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A wretched thing forlorn.
10 It stands erect, and like a stone With lichens is it overgrown.
"Like rock or stone, it is o'ergrown,
With lichens to the very top,
And hung with heavy tufts of moss, 15 A melancholy crop:
Up from the earth these mosses creep,
And all have joined in one endeavor
"High on a mountain's highest ridge, Where oft the stormy winter gale 25 Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds It sweeps from vale to vale;
Not five yards from the mountain path,
Though but of compass small, and bare
100 "But wherefore to the mountain-top Can this unhappy woman go, Whatever star is in the skies, Whatever wind may blow?"
"Full twenty years are past and gone 105 Since she (her name is Martha Ray) Gave with a maiden's true good-will Her company to Stephen Hill; And she was blithe and gay, While friends and kindred all approved 110 Of him whom tenderly she loved.
"And they had fixed the wedding day, The morning that must wed them both; But Stephen to another maid Had sworn another oath; 115 And, with this other maid, to church Unthinking Stephen went
Poor Martha! on that woeful day
120 A fire was kindled in her breast,
"They say, full six months after this, While yet the summer leaves were green, She to the mountain-top would go, 125 And there was often seen.
What could she seek?-or wish to hide?
She was with child, and she was mad;
130 From her exceeding pain.
O guilty father-would that death
Had saved him from that breach of faith!
"Sad case for such a brain to hold Communion with a stirring child! 135 Sad case, as you may think, for one Who had a brain so wild!
Last Christmas-eve we talked of this,
And, when at last her time drew near,
"More know I not, I wish I did, 145 And it should all be told to you;
For what became of this poor child
Nay-if a child to her was born No earthly tongue could ever tell; 150 And if 'twas born alive or dead,
Far less could this with proof be said;
That Martha Ray about this time
155 And all that winter, when at night The wind blew from the mountain-peak, 'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
The churchyard path to seek :
For many a time and oft were heard
160 Cries coming from the mountain head:
I cannot think, whate'er they say, 165 They had to do with Martha Ray.
"But that she goes to this old Thorn,
170 For one day with my telescope, To view the ocean wide and bright, When to this country first I came, Ere I had heard of Martha's name, I climbed the mountain's height:175 A storm came on, and I could see
No object higher than my knee.
""Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain
180 A wind full ten times over.
I looked around, I thought I saw
185 And, as I am a man,
Instead of jutting crag I found
"I did not speak-I saw her face; Her face!-it was enough for me; 190 I turned about and heard her cry, 'Oh misery! oh misery!'
And there she sits, until the moon
195 The waters of the pond to shake,
She shudders, and you hear her cry,
'Oh misery! oh misery!'"'
210 ❝I've heard, the moss is spotted red
The shadow of a babe you trace,
"And some had sworn an oath that she
And for the little infant's bones With spades they would have sought. 225 But instantly the hill of moss
Before their eyes began to stir!
230 The little babe lies buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
"I cannot tell how this may be,
And this I know, full many a time,
When all the stars shone clear and bright,
240 That I have heard her cry,
'Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery!'"'
Oh! what's the matter? what's the matter? What is't that ails young Harry Gill? That evermore his teeth they chatter, Chatter, chatter, chatter still! 5 Of waistcoats Harry has no lack, Good duffle1 gray, and flannel fine; He has a blanket on his back, And coats enough to smother nine.
In March, December, and in July, 10 'Tis all the same with Harry Gill;
The neighbors tell, and tell you truly,
25 All day she spun in her poor dwelling:
1 A kind of coarse woolen cloth having a thick
Where from sea-blasts the hawthorns lean,
By the same fire to boil their pottage, Two poor old dames, as I have known, 35 Will often live in one small cottage; But she, poor woman! housed alone. 'Twas well enough, when summer came, The long, warm, lightsome summer-day, Then at her door the canty1 dame 40 Would sit, as any linnet, gay.
But when the ice our streams did fetter, Oh then how her old bones would shake! You would have said, if you had met her, 'Twas a hard time for Goody Blake. 45 Her evenings then were dull and dead: Sad case it was, as you may think, For very cold to go to bed;
And then for cold not sleep a wink.
O joy for her! whene'er in winter
Yet never had she, well or sick,
As every man who knew her says, A pile beforehand, turf or stick,
Enough to warm her for three days.
Now, when the frost was past enduring,
60 Than an old hedge to Goody Blake?
65 Now Harry he had long suspected.
And once, behind a rick of barley, Thus looking out did Harry stand: 75 The moon was full and shining clearly, And crisp with frost the stubble land. - He hears a noise-he's all awakeAgain?-on tip-toe down the hill He softly creeps-'tis Goody Blake; 80 She's at the hedge of Harry Gill!
Right glad was he when he beheld her:
He stood behind a bush of elder, Till she had filled her apron full. 85 When with her load she turned about, The by-way back again to take; He started forward, with a shout, And sprang upon poor Goody Blake.
