night, from land to land;
1.620 I have strange power of speech;
1.621The moment that his face I see
1.622I know the man that must hear me;
1.623 To him my tale I teach.
1.624What loud uproar bursts from that door!
1.625 The Wedding-guests are there;
1.626But in the Garden-bower the Bride
1.627 And Bride-maids singing are:
1.628And hark the little Vesper-bell
1.629 Which biddeth me to prayer.
1.630O Wedding-guest! this soul hath been
1.631 Alone on a wide wide sea:
1.632So lonely 'twas, that God himself
1.633 Scarce seemed there to be.
1.634[p. 50] O sweeter than the Marriage-feast,
1.635 'Tis sweeter far to me
1.636To walk together to the Kirk
1.637 With a goodly company.
1.638To walk together to the Kirk
1.639 And all together pray,
1.640While each to his great father bends,
1.641Old men, and babes, and loving friends,
1.642 And Youths, and Maidens gay.
1.643Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
1.644 To thee, thou wedding-guest!
1.645He prayeth well who loveth well,
1.646 Both man and bird and beast.
1.647He prayeth best who loveth best,
1.648 All things both great and small:
1.649For the dear God, who loveth us,
1.650 He made and loveth all.
1.651[p. 51] The Marinere, whose eye is bright,
1.652 Whose beard with age is hoar,
1.653Is gone; and now the wedding-guest
1.654 Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.
1.655He went, like one that hath been stunn'd
1.656 And is of sense forlorn:
1.657A sadder and a wiser man
1.658 He rose the morrow morn.
A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
2.1I never saw the man whom you describe.
2.2'Tis strange! he spake of you familiarly
2.3As mine and Albert's common Foster-mother.
2.4Now blessings on the man, whoe'er he be,
2.5That joined your names with mine! O my sweet lady,
2.6As often as I think of those dear times
2.7When you two little ones would stand at eve
2.8On each side of my chair, and make me learn
2.9All you had learnt in the day; and how to talk
2.10[p. 54] In gentle phrase, then bid me sing to you--
2.11'Tis more like heaven to come than what has been.
2.12O my dear Mother! this strange man has left me
2.13Troubled with wilder fancies, than the moon
2.14Breeds in the love-sick maid who gazes at it,
2.15Till lost in inward vision, with wet eye
2.16She gazes idly!--But that entrance, Mother!
2.17Can no one hear? It is a perilous tale!
2.18 My husband's father told it me,
2.19Poor old Leoni!--Angels rest his soul!
2.20He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
2.21With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam
2.22Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel?
2.23Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree
2.24[p. 55] He found a baby wrapt in mosses, lined
2.25With thistle-beards, and such small locks of wool
2.26As hang on brambles. Well, he brought him home,
2.27And reared him at the then Lord Velez' cost.
2.28And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
2.29A pretty boy, but most unteachable--
2.30And never learnt a prayer, nor told a bead,
2.31But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
2.32And whistled, as he were a bird himself.
2.33And all the autumn 'twas his only play
2.34To get the seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
2.35With earth and water, on the stumps of trees.
2.36A Friar, who gathered simples in the wood,
2.37A grey-haired man--he loved this little boy,
2.38The boy loved him--and, when the Friar taught him,
2.39He soon could write with the pen: and from that time,
2.40Lived chiefly at the Convent or the Castle.
2.41So he became a very learned youth.
2.42But Oh! poor wretch!--he read, and read, and read,
2.43'Till his brain turned--and ere his twentieth year,
2.44[p. 56] He had unlawful thoughts of many things:
2.45And though he prayed, he never loved to pray
2.46With holy men, nor in a holy place--
2.47But yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet,
2.48The late Lord Velez ne'er was wearied with him.
2.49At once, as by the north side of the Chapel
2.50They stood together, chained in deep discourse,
2.51The earth heaved under them with such a groan,
2.52That the wall tottered, and had well-nigh fallen
2.53Right on their heads. My Lord was sorely frightened;
2.54A fever seized him, and he made confession
2.55Of all the heretical and lawless talk
2.56Which brought this judgment: so the youth was seized
2.57And cast into that hole. My husband's father
2.58Sobbed like a child--it almost broke his heart:
2.59And once as he was working in the cellar,
2.60He heard a voice distinctly; 'twas the youth's,
2.61Who sung a doleful song about green fields,
2.62How sweet it were on lake or wild savannah,
2.63To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
2.64[p. 57] And wander up and down at liberty.
2.65He always doted on the youth, and now
2.66His love grew desperate; and defying death,
2.67He made that cunning entrance I described:
2.68And the young man escaped.
2.68 'Tis a sweet tale:
2.69Such as would lull a listening child to sleep,
2.70His rosy face besoiled with unwiped tears.--
2.71And what became of him?
2.71 He went on ship-board
2.72With those bold voyagers, who made discovery
2.73Of golden lands. Leoni's younger brother
2.74Went likewise, and when he returned to Spain,
2.75He told Leoni, that the poor mad youth,
2.76Soon after they arrived in that new world,
2.77In spite of his dissuasion, seized a boat,
2.78And all alone, set sail by silent moonlight
2.79[p. 58] Up a great river, great as any sea,
2.80And ne'er was heard of more: but 'tis supposed,
2.81He lived and died among the savage men.
[p. ] LINES
LEFT UPON A SEAT IN
WHICH STANDS NEAR THE LAKE OF ESTHWAITE,
ON A DESOLATE PART OF THE SHORE,
YET COMMANDING A BEAUTIFUL PROSPECT.
3.1--Nay, Traveller! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands
3.2Far from all human dwelling: what if here
3.3No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb;
3.4What if these barren boughs the bee not loves;
3.5Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
3.6That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
3.7By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
3.8--- --- --- --- Who he was
3.9That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod
3.10[p. 60] First covered o'er, and taught this aged tree,
3.11Now wild, to bend its arms in circling shade,
3.12I well remember.--He was one who own'd
3.13No common soul. In youth, by genius nurs'd,
3.14And big with lofty views, he to the world
3.15Went forth, pure in his heart, against the taint
3.16Of dissolute tongues, 'gainst jealousy, and hate,
3.17And scorn, against all enemies prepared,
3.18All but neglect: and so, his spirit damped
3.19At once, with rash disdain he turned away,
3.20And with the food of pride sustained his soul
3.21In solitude.--Stranger! these gloomy boughs
3.22Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit,
3.23His only visitants a straggling sheep,
3.24The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper;
3.25And on these barren rocks, with juniper,
3.26And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o'er,
3.27Fixing his downward eye, he many an hour
3.28A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here
3.29An emblem of his own unfruitful life:
3.30[p. 61] And lifting up his head, he then would gaze
3.31On the more distant scene; how lovely 'tis
3.32Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became
3.33Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain
3.34The beauty still more beauteous. Nor, that time,
3.35Would he forget those beings, to whose minds,
3.36Warm from the labours of benevolence,
3.37The world, and man himself, appeared a scene
3.38Of kindred loveliness: then he would sigh
3.39With mournful joy, to think that others felt
3.40What he must never feel: and so, lost man!
3.41On visionary views would fancy feed,
3.42Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale
3.43He died, this seat his only monument.
3.44If thou be one whose heart the holy forms
3.45Of young imagination have kept pure,
3.46Stranger! henceforth be warned; and know, that pride,
3.47Howe'er disguised in its own majesty,
3.48Is littleness; that he, who feels contempt
3.49[p. 62] For any living thing, hath faculties
3.50Which he has never used; that thought with him
3.51Is in its infancy. The man, whose eye
3.52Is ever on himself, doth look on one,
3.53The least of nature's works, one who might move
3.54The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
3.55Unlawful, ever. O, be wiser thou!
3.56Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,
3.57True dignity abides with him alone
3.58Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
3.59Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
3.60In lowliness of heart.
[p. 63] THE NIGHTINGALE;
A CONVERSATIONAL POEM, WRITTEN IN APRIL,
4.1No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
4.2Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
4.3Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.
4.4Come, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge!
4.5You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
4.6But hear no murmuring: it flows silently
4.7O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
4.8A balmy night! and tho' the stars be dim,
4.9Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
4.10That gladden the green earth, and we shall find
4.11[p. 64] A pleasure in the dimness of the stars.
4.12And hark! the Nightingale begins its song,
4.13"Most musical, most melancholy"* Bird!
4.14A melancholy Bird? O idle thought!
4.15In nature there is nothing melancholy.
4.16--But some night-wandering Man, whose heart was pierc'd
4.17With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
4.18Or slow distemper or neglected love,
4.19(And so, poor Wretch! fill'd all things with himself
4.20And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
4.21Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
4.22First nam'd these notes a melancholy strain;
4.23And many a poet echoes the conceit,
4.24Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
4.25When he had better far have stretch'd his limbs
4.26Beside a brook in mossy forest-dell
4.27By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
4.28Of shapes and sounds and shifting elements
4.29Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
4.30And of his fame forgetful! so his fame
4.31Should share in nature's immortality,
4.32A venerable thing! and so his song
4.33Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
4.34Be lov'd, like nature!--But 'twill not be so;
4.35And youths and maidens most poetical
4.36Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring
4.37In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
4.38Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
4.39O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains.
4.40My Friend, and my Friend's Sister! we have learnt
4.41A different lore: we may not thus profane
4.42Nature's sweet voices always full of love
4.43[p. 66] And joyance! 'Tis the merry Nightingale
4.44That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
4.45With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
4.46As he were fearful, that an April night
4.47Would be too short for him to utter forth
4.48His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
4.49Of all its music! And I know a grove
4.50Of large extent, hard by a castle huge
4.51Which the great lord inhabits not: and so
4.52This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
4.53And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
4.54Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths.
4.55But never elsewhere in one place I knew
4.56So many Nightingales: and far and near
4.57In wood and thicket over the wide grove
4.58They answer and provoke each other's songs--
4.59With skirmish and capricious passagings,
4.60And murmurs musical and swift jug jug
4.61And one low piping sound more sweet than all--
4.62[p. 67] Stirring the air with such an harmony,
4.63That should you close your eyes, you might almost
4.64Forget it was not day! On moonlight bushes,
4.65Whose dewy leafits are but half disclos'd,
4.66You may perchance behold them on the twigs,
4.67Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright and full,
4.68Glistning, while many a glow-worm in the shade
4.69Lights up her love-torch.
4.69 A most gentle maid
4.70Who dwelleth in her hospitable home
4.71Hard by the Castle, and at latest eve,
4.72(Even like a Lady vow'd and dedicate
4.73To something more than nature in the grove)
4.74Glides thro' the pathways; she knows all their notes,
4.75That gentle Maid! and oft, a moment's space,
4.76What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
4.77Hath heard a pause of silence: till the Moon
4.78Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
4.79[p. 68] With one sensation, and those wakeful Birds
4.80Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
4.81As if one quick and sudden Gale had swept
4.82An hundred airy harps! And she hath watch'd
4.83Many a Nightingale perch giddily
4.84On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,
4.85And to that motion tune his wanton song,
4.86Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.
4.87Farewell, O Warbler! till to-morrow eve,
4.88And you, my friends! farewell, a short farewell!
4.89We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
4.90And now for our dear homes.--That strain again!
4.91Full fain it would delay me!--My dear Babe,
4.92Who, capable of no articulate sound,
4.93Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
4.94How he would place his hand beside his ear,
4.95His little hand, the small forefinger up,
4.96And bid us listen! And I deem it wise
4.97[p. 69] To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
4.98The evening star: and once when he awoke
4.99In most distressful mood (some inward pain
4.100Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
4.101I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
4.102And he beholds the moon, and hush'd at once
4.103Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
4.104While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
4.105Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam! Well--
4.106It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
4.107Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
4.108Familiar with these songs, that with the night
4.109He may associate Joy! Once more farewell,
4.110Sweet Nightingale! once more, my friends! farewell.
