RURAL TALES, BALLADS, AND SONGS:
By ROBERT BLOOMFIELD,
Author of The Farmers Boy
LONDON: Printed for Vernor and Hood, Poultry; and Longman and Rees, Paternoster-Row
By T. Bensley, Bolt-court, Fleet-street.
The Poems here offered to the Public were chiefly written during the interval between the concluding and the publishing of THE FARMER'S BOY, an interval of nearly two years. The pieces of a later date are, the Widow to her Hour-Glass, the Fakenham Ghost, Walter and Jane, &c. At the tune of publishing the Farmer's Boy, circumstances occurred which rendered it necessary to submit these Poems to the perusal of my Friends: under whose approbation I now give them, with some confidence as to their moral merit, to the judgment of the Public. And as they treat of village manners, and rural scenes, it appears to me not ill-tim'd to avow, that I have hopes of meeting in some degree the approbation of my Country. I was not prepar'd for the decided, and I may surely say extraordinary attention which the Public has shewn towards the Farmer's Boy: the consequence has been such as my true friends will rejoice to hear; it has produc'd me many essential blessings. And I feel peculiarly gratified in finding that a poor man in England may assert the dignity of Virtue, and speak of the imperishable beauties of Nature, and be heard, and heard, perhaps, with greater attention for his being poor.
Whoever thinks of me or my concerns, must necessarily indulge the pleasing idea of gratitude, and join a thought of my first great friend Mr. LOFFT. And on this head, I believe every reader, who has himself any feeling, will judge rightly of mine: if otherwise, I would much rather he would lay down this volume, and grasp hold of such fleeting pleasures as the world's business may afford him. I speak not of that gentleman as a public character, or as a scholar. Of the former I know but little, and of the latter nothing. But I know from experience, and I glory in this fair opportunity of saying it, that his private life is a lesson of morality; his manners gentle, his heart sincere: and I regard it as one of the most fortunate circumstances of my life, that my introduction to public notice fell to so zealous and unwearied a friend.[Footnote: I dare not take to myself a praise like this; and yet I was, perhaps, hardly at liberty to disclaim what should be mine and the endeavour of every one to deserve. This I can say, that I have reason to rejoice that Mr. George Bloomfield introduced the Farmer's Boy to me. C. L.]
I have received many honourable testimonies of esteem from strangers; letters without a name, but fill'd with the most cordial advice, and almost a parental anxiety, for my safety under so great a share of public applause. I beg to refer such friends to the great teacher Time: and hope that he will hereafter give me my deserts, and no more.
One piece in this collection will inform the reader of my most pleasing visit to Wakefield Lodge: books, solitude, and objects entirely new, brought pleasures which memory will always cherish. That noble and worthy Family, and all my immediate and unknown Friends, will, I hope, believe the sincerity of my thanks for all their numerous favours, and candidly judge the Poems before them.
R. BLOOMFIELD. Sept. 29, 1801.
P.S. Since affixing the above date, an event of much greater importance than any to which I have been witness, has taken place, to the universal joy (it is to be hoped) of every inhabitant of Europe. My portion of joy shall be expressed while it is warm: and the reader will do sufficient justice, if he only believes it to be sincere.
Halt! ye Legions, sheathe your Steel: Blood grows precious; shed no more: Cease your toils; your wounds to heal Lo! beams of Mercy reach the shore! From Realms of everlasting light The favour'd guest of Heaven is come: Prostrate your Banners at the sight, And bear the glorious tidings home.
The plunging corpse with half-clos'd eyes, No more shall stain th' unconscious brine; Yon pendant gay, that streaming flies, Around its idle Staff shall twine. Behold! along th' etherial sky Her beams o'er conquering Navies spread; Peace! Peace! the leaping Sailors cry, With shouts that might arouse the dead.
Then forth Britannia's thunder pours; A vast reiterated sound! From Line to Line the Cannon roars, And spreads the blazing joy around. Return, ye brave! your Country calls; Return; return, your task is done: While here the tear of transport falls, To grace your Laurels nobly won.
Albion Cliffs—from age to age, That bear the roaring storms of Heav'n, Did ever fiercer Warfare rage? Was ever Peace more timely given? Wake! sounds of Joy: rouse, generous Isle; Let every patriot bosom glow. Beauty, resume thy wonted smile, And, Poverty, thy cheerful brow.
Boast, Britain, of thy glorious Guests; Peace, Wealth, and Commerce, all thine own: Still on contented Labour rests The basis of a lasting Throne. Shout, Poverty! 'tis Heaven that saves; Protected Wealth, the chorus raise: Ruler of War, of Winds, and Waves, Accept a prostrate Nation's praise.
Page 28, line 1, for Mon read Man.
56, 13, for thy read my.
Richard and Kate: Ballad Walter and Jane: a Tale The Miller's Maid: a Tale The Widow to her Hour-Glass Market-Night: Ballad The Fakenham Ghost: Ballad The French Mariner: Ballad Dolly: Ballad A Visit to Whittlebury Forest A Highland Drover: Song A Word to Two Young Ladies On hearing of the Translation of the Farmer's Boy Nancy: Song Rosy Hannah: Song The Shepherd and his Dog Rover: Song Hunting Song Lucy: Song Winter Song
RICHARD AND KATE: OR, FAIR-DAY.