And fiercely by the arm he took her, 90 And by the arm he held her fast,
And fiercely by the arm he shook her, And cried, "I've caught you then at last!'' Then Goody, who had nothing said, Her bundle from her lap let fall; 95 And, kneeling on the sticks, she prayed To God that is the judge of all.
She prayed, her withered hand uprearing, While Harry held her by the arm"God! who art never out of hearing, 100 O may he never more be warm!"' The cold, cold moon above her head, Thus on her knees did Goody pray; Young Harry heard what she had said: And icy cold he turned away.
105 He went complaining all the morrow That he was cold and very chill:
His face was gloom, his heart was sorrow,
Another was on Thursday brought,
'Twas all in vain, a useless matter, And blankets were about him pinned; 115 Yet still his jaws and teeth they clatter, Like a loose casement in the wind.. And Harry's flesh it fell away; And all who see him say, 'tis plain, That, live as long as live he may, 120 He never will be warm again.
No word to any man he utters, A-bed or up, to young or old; But ever to himself he mutters, "Poor Harry Gill is very cold." 125 A-bed or up, by night or day;
His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
HER EYES ARE WILD
Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
Or else she were alone:
She talked and sung the woods among, 10 And it was in the English tongue.
"Sweet babe! they say that I am mad, But nay, my heart is far too glad; And I am happy when I sing Full many a sad and doleful thing: 15 Then, lovely baby, do not fear! I pray thee have no fear of me; But safe as in a cradle, here, My lovely baby! thou shalt be: To thee I know too much I owe; 20 I cannot work thee any woe.
"A fire was once within my brain; And in my head a dull, dull pain; And fiendish faces, one, two, three, Hung at my breast, and pulled at me; 25 But then there came a sight of joy; It came at once to do me good; I waked, and saw my little boy, My little boy of flesh and blood; Oh joy for me that sight to see! 30 For he was here, and only he.
"Suck, little babe, oh suck again! It cools my blood; it cools my brain; Thy lips I feel them, baby! they Draw from my heart the pain away. 35 Oh! press me with thy little hand; It loosens something at my chest; About that tight and deadly band I feel thy little fingers prest. The breeze I see is in the tree: 40 It comes to cool my babe and me.
"Oh! love me, love me, little boy! Thou art thy mother's only joy; And do not dread the waves below, When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go; 45 The high crag cannot work me harm, Nor leaping torrents when they howl; The babe I carry on my arm,
He saves for me my precious soul;
50 Without me my sweet babe would die.
"Then do not fear, my boy! for thee Bold as a lion will I be;
And I will always be thy guide,
Through hollow snows and rivers wide. 55 I'll build an Indian bower; I know The leaves that make the softest bed: And if from me thou wilt not go, But still be true till I am dead, My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing 60 As merry as the birds in spring.
"Thy father cares not for my breast, 'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest; "Tis all thine own!-and if its hue Be changed, that was so fair to view, 65 'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove! My beauty, little child, is flown, But thou wilt live with me in love; And what if my poor cheek be brown? 'Tis well for me thou canst not see 70 How pale and wan it else would be.
"Dread not their taunts, my little life; I am thy father's wedded wife; And underneath the spreading tree We two will live in honesty. 75 If his sweet boy he could forsake,
With me he never would have stayed: From him no harm my babe can take; But he, poor man! is wretched made; And every day we two will pray 80 For him that's gone and far away.
"I'll teach my boy the sweetest things: I'll teach him how the owlet sings. My little babe! thy lips are still, And thou hast almost sucked thy fill. Where art thou gone, my own dear child? What wicked looks are those I see? Alas! Alas! that look so wild, It never, never came from me: If thou art mad, my pretty lad, 90 Then I must be forever sad.
"Oh! smile on me, my little lamb! For I thy own dear mother am: My love for thee has well been tried: I've sought thy father far and wide. 95 I know the poisons of the shade;
I know the earth-nuts fit for food: Then, pretty dear, be not afraid: We'll find thy father in the wood. Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away! 100 And there, my babe, we'll live for aye.
When Echo bandied, round and round, The halloo of Simon Lee.
In those proud days, he little cared
15 To blither tasks did Simon rouse
He all the country could outrun,
20 He reeled, and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world
For when the chiming hounds are out,
25 But, oh the heavy change!-bereft
Old Simon to the world is left
His master's dead,-and no one now 30 Dwells in the Hall of Ivor;
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;
And he is lean, and he is sick;
35 Rests upon ankles swoln and thick;
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
45 This scrap of land he from the heath
Oft, working by her husband's side,
And, though you with your utmost skill
55 'Tis little, very little-all
That they can do between them.
Few months of life has he in store
As he to you will tell,
60 Do his weak ankles swell.
For still, the more he works, the more
My gentle reader, I perceive