[p.  THE
5.1By Derwent's side my Father's cottage stood,
5.2(The Woman thus her artless story told)
5.3One field, a flock, and what the neighbouring flood
5.4Supplied, to him were more than mines of gold.
5.5Light was my sleep; my days in transport roll'd:
5.6With thoughtless joy I stretch'd along the shore
5.7My father's nets, or watched, when from the fold
5.8High o'er the cliffs I led my fleecy store,
5.9A dizzy depth below! his boat and twinkling oar.
5.10[p. 70] My father was a good and pious man,
5.11An honest man by honest parents bred,
5.12And I believe that, soon as I began
5.13To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed,
5.14And in his hearing there my prayers I said:
5.15And afterwards, by my good father taught,
5.16I read, and loved the books in which I read;
5.17For books in every neighbouring house I sought,
5.18And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought.
5.19Can I forget what charms did once adorn
5.20My garden, stored with pease, and mint, and thyme,
5.21And rose and lilly for the sabbath morn?
5.22The sabbath bells, and their delightful chime;
5.23The gambols and wild freaks at shearing time;
5.24My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied;
5.25The cowslip-gathering at May's dewy prime;
5.26The swans, that, when I sought the water-side,
5.27>From far to meet me came, spreading their snowy pride.
5.28[p. 71] The staff I yet remember which upbore
5.29The bending body of my active sire;
5.30His seat beneath the honeyed sycamore
5.31When the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire;
5.32When market-morning came, the neat attire
5.33With which, though bent on haste, myself I deck'd;
5.34My watchful dog, whose starts of furious ire,
5.35When stranger passed, so often I have check'd;
5.36The red-breast known for years, which at my casement
5.37The suns of twenty summers danced along,--
5.38Ah! little marked, how fast they rolled away:
5.39Then rose a mansion proud our woods among,
5.40And cottage after cottage owned its sway,
5.41No joy to see a neighboUring house, or stray
5.42Through pastures not his own, the master took;
5.43My Father dared his greedy wish gainsay;
5.44He loved his old hereditary nook,
5.45And ill could I the thought of such sad parting brook.
5.46[p. 72] But, when he had refused the proffered gold,
5.47To cruel injuries he became a prey,
5.48Sore traversed in whate'er he bought and sold:
5.49His troubles grew upon him day by day,
5.50Till all his substance fell into decay.
5.51His little range of water was denied;*
5.52All but the bed where his old body lay,
5.53All, all was seized, and weeping, side by side,
5.54We sought a home where we uninjured might abide.
5.55Can I forget that miserable hour,
5.56When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,
5.57Peering above the trees, the steeple tower,
5.58That on his marriage-day sweet music made?
5.59Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid,
5.60Close by my mother in their native bowers:
5.61Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,--
5.62I could not pray:--through tears that fell in showers,
5.63Glimmer'd our dear-loved home, alas! no longer ours!
5.64[p. 73] There was a youth whom I had loved so long,
5.65That when I loved him not I cannot say.
5.66'Mid the green mountains many and many a song
5.67We two had sung, like little birds in May.
5.68When we began to tire of childish play
5.69We seemed still more and more to prize each other:
5.70We talked of marriage and our marriage day;
5.71And I in truth did love him like a brother,
5.72For never could I hope to meet with such another.
5.73His father said, that to a distant town
5.74He must repair, to ply the artist's trade.
5.75What tears of bitter grief till then unknown!
5.76What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed!
5.77To him we turned:--we had no other aid.
5.78Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,
5.79And her whom he had loved in joy, he said
5.80He well could love in grief: his faith he kept;
5.81And in a quiet home once more my father slept.
5.82[p. 74] Four years each day with daily bread was blest,
5.83By constant toil and constant prayer supplied.
5.84Three lovely infants lay upon my breast;
5.85And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed,
5.86And knew not why. My happy father died
5.87When sad distress reduced the children's meal:
5.88Thrice happy! that from him the grave did hide
5.89The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel,
5.90And tears that flowed for ills which patience could
5.90 not heal.
5.91'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come;
5.92We had no hope, and no relief could gain.
5.93But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum
5.94Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain.
5.95My husband's arms now only served to strain
5.96Me and his children hungering in his view:
5.97In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain:
5.98To join those miserable men he flew;
5.99And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we drew.
5.100[p. 75] There foul neglect for months and months we bore,
5.101Nor yet the crowded fleet its anchor stirred.
5.102Green fields before us and our native shore,
5.103By fever, from polluted air incurred,
5.104Ravage was made, for which no knell was heard.
5.105Fondly we wished, and wished away, nor knew,
5.106'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes deferr'd,
5.107That happier days we never more must view:
5.108The parting signal streamed, at last the land withdrew,
5.109But from delay the summer calms were past.
5.110On as we drove, the equinoctial deep
5.111Ran mountains-high before the howling blast.
5.112We gazed with terror on the gloomy sleep
5.113Of them that perished in the whirlwind's sweep,
5.114Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue,
5.115Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap,
5.116That we the mercy of the waves should rue.
5.117We reached the western world, a poor, devoted crew.
5.118[p. 76] Oh! dreadful price of being to resign
5.119All that is dear in being! better far
5.120In Want's most lonely cave till death to pine,
5.121Unseen, unheard, unwatched by any star;
5.122Or in the streets and walks where proud men are,
5.123Better our dying bodies to obtrude,
5.124Than dog-like, wading at the heels of war,
5.125Protract a curst existence, with the brood
5.126That lap (their very nourishment!) their brother's blood.
5.127The pains and plagues that on our heads came down,
5.128Disease and famine, agony and fear,
5.129In wood or wilderness, in camp or town,
5.130It would thy brain unsettle even to hear.
5.131All perished--all, in one remorseless year,
5.132Husband and children! one by one, by sword
5.133And ravenous plague, all perished: every tear
5.134Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board
5.135A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.
5.136[p. 77] Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
5.137By the first beams of dawning light impress'd,
5.138In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main.
5.139The very ocean has its hour of rest,
5.140That comes not to the human mourner's breast.
5.141Remote from man, and storms of mortal care,
5.142A heavenly silence did the waves invest;
5.143I looked and looked along the silent air,
5.144Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair.
5.145Ah! how unlike those late terrific sleeps!
5.146And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke,
5.147Where looks inhuman dwelt on festering heaps!
5.148The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke!
5.149The shriek that from the distant battle broke!
5.150The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host
5.151Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke
5.152To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,
5.153Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost!
5.154[p. 78] Yet does that burst of woe congeal my frame,
5.155When the dark streets appeared to heave and gape,
5.156While like a sea the storming army came,
5.157And Fire from Hell reared his gigantic shape,
5.158And Murder, by the ghastly gleam, and Rape
5.159Seized their joint prey, the mother and the child!
5.160But from these crazing thoughts my brain, escape!
5.161--For weeks the balmy air breathed soft and mild,
5.162And on the gliding vessel Heaven and Ocean smiled.
5.163Some mighty gulph of separation past,
5.164I seemed transported to another world:--
5.165A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast
5.166The impatient mariner the sail unfurl'd,
5.167And whistling, called the wind that hardly curled
5.168The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home,
5.169And from all hope I was forever hurled.
5.170For me--farthest from earthly port to roam
5.171Was best, could I but shun the spot where man might
5.172[p. 79] And oft, robb'd of my perfect mind, I thought
5.173At last my feet a resting-place had found:
5.174Here will I weep in peace, (so fancy wrought,)
5.175Roaming the illimitable waters round;
5.176Here watch, of every human friend disowned,
5.177All day, my ready tomb the ocean-flood--
5.178To break my dream the vessel reached its bound:
5.179And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
5.180And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.
5.181By grief enfeebled was I turned adrift,
5.182Helpless as sailor cast on desart rock;
5.183Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,
5.184Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.
5.185I lay, where with his drowsy mates, the cock
5.186>From the cross timber of an out-house hung;
5.187How dismal tolled, that night, the city clock!
5.188At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,
5.189Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my tongue.
5.190[p. 80] So passed another day, and so the third:
5.191Then did I try, in vain, the crowd's resort,
5.192In deep despair by frightful wishes stirr'd,
5.193Near the sea-side I reached a ruinous fort:
5.194There, pains which nature could no more support,
5.195With blindness linked, did on my vitals fall;
5.196Dizzy my brain, with interruption short
5.197Of hideous sense; I sunk, nor step could crawl,
5.198And thence was borne away to neighbouring hospital.
5.199Recovery came with food: but still, my brain
5.200Was weak, nor of the past had memory.
5.201I heard my neighbours, in their beds, complain
5.202Of many things which never troubled me;
5.203Of feet still bustling round with busy glee,
5.204Of looks where common kindness had no part,
5.205Of service done with careless cruelty,
5.206Fretting the fever round the languid heart,
5.207And groans, which, as they said, would make a dead
5.207 man start.
5.208[p. 81] These things just served to stir the torpid sense,
5.209Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised.
5.210Memory, though slow, returned with strength; and thence
5.211Dismissed, again on open day I gazed,
5.212At houses, men, and common light, amazed.
5.213The lanes I sought, and as the sun retired,
5.214Came, where beneath the trees a faggot blazed;
5.215The wild brood saw me weep, my fate enquired,
5.216And gave me food, and rest, more welcome, more desired.
5.217My heart is touched to think that men like these,
5.218The rude earth's tenants, were my first relief:
5.219How kindly did they paint their vagrant ease!
5.220And their long holiday that feared not grief,
5.221For all belonged to all, and each was chief.
5.222No plough their sinews strained; on grating road
5.223No wain they drove, and yet, the yellow sheaf
5.224In every vale for their delight was stowed:
5.225For them, in nature's meads, the milky udder flowed.
5.226[p. 82] Semblance, with straw and panniered ass, they made
5.227Of potters wandering on from door to door:
5.228But life of happier sort to me pourtrayed,
5.229And other joys my fancy to allure;
5.230The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor
5.231In barn uplighted, and companions boon
5.232Well met from far with revelry secure,
5.233In depth of forest glade, when jocund June
5.234Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon.
5.235But ill it suited me, in journey dark
5.236O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch;
5.237To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,
5.238Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch;
5.239The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,
5.240The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
5.241And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
5.242Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill;
5.243Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding still.
5.244[p. 83] What could I do, unaided and unblest?
5.245Poor Father! gone was every friend of thine:
5.246And kindred of dead husband are at best
5.247Small help, and after marriage such as mine,
5.248With little kindness would to me incline.
5.249Ill was I then for toil or service fit:
5.250With tears whose course no effort could confine,
5.251By high-way side forgetful would I sit
5.252Whole hours, my idle arms in moping sorrow knit.
5.253I lived upon the mercy of the fields,
5.254And oft of cruelty the sky accused;
5.255On hazard, or what general bounty yields,
5.256Now coldly given, now utterly refused.
5.257The fields I for my bed have often used:
5.258But, what afflicts my peace with keenest ruth
5.259Is, that I have my inner self abused,
5.260Foregone the home delight of constant truth,
5.261And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth.
5.262[p. 84] Three years a wanderer, often have I view'd,
5.263In tears, the sun towards that country tend
5.264Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude:
5.265And now across this moor my steps I bend--
5.266Oh! tell me whither----for no earthly friend
5.267Have I.----She ceased, and weeping turned away,
5.268As if because her tale was at an end
5.269She wept;--because she had no more to say
5.270Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay.
