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He to the margin of the precipice
Had walked, and from the summit had fallen head-
And so no doubt he perished. When the Youth
Fell, in his hand he must have grasp'd, we think,
His shepherd's staff; for on that Pillar of rock
It had been caught midway; and there for years
It hung ;-and mouldered there.
The Priest here ended The Stranger would have thanked him, but he felt A gushing from his heart, that took away The power of speech. Both left the spot in silence; And Leonard, when they reached the church-yard
gate, As the Priest lifted up the latch, turned round, And, looking at the grave, he said, “My Brother!” The Vicar did not hear the words: and now, He pointed towards his dwelling-place, entreating That Leonard would partake his homely fare: The other thanked him with an earnest voice; But added, that the evening being calm, He would pursue his journey. So they parted.
It was not long ere Leonard reached a grove That overhung the road : he there stopped short, And, sitting down beneath the trees, reviewed All that the Priest had said: his early years Were with him :-his long absence, cherished hopes, And thoughts which had been his an hour before, All pressed on him with such a weight, that now, This vale, where he had been so happy, seemed A place in which he could not bear to live: So he relinquished all his purposes,
He travelled back to Egremont: and thence,
That night he wrote a letter to the Priest,
Reminding him of what had passed between them;
And adding, with a hope to be forgiven,
That it was from the weakness of his heart
He had not dared to tell him who he was.
This done, he went on shipboard, and is now
A Seaman, a grey-headed Mariner.
A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by;
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas, Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky; I have thought of all by turns, and yet do lie Sleepless ! and soon the small birds' melodies Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees; And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry. Even thus last night, and two nights more I lay, And could not win thee, Sleep! by any stealth: So do not let me wear to-night away: Without Thee what is all the morning's wealth ? Come, blessed barrier between day and day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health !
'TIS eight o'clock,—a clear March night,
The moon is up,—the sky is blue,
The owlet, in the moonlight air,
Shouts from nobody knows where;
He lengthens out his lonely shout,
Halloo! halloo! a long halloo !
-Why bustle thus about your door,
What means this bustle, Betty Foy?
Why are you in this mighty fret?
And why on horseback have you set
Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy ?
Scarcely a soul is out of bed ;
Good Betty, put him down again;
His lips with joy they burr at you ;
But, Betty! what has he to do
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein ?
But Betty's bent on her intent;
For her good neighbor, Susan Gale,
Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress;
Old Susan lies a-bed in pain,
And sorely puzzled are the twain
For what she ails they cannot guess.
And Betty's husband 's at the wood,
Where by the week he doth abide,
A woodman in the distant vale;
There's none to help poor Susan Gale;
What must be done? what will betide ?
And Betty from the lane has fetched
Her Pony, that is mild and good;
Whether he be in joy or pain,
Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he is all in travelling trim,-
And, by the moonlight, Betty Foy
Has on the well-girt saddle set
(The like was never heard of yet)
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy.
And he must post without delay
Across the bridge and through the dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a Doctor from the town,
Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
There is no need of boot or spur,
There is no need of whip or wand ;
For Johnny has his holly-bough,
And with a hurly-burly now
He shakes the green bough in his hand.
And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The Boy, who is her best delight,
Both what to follow, what to shun,
What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge
Was, “ Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
Come home again, nor stop at all.—
Come home again, whate’er befal !
My Johnny, do, I pray you do."
To this did Johnny answer make
Both with his head and with his hand,
And proudly shook the bridle too;
And then ! his words were not a few,
Which Betty well could understand.
And now that Johnny is just going,
Though Betty 's in a mighty flurry,
She gently pats the Pony's side,
On which her Idiot boy must ride,
And seems no longer in a hurry.
But when the Pony moved his legs,
Oh! then for the poor Idiot Boy !
For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
For joy his head and heels are idle,
He's idle all for very joy.
And while the Pony moves his legs,
In Johnny's left hand you may see
The green bough motionless and dead:
The Moon that shines above his head
Is not more still and mute than he.
His heart it was so full of glee,
That till full fifty yards were gone,
He quite forgot his holly whip,
And all his skill in horsemanship:
Oh ! happy, happy, happy John.