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Rural Ballads for April.


WELL! I'm determined ; that's enough :-

Gee, Bayard ! move your poor old bones ; I'll take to-morrow, smooth or rough,

To go and court the Widow Jones. Our master talks of stable-room,

And younger horses on his grounds ; 'T is easy to foresee thy doom,

Bayard, thou 'lt go to feed the hounds. But could I win the widow's hand,

I'd make a truce 'twixt death and thee; For thou upon the best of land

Shouldst feed, and live and die with me. And must the pole-axe lay thee low?

And will they pick thy poor old bones ? No – hang me if it shall be so,

If I can win the Widow Jones.

Twirl went his stick ; his curly pate

A bran-new hat uplifted bore ; And Abner, as he leapt the gate,

Had never looked so gay before. And every spark of love revived

That bad perplexed him long ago, When busy folks and fools contrived To make his Mary answer

- No. But whether, freed from recent vows,

Her heart had back to Abner flown, And marked him for a second spouse,

In truth is not exactly known. Howbeit, as he came in sight,

She turned her from the garden stilo, And downward looked with purè delight,

With half a sigh and half a smile.

And gently twitching Mary's hand,

The bench had ample room for two, His first word made her understand

The ploughman's errand was to woo. My Mary — may I call thee so ?

For many a happy day we've seen, And if not mine, ay, years ago,

Whose was the fault? - you might have been. • All that's gone by : but I've been musing,

And vowed, and hope to keep it true, That she shall be my own heart's choosing,

Whom I call wife. - Hey, what say you ? And as I drove my plough along,

And felt the strength that's in my arm, Ten years, thought I, amidst my song,

I've been head-man at Harewood farm. "And, now my own dear Mary's free,

Whom I have loved this many a day, Who knows but she may think on me ?

I'll go hear what she has to say. Perhaps that little stock of land

She holds, but knows not how to till, Will suffer in the widow's hand,

And make poor Mary poorer still. “That scrap of land, with one like her,

How we might live! and be so blest ! And who should Mary Jones prefer?

Why, surely, him who loves her best ! * Therefore, I'm come to night, sweet wench,

I would not idly thus intrude,' – Mary looked downward on the bench,

O’erpowered by love and gratitude. She leaned her head against the vine,

With quickening sobs of silent bliss : Till Abner cried, 'You must be mine;

You must,' — and sealed it with a kiss. She talked of shame, and wiped her cheek ;

But what had shame with them to do, Who nothing meant but truth to speak,

And downright honor to pursue ? His eloquence improved apace,

As manly pity filled his mind ; • You know poor Bayard ; here's the case,

He's past his labor, old, and blind : If you and I should but agree

To settle here for good and all, Could you give all your heart to me,

And grudge that poor old rogue a stall !

She heard his sounding step behind ;

The blush of joy crept up her cheek, As cheerly floated on the wind,

Hoi ! Mary Jones — what, won't you speak ?'

Then, with a look that ne'er deceives,

She turned, but found her courage fled ; And scolding sparrows from the eaves

Peeped forth upon the stranger's head. Down Abner sat, with glowing heart,

Resolved, whatever might betide, To speak his mind, - no other art

He ever knew, or ever tried.


"I'll buy him, for the dogs shall never

Set tooth upon a friend so true ; He'll not live long, but I forever

Shall know I gave the beast his due. ''Mongst all I've known of ploughs and carts,

And ever since I learned to drive,
He was not matched in all these parts ;

There was not such a horse alive! * Ready as birds to meet the morn,

Were all his efforts at the plough ; Then, the mill-brook with hay or corn,

Good creature ! how he'd spatter through ! • He was a horse of mighty power,

Compact in frame, and strong of limb ; Went with a chirp from hour to hour ;

Whip-cord ! 't was never made for him.
I left him in the shafts behind,

His fellows all unhooked and gone ;
He neighed, and deemed the thing unkind,

Then, starting, drew the load alone !
• But I might talk till pitch-dark night,

And then have something left to say ; But, Mary, am I wrong or right,

Or, do I throw my words away? Leave me, or take me and my horse ;

I've told the truth, and all I know : Truth should breed truth ; that comes of course ;

If I sow wheat, why, wheat will grow. • Yes, Abner, but thus soon to yield,

Neighbors would fleer and look behind 'em Though, with a husband in the field,

Perhaps, indeed, I should not mind 'em. *I've known your generous nature well,

My first denial cost me dear ; How this may end we cannot tell,

But, as for Bayard, bring him here.' • Bless thee for that !' the ploughman cried,

At once both starting from the seat ; He stood a guardian by her side,

But talked of home, – 't was growing late. Then step for step within his arm,

She cheered him down the dewy way ; And no two birds upon the farm

E’er prated with more joy than they. What news at home? The smile he wore

One little sentence turned to sorrow; An order met him at the door,

* Take Bayard to the dogs to-morrow.' Yes, yes, thought he, and heaved a sigh ;

Die when he will he's not your debtor : I must obey, and he must die,

That's if I can't contrive it better. He left his Mary late at night,

And had succeeded in the main ; No sooner peeped the morning light

But he was on the road again !