[p. 85] GOODY BLAKE,
A TRUE STORY.
6.1Oh! what's the matter? what's the matter?
6.2What is't that ails young Harry Gill?
6.3That evermore his teeth they chatter,
6.4Chatter, chatter, chatter still.
6.5Of waistcoats Harry has no lack,
6.6Good duffle grey, and flannel fine;
6.7He has a blanket on his back,
6.8And coats enough to smother nine.
6.9[p. 86] In March, December, and in July,
6.10'Tis all the same with Harry Gill;
6.11The neighbours tell, and tell you truly,
6.12His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
6.13At night, at morning, and at noon,
6.14'Tis all the same with Harry Gill;
6.15Beneath the sun, beneath the moon,
6.16His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
6.17Young Harry was a lusty drover,
6.18And who so stout of limb as he?
6.19His cheeks were red as ruddy clover,
6.20His voice was like the voice of three.
6.21Auld Goody Blake was old and poor,
6.22Ill fed she was, and thinly clad;
6.23And any man who pass'd her door,
6.24Might see how poor a hut she had.
6.25[p. 87] All day she spun in her poor dwelling,
6.26And then her three hours' work at night!
6.27Alas! 'twas hardly worth the telling,
6.28It would not pay for candle-light.
6.29--This woman dwelt in Dorsetshire,
6.30Her hut was on a clod hill-side,
6.31And in that country coals are dear,
6.32For they come far by wind and tide.
6.33By the same fire to boil their pottage,
6.34Two poor old dames, as I have known,
6.35Will often live in one small cottage,
6.36But she, poor woman, dwelt alone.
6.37'Twas well enough when summer came,
6.38The long, warm, lightsome summer-day,
6.39Then at her door the canty dame
6.40Would sit, as any linnet gay.
6.41[p. 88] But when the ice our streams did fetter,
6.42Oh! then how her old bones would shake!
6.43You would have said, if you had met her,
6.44'Twas a hard time for Goody Blake.
6.45Her evenings then were dull and dead;
6.46Sad case it was, as you may think,
6.47For very cold to go to bed,
6.48And then for cold not sleep a wink.
6.49Oh joy for her! when e'er in winter
6.50The winds at night had made a rout,
6.51And scatter'd many a lusty splinter,
6.52And many a rotten bough about.
6.53Yet mever bad she, well or sick,
6.54As every man who knew her says,
6.55A pile before-hand, wood or stick,
6.56Enough to warm her for three days.
6.57[p. 89] Now, when the frost was past enduring,
6.58And made her poor old bones to ache,
6.59Could any thing be more alluring,
6.60Than an old hedge to Goody Blake?
6.61And now and then, it must be said,
6.62When her old bones were cold and chill,
6.63She left her fire, or left her bed,
6.64To seek the hedge of Harry Gill.
6.65Now Harry he had long suspected
6.66This trespass of old Goody Blake,
6.67And vow'd that she should be detected,
6.68And he on her would vengeance take.
6.69And oft from his warm fire he'd go,
6.70And to the fields his road would take,
6.71And there, at night, in frost and snow,
6.72He watch'd to seize old Goody Blake.
6.73[p. 90] And once, behind a rick of barley,
6.74Thus looking out did Harry stand;
6.75The moon was full and shining clearly,
6.76And crisp with frost the stubble-land.
6.77--He hears a noise--he's all awake--
6.78Again?--on tip-toe down the hill
6.79He softly creeps--'Tis Goody Blake,
6.80She's at the hedge of Harry Gill.
6.81Right glad was he when he beheld her:[[read `her.'?]]
6.82Stick after stick did Goody pull,
6.83He stood behind a bush of elder,
6.84Till she had filled her apron full.
6.85When with her load she turned about,
6.86The bye-road back again to take,
6.87He started forward with a shout,
6.88And sprang upon poor Goody Blake.
6.89[p. 91] And fiercely by the arm he took her,
6.90And by the arm he held her fast,
6.91And fiercely by the arm he shook her,
6.92And cried, "I've caught you then at last!"
6.93Then Goody, who had nothing said,
6.94Her bundle from her lap let fall;
6.95And kneeling on the sticks, she pray'd
6.96To God that is the judge of all.
6.97She pray'd, her wither'd hand uprearing,
6.98While Harry held her by the arm--
6.99"God! who art never out of hearing,
6.100"O may he never more be warm!"
6.101The cold, cold moon above her head,
6.102Thus on her knees did Goody pray,
6.103Young Harry heard what she had said,
6.104And icy-cold he turned away.
6.105[p. 92] He went complaining all the morrow
6.106That he was cold and very chill:
6.107His face was gloom, his heart was sorrow,
6.108Alas! that day for Harry Gill!
6.109That day he wore a riding-coat,
6.110But not a whit the warmer he:
6.111Another was on Thursday brought,
6.112And ere the Sabbath he had three.
6.113'Twas all in vain, a useless matter,
6.114And blankets were about him pinn'd;
6.115Yet still his jaws and teeth they clatter,
6.116Like a loose casement in the wind.
6.117And Harry's flesh it fell away;
6.118And all who see him say 'tis plain,
6.119That, live as long as live he may,
6.120He never will be warm again.
6.121[p. 93] No word to any man he utters,
6.122A-bed or up, to young or old;
6.123But ever to himself he mutters,
6.124"Poor Harry Gill is very cold."
6.125A-bed or up, by night or day;
6.126His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
6.127Now think, ye farmers all, I pray,
6.128Of Goody Blake and Harry Gill.
[p. ] LINES
WRITTEN AT A SMALL DISTANCE FROM MY HOUSE,
AND SENT BY MY LITTLE BOY TO THE
PERSON TO WHOM THEY ARE
7.1It is the first mild day of March:
7.2Each minute sweeter than before,
7.3The red-breast sings from the tall larch
7.4That stands beside our door.
7.5There is a blessing in the air,
7.6Which seems a sense of joy to yield
7.7To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
7.8And grass in the green field.
7.9[p. 96] My Sister! ('tis a wish of mine)
7.10Now that our morning meal is done,
7.11Make haste, your morning task resign;
7.12Come forth and feel the sun.
7.13Edward will come with you, and pray,
7.14Put on with speed your woodland dress,
7.15And bring no book, for this one day
7.16We'll give to idleness.
7.17No joyless forms shall regulate
7.18Our living Calendar:
7.19We from to-day, my friend, will date
7.20The opening of the year.
7.21Love, now an universal birth,
7.22>From heart to heart is stealing,
7.23>From earth to man, from man to earth,
7.24--It is the hour of feeling.
7.25[p. 97] One moment now may give us more
7.26Than fifty years of reason;
7.27Our minds shall drink at every pore
7.28The spirit of the season.
7.29Some silent laws our hearts may make,
7.30Which they shall long obey;
7.31We for the year to come may take
7.32Our temper from to-day.
7.33And from the blessed power that rolls
7.34About, below, above;
7.35We'll frame the measure of our souls,
7.36They shall be tuned to love.
7.37Then come, my sister! come, I pray,
7.38With speed put on your woodland dress,
7.39And bring no book; for this one day
7.40We'll give to idleness.
[p. ] SIMON LEE,
THE OLD HUNTSMAN,
WITH AN INCIDENT IN WHICH HE WAS
8.1In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
8.2Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
8.3An old man dwells, a little man,
8.4I've heard he once was tall.
8.5Of years he has upon his back,
8.6No doubt, a burthen weighty;
8.7He says he is three score and ten,
8.8But others say he's eighty.
8.9[p. 99] A long blue livery-coat has he,
8.10That's fair behind, and fair before;
8.11Yet, meet him where you will, you see
8.12At once that he is poor.
8.13Full five and twenty years he lived
8.14A running huntsman merry;
8.15And, though he has but one eye left,
8.16His cheek is like a cherry.
8.17No man like him the horn could sound,
8.18And no man was so full of glee;
8.19To say the least, four counties round
8.20Had heard of Simon Lee;
8.21His master's dead, and no one now
8.22Dwells in the hall of Ivor;
8.23Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;
8.24He is the sole survivor.
8.25[p. 100] His hunting feats have him bereft
8.26Of his right eye, as you may see:
8.27And then, what limbs those feats have left
8.28To poor old Simon Lee!
8.29He has no son, he has no child,
8.30His wife, and aged woman,
8.31Lives with him, near the waterfall,
8.32Upon the village common.
8.33And he is lean and he is sick,
8.34His little body's half awry
8.35His ancles they are swoln and thick;
8.36His legs are thin and dry.
8.37When he was young he little knew
8.38Of husbandry or tillage;
8.39And now he's forced to work, though weak,
8.40--The weakest in the village.
8.41[p. 101] He all the country could outrun,
8.42Could leave both man and horse behind;
8.43And often, ere the race was done,
8.44He reeled and was stone-blind.
8.45And still there's something in the world
8.46At which his heart rejoices;
8.47For when the chiming hounds are out,
8.48He dearly loves their voices!
8.49Old Ruth works out of doors with him,
8.50And does what Simon cannot do;
8.51For she, not over stout of limb,
8.52Is stouter of the two.
8.53And though you with your utmost skill
8.54>From labour could not wean them,
8.55Alas! 'tis very little, all
8.56Which they can do between them.
8.57[p. 102] Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
8.58Not twenty paces from the door,
8.59A scrap of land they have, but they
8.60Are poorest of the poor.
8.61This scrap of land he from the heath
8.62Enclosed when he was stronger;
8.63But what avails the land to them,
8.64Which they can till no longer?
8.65Few months of life has he in store,
8.66As he to you will tell,
8.67For still, the more he works, the more
8.68His poor old ancles swell.
8.69My gentle reader, I perceive
8.70How patiently you've waited,
8.71And I'm afraid that you expect
8.72Some tale will be related.
8.73[p. 103] O reader! had you in your mind
8.74Such stores as silent thought can bring,
8.75O gentle reader! you would find
8.76A tale in every thing.
8.77What more I have to say is short,
8.78I hope you'll kindly take it;
8.79It is no tale; but should you think,
8.80Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
8.81One summer-day I chanced to see
8.82This old man doing all he could
8.83About the root of an old tree,
8.84A stump of rotten wood.
8.85The mattock totter'd in his hand;
8.86So vain was his endeavour
8.87That at the root of the old tree
8.88He might have worked for ever.
8.89[p. 104] "You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
8.90Give me your tool'' to him I said;
8.91And at the word right gladly he
8.92Received my proffer'd aid.
8.93I struck, and with a single blow
8.94The tangled root I sever'd,
8.95At which the poor old man so long
8.96And vainly had endeavour'd.
8.97The tears into his eyes were brought,
8.98And thanks and praises seemed to run
8.99So fast out of his heart, I thought
8.100They never would have done.
8.101--I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
8.102With coldness still returning.
8.103Alas! the gratitude of men
8.104Has oftner left me mourning.
[p. 105] ANECDOTE FOR FATHERS,
SHEWING HOW THE ART OF LYING MAY BE
9.1I have a boy of five years old,
9.2His face is fair and fresh to see;
9.3His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,
9.4And dearly he loves me.
9.5One morn we stroll'd on our dry walk,
9.6Our quiet house all full in view,
9.7And held such intermitted talk
9.8As we are wont to do.
9.9[p. 106] My thoughts on former pleasures ran;
9.10I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,
9.11My pleasant home, when spring began,
9.12A long, long year before.
9.13A day it was when I could bear
9.14To think, and think, and think again;
9.15With so much happiness to spare,
9.16I could not feel a pain.