A Suffolk Ballad.
'Come, Goody, stop your humdrum wheel, Sweep up your orts, and get your Hat; Old joys reviv'd once more I feel, 'Tis Fair-day;—ay, and more than that.
'Have you forgot, Kate, prithee say, 'How many Seasons here we've tarry'd? 'Tis Forty years, this very day, 'Since you and I, old Girl, were married
'Look out;—the Sun shines warm and bright, 'The Stiles are low, the paths all dry; 'I know you cut your corns last night: 'Come; be as free from care as I.
'For I'm resolv'd once more to see 'That place where we so often met; 'Though few have had more cares than we, 'We've none just now to make us fret.'
Kate scorn'd to damp the generous flame That warm'd her aged Partner's breast; Yet, ere determination came, She thus some trifling doubts express'd.
'Night will come on; when seated snug, 'And you've perhaps begun some tale, 'Can you then leave your dear stone mug; 'Leave all the folks, and all the Ale?'
'Ay, Kate, I wool;—because I know, 'Though time has been we both could run, 'Such days are gone and over now;— 'I only mean to see the fun.'
She straight slipp'd off the Wall and Band, [Terms used in spinning] And laid aside her Lucks and Twitches: And to the Hutch [a chest] she reach'd her hand, And gave him out his Sunday Breeches.
His Mattock he behind the door And Hedging-gloves again replac'd; And look'd across the yellow Moor, And urg'd his tott'ring Spouse to haste.
The Walk to the Fair.
The day was up, the air serene, The Firmament without a cloud; The Bee humm'd o'er the level green Where knots of trembling Cowslips bow'd.
And RICHARD thus, with heart elate, As past things rush'd across his mind, Over his shoulder, talk'd to KATE, Who snug tuckt up, walk'd slow behind.
'When once a gigling Mawther you, 'And I a redfac'd chubby Boy, 'Sly tricks, you play'd me not a few; 'For mischief was your greatest joy.
'Once, passing by this very Tree, 'A Gotch [pitcher] of Milk I'd been to fill, 'You shoulder'd me; then laugh'd to see 'Me and my Gotch spin down the Hill'
Discourse on past Days.
'Tis true,' she said; 'but here behold, 'And marvel at the course of Time; 'Though you and I are both grown old, 'This Tree is only in its prime!'
'Well, Goody, don't stand preaching now; 'Folks don't preach Sermons at a FAIR: 'We've rear'd Ten Boys and Girls you know; 'And I'll be bound they'll all be there.'
Now friendly nods and smiles had they, From many a kind Fair-going face: And many a pinch KATE gave away; While RICHARD kept his usual pace.
At length arriv'd amidst the throng, Grand-children bawling hem'd them round; And dragg'd them by the skirts along Where gingerbread bestrew'd the ground.
The Arrival.—Country Sports.
And soon the aged couple spy'd Their lusty Sons and Daughters dear: When RICHARD thus exulting cried, 'Did'nt I tell you they'd be here?'
The cordial greetings of the soul Were visible in every face; Affection, void of all controul, Govern'd with a resistless grace.
'Twas good to see the honest strife, Which should contribute most to please; And hear the long-recounted life, Of infant tricks, and happy days.
But now, as at some nobler places, Amongst the Leaders 'twas decreed Time to begin the DICKY RACES; More fam'd for laughter than for speed.
RICHARD look'd on with wond'rous glee, And prais'd the Lad who ehanc'd to win; 'KATE, wan't I such a one as he? 'As like him, ay, as pin to pin?
'Full Fifty years are pass'd away 'Since I rode this same ground about: 'Lord! I was lively as the day! 'I won the High-lows out and out!
'I'm surely growing young again: 'I feel myself so kedge and plump. 'From head to foot I've not one pain; 'Nay, hang me if I cou'd 'nt jump.'
Thus spoke the ALE in RICHARD'S pate, A very little made him mellow; But still he lov'd his faithful KATE, Who whisper'd thus, 'My good old fellow,
'Remember what you promis'd me: 'And see, the Sun is getting low; 'The Children want an hour ye see 'To talk a bit before we go.'
Like youthful Lover most complying He turn'd, and chuckt her by the chin: Then all across the green grass hieing, Right merry faces, all akin,
Their farewell quart, beneath a That droop'd its branches from above, Awak'd the pure felicity That waits upon PARENTAL LOVE.
KATE view'd her blooming Daughters round, And Sons, who shook her wither'd hand; Her features spoke what joy she found; But utterance had made a stand.
An old Man's Joy.
The Children toppled on the green, And bowl'd their fairings down the hill; Richard with pride beheld the scene, Nor could he for his life sit still.
A Father's uncheck'd feelings gave A tenderness to all he said; 'My Boys, how proud am I to have 'My name thus round the Country spread!
'Through all my days I've labour'd hard, 'And could of pains and Crosses tell; 'But this is Labour's great reward, 'To meet ye thus, and see ye well.
'My good old Partner, when at home, 'Sometimes with wishes mingles tears; 'Goody, says I, let what wool come, 'We've nothing for them but our pray'rs.
Old Man's Joy continued.
'May you be all as old as I, 'And see you? Sons to manhood grow; 'And, many a time before you die, 'Be just as pleas'd as I am now.'