Suppose she should refuse her hand ?

Such thoughts will come, I know not why ; Shall I, without a wife or land,

Want an old horse ? — then, wherefore buy? From bush to bush, from stile to stile,

Perplexed he trod the fallow ground, And told his money all the while,

And weighed the matter round and round. *I'll borrow,' that 's the best thought yet ;

Mary shall save the horse's life. —
Kind-hearted wench ! what, run in debt

Before I know she'll be my wife?
These women won't speak plain and free. -

Well, well, I 'll keep my service still ;
She has not said she'd marry me,

But yet I dare to say she will.
But while I take this shay-brained course,

And like a fool run to and fro,
Master, perhaps, may sell the horse !

Therefore, this instant home I'll go. The nightly rain had drenched the grove,

He plunged right on with headlong pace ; A man but half as much in love

Perhaps had found a cleaner place. The day rose fair ; with team a-field,

He watched the farmer's cheerful brow; And in a lucky hour revealed

His secret at his post, — the plough. And there without a whine began,

Master, you 'll give me your advice ; I'm going to marry

if I can — And want old Bayard ; what's his price? *For Mary Jones last night agreed,

Or near upon 't, to be my wife : The horse's value I don't heed,

I only want to save his life.' • Buy him, hey! Abner, trust me, I

Have not the thought of gain in view ; Bayard's best days we've seen go by ;

He shall be cheap enough to you.' The wages paid, the horse brought out,

The hour of separation come ; The farmer turned his chair about,

"Good fellow, take him, — take him home. You 're welcome, Abner, to the beast,

For you ’ve a faithful servant been ; They ’ll thrive, I doubt not in the least,

Who know what work and service mean.' The maids at parting, one and all,

From different windows different tones, Bade him farewell with many a bawl,

And sent their love to Mary Jones. He waved his hat, and turned away,

When loud the cry of children rose ; * Abner, good-by !' they stopt their play ;

* There goes poor Bayard !- there he goes !'

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Half choked with joy, with love, and pride,

He now with dainty clover fed him, Now took a short triumphant ride,

And then again got down and led him. And hobbling onward up the hill,

The widow's house was full in sight, He pulled the bridle harder still,

Come on, we shan't be there to-night.'

She met them with a smile so sweet,

The stable-door was open thrown; The blind horse lifted high his feet,

And, loudly snorting, laid him down. 0, Victory ! from that stock of laurels You keep so snug


camps and thrones, Spare us one twig from all their quarrels,

For Abner and the Widow Jones.

Ah, Colin! give not her thy vows,

Vows due to me alone ;
Nor thou, fond maid, receive the kiss,

Nor think him all thy own.
To-morrow in the church to wed,

Impatient, both prepare ;
But know, fond maid, and know, false man,

That Lucy will be there !
There bear my corse, ye comrades, bear,

The bridegroom blithe to meet ;
He in his wedding triin so gay,

I in my winding sheet. She spoke, she died ! - her corse was borne,

The bridegroom blithe to meet He in his wedding trim so gay,

She in her winding sheet.
Then what were perjured Colin's thoughts ?

How were those nuptials kept ?
The bridemen flocked round Lucy dead,

And all the village wept.
Compassion, shame, remorse, despair,

At once his bosom swell ;
The damps of death bedewed his brows,

He shook, he groaned, he fell.
From the vain bride — ab, bride no more !-

The varying crimson fled ;
When, stretched before her rival's corse,

She saw her husband dead.



OF Leinster, famed for maidens fair,

Bright Lucy was the grace : Nor e'er did Liffey's limpid stream

Reflect so fair a face.

Till luckless love and pining care

Impaired her rosy hue,
Her coral lips and damask cheeks,

And eyes of glossy blue.
O, have you seen a lily pale,

When beating rains descend ?
So drooped the slow-consuming maid,

Her life now near its end.

He to his Lucy's new-made grave,

Conveyed by trembling swains, One mould with her, beneath one sod,

Forever now remains.

By Lucy warned, of flattering swains

Take heed, you easy fair ;
Of vengeance due to broken vows,

Ye perjured swains, beware.
Three times, all in the dead of night,

A bell was heard to ring, And shrieking at her window thrice

A raven flapped his wing.

Oft at this grave the constant hind

And plighted maid are seen ; With garlands gay, and true-love knots,

They deck the sacred green. But, swain forsworn! whoe'er thou art,

This hallowed spot forbear ; Remember Colin's dreadful fate,

And fear to meet him there.


The lawns were dry in Euston park ;

Here truth inspires my tale — The lonely footpath, still and dark,

Led over hill and dale.

Too well the love-lorn maiden knew

The solemn boding sound,
And thus in dying words bespoke

The virgins weeping round :
I hear a voice you cannot hear,

Which says I must not stay ; I see a hand you cannot see,

Which beckons me away.
By a false heart and broken vows,

In early youth I die :
Am I to blame because his bride

Is thrice as rich as I ?