9.17My boy was by my side, so slim
9.18And graceful in his rustic dress!
9.19And oftentimes I talked to him,
9.20In very idleness.
9.21The young lambs ran a pretty race;
9.22The morning sun shone bright and warm;
9.23"Kilve,'' said I, "was a pleasant place,
9.24"And so is Liswyn farm.
9.25[p. 107] "My little boy, which like you more,"
9.26I said and took him by the arm--
9.27"Our home by Kilve's delightful shore,
9.28"Or here at Liswyn farm?"
9.29"And tell me, had you rather be,"
9.30I said and held him by the arm,
9.31"At Kilve's smooth shore by the green sea,
9.32"Or here at Liswyn Farm?
9.33In careless mood he looked at me,
9.34While still I held him by the arm,
9.35And said, "At Kilve I'd rather be
9.36"Than here at Liswyn farm."
9.37"Now, little Edward, say why so;
9.38My little Edward, tell me why;"
9.39"I cannot tell, I do not know."
9.40"Why this is strange,'' said I.
9.41[p. 108] For, here are woods and green-hills warm;
9.42"There surely must some reason be
9.43"Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm
9.44For Kilve by the green sea."
9.45At this, my boy, so fair and slim,
9.46Hung down his head, nor made reply;
9.47And five times did I say to him,
9.48"Why? Edward, tell me why?"
9.49His head he raised--there was in sight,
9.50It caught his eye, he saw it plain--
9.51Upon the house-top, glittering bright,
9.52A broad and gilded vane.
9.53Then did the boy his tongue unlock,
9.54And thus to me he made reply;
9.55"At Kilve there was no weather-cock,
9.56"And that's the reason why."
9.57[p. 109] Oh dearest, dearest boy! my heart
9.58For better lore would seldom yearn,
9.59Could I but teach the hundredth part
9.60Of what from thee I learn.
[p. 110] WE ARE SEVEN.
10.1A simple child, dear brother Jim,
10.2That lightly draws its breath,
10.3And feels its life in every limb,
10.4What should it know of death?
10.5I met a little cottage girl,
10.6She was eight years old, she said;
10.7Her hair was thick with many a curl
10.8That cluster'd round her head.
10.9She had a rustic, woodland air,
10.10And she was wildly clad;
10.11Her eyes were fair, and very fair,
10.12--Her beauty made me glad.
10.13[p. 111] "Sisters and brothers, little maid,
10.14"How many may you be?"
10.15"How many? Seven in all,'' she said,
10.16And wondering looked at me.
10.17"And where are they, I pray you tell?"
10.18She answered, "Seven are we,
10.19"And two of us at Conway dwell,
10.20"And two are gone to sea.
10.21"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
10.22"My sister and my brother,
10.23"And in the church-yard cottage, I
10.24"Dwell near them with my mother."
10.25"You say that two at Conway dwell,
10.26"And two are gone to sea,
10.27"Yet you are seven; I pray you tell
10.28"Sweet Maid, how this may be?"
10.29[p. 112] Then did the little Maid reply,
10.30"Seven boys and girls are we;
10.31"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
10.32"Beneath the church-yard tree."
10.33"You run about, my little maid,
10.34"Your limbs they are alive;
10.35"If two are in the church-yard laid,
10.36"Then ye are only five."
10.37"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
10.38The little Maid relied,
10.39"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
10.40"And they are side by side.
10.41"My stockings there I often knit,
10.42"My 'kerchief there I hem;
10.43"And there upon the ground I sit--
10.44"I sit and sing to them.
10.45[p. 113] "And often after sunset, Sir,
10.46"When it is light and fair,
10.47"I take my little porringer,
10.48"And eat my supper there.
10.49"The first that died was little Jane;
10.50"In bed she moaning lay,
10.51"Till God released her of her pain,
10.52"And then she went away.
10.53"So in the church-yard she was laid,
10.54"And all the summer dry,
10.55"Together round her grave we played,
10.56"My brother John and I.
10.57"And when the ground was white with snow,
10.58"And I could run and slide,
10.59"My brother John was forced to go,
10.60"And he lies by her side."
10.61[p. 114] "How many are you then,'' said I,
10.62"If they two are in Heaven?"
10.63The little Maiden did reply,
10.64"O master! We are seven."
10.65"But they are dead; those two are dead!
10.66"Their spirits are in heaven!"
10.67'Twas throwing words away; for still
10.68The little Maid would have her will,
10.69And said, "Nay, we are seven!"
[p. ] LINES
WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING.
11.1I heard a thousand blended notes,
11.2While in a grove I sate reclined,
11.3In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
11.4Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
11.5To her fair works did nature link
11.6The human soul that through me ran;
11.7And much it griev'd me my heart to think
11.8What man has made of man.
11.9[p. 116] Through primrose-tufts, in that sweet bower,
11.10The periwinkle trail'd its wreathes;
11.11And 'tis my faith that every flower
11.12Enjoys the air it breathes.
11.13The birds around me hopp'd and play'd:
11.14Their thoughts I cannot measure,
11.15But the least motion which they made,
11.16It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.
11.17The budding twigs spread out their fan,
11.18To catch the breezy air;
11.19And I must think, do all I can,
11.20That there was pleasure there.
11.21If I these thoughts may not prevent,
11.22If such be of my creed the plan,
11.23Have I not reason to lament
11.24What man has made of man?
[p. ] THE
12.1There is a thorn; it looks so old,
12.2In truth you'd find it hard to say,
12.3How it could ever have been young,
12.4It looks so old and grey.
12.5Not higher than a two-year's child,
12.6It stands erect this aged thorn;
12.7No leaves it has, no thorny points;
12.8It is a mass of knotted joints,
12.9A wretched thing forlorn.
12.10It stands erect, and like a stone
12.11With lichens it is overgrown.
[p. 118] II.
12.12Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown
12.13With lichens to the very top,
12.14And hung with heavy tufts of moss,
12.15A melancholy crop:
12.16Up from the earth these mosses creep,
12.17And this poor thorn they clasp it round
12.18So close, you'd say that they were bent
12.19With plain and manifest intent,
12.20To drag it to the ground;
12.21And all had joined in one endeavour
12.22To bury this poor thorn for ever.
12.23High on a mountain's highest ridge,
12.24Where oft the stormy winter gale
12.25Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds
12.26It sweeps from vale to vale;
12.27Not five yards from the mountain-path,
12.28[p. 119] This thorn you on your left espy;
12.29And to the left, three yards beyond,
12.30You see a little muddy pond
12.31Of water, never dry;
12.32I've measured it from side to side:
12.33'Tis three feet long, and two feet wide.
12.34And close beside this aged thorn,
12.35There is a fresh and lovely sight,
12.36A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
12.37Just half a foot in height.
12.38All lovely colours there you see,
12.39All colours that were ever seen,
12.40And mossy network too is there,
12.41As if by hand of lady fair
12.42The work had woven been,
12.43And cups, the darlings of the eye,
12.44So deep is their vermilion dye.
[p. 120] V.
12.45Ah me! what lovely tints are there!
12.46Of olive-green and scarlet bright,
12.47In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
12.48Green, red, and pearly white.
12.49This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss,
12.50Which close beside the thorn you see,
12.51So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,
12.52Is like as like can be:
12.53But never, never any where,
12.54An infant's grave was half so fair.
12.55Now would you see this aged thorn,
12.56This pond and beauteous hill of moss,
12.57You must take care and chuse your time
12.58The mountain when to cross.
12.59For oft there sits, between the heap
12.60[p. 121] That's like an infant's grave in size,
12.61And that same pond of which I spoke,
12.62A woman in a scarlet cloak,
12.63And to herself she cries,
12.64"Oh misery! oh misery!
12.65"Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
12.66At all times of the day and night
12.67This wretched woman thither goes,
12.68And she is known to every star,
12.69And every wind that blows;
12.70And there beside the thorn she sits
12.71When the blue day-light's in the skies,
12.72And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
12.73Or frosty air is keen and still,
12.74And to herself she cries,
12.75"Oh misery! oh misery!
12.76"Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
[p. 122] VIII.
12.77"Now wherefore thus, by day and night,
12.78"In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
12.79"Thus to the dreary mountain-top
12.80"Does this poor woman go?
12.81"And why sits she beside the thorn
12.82"When the blue day-light's in the sky,
12.83"Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
12.84"Or frosty air is keen and still,
12.85"And wherefore does she cry?--
12.86"Oh wherefore? wherefore? tell me why
12.87"Does she repeat that doleful cry?"
12.88I cannot tell; I wish I could;
12.89For the true reason no one knows,
12.90But if you'd gladly view the spot,
12.91The spot to which she goes;
12.92The heap that's like an infant's grave,
12.93[p. 123] The pond--and thorn, so old and grey,
12.94Pass by her door--tis seldom shut--
12.95And if you see her in her hut,
12.96Then to the spot away!--
12.97I never heard of such as dare
12.98Approach the spot when she is there.
12.99"But wherefore to the mountain-top
12.100"Can this unhappy woman go,
12.101"Whatever star is in the skies,
12.102"Whatever wind may blow?"
12.103Nay rack your brain--'tis all in vain,
12.104I'll tell you every thing I know;
12.105But to the thorn, and to the pond
12.106Which is a little step beyond,
12.107I wish that you would go:
12.108Perhaps when you are at the place
12.109You something of her tale may trace.
[p. 124] XI.
12.110I'll give you the best help I can:
12.111Before you up the mountain go,
12.112Up to the dreary mountain-top,
12.113I'll tell you all I know.
12.114'Tis now some two and twenty years,
12.115Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
12.116Gave with a maiden's true good will
12.117Her company to Stephen Hill;
12.118And she was blithe and gay,
12.119And she was happy, happy still
12.120Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.
12.121And they had fix'd the wedding-day,
12.122The morning that must wed them both;
12.123But Stephen to another maid
12.124Had sworn another oath;
12.125And with this other maid to church
12.126[p. 125] Unthinking Stephen went--
12.127Poor Martha! on that woful day
12.128A cruel, cruel fire, they say,
12.129Into her bones was sent:
12.130It dried her body like a cinder,
12.131And almost turn'd her brain to tinder.
12.132They say, full six months after this,
12.133While yet the summer-leaves were green,
12.134She to the mountain-top would go,
12.135And there was often seen.
12.136'Tis said, a child was in her womb,
12.137As now to any eye was plain;
12.138She was with child, and she was mad,
12.139Yet often she was sober sad
12.140>From her exceeding pain.
12.141Oh me! ten thousand times I'd rather
12.142That he had died, that cruel father!
[p. 126] XIV.
12.143Sad case for such a brain to hold
12.144Communion with a stirring child!
12.145Sad case, as you may think, for one
12.146Who had a brain so wild!
12.147Last Christmas when we talked of this,
12.148Old Farmer Simpson did maintain,
12.149That in her womb the infant wrought
12.150About its mother's heart, and brought
12.151Her senses back again:
12.152And when at last her time drew near,
12.153Her looks were calm, her senses clear.
12.154No more I know, I wish I did,
12.155And I would tell it all to you;
12.156For what became of this poor child
12.157There's none that ever knew:
12.158And if a child was born or no,
12.159[p. 127] There's no one that could ever tell;
12.160And if 'twas born alive or dead,
12.161There's no one knows, as I have said,
12.162But some remember well,
12.163That Martha Ray about this time
12.164Would up the mountain often climb.