Then, (raising still his Mug and Voice,) 'An Old Man's weakness don't despise! 'I love you well, my Girls and Boys; 'GOD bless you all;'—so said his eyes——
For, as he spoke, a big round drop Fell bounding on his ample sleeve; A witness which he could not stop, A witness which all hearts believe.
Thou, FILIAL PIETY, wert there; And round the ring, benignly bright, Dwelt in the luscious half-shed tear, And in the parting word—Good Night.
The Return home.
With thankful Hearts and strengthen'd Love, The poor old PAIR, supremely blest, Saw the Sun sink behind the grove, And gain'd once more their lowly rest.
WALTER AND JANE: or, THE POOR BLACKSMITH.
A Country Tale.
Bright was the summer sky, the Mornings gay, And Jane was young and chearful as the Day. Not yet to Love but Mirth she paid her vows; And Echo mock'd her as she call'd her Cows. Tufts of green Broom, that full in blossom vied, And grac'd with spotted gold the upland side, The level fogs o'erlook'd; too high to share; So lovely JANE o'erlook'd the clouds of Care;
No meadow-flow'r rose fresher to the view, That met her morning footsteps in the dew; Where, if a nodding stranger ey'd her charms, The blush of innocence was up in arms, Love's random glances struck the unguarded mind, And Beauty's magic made him look behind. Duly as morning blush'd or twilight came, Secure of greeting smiles and Village fame, She pass'd the Straw-roof'd Shed, in ranges where Hung many a well-turn'd Shoe and glitt'ring Share; Where WALTER, as the charmer tripp'd along, Would stop his roaring Bellows and his Song.— Dawn of affection; Love's delicious sigh! Caught from the lightnings of a speaking eye, That leads the heart to rapture or to woe, 'Twas WALTER'S fate thy mad'ning power to know; And scarce to know, ere in its infant twine, As the Blast shakes the tendrils of the Vine,
The budding bliss that full of promise grew The chilling blight of separation knew. Scarce had he told his heart's unquiet case, And JANE to shun him ceas'd to mend her pace, And learnt to listen trembling as he spoke, And fondly judge his words beyond a joke; When, at the Goal that bounds our prospects here, Jane's widow'd Mistress ended her career: Blessings attended her divided store, The Mansion sold, (Jane's peaceful home no more,) A distant Village own'd her for its Queen, Another service, and another scene; But could another scene so pleasing prove, Twelve weary miles from Walter and from Love? The Maid grew thoughtful: yet to Fate resign'd, Knew not the worth of what she left behind. He, when at Eve releas'd from toil and heat, Soon miss'd the smiles that taught his heart to beat,
Each sabbath-day of late was wont to prove Hope's liberal feast, the holiday of Love: But now, upon his spirit's ebbing strength Came each dull hour's intolerable length. The next had scarcely dawn'd when Walter hied O'er hill and dale, Affection for his guide: O'er the brown Heath his pathless journey lay, Where screaming Lapwings hail'd the op'ning day. High rose the Sun, the anxious Lover sigh'd; His slipp'ry soles bespoke the dew was dried: Her last farewell hung fondly on his tongue As o'er the tufted Furze elate he sprung; Trifling impediments; his heart was light, For Love and Beauty glow'd in fancy's sight; And soon he gaz'd on Jane's enchanting face, Renew'd his passion,—but, destroy'd his peace. Truth, at whose shrine he bow'd, inflicted pain; And Conscience whisper'd, 'Never come again.'
For now, his tide of gladness to oppose, A clay-cold damp of doubts and fears arose; Clouds, which involve, midst Love and Reason's strife, The poor man's prospect when he takes a wife. Though gay his journeys in the Summer's prime, Each seem'd the repetition of a crime; He never left her but with many a sigh, When tears stole down his face, she knew not why. Severe his task those visits to forego, And feed his heart with voluntary woe. Yet this he did; the wan Moon circling found His evenings cheerless, and his rest unsound; And saw th' unquenched flame his bosom swell: What were his doubts, thus let the Story tell A month's sharp conflict only serv'd to prove The pow'r, as well as truth, of Walter's love. Absence more strongly on his mind portray'd His own sweet, injur'd, unoffending Maid.
The renew'd Journey.
Once more he'd go; full resolute awhile, But heard his native Bells on every stile; The sound recall'd him with a pow'rful charm, The Heath wide open'd, and the day was warm; There, where a bed of tempting green he found, Increasing anguish weigh'd him to the ground; His well-grown limbs the scatter'd Daisies press'd, While his clinch'd hand fell heavy on his breast. 'Why do I go in cruel sport to say, "I love thee, Jane; appoint the happy day?" 'Why seek her sweet ingenuous reply, 'Then grasp her hand and proffer—poverty? 'Why, if I love her and adore her name, 'Why act like time and sickness on her frame? 'Why should my scanty pittance nip her prime, 'And chace away the Rose before its time? 'I'm young, 'tis true; the world beholds me free; 'Labour ne'er show'd a frightful face to me;
Love of Prudence.