Benighted was an ancient dame,

And fearful haste she made To gain the vale of Fakenham,

And hail its willow shade.

1 This ballad is founded on a fact.

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Yet once again, amidst her fright,

She tried what sight could do ; When through the cheating glooms of night,

A monster stood in view !

Regardless of whate'er she felt,

It followed down the plain ! She owned her sins, and down she knelt,

And said her prayers again.

Then on she sped, and hope grew strong

The white park gate in view ;
Which pushing hard, so long it swung,

That Ghost and all passed through !

Loud fell the gate against the post !

Her heart-strings like to crack ; For much she feared the grisly Ghost

Would leap upon her back !

A SPRING o'erbung with many a flower,

The gray sand dancing in its bed,
Embanked beneath a hawthorn bower,

Sent forth its waters near my head : A rosy lass approached my view;

I caught her blue eye's modest beam : The stranger nodded 'how d'ye do!'

And leaped across the infant stream. The water heedless passed away :

With me her glowing image staid ; I strove, from that auspicious day,

To meet and bless the lovely maid. I met her where, beneath our feet,

Through downy moss, the wild thyme grew; Nor moss elastic, flowers though sweet,

Matched Hannah's cheek of rosy hue. I met her where the dark woods wave,

And shaded verdure skirts the plain ; And when the pale moon, rising, gave

New glories to her cloudy train. From her sweet cot upon the moor

Our plighted vows to Heaven are flown ; Truth made me welcome at her door,

And Rosy Hannah is my own.

Still on, pat, pat, the goblin went,

As it had done before : Her strength and resolution spent,

She fainted at the door.

Out came her husband much surprised,

Out came her daughter dear ; Good-natured souls ! all unadvised

Of what they had to fear !

Dyer's Rural Poems.




SILENT Nymph! with curious eye, Who the purple evening lie On the mountain's lonely van, Beyond the noise of busy man, Painting fair the form of things, While the yellow linnet sings, Or the tuneful nightingale Charms the forest with her tale ; Come, with all thy various hues, Come, and aid thy sister Muse ; Now, while Phoebus, riding high, Gives lustre to the land and sky, Grongar Hill' invites my song, Draw the landscape bright and strong ; Grongar! in whose mossy cells Sweetly musing Quiet dwells ; Grongar! in whose silent shade, For the modest muses made, So oft I have, the evening still, At the fountain of a rill, Sat upon a flowery bed, With my hand beneath my head ; While strayed my eyes o'er Towy's ? flood, Over mead and over wood, From house to house, from hill to hill, Till Contemplation had her fill.

In all the hues of heaven's bow;
And, swelling to embrace the light,
Spreads around beneath the sight.

Old castles on the cliffs arise,
Proudly towering in the skies ;
Rushing from the woods, the spires
Seem from hence ascending fires :
Half his beams Apollo sheds
On the yellow mountain heads,
Gilds the fleeces of the flocks,
And glitters on the broken rocks.

Below me trees unnumbered rise, Beautiful in various dyes : The gloomy pine, the poplar blue, The yellow beech, the sable yew, The slender fir that taper grows, The sturdy oak with broad-spread boughs ; And beyond the purple grove, Haunt of Phillis, queen of love ! Gaudy as the opening dawn, Lies a long and level lawn, On which a dark hill, steep and high, Holds and charms the wandering eye. Deep are his feet in Towy's flood; His sides are clothed with waving wood; And ancient towers crown his brow, That cast an awful look below; Whose ragged walls the ivy creeps, And with her arms from falling keeps ; So both a safety from the wind On mutual dependence find.



About his checkered sides I wind,
And leave his brooks and meads behind,
And groves and grottos where I lay,
And vistos shooting beams of day.
Wide and wider spreads the vale,
As circles on a smooth canal :
The mountains round, – unhappy fate,
Sooner or later, of all height !-
Withdraw their summits from the skies,
And lessen as the others rise.
Still the prospect wider spreads,
Adds a thousand woods and meads;
Still it widens, widens still,

And sinks the newly-risen hill.

Now I gain the mountain's brow;
What a landscape lies below!
No clouds, no vapors intervene ;
But the gay, the open scene,
Does the face of nature show

'T is now the raven's bleak abode, 'T is now the apartment of the toad ; And there the fox securely feeds, And there the poisonous adder breeds, Concealed in ruins, moss, and weeds ; While, ever and anon, there falls Huge heaps of hoary, mouldered walls. Yet Time has seen, that lifts the low, And level lays the lofty brow,Has seen this broken pile complete, Big with the vanity of state. But transient is the smile of Fate ! A little rule, a little sway, A sunbeam in a winter's day, Is all the proud and mighty have Between the cradle and the grave.


And see the rivers, how they run Through woods and meads, in shade and sun !

1 Dinevaur Castle.

1 2 Grongar Hill is an eminence in the south of Wales ; Towy, a stream there, which runs into Caermarthen Bay.

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