12.165And all that winter, when at night
12.166The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
12.167'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
12.168The church-yard path to seek:
12.169For many a time and oft were heard
12.170Cries coming from the mountain-head,
12.171Some plainly living voices were,
12.172And others, I've heard many swear,
12.173Were voices of the dead:
12.174I cannot think, whate'er they say,
12.175They had to do with Martha Ray.
[p. 128] XVII.
12.176But that she goes to this old thorn,
12.177The thorn which I've described to you,
12.178And there sits in a scarlet cloak,
12.179I will be sworn is true.
12.180For one day with my telescope,
12.181To view the ocean wide and bright,
12.182When to this country first I came,
12.183Ere I had heard of Martha's name,
12.184I climbed the mountain's height:
12.185A storm came on, and I could see
12.186No object higher than my knee.
12.187'Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain,
12.188No screen, no fence could I discover,
12.189And then the wind! in faith, it was
12.190A wind full ten times over.
12.191I looked around, I thought I saw
12.192[p. 129] A jutting crag, and off I ran,
12.193Head-foremost, through the driving rain,
12.194The shelter of the crag to gain,
12.195And, as I am a man,
12.196Instead of jutting crag, I found
12.197A woman seated on the ground.
12.198I did not speak--I saw her face,
12.199Her face it was enough for me;
12.200I turned about and heard her cry,
12.201"O misery! O misery!"
12.202And there she sits, until the moon
12.203Through half the clear blue sky will go,
12.204And when the little breezes make
12.205The waters of the pond to shake,
12.206As all the country know,
12.207She shudders and you hear her cry,
12.208"Oh misery! oh misery!
[p. 130] XX.
12.209"But what's the thorn? and what's the pond?
12.210"And what's the hill of moss to her?
12.211"And what's the creeping breeze that comes
12.212"The little pond to stir?"
12.213I cannot tell; but some will say
12.214She hanged her baby on the tree,
12.215Some say she drowned it in the pond,
12.216Which is a little step beyond,
12.217But all and each agree,
12.218The little babe was buried there,
12.219Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
12.220I've heard the scarlet moss is red
12.221With drops of that poor infant's blood;
12.222But kill a new-born infant thus!
12.223I do not think she could.
12.224Some say, if to the pond you go,
12.225[p. 131] And fix on it a steady view,
12.226The shadow of a babe you trace,
12.227A baby and a baby's face,
12.228And that it looks at you;
12.229Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain
12.230The baby looks at you again.
12.231And some had sworn an oath that she
12.232Should be to public justice brought;
12.233And for the little infant's bones
12.234With spades they would have sought.
12.235But then the beauteous hill of moss
12.236Before their eyes began to stir;
12.237And for full fifty yards around,
12.238The grass it shook upon the ground;
12.239But all do still aver
12.240The little babe is buried there,
12.241Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
[p. 132] XXIII.
12.242I cannot tell how this may be,
12.243But plain it is, the thorn is bound
12.244With heavy tufts of moss, that strive
12.245To drag it to the ground.
12.246And this I know, full many a time,
12.247When she was on the mountain high,
12.248By day, and in the silent night,
12.249When all the stars shone clear and bright,
12.250That I have heard her cry,
12.251"Oh misery! oh misery!
12.252"O woe is me! oh misery!"
[p. 133] THE
LAST OF THE FLOCK.
13.1In distant countries I have been,
13.2And yet I have not often seen
13.3A healthy man, a man full grown,
13.4Weep in the public roads alone.
13.5But such a one, on English ground,
13.6And in the broad high-way, I met;
13.7Along the broad high-way he came,
13.8His cheeks with tears were wet.
13.9Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad;
13.10And in his arms a lamb he had.
13.11[p. 134] He saw me, and he turned aside,
13.12As if he wished himself to hide:
13.13Then with his coat he made essay
13.14To wipe those briny tears away.
13.15I follow'd him, and said, "My friend
13.16"What ails you? wherefore weep you so?"
13.17--"Shame on me, Sir! this lusty lamb,
13.18He makes my tears to flow.
13.19To-day I fetched him from the rock;
13.20He is the last of all my flock.
13.21When I was young, a single man,
13.22And after youthful follies ran,
13.23Though little given to care and thought,
13.24Yet, so it was, a ewe I bought;
13.25And other sheep from her I raised,
13.26As healthy sheep as you might see,
13.27And then I married, and was rich
13.28As I could wish to be;
13.29Of sheep I number'd a full score,
13.30And every year encreas'd my store.
13.31[p. 135] Year after year my stock it grew,
13.32And from this one, this single ewe,
13.33Full fifty comely sheep I raised,
13.34As sweet a flock as ever grazed!
13.35Upon the mountain did they feed;
13.36They throve, and we at home did thrive.
13.37--This lusty lamb of all my store
13.38Is all that is alive:
13.39And now I care not if we die,
13.40And perish all of poverty.
13.41Ten children, Sir! had I to feed,
13.42Hard labour in a time of need!
13.43My pride was tamed, and in our grief,
13.44I of the parish ask'd relief.
13.45They said I was a wealthy man;
13.46My sheep upon the mountain fed,
13.47And it was fit that thence I took
13.48Whereof to buy us bread:"
13.49"Do this; how can we give to you,"
13.50They cried, "what to the poor is due?"
13.51[p. 136] I sold a sheep as they had said,
13.52And bought my little children bread,
13.53And they were healthy with their food;
13.54For me it never did me good.
13.55A woeful time it was for me,
13.56To see the end of all my gains,
13.57The pretty flock which I had reared
13.58With all my care and pains,
13.59To see it melt like snow away!
13.60For me it was a woeful day.
13.61Another still! and still another!
13.62A little lamb, and then its mother!
13.63It was a vein that never stopp'd,
13.64Like blood-drops from my heart they dropp'd.
13.65Till thirty were not left alive
13.66They dwindled, dwindled, one by one,
13.67And I may say that many a time
13.68I wished they all were gone:
13.69They dwindled one by one away;
13.70For me it was a woeful day.
13.71[p. 137] To wicked deeds I was inclined,
13.72And wicked fancies cross'd my mind,
13.73And every man I chanc'd to see,
13.74I thought he knew some ill of me.
13.75No peace, no comfort could I find,
13.76No ease, within doors or without,
13.77And crazily, and wearily,
13.78I went my work about.
13.79Oft-times I thought to run away;
13.80For me it was a woeful day.
13.81Sir! 'twas a precious flock to me,
13.82As dear as my own children be;
13.83For daily with my growing store
13.84I loved my children more and more.
13.85Alas! it was an evil time;
13.86God cursed me in my sore distress,
13.87I prayed, yet every day I thought
13.88I loved my children less;
13.89And every week, and every day,
13.90My flock, it seemed to melt away.
13.91[p. 138] They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see!
13.92>From ten to five, from five to three,
13.93A lamb, a weather, and a ewe;
13.94And then at last, from three to two;
13.95And of my fifty, yesterday
13.96I had but only one,
13.97And here it lies upon my arm,
13.98Alas! and I have none;
13.99To-day I fetched it from the rock;
13.100It is the last of all my flock."
[p. 139] THE DUNGEON.
14.1And this place our forefathers made for man!
14.2This is the process of our love and wisdom,
14.3To each poor brother who offends against us--
14.4Most innocent, perhaps--and what if guilty?
14.5Is this the only cure? Merciful God!
14.6Each pore and natural outlet shrivell'd up
14.7By ignorance and poaching poverty,
14.8His energies roll back upon his heart,
14.9And stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison,
14.10They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot;
14.11Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks--
14.12And this is their best cure! uncomforted
14.13[p. 140] And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
14.14And savage faces, at the clanking hour,
14.15Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
14.16By the lamp's dismal twilight! So he lies
14.17Circled with evil, till his very soul
14.18Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
14.19By sights of ever more deformity!
14.20With other ministrations thou, O nature!
14.21Healest thy wandering and distempered child:
14.22Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
14.23Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets,
14.24Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
14.25Till he relent, and can no more endure
14.26To be a jarring and a dissonant thing,
14.27Amid this general dance and minstrelsy;
14.28But, bursting into tears, wins back his way,
14.29His angry spirit healed and harmonized
14.30By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
[p. 141] THE
15.1Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
15.2The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,
15.3Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,
15.4And she came far from over the main.
15.5She has a baby on her arm,
15.6Or else she were alone;
15.7And underneath the hay-stack warm,
15.8And on the green-wood stone,
15.9She talked and sung the woods among;
15.10And it was in the English tongue.
15.11[p. 142] "Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,
15.12But nay, my heart is far too glad;
15.13And I am happy when I sing
15.14Full many a sad and doleful thing:
15.15Then, lovely baby, do not fear!
15.16I pray thee have no fear of me,
15.17But, safe as in a cradle, here
15.18My lovely baby! thou shalt be,
15.19To thee I know too much I owe;
15.20I cannot work thee any woe.
15.21A fire was once within my brain;
15.22And in my head a dull, dull pain;
15.23And fiendish faces one, two, three,
15.24Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.
15.25But then there came a sight of joy;
15.26It came at once to do me good;
15.27I waked, and saw my little boy,
15.28My little boy of flesh and blood;
15.29Oh joy for me that sight to see!
15.30For he was here, and only he.
15.31[p. 143] Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
15.32It cools my blood; it cools my brain;
15.33Thy lips I feel them, baby! they
15.34Draw from my heart the pain away.
15.35Oh! press me with thy little hand;
15.36It loosens something at my chest;
15.37About that tight and deadly band
15.38I feel thy little fingers press'd.
15.39The breeze I see is in the tree;
15.40It comes to cool my babe and me.
15.41Oh! love me, love me, little boy!
15.42Thou art thy mother's only joy;
15.43And do not dread the waves below,
15.44When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go;
15.45The high crag cannot work me harm,
15.46Nor leaping torrents when they howl;
15.47The babe I carry on my arm,
15.48He saves for me my precious soul;
15.49Then happy lie, for blest am I;
15.50Without me my sweet babe would die.
15.51[p. 144] Then do not fear, my boy! for thee
15.52Bold as a lion I will be;
15.53And I will always be thy guide,
15.54Through hollow snows and rivers wide.
15.55I'll build an Indian bower; I know
15.56The leaves that make the softest bed:
15.57And if from me thou wilt not go,
15.58But still be true 'till I am dead,
15.59My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing,
15.60As merry as the birds in spring.
15.61Thy father cares not for my breast,
15.62'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest:
15.63'Tis all thine own! and if its hue
15.64Be changed, that was so fair to view,
15.65'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove!
15.66My beauty, little child, is flown;
15.67But thou wilt live with me in love,
15.68And what if my poor cheek be brown?
15.69'Tis well for me; thou canst not see
15.70How pale and wan it else would be.
15.71[p. 145] Dread not their taunts, my little life!
15.72I am thy father's wedded wife;
15.73And underneath the spreading tree
15.74We two will live in honesty.
15.75If his sweet boy he could forsake,
15.76With me he never would have stay'd:
15.77>From him no harm my babe can take,
15.78But he, poor man! is wretched made,
15.79And every day we two will pray
15.80For him that's gone and far away.
15.81I'll teach my boy the sweetest things;
15.82I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
15.83My little babe! thy lips are still,
15.84And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
15.85--Where art thou gone my own dear child?
15.86What wicked looks are those I see?
15.87Alas! alas! that look so wild,
15.88It never, never came from me:
15.89If thou art mad, my pretty lad,
15.90Then I must be for ever sad.
15.91[p. 146] Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!
15.92For I thy own dear mother am.
15.93My love for thee has well been tried:
15.94I've sought thy father far and wide.