'Nature's first wants hard labour should supply; 'But should it fail, 'twill be too late to fly. 'Some Summers hence, if nought our loves annoy, 'The image of my Jane may lisp her joy; 'Or, blooming boys with imitative swing 'May mock my arm, and make the Anvil ring; 'Then if in rags.—But, O my heart, forbear,— 'I love the Girl, and why should I despair? 'And that I love her all the village knows; 'Oft from my pain the mirth of others flows; 'As when a neighbour's Steed with glancing eye 'Saw his par'd hoof supported on my thigh: 'Jane pass'd that instant; mischief came of course; 'I drove the nail awry and lam'd the Horse; 'The poor beast limp'd: I bore a Master's frown, 'A thousand times I wish'd the wound my own. 'When to these tangling thoughts I've been resign'd, 'Fury or languor has possess'd my mind,
'All eyes have stared, I've blown a blast so strong; 'Forgot to smite at all, or smote too long. 'If at the Ale-house door, with careless glee 'One drinks to Jane, and darts a look on me; 'I feel that blush which her dear name will bring, 'I feel:—but, guilty Love, 'tis not thy sting! 'Yet what are jeers? the bubbles of an hour; 'Jane knows what Love can do, and feels its pow'r; 'In her mild eye fair Truth her meaning tells; 'Tis not in looks like her's that falsehood dwells. 'As water shed upon a dusty way 'I've seen midst downward pebbles devious stray; 'If kindred drops an adverse channel keep, 'The crystal friends toward each other creep; 'Near, and still nearer, rolls each little tide, 'Th' expanding mirror swells on either side: 'They touch—'tis done—receding bound'ries fly, 'An instantaneous union strikes the eye:
'So 'tis with us: for Jane would be my bride; 'Shall coward fears then turn the bliss aside?' While thus he spoke he heard a gentle sound, That seem'd a jarring footstep on the ground: Asham'd of grief, he bade his eyes unclose, And shook with agitation as he rose; All unprepared the sweet surprise to bear; His heart beat high, for Jane herself was there.— Flusht was her cheek; she seem'd the full-blown flower, For warmth gave loveliness a double power; Round her fair brow the deep confusion ran, A waving handkerchief became her fan, Her lips, where dwelt sweet love and smiling ease, Puff'd gently back the warm assailing breeze. 'I've travell'd all these weary miles with pain, 'To see my native village once again; 'And show my true regard for neighbour Hind; 'Not like you, Walter, she was always kind.'
Resentment and Tenderness.
'Twas thus, each soft actuation laid aside, She buoy'd her spirits up with maiden pride; Disclaimed her love, e'en while she felt the sting; 'What, come for Walter's sake!' 'Twas no such thing. But when astonishment his tongue releas'd, Pride's usurpation in an instant ceas'd: By force he caught her hand as passing by, And gaz'd upon her half averted eye; His heart's distraction, and his boding fears She heard, and answer'd with a flood of tears; Precious relief; sure friends that forward press To tell the mind's unspeakable distress. Ye Youths, whom crimson'd health and genuine fire Bear joyous on the wings of young desire, Ye, who still bow to Love's almighty sway, What could true passion, what could Walter say? Age, tell me true, nor shake your locks in vain, Tread back your paths, and be in love again;
Visit to a Friend.
In your young days did such a favouring hour Show you the littleness of wealth and pow'r? Advent'rous climbers of the Mountain's brow; While Love, their master, spreads his couch below— 'My dearest Jane,' the untaught Walter cried, As half repell'd he pleaded by her side; 'My dearest Jane, think of me as you may—' Thus—still unutter'd what he strove to say, They breath'd in sighs the anguish of their minds, And took the path that led to neighbour Hind's.
A secret joy the well-known roof inspir'd, Small was its store, and little they desir'd; Jane dried her tears; while Walter forward flew To aid the Dame; who to the brink updrew The pond'rous Bucket as they reach'd the well, And scarcely with exhausted breath could tell How welcome to her Cot the blooming Pair, O'er whom she watch'd with a maternal care.
'What ails thee, Jane?' the wary Matron cried; With heaving breast the modest Maid reply'd, Now gently moving back her wooden Chair To shun the current of the cooling air; 'Not much, good Dame; I'm weary by the way; 'Perhaps, anon, I've something else to say.' Now, while the Seed-cake crumbled on her knee, And Snowy Jasmine peeped in to see; And the transparent Lilac at the door, Full to the Sun its purple honors bore, The clam'rous Hen her fearless brood display'd, And march'd around; while thus the Matron said: 'Jane has been weeping, Walter;—prithee why? 'I've seen her laugh, and dance, but never cry. 'But I can guess; with her you should have been, 'When late I saw you loit'ring on the green; 'I'm an old Woman, and the truth may tell: I say then, Boy, you have not us'd her well.'
Pleadings of Experience for Love with extreme Prudence.
JANE felt for WALTER; felt his cruel pain, While Pity's voice brought forth her tears again. 'Don't scold him, Neighbour, he has much to say, 'Indeed he came and met me by the way.' The Dame resum'd—'Why then, my Children, why 'Do such young bosoms heave the piteous sigh? 'The ills of Life to you are yet unknown; 'Death's sev'ring shaft, and Poverty's cold frown: 'I've felt them both, by turns:—but as they pass'd, 'Strong was my trust, and here I am at last. 'When I dwelt young and cheerful down the Lane. '(And, though I say it, I was much like JANE,) 'O'er flow'ry fields with Hind, I lov'd to stray, 'And talk, and laugh, and fool the time away: 'And Care defied; who not one pain could give, 'Till the thought came of how we were to live; 'And then Love plied his arrows thicker still: 'And prov'd victorious;—as he always will.