15.95I know the poisons of the shade,
15.96I know the earth-nuts fit for food;
15.97Then, pretty dear, be not afraid;
15.98We'll find thy father in the wood.
15.99Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!
15.100And there, my babe; we'll live for aye.
[p. 149] THE
16.1'Tis eight o'clock,--a clear March night,
16.2The moon is up--the sky is blue,
16.3The owlet in the moonlight air,
16.4He shouts from nobody knows where;
16.5He lengthens out his lonely shout,
16.6Halloo! halloo! a long halloo!
16.7--Why bustle thus about your door,
16.8What means this bustle, Betty Foy?
16.9Why are you in this mighty fret?
16.10And why on horseback have you set
16.11Him whom you love, your idiot boy?
16.12[p. 150] Beneath the moon that shines so bright,
16.13Till she is tired, let Betty Foy
16.14With girt and stirrup fiddle-faddle;
16.15But wherefore set upon a saddle
16.16Him whom she loves, her idiot boy?
16.17There's scarce a soul that's out of bed;
16.18Good Betty! put him down again;
16.19His lips with joy they burr at you,
16.20But, Betty! what has he to do
16.21With stirrup, saddle, or with rein?
16.22The world will say 'tis very idle,
16.23Bethink you of the time of night;
16.24There's not a mother, no not one,
16.25But when she hears what you have done,
16.26Oh! Betty she'll be in a fright.
16.27[p. 151] But Betty's bent on her intent,
16.28For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
16.29Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
16.30Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
16.31As if her very life would fail.
16.32There's not a house within a mile,
16.33No hand to help them in distress:
16.34Old Susan lies a bed in pain,
16.35And sorely puzzled are the twain,
16.36For what she ails they cannot guess.
16.37And Betty's husband's at the wood,
16.38Where by the week he doth abide,
16.39A woodman in the distant vale;
16.40There's none to help poor Susan Gale,
16.41What must be done? what will betide?
16.42[p. 152] And Betty from the lane has fetched
16.43Her pony, that is mild and good,
16.44Whether he be in joy or pain,
16.45Feeding at will along the lane,
16.46Or bringing faggots from the wood.
16.47And he is all in travelling trim,
16.48And by the moonlight, Betty Foy
16.49Has up upon the saddle set,
16.50The like was never heard of yet,
16.51Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
16.52And he must post without delay
16.53Across the bridge that's in the dale,
16.54And by the church, and o'er the down,
16.55To bring a doctor from the town,
16.56Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
16.57[p. 153] There is no need of boot or spur,
16.58There is no need of whip or wand,
16.59For Johnny has his holly-bough,
16.60And with a hurly-burly now
16.61He shakes the green bough in his hand.
16.62And Betty o'er and o'er has told
16.63The boy who is her best delight,
16.64Both what to follow, what to shun,
16.65What do, and what to leave undone,
16.66How turn to left, and how to right.
16.67And Betty's most especial charge,
16.68Was, "Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
16.69"Come home again, nor stop at all,
16.70"Come home again, whate'er befal,
16.71"My Johnny do, I pray you do."
16.72[p. 154] To this did Johnny answer make,
16.73Both with his head, and with his hand,
16.74And proudly shook the bridle too,
16.75And then! his words were not a few,
16.76Which Betty well could understand.
16.77And now that Johnny is just going,
16.78Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
16.79She gently pats the pony's side,
16.80On which her idiot boy must ride,
16.81And seems no longer in a hurry.
16.82But when the pony moved his legs,
16.83Oh! then for the poor idiot boy!
16.84For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
16.85For joy his head and heels are idle,
16.86He's idle all for very joy.
16.87[p. 155] And while the pony moves his legs,
16.88In Johnny's left-hand you may see,
16.89The green bough's motionless and dead;
16.90The moon that shines above his head
16.91Is not more still and mute than he.
16.92His heart it was so full of glee,
16.93That till full fifty yards were gone,
16.94He quite forgot his holly whip,
16.95And all his skill in horsemanship,
16.96Oh! happy, happy, happy John.
16.97And Betty's standing at the door,
16.98And Betty's face with joy o'erflows,
16.99Proud of herself, and proud of him,
16.100She sees him in his travelling trim;
16.101How quietly her Johnny goes.
16.102[p. 156] The silence of her idiot boy,
16.103What hope it sends to Betty's heart!
16.104He's at the guide-post--he turns right,
16.105She watches till he's out of sight,
16.106And Betty will not then depart.
16.107Burr, burr--now Johnny's lips they burr,
16.108As loud as any mill, or near it,
16.109Meek as a lamb the pony moves,
16.110And Johnny makes the noise he loves,
16.111And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
16.112Away she hies to Susan Gale:
16.113And Johnny's in a merry tune,
16.114The owlets hoot, the owlets curr,
16.115And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr,
16.116And on he goes beneath the moon.
16.117[p. 157] His steed and he right well agree,
16.118For of this pony there's a rumour,
16.119That should he lose his eyes and ears,
16.120And should he live a thousand years,
16.121He never will be out of humour.
16.122But then he is a horse that thinks!
16.123And when he thinks his pace is slack;
16.124Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,
16.125Yet for his life he cannot tell
16.126What he has got upon his back.
16.127So through the moonlight lanes they go,
16.128And far into the moonlight dale,
16.129And by the church, and o'er the down,
16.130To bring a doctor from the town,
16.131To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
16.132[p. 158] And Betty, now at Susan's side,
16.133Is in the middle of her story,
16.134What comfort Johnny soon will bring,
16.135With many a most diverting thing,
16.136Of Johnny's wit and Johnny's glory.
16.137And Betty's still at Susan's side:
16.138By this time she's not quite so flurried;
16.139Demure with porringer and plate
16.140She sits, as if in Susan's fate
16.141Her life and soul were buried.
16.142But Betty, poor good woman! she,
16.143You plainly in her face may read it,
16.144Could lend out of that moment's store
16.145Five years of happiness or more,
16.146To any that might need it.
16.147[p. 159] But yet I guess that now and then
16.148With Betty all was not so well,
16.149And to the road she turns her ears,
16.150And thence full many a sound she hears,
16.151Which she to Susan will not tell.
16.152Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
16.153"As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"
16.154Cries Betty, "he'll be back again;
16.155"They'll both be here, 'tis almost ten,
16.156"They'll both be here before eleven."
16.157Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
16.158The clock gives warning for eleven;
16.159'Tis on the stroke--"If Johnny's near,"
16.160Quoth Betty "he will soon be here,
16.161"As sure as there's a moon in heaven."
16.162[p. 160] The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
16.163And Johnny is not yet in sight,
16.164The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,
16.165But Betty is not quite at ease;
16.166And Susan has a dreadful night.
16.167And Betty, half an hour ago,
16.168On Johnny vile reflections cast;
16.169"A little idle sauntering thing!"
16.170With other names, an endless string,
16.171But now that time is gone and past.
16.172And Betty's drooping at the heart,
16.173That happy time all past and gone,
16.174"How can it be he is so late?
16.175"The doctor he has made him wait,
16.176"Susan! they'll both be here anon."
16.177[p. 161] And Susan's growing worse and worse,
16.178And Betty's in sad quandary;
16.179And then there's nobody to say
16.180If she must go or she must stay:
16.181--She's in a sad quandary.
16.182The clock is on the stroke of one;
16.183But neither Doctor nor his guide
16.184Appear along the moonlight road
16.185There's neither horse nor man abroad,
16.186And Betty's still at Susan's side.
16.187And Susan she begins to fear
16.188Of sad mischances not a few,
16.189That Johnny may perhaps be drown'd,
16.190Or lost perhaps, and never found;
16.191Which they must both for ever rue.
16.192[p. 162] She prefaced half a hint of this
16.193With, "God forbid it should be true!"
16.194At the first word that Susan said
16.195Cried Betty, rising from the bed,
16.196"Susan, I'd gladly stay with you.
16.197"I must be gone, I must away,
16.198"Consider, Johnny's but half-wise;
16.199"Susan, we must take care of him,
16.200"If he is hurt in life or limb"--
16.201"Oh God forbid!'' poor Susan cries.
16.202"What can I do?'' says Betty, going,
16.203"What can I do to ease your pain?
16.204"Good Susan tell me, and I'll stay;
16.205"I fear you're in a dreadful way,
16.206"But I shall soon be back again."
16.207[p. 163] "Good Betty go, good Betty go,
16.208"There's nothing that can ease my pain."
16.209Then off she hies, but with a prayer
16.210That God poor Susan's life would spare,
16.211Till she comes back again.
16.212O, through the moonlight lane she goes,
16.213And far into the moonlight dale;
16.214And how she ran, and how she walked,
16.215And all that to herself she talked,
16.216Would surely be a tedious tale.
16.217In high and low, above, below,
16.218In great and small, in round and square,
16.219In tree and tower was Johnny seen,
16.220In bush and brake, in black and green,
16.221'Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where.
16.222[p. 164] She's past the bridge that's in the dale,
16.223And now the thought torments her sore,
16.224Johnny perhaps his horse forsook,
16.225To hunt the moon that's in the brook,
16.226And never will be heard of more.
16.227And now she's high upon the down,
16.228Alone amid a prospect wide;
16.229There's neither Johnny nor his horse,
16.230Among the fern or in the gorse;
16.231There's neither doctor nor his guide.
16.232"Oh saints! what is become of him?
16.233"Perhaps he's climbed into an oak,
16.234"Where he will stay till he is dead;
16.235"Or sadly he has been misled,
16.236"And joined the wandering gypsey-folk.
16.237[p. 165] "Or him that wicked pony's carried
16.238"To the dark cave, the goblins' hall,
16.239"Or in the castle he's pursuing,
16.240"Among the ghosts, his own undoing;
16.241"Or playing with the waterfall."
16.242At poor old Susan then she railed,
16.243While to the town she posts away;
16.244"If Susan had not been so ill,
16.245"Alas! I should have had him still,
16.246"My Johnny, till my dying day."
16.247Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,
16.248The doctor's self would hardly spare,
16.249Unworthy things she talked and wild,
16.250Even he, of cattle the most mild,
16.251The pony had his share.
16.252[p. 166] And now she's got into the town,
16.253And to the doctor's door she hies;
16.254'Tis silence all on every side;
16.255The town so long, the town so wide,
16.256Is silent as the skies.
16.257And now she's at the doctor's door,
16.258She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap,
16.259The doctor at the casement shews,
16.260His glimmering eyes that peep and doze;
16.261And one hand rubs his old night-cap.
16.262"Oh Doctor! Doctor! where's my Johnny?"
16.263"I'm here, what is't you want with me?"
16.264"Oh Sir! you know I'm Betty Foy,
16.265"And I have lost my poor dear boy,
16.266"You know him--him you often see;
16.267[p. 167] "He's not as wise as some folks be,''
16.268"The devil take his wisdom!'' said
16.269The Doctor, looking somewhat grim,
16.270"What, woman! should I know of him?"
16.271And, grumbling, he went back to bed.
16.272"O woe is me! O woe is me!
16.273"Here will I die; here will I die;
16.274"I thought to find my Johnny here,
16.275"But he is neither far nor near,
16.276"Oh! what a wretched mother I!"
16.277She stops, she stands, she looks about,
16.278Which way to turn she cannot tell.
16.279Poor Betty! it would ease her pain
16.280If she had the heart to knock again;
16.281--The clock strikes three--a dismal knell!