'We brav'd Life's storm together; while that Drone, 'Your poor old Uncle, WALTER, liv'd alone. 'He died the other day: when round his bed 'No tender soothing tear Affection shed— 'Affection! 'twas a plant he never knew;— 'Why should he feast on fruits he never grew?'
WALTER caught fire: nor was he charm'd alone With conscious Truth's firm elevated tone; JANE from her seat sprang forward, half afraid, Attesting with a blush what Goody said. Her Lover took a more decided part:— (O! 'twas the very Chord that touch'd his heart,)— Alive to the best feelings man can prize, A Bridegroom's transport sparkled in his eyes; Love, conquering power, with unrestricted range Silenc'd the arguments of Time and Change; And led his vot'ry on, and bade him view, And prize the light-wing'd moments as they flew:
All doubts gave way, all retrospective lore, Whence cooler Reason tortur'd him before; Comparison of times, the Lab'rer's hire, And many a truth Reflection might inspire, Sunk powerless. 'Dame, I am a fool,' he cried; 'Alone I might have reason'd till I died. 'I caus'd those tears of Jane's:—but as they fell 'How much I felt none but ourselves can tell. 'While dastard fears withheld me from her sight; 'Sighs reign'd by day and hideous dreams by night; ''Twas then the Soldier's plume and rolling Drum 'Seem'd for a while to strike my sorrows dumb; 'To fly from Care then half resolv'd I stood, 'And without horror mus'd on fields of blood, 'But Hope prevail'd.—Be then the sword resign'd; 'And I'll make Shares for those that stay behind, 'And you, sweet Girl,'——— He would have added more, Had not a glancing shadow at the door
Announc'd a guest, who bore with winning grace His well-tim'd errand pictur'd in his face. Around with silent reverence they stood; A blameless reverence—the man was good. Wealth he had some, a match for his desires, First on the list of active Country 'Squires. Seeing the youthful pair with downcast eyes, Unmov'd by Summer-flowers and cloudless skies, Pass slowly by his Gate; his book resign'd, He watch'd their steps and follow'd far behind, Bearing with inward joy, and honest pride, A trust of WALTER'S kinsman ere he died, A hard-earn'd mite, deposited with care, And with a miser's spirit worshipt there. He found what oft the generous bosom seeks, In the Dame's court'seys and JANE'S blushing cheeks, That consciousness of Worth, that freeborn Grace, Which waits on Virtue in the meanest place.
The Difficulty remov'd
'Young Mon, I'll not apologize to you, 'Nor name intrusion, for my news is true; 'Tis duty brings me here: your wants I've heard, 'And can relieve: yet be the dead rever'd. 'Here, in this Purse, (what should have cheer'd a Wife,) 'Lies, half the savings of your Uncle's life! 'I know your history, and your wishes know; 'And love to see the seeds of Virtue grow. 'I've a spare Shed that fronts the public road: 'Make that your Shop; I'll make it your abode. 'Thus much from me,—the rest is but your due.' That instant twenty pieces sprung to view. Goody, her dim eyes wiping, rais'd her brow, And saw the young pair look they knew not how; Perils and Power while humble minds forego, Who gives them half a Kingdom gives them woe; Comforts may be procur'd and want defied, Heav'ns! with how small a Sum, when right applied!
How little of outward Good suffices for Happiness.
Give Love and honest Industry their way, Clear but the Sun-rise of Life's little day, Those we term poor shall oft that wealth obtain, For which th' ambitious sigh, but sigh in vain: Wealth that still brightens, as its stores increase; The calm of Conscience, and the reign of Peace. Walter's enamour'd Soul, from news like this, Now felt the dawnings of his future bliss; E'en as the Red-breast shelt'ring in a bower, Mourns the short darkness of a passing Shower, Then, while the azure sky extends around, Darts on a worm that breaks the moisten'd ground, And mounts the dripping fence, with joy elate, And shares the prize triumphant with his mate; So did the Youth;—the treasure straight became An humble servant to Love's sacred flame; Glorious subjection!—Thus his silence broke: Joy gave him words; still quick'ning as he spoke.
Joy above Wealth.
'Want was my dread, my wishes were but few; Others might doubt, but JANE those wishes knew: This Gold may rid my heart of pains and sighs; But her true love is still my greatest prize, Long as I live, when this bright day comes round, Beneath my Roof your noble deeds shall sound; But, first, to make my gratitude appear, I'll shoe your Honour's Horses for a Year; If clouds should threaten when your Corn is down, I'll lend a hand, and summon half the town; If good betide, I'll sound it in my songs, And be the first avenger of your wrongs: Though rude in manners, free I hope to live: This Ale's not mine, no Ale have I to give; Yet, Sir, though Fortune frown'd when I was born, Let's drink eternal friendship from this Horn. How much our present joy to you we owe, Soon our three Bells shall let the Neighbours know;
'The sound shall raise e'en stooping Age awhile, 'And every Maid shall meet you with a smile; 'Long may you live'—the wish like lightning flew; By each repeated as the 'Squire withdrew. 'Long may you live,' his feeling heart rejoin'd; Leaving well-pleas'd such happy Souls behind. Hope promis'd fair to cheer them to the end; With Love their guide, and Goody for their friend.