16.282[p. 168] Then up along the town she hies,
16.283No wonder if her senses fail,
16.284This piteous news so much it shock'd her,
16.285She quite forgot to send the Doctor,
16.286To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
16.287And now she's high upon the down,
16.288And she can see a mile of road,
16.289"Oh cruel! I'm almost three-score;
16.290"Such night as this was ne'er before,
16.291"There's not a single soul abroad."
16.292She listens, but she cannot hear
16.293The foot of horse, the voice of man;
16.294The streams with softest sound are flowing,
16.295The grass you almost hear it growing,
16.296You hear it now if e'er you can.
16.297[p. 169] The owlets through the long blue night
16.298Are shouting to each other still:
16.299Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob,
16.300They lengthen out the tremulous sob,
16.301That echoes far from hill to hill.
16.302Poor Betty now has lost all hope,
16.303Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin;
16.304A green-grown pond she just has pass'd,
16.305And from the brink she hurries fast,
16.306Lest she should drown herself therein.
16.307And now she sits her down and weeps;
16.308Such tears she never shed before;
16.309"Oh dear, dear pony! my sweet joy!
16.310"Oh carry back my idiot boy!
16.311"And we will ne'er o'erload thee more."
16.312[p. 170] A thought is come into her head;
16.313"The pony he is mild and good,
16.314"And we have always used him well;
16.315"Perhaps he's gone along the dell,
16.316"And carried Johnny to the wood."
16.317Then up she springs as if on wings;
16.318She thinks no more of deadly sin;
16.319If Betty fifty ponds should see,
16.320The last of all her thoughts would be,
16.321To drown herself therein.
16.322Oh reader! now that I might tell
16.323What Johnny and his horse are doing!
16.324What they've been doing all this time,
16.325Oh could I put it into rhyme,
16.326A most delightful tale pursuing!
16.327[p. 171] Perhaps, and no unlikely thought!
16.328He with his pony now doth roam
16.329The cliffs and peaks so high that are,
16.330To lay his hands upon a star,
16.331And in his pocket bring it home.
16.332Perhaps he's turned himself about,
16.333His face unto his horse's tail,
16.334And still and mute, in wonder lost,
16.335All like a silent horseman-ghost,
16.336He travels on along the vale.
16.337And now, perhaps, he's hunting sheep,
16.338A fierce and dreadful hunter he!
16.339Yon valley, that's so trim and green,
16.340In five months' time, should he be seen,
16.341A desart wilderness will be.
16.342[p. 172] Perhaps, with head and heels on fire,
16.343And like the very soul of evil,
16.344He's galloping away, away,
16.345And so he'll gallop on for aye,
16.346The bane of all that dread the devil.
16.347I to the muses have been bound,
16.348These fourteen years, by strong indentures;
16.349Oh gentle muses! let me tell
16.350But half of what to him befel,
16.351For sure he met with strange adventures.
16.352Oh gentle muses! Is this kind?
16.353Why will ye thus my suit repel?
16.354Why of your further aid bereave me?
16.355And can you thus unfriended leave me?
16.356Ye muses! whom I love so well.
16.357[p. 173] Who's yon, that, near the waterfall,
16.358Which thunders down with headlong force,
16.359Beneath the moon, yet shining fair,
16.360As careless as if nothing were,
16.361Sits upright on a feeding horse?
16.362Unto his horse, that's feeding free,
16.363He seems, I think, the reins to give;
16.364Of moon or stars he takes no heed;
16.365Of such we in romances read,
16.366--'Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live.
16.367And that's the very pony too.
16.368Where is she, where is Betty Foy?
16.369She hardly can sustain her fears;
16.370The roaring water-fall she hears,
16.371And cannot find her idiot boy.
16.372[p. 174] Your pony's worth his weight in gold,
16.373Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy!
16.374She's coming from among the trees,
16.375And now, all full in view, she sees
16.376Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
16.377And Betty sees the pony too:
16.378Why stand you thus Good Betty Foy?
16.379It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost,
16.380'Tis he whom you so long have lost,
16.381He whom you love, your idiot boy.
16.382She looks again--her arms are up--
16.383She screams--she cannot move for joy;
16.384She darts as with a torrent's force,
16.385She almost has o'erturned the horse,
16.386And fast she holds her idiot boy.
16.387[p. 175] And Johnny burrs and laughs aloud,
16.388Whether in cunning or in joy,
16.389I cannot tell; but while he laughs,
16.390Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs,
16.391To hear again her idiot boy.
16.392And now she's at the pony's tail,
16.393And now she's at the pony's head,
16.394On that side now, and now on this,
16.395And almost stifled with her bliss,
16.396A few sad tears does Betty shed.
16.397She kisses o'er and o'er again,
16.398Him whom she loves, her idiot boy,
16.399She's happy here, she's happy there,
16.400She is uneasy every where:
16.401Her limbs are all alive with joy.
16.402[p. 176] She pats the pony, where or when
16.403She knows not, happy Betty Foy!
16.404The little pony glad may be,
16.405But he is milder far than she,
16.406You hardly can perceive his joy.
16.407"Oh! Johnny, never mind the Doctor;
16.408"You've done your best, and that is all."
16.409She took the reins, when this was said,
16.410And gently turned the pony's head
16.411>From the loud water-fall.
16.412By this the stars were almost gone,
16.413The moon was setting on the hill,
16.414So pale you scarcely looked at her:
16.415The little birds began to stir,
16.416Though yet their tongues were still.
16.417[p. 177] The pony, Betty, and her boy,
16.418Wind slowly through the windy dale:
16.419And who is she, be-times abroad,
16.420That hobbles up the steep rough road?
16.421Who is it, but old Susan Gale?
16.422Long Susan lay deep lost in thought,
16.423And many dreadful fears beset her,
16.424Both for her messenger and nurse;
16.425And as her mind grew worse and worse,
16.426Her body it grew better.
16.427She turned, she toss'd herself in bed,
16.428On all sides doubts and terrors met her;
16.429Point after point did she discuss;
16.430And while her mind was fighting thus,
16.431Her body still grew better.
16.432[p. 178] "Alas! what is become of them?
16.433"These fears can never be endured,
16.434"I'll to the wood."--The word scarce said,
16.435Did Susan rise up from her bed,
16.436As if by magic cured.
16.437Away she posts up hill and down,
16.438And to the wood at length is come,
16.439She spies her friends, she shouts a greeting;
16.440Oh me! it is a merry meeting,
16.441As ever was in Christendom.
16.442The owls have hardly sung their last,
16.443While our four travellers homeward wend;
16.444The owls have hooted all night long,
16.445And with the owls began my song,
16.446And with the owls must end.
16.447[p. 179] For while they all were travelling home,
16.448Cried Betty, "Tell us Johnny, do,
16.449"Where all this long night you have been,
16.450"What you have heard, what you have seen,
16.451"And Johnny, mind you tell us true."
16.452Now Johnny all night long had heard
16.453The owls in tuneful concert strive;
16.454No doubt too he the moon had seen;
16.455For in the moonlight he had been
16.456>From eight o'clock till five.
16.457And thus to Betty's question, he
16.458Made answer, like a traveller bold,
16.459(His very words I give to you,)
16.460"The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,
16.461"And the sun did shine so cold."
16.462--Thus answered Johnny in his glory,
16.463And that was all his travel's story.
[p. 180] LINES
WRITTEN NEAR RICHMOND, UPON THE THAMES,
17.1How rich the wave, in front, imprest
17.2With evening-twilight's summer hues,
17.3While, facing thus the crimson west,
17.4The boat her silent path pursues!
17.5And see how dark the backward stream!
17.6A little moment past, so smiling!
17.7And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam,
17.8Some other loiterer beguiling.
17.9[p. 181] Such views the youthful bard allure,
17.10But, heedless of the following gloom,
17.11He deems their colours shall endure
17.12'Till peace go with him to the tomb.
17.13--And let him nurse his fond deceit,
17.14And what if he must die in sorrow!
17.15Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
17.16Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?
17.17Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
17.18O Thames! that other bards may see,
17.19As lovely visions by thy side
17.20As now, fair river! come to me.
17.21Oh glide, fair stream! for ever so;
17.22Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
17.23'Till all our minds for ever flow,
17.24As thy deep waters now are flowing.
17.25[p. 182] Vain thought! yet be as now thou art,
17.26That in thy waters may be seen
17.27The image of a poet's heart,
17.28How bright, how solemn, how serene!
17.29Such heart did once the poet bless,
17.30Who, pouring here a * later ditty,
17.31Could find no refuge from distress,
17.32But in the milder grief of pity.
17.33Remembrance! as we glide along,
17.34For him suspend the dashing oar,
17.35And pray that never child of Song
17.36May know his freezing sorrows more
17.37How calm! how still! the only sound,
17.38The dripping of the oar suspended!
17.39--The evening darkness gathers round
17.40By virtue's holiest powers attended.
[p. 183] EXPOSTULATION
18.1"Why William, on that old grey stone,
18.2"Thus for the length of half a day,
18.3"Why William, sit you thus alone,
18.4"And dream your time away?
18.5"Where are your books? that light bequeath'd
18.6"To beings else forlorn and blind!
18.7"Up! Up! and drink the spirit breath'd
18.8"From dead men to their kind.
18.9[p. 184] "You look round on your mother earth,
18.10"As if she for no purpose bore you;
18.11"As if you were her first-born birth,
18.12"And none had lived before you!"
18.13One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
18.14When life was sweet I knew not why,
18.15To me my good friend Matthew spake,
18.16And thus I made reply.
18.17"The eye it cannot chuse but see,
18.18"We cannot bid the ear be still;
18.19"Our bodies feel, where'er they be,
18.20"Against, or with our will.
18.21"Nor less I deem that there are powers,
18.22"Which of themselves our minds impress.
18.23"That we can feed this mind of ours,
18.24"In a wise passiveness.
18.25[p. 185] "Think you, mid all this mighty sum
18.26"Of things for ever speaking,
18.27"That nothing of itself will come,
18.28"But we must still be seeking?
18.29"--Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
18.30"Conversing as I may,
18.31"I sit upon this old grey stone,
18.32"And dream my time away."
[p. 186] THE TABLES TURNED;
AN EVENING SCENE, ON THE SAME SUBJECT.
19.1Up! up! my friend, and clear your looks,
19.2Why all this toil and trouble?
19.3Up! up! my friend, and quit your books,
19.4Or surely you'll grow double.
19.5The sun above the mountain's head,
19.6A freshening lustre mellow,
19.7Through all the long green fields has spread,
19.8His first sweet evening yellow.
19.9[p. 187] Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife,
19.10Come, hear the woodland linnet,
19.11How sweet his music; on my life
19.12There's more of wisdom in it.
19.13And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
19.14And he is no mean preacher;
19.15Come forth into the light of things,
19.16Let Nature be your teacher.
19.17She has a world of ready wealth,
19.18Our minds and hearts to bless--
19.19Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
19.20Truth breathed by chearfulness.
19.21One impulse from a vernal wood
19.22May teach you more of man;
19.23Of moral evil and of good,
19.24Than all the sages can.
19.25[p. 188] Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
19.26Our meddling intellect
19.27Mishapes the beauteous forms of things;
19.28--We murder to dissect.
19.29Enough of science and of art;
19.30Close up these barren leaves;
19.31Come forth, and bring with you a heart
19.32That watches and receives.
[p. 189] OLD MAN TRAVELLING;
ANIMAL TRANQUILLITY AND DECAY,
20.1 The little hedge-row birds,
20.2That peck along the road, regard him not.