THE MILLER'S MAID.
Near the high road upon a winding stream An honest Miller rose to Wealth and Fame: The noblest Virtues cheer'd his lengthen'd days, And all the Country echo'd with his praise: His Wife, the Doctress of the neighb'ring Poor, [Footnote: This village and the poor of this neighbourhood know what it is to have possest such a blessing, and feel at this moment what it is to lose it by death. C.L. Troston, 13th of September, 1801.] Drew constant pray'rs and blessings round his door.
One Summer's night, (the hour of rest was come) Darkness unusual overspread their home; A chilling blast was felt; the foremost cloud Sprinkl'd the bubbling Pool; and thunder loud, Though distant yet, menac'd the country round, And fill'd the Heavens with its solemn sound. Who can retire to rest when tempests lour? Nor wait the issue of the coming hour? Meekly resign'd she sat, in anxious pain; He fill'd his pipe, and listen'd to the rain That batter'd furiously their strong abode, Roar'd in the Damm, and lash'd the pebbled road: When, mingling with the storm, confus'd and wild, They heard, or thought they heard, a screaming Child: The voice approach'd; and midst the thunder's roar, Now loudly begg'd for Mercy at the door.
MERCY was there: the Miller heard the call; His door he open'd; when a sudden squall
The Young Stranger.
Drove in a wretched Girl; who weeping stood, Whilst the cold rain dripp'd from her in a flood. With kind officiousness the tender Dame Rous'd up the dying embers to a flame; Dry cloaths procur'd, and cheer'd her shiv'ring guest, And sooth'd the sorrows of her infant breast. But as she stript her shoulders, lily-white, What marks of cruel usage shock'd their sight! Weals, and blue wounds, most piteous to behold Upon a Child yet scarcely Ten years old. The Miller felt his indignation rise, Yet, as the weary stranger clos'd her eyes, And seem'd fatigu'd beyond her strength and years, 'Sleep, Child,' he said, 'and wipe away your tears.' They watch'd her slumbers till the storm was done; When thus the generous Man again begun: 'See, fluttering sighs that rise against her will, And agitating dreams disturb her still!
The Simple Story.
'Dame, we should know before we go to rest, 'Whence comes this Girl, and how she came distrest. 'Wake her, and ask; for she is sorely bruis'd: 'I long to know by whom she's thus misus'd.
'Child, what's your name? how came you in the storm? 'Have you no home to keep you dry and warm? 'Who gave you all those wounds your shoulders show? 'Where are your Parents? Whither would you go?
The Stranger bursting into tears, look'd pale, And this the purport of her artless tale. 'I have no Parents; and no friends beside: 'I well remember when my Mother died: 'My Brother cried; and so did I that day: 'We had no Father;—he was gone away; 'That night we left our home new cloaths to wear: 'The Work-house found them; we were carried there. 'We lov'd each other dearly; when we met 'We always shar'd what trifles we could get.
Rustic Hospitality and Protection of the friendless.
But George was older by a year than me:— He parted from me and was sent to Sea. "Good-bye, dear Phoebe," the poor fellow said! Perhaps he'll come again; perhaps he's dead. When I grew strong enough I went to place, My Mistress had a sour ill-natured face; And though I've been so often beat and chid, I strove to please her, Sir: indeed, I did. Weary and spiritless to bed I crept, And always cried at night before I slept. This Morning I offended; and I bore A cruel beating, worse than all before. Unknown to all the House I ran away; And thus far travell'd through the sultry day; And, O don't send me back! I dare not go.'— 'I send you back!' the Miller cried, 'no, no.' Th' appeals of Wretchedness had weight with him, And Sympathy would warm him every limb;
The Child becomes one of the Family.
He mutter'd, glorying in the work begun, 'Well done, my little Wench; 'twas nobly done!' Then said, with looks more cheering than the fire, And feelings such as Pity can inspire, 'My house has childless been this many a year; While you deserve it you shall tarry here.' The Orphan mark'd the ardor of his eye, Blest his kind words, and thank'd him with a sigh.
Thus was the sacred compact doubly seal'd; Thus were her spirits rais'd, her bruises heal'd: Thankful, and cheerful too, no more afraid, Thus little PHOEBE was the Miller's Maid. Grateful they found her; patient of controul: A most bewitching gentleness of soul Made pleasure of what work she had to do: She grew in stature, and in beauty too.
Five years she pass'd in this delightful home; Five happy years: but, when the sixth was come,
The New Comer.
The Miller from a Market Town hard by, Brought home a sturdy Youth his strength to try, To raise the sluice-gates early every morn, To heave his powder'd sacks and grind his corn: And meeting Phoebe, whom he lov'd so dear, 'I've brought you home a Husband, Girl?—D'ye hear? He begg'd for work; his money seem'd but scant: Those that will work 'tis pity they should want. So use him well, and we shall shortly see Whether he merits what I've done, like thee.'