20.3He travels on, and in his face, his step,
20.4His gait, is one expression; every limb,
20.5His look and bending figure, all bespeak
20.6A man who does not move with pain, but moves
20.7With thought--He is insensibly subdued
20.8To settled quiet: he is one by whom
20.9All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
20.10Long patience has such mild composure given,
20.11That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
20.12He hath no need. He is by nature led
20.13[p. 190] To peace so perfect, that the young behold
20.14With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
20.15--I asked him whither he was bound, and what
20.16The object of his journey; he replied
20.17"Sir! I am going many miles to take
20.18"A last leave of my son, a mariner,
20.19"Who from a sea-fight has been brought to
20.20"And there is dying in an hospital."
[p. 191] THE COMPLAINT
OF A FORSAKEN
[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,
21.1Before I see another day,
21.2Oh let my body die away!
21.3In sleep I heard the northern gleams;
21.4The stars they were among my dreams;
21.5In sleep did I behold the skies,
21.6I saw the crackling flashes drive;
21.7And yet they are upon my eyes,
21.8And yet I am alive.
21.9Before I see another day,
21.10Oh let my body die away!
21.11[p. 194] My fire is dead: it knew no pain;
21.12Yet is it dead, and I remain.
21.13All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
21.14And they are dead, and I will die.
21.15When I was well, I wished to live,
21.16For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire;
21.17But they to me no joy can give,
21.18No pleasure now, and no desire.
21.19Then here contented will I lie;
21.20Alone I cannot fear to die.
21.21Alas! you might have dragged me on
21.22Another day, a single one!
21.23Too soon despair o'er me prevailed;
21.24Too soon my heartless spirit failed;
21.25When you were gone my limbs were stronger,
21.26And Oh how grievously I rue,
21.27That, afterwards, a little longer,
21.28My friends, I did not follow you!
21.29For strong and without pain I lay,
21.30My friends, when you were gone away.
21.31[p. 195] My child! they gave thee to another,
21.32A woman who was not thy mother.
21.33When from my arms my babe they took,
21.34On me how strangely did he look!
21.35Through his whole body something ran,
21.36A most strange something did I see;
21.37--As if he strove to be a man,
21.38That he might pull the sledge for me.
21.39And then he stretched his arms, how wild!
21.40Oh mercy! like a little child.
21.41My little joy! my little pride!
21.42In two days more I must have died.
21.43Then do not weep and grieve for me;
21.44I feel I must have died with thee.
21.45Oh wind that o'er my head art flying,
21.46The way my friends their course did bend,
21.47I should not feel the pain of dying,
21.48Could I with thee a message send.
21.49Too soon, my friends, you went away;
21.50For I had many things to say.
21.51[p. 196] I'll follow you across the snow,
21.52You travel heavily and slow:
21.53In spite of all my weary pain,
21.54I'll look upon your tents again.
21.55My fire is dead, and snowy white
21.56The water which beside it stood;
21.57The wolf has come to me to-night,
21.58And he has stolen away my food.
21.59For ever left alone am I,
21.60Then wherefore should I fear to die?
21.61My journey will be shortly run,
21.62I shall not see another sun,
21.63I cannot lift my limbs to know
21.64If they have any life or no.
21.65My poor forsaken child! if I
21.66For once could have thee close to me,
21.67With happy heart I then would die,
21.68And my last thoughts would happy be.
21.69I feel my body die away,
21.70I shall not see another day.
[p. 197] THE CONVICT.
22.1The glory of evening was spread through the west;
22.2 --On the slope of a mountain I stood,
22.3While the joy that precedes the calm season of rest
22.4 Rang loud through the meadow and wood.
22.5"And must we then part from a dwelling so fair?"
22.6 In the pain of my spirit I said,
22.7And with a deep sadness I turned, to repair
22.8 To the cell where the convict is laid.
22.9The thick-ribbed walls that o'ershadow the gate
22.10 Resound; and the dungeons unfold:
22.11I pause; and at length, through the glimmering grate,
22.12 That outcast of pity behold.
22.13[p. 198] His black matted head on his shoulder is bent,
22.14 And deep is the sigh of his breath,
22.15And with stedfast dejection his eyes are intent
22.16 On the fetters that link him to death.
22.17'Tis sorrow enough on that visage to gaze,
22.18 That body dismiss'd from his care;
22.19Yet my fancy has pierced to his heart, and pourtrays
22.20 More terrible images there.
22.21His bones are consumed, and his life-blood is dried,
22.22 With wishes the past to undo;
22.23And his crime, through the pains that o'erwhelm him,
22.24 Still blackens and grows on his view.
22.25When from the dark synod, or blood-reeking field,
22.26 To his chamber the monarch is led,
22.27All soothers of sense their soft virtue shall yield,
22.28 And quietness pillow his head.
22.29[p. 199] But if grief, self-consumed, in oblivion would doze,
22.30 And conscience her tortures appease,
22.31'Mid tumult and uproar this man must repose;
22.32 In the comfortless vault of disease.
22.33When his fetters at night have so press'd on his limbs,
22.34 That the weight can no longer be borne,
22.35If, while a half-slumber his memory bedims,
22.36 The wretch on his pallet should turn,
22.37While the jail-mastiff howls at the dull clinking chain,
22.38 From the roots of his hair there shall start
22.39A thousand sharp punctures of cold-sweating pain,
22.40 And terror shall leap at his heart.
22.41But now he half-raises his deep-sunken eye,
22.42 And the motion unsettles a tear;
22.43The silence of sorrow it seems to supply,
22.44 And asks of me why I am here.
22.45[p. 200] "Poor victim! no idle intruder has stood
22.46 "With o'erweening complacence our state to compare,
22.47"But one, whose first wish is the wish to be good,
22.48 "Is come as a brother thy sorrows to share.
22.49"At thy name though compassion her nature resign,
22.50 "Though in virtue's proud mouth thy report be a
22.51"My care, if the arm of the mighty were mine,
22.52 "Would plant thee where yet thou might'st blossom
[p. 201] LINES
WRITTEN A FEW MILES ABOVE
ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING
July 13, 1798.
23.1Five years have passed; five summers, with the length
23.2 Of five long winters! and again I hear
23.3These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
23.4With a sweet inland murmur. *--Once again
23.5Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
23.6Which on a wild secluded scene impress
23.7Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
23.8[p. 202] The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
23.9The day is come when I again repose
23.10Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
23.11These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
23.12Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits,
23.13Among the woods and copses lose themselves,
23.14Nor, with their green and simple hue, disturb
23.15The wild green landscape. Once again I see
23.16These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
23.17Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms
23.18Green to the very door; and wreathes of smoke
23.19Sent up, in silence, from among the trees,
23.20With some uncertain notice, as might seem,
23.21Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
23.22Or of some hermit's cave, where by his fire
23.23The hermit sits alone.
23.23 Though absent long,
23.24These forms of beauty have not been to me,
23.25[p. 203] As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
23.26But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din
23.27Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
23.28In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
23.29Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,
23.30And passing even into my purer mind
23.31With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
23.32Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,
23.33As may have had no trivial influence
23.34On that best portion of a good man's life;
23.35His little, nameless, unremembered acts
23.36Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
23.37To them I may have owed another gift,
23.38Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
23.39In which the burthen of the mystery,
23.40In which the heavy and the weary weight
23.41Of all this unintelligible world
23.42Is lighten'd--that serene and blessed mood,
23.43In which the affections gently lead us on,
23.44[p. 204] Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
23.45And even the motion of our human blood
23.46Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
23.47In body, and become a living soul:
23.48While with an eye made quiet by the power
23.49Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
23.50We see into the life of things.
23.50 If this
23.51Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft,
23.52In darkness, and amid the many shapes
23.53Of joyless day-light; when the fretful stir
23.54Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
23.55Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
23.56How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee
23.57O sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods,
23.58How often has my spirit turned to thee!
23.59And now, with gleams of half-extinguish'd thought,
23.60[p. 205] With many recognitions dim and faint,
23.61And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
23.62The picture of the mind revives again:
23.63While here I stand, not only with the sense
23.64Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
23.65That in this moment there is life and food
23.66For future years. And so I dare to hope
23.67Though changed, no doubt, from what I was, when
23.68I came among these hills; when like a roe
23.69I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
23.70Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
23.71Wherever nature led; more like a man
23.72Flying from something that he dreads, than one
23.73Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
23.74(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
23.75And their glad animal movements all gone by,)
23.76To me was all in all.--I cannot paint
23.77[p. 206] What then I was. The sounding cataract
23.78Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
23.79The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
23.80Their colours and their forms, were then to me
23.81An appetite: a feeling and a love,
23.82That had no need of a remoter charm,
23.83By thought supplied, or any interest
23.84Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is
23.85And all its aching joys are now no more,
23.86And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
23.87Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur: other gifts
23.88Have followed, for such loss, I would believe,
23.89Abundant recompence. For I have learned
23.90To look on nature, not as in the hour
23.91Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
23.92The still, sad music of humanity,
23.93Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power
23.94[p. 207] To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
23.95A presence that disturbs me with the joy
23.96Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
23.97Of something far more deeply interfused,
23.98Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
23.99And the round ocean, and the living air,
23.100And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
23.101A motion and a spirit, that impels
23.102All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
23.103And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
23.104A lover of the meadows and the woods,
23.105And mountains; and of all that we behold
23.106>From this green earth; of all the mighty world
23.107Of eye and ear, both what they half-create,*
23.108[p. 208] And what perceive; well pleased to recognize
23.109In nature and the language of the sense,
23.110The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
23.111The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
23.112Of all my moral being.
23.112 Nor, perchance,
23.113If I were not thus taught, should I the more
23.114Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
23.115For thou art with me, here, upon the banks
23.116Of this fair river; thou, my dearest Friend,
23.117My dear, dear Friend, and in thy voice I catch
23.118The language of my former heart, and read
23.119My former pleasures in the shooting lights
23.120Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
23.121May I behold in thee what I was once,
23.122My dear, dear Sister! And this prayer I make,
23.123Knowing that Nature never did betray
23.124[p. 209] The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
23.125Through all the years of this our life, to lead
23.126>From joy to joy: for she can so inform
23.127The mind that is within us, so impress
23.128With quietness and beauty, and so feed
23.129With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
23.130Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
23.131Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
23.132The dreary intercourse of daily life,
23.133Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
23.134Our chearful faith that all which we behold
23.135Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
23.136Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
23.137And let the misty mountain winds be free
23.138To blow against thee: and in after years,
23.139When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
23.140Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
23.141Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
23.142Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
23.143[p. 210] For all sweet sounds and harmonies; Oh! then,
23.144If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
23.145Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
23.146Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
23.147And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance,
23.148If I should be, where I no more can hear
23.149Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
23.150Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
23.151That on the banks of this delightful stream
23.152We stood together; and that I, so long
23.153A worshipper of Nature, hither came,
23.154Unwearied in that service: rather say
23.155With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal
23.156Of holier love. Now wilt thou then forget,
23.157That after many wanderings, many years
23.158Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
23.159And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
23.160More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake.
[p.  ERRATA.
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.''
1.75] fog smoke-white: "fog smoke-white" in original.
1.177] these: "those" in the original.
1.645] well,: "well" in original.
4.13] *"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.
] 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.
5.51] *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.
12.23] mountain's: "mountain s" in the original.
14.14] hour,: "hour" in original.
16.252] she's: "she s" in the original.
16.315] he's: "he s" in the original. along: "a ong" in the original.
17.30] *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.
23.4] *The river is not affected by the tides a few miles above Tintern.
23.19] After this line the original reads, " And the low copse--coming from the trees" (a line cut in the Errata).
23.107] * This line has a close resemblance to an admirable line of Young, the exact expression of which I cannot recollect.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
First publication date:
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 1997
Recent editing: 2:2002/8/28
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