Now throbb'd her heart,—a new sensation Whene'er the comely Stranger was in right: For he at once assiduously strove. To please so sweet a Maid, and win her love. At every corner stopp'd her in her way; And saw fresh beauties opening ev'ry day; He took delight in tracing in her face The mantling blush, and every nameless grace,
[Footnote: A Maxim which all ought to remember. C.L.]
That Sensibility would bring to view, When Love he mention'd;—-Love, and Honour true, But Phoebe still was shy; and wish'd to know More of the honest Youth, whose manly brow She verily believ'd was Truth's own throne, And all his words as artless as her own; Most true she judg'd; yet, long the Youth forbore Divulging where, and how, he liv'd before; And seem'd to strive his History to hide, Till fair Esteem enlisted on his side. The Miller saw, and mention'd, in his prajse, The prompt fidelity of all his ways; Till in a vacant hour, the Dinner done, One day he jokjng cried, 'Come here, my Son! 'Tis pity that so good a Lad as you Beneath my roof should bring disorders new! But here's my Phoebe,—once so light and airy, She'd trip along the passage like a Fairy,—
Enquiry. Ingenuous Explanation.
Has lost her swiftness quite, since here you came:— And yet;... I can't perceive the Girl is lame! The obstacles she meets with still fall thicker: Old as I am I'd turn a corner quicker.'— The Youth blush'd deep; and Phoebe hung her head: The good Man smil'd, and thus again he said:
'Not that I deem it matter of surprise, That you should love to gaze at Phoebe's eyes; But be explicit, Boy; and deal with honour: I feel my happiness depend upon her. When here you came you'd sorrow on your brow; And I've forborne to question you till now. First, then, say what thou art.' He instant bow'd, And thus, in Phoebe's hearing, spoke aloud:
'Thus far experienc'd, Sir, in you I find All that is generous, fatherly, and kind; And while you look for proofs of real worth, You'll not regard the meanness of my birth.
The little History.
When, pennyless and sad, you met with me, I'd just escap'd the dangers of the Sea; Resolv'd to try my fortune on the shore: To get my bread; and trust the waves no more. Having no Home, nor Parents, left behind, I'd all my fortune, all my Friends, to find. Keen disappointment wounded me that morn: For, trav'ling near the spot where I was born, I at the well-known door where I was bred, Inquir'd who still was living, who was dead: But first, and most, I sought with anxious fear Tidings to gain of her who once was dear; A Girl, with all the meekness of the dove, The constant sharer of my childhood's love; She call'd me Brother:—which I heard with pride, Though now suspect we are not so allied. Thus much I learnt; (no more the churls would say;) She went to service, and she ran away.
'And scandal added'——'Hold!' the Miller cried, And, in an instant, stood at Phoebe's side; For he observed, while list'ning to the tale, Her spirits faulter'd, and her cheeks turn'd pale; Whilst her clasp'd hands descended to her knee She sinking whisper'd forth, 'O God, 'tis he! The good Man, though he guess'd the pleasing truth, Was far too busy to inform the Youth; But stirr'd himself amain to aid his Wife, Who soon restor'd the trembler back to life. Awhile insensible she still appear'd; But, 'O my Brother!' was distinctly heard: The astonisht Youth now held her to his breast; And tears and kisses soon explain'd the rest.
Past deeds now from each tongue alternate fell; For news of dearest import both could tell. Fondly, from childhood's tears to youth's full prime, They match'd the incidents of jogging time;
And prov'd, that when with Tyranny opprest, Poor Phoebe groan'd with wounds and broken rest, George felt no less: was harassed and forlorn; A rope's-end follow'd him both night and morn. Andin that very storm when Phoebe fled, When the rain drench'd her yet unshelter'd head; That very Storm he on the Ocean brav'd, The Vessel founder'd, and the Boy was say'd! Mysterious Heaven!—and O with what delight— She told the happy issue of her flight: To his charm'd heart a living picture drew; And gave to hospitality its due! The list'ning Host observ'd the gentle Pair; And ponder'd on the means that brought them there: Convinc'd, while unimpeach'd their Virtue stood, Twas Heav'n's high Will that he should do them good.
But now the anxious Dame, impatient grown, Demanded what the Youth had heard, or known,
Whereon to ground those doubts but just exprest;— Doubts, which must interest the feeling breast: 'Her Brother wert thou, George?—how; prithee say: Canst thou forego, or cast that name away?'
'No living proofs have I,' the Youth reply'd, That we by closest ties are not allied; But in my memory live, and ever will, A mother's dying words......I hear them still: She said, to one who watch'd her parting breath, "Don't separate the Children at my death; They're not both mine: but—" Here the scene was clos'd; She died, and left us helpless and expos'd; Nor Time hath thrown, nor Reason's opening power, One friendly ray on that benighted hour.'
Ne'er did the Chieftains of a Warring State Hear from the Oracle their half-told fate With more religious fear, or more suspense, Than Phoebe now endur'd:—for every sense
Became absorb'd in this unwelcome theme; Nay every meditation, every dream, Th'inexplicable sentence held to view, 'They're not both mine,' was every morning new: For, till this hour, the Maid had never prov'd How far she was enthrall'd, how much she lov'd: In that fond character he first appear'd; His kindness charm'd her, and his smiles endear'd: This dubious mystery the passion crost; Her peace was wounded, and her Lover lost. For George, with all his resolution strove To check the progress of his growing love; Or, if he e'er indulg'd a tender kiss, Th'unravell'd secret robb'd him of his bliss. Health's foe, Suspense, so irksome to be borne, An ever-piercing and retreating thorn, Hung on their Hearts, when Nature bade them rise, And stole Content's bright ensign from their eyes.
Anxiety. The Enquiry suggested.
The good folks saw the change, and griev'd to find These troubles labouring in Phoebe's mind; They lov'd them both; and with one voice propos'd The only means whence Truth might be disclos'd; That, when the Summer Months should shrink the rill, And scarce its languid stream would turn the Mill, When the Spring broods, and Pigs, and Lambs were rear'd, (A time when George and Phoebe might be spar'd,) Their birth-place they should visit once again, To try with joint endeavours to obtain From Record, or Tradition, what might be To chain, or set their chain'd affections free: Affinity beyond all doubts to prove; Or clear the road for Nature and for Love. Never, till now, did PHOEBE count the hours, Or think May long, or wish away its flowers; With mutual sighs both fann'd the wings of Time; As we climb Hills and gladden as we climb,
And reach at last the distant promis'd seat, Casting the glowing landscape at our feet Oft had the Morning Rose with dew been wet, And oft the journeying Sun in glory set, Beyond the willow'd meads of vigorous grass, The steep green hill, and woods they were to pass; When now: the day arriv'd: Impatience reign'd; And GEORGE,—by trifling obstacles detain'd— His bending Blackthorn on the threshold prest, Survey'd the windward clouds, and hop'd the best. PHOEBE, attir'd with every modest grace, While Health and Beauty revell'd in her face, Came forth; but soon evinc'd an absent mind, For, back she turn'd for something left behind; Again the same, till George grew tir'd of home, And peevishly exclaim'd, 'Come, Phoebe, come.' Another hindrance yet he had to feel: As from the door they tripp'd with nimble heel,
The Old Soldier.
A poor old Man, foot-founder'd and alone, Thus urgent spoke, in Trouble's genuine tone: 'My pretty Maid, if happiness you seek, May disappointment never fade your cheek!— Your's be the joy;—yet, feel another's woe; O leave some little, gift before you go.' His words struck home; and back she turn'd again, (The ready friend of indigence and pain,) To banish hunger from his shatter'd frame; And close behind her, lo, the Miller, came, With Jug in hand, and cried, 'GEORGE, why such haste? Here, take a draught; and let that Soldier taste.' 'Thanks for your bounty, Sir,' the Veteran said; Threw down his Wallet, and made bare his head; And straight began, though mix'd with doubts and fears, Th' unprefac'd History of his latter years, 'I cross'd th' Atlantic with our Regiment, brave, Where Sickness sweeps whole Regiments to the grave;
Yet I've escap'd; and bear my arms no more; My age discharg'd me when I came on shore. My Wife, I've heard,'—and here he wip'd his eyes,—- 'In the cold corner of the Church-yard lies. By her consent it was I left my home: Employment fail'd, and poverty waa come; The Bounty tempted me;—she had it all: We parted; and I've seen my betters fall. Yet, as I'm spar'd, though in this piteous case, I'm tray'ling homeward to my native place; Though should I reach that dear remember'd spot, Perhaps OLD GRAINGER will be quite forgot.'
All eyes beheld young George with wonder start: Strong were the secret bodings of his heart; Yet not indulg'd: for he with doubts survey'd By turns the Stranger, and the lovely Maid. 'Had you no Children?'—'Yes, young Man; I'd two: A Boy, if still he lives, as old as you:
Yet not my own; but likely so to prove; Though but the pledge of an unlawful Love: I cherish'd him, to hide a Sister's shame: He shar'd my best affections, and my name. But why, young folks, should I detain you here? Go; and may blessings wait upon your cheer: I too will travel on;—perhaps to find The only treasure that I left behind. Such kindly thoughts my fainting hopes revive!— Phoebe, my Cherub, ART thou still alive?'
Could Nature hold!—Could youthful Love forbear! George clasp'd the wond'ring Maid, and whisper'd, 'There! You're mine for, ever!—O, sustain the rest; And hush the tumult of your throbbing breast.' Then to the Soldier turn'd, with manly pride, And fondly led his long-intended Bride: 'Here see your Child; nor wish a sweeter flow'r. 'Tis George that speaks; thou'lt bless the happy hour!—
The Bliss of disinterested Benevolence.
Nay, be compos'd; for all will yet be well, Though here our history's too long to tell'—
A long-lost Father found, the mystery clear'd, What mingled transports in her face appear'd! The gazing Veteran stood with hands uprais'd— 'Art thou indeed my Child! then, God be prais'd.' O'er his rough cheeks the tears profusely spread: Such as fools say become not Men to shed; Past hours of bliss, regenerated charms, Rose, when he felt his Daughter in his arms: So tender was the scene, the generous Dame Wept, as she told of Phoebe's virtuous fame, And the good Host, with gestures passing strange, Abstracted seem'd through fields of joy to range: Rejoicing that his favour'd Roof should prove Virtue's asylum, and the nurse of Love; Rejoicing that to him the task was given, his full Soul was mounting up to Heav'n.
The Adopted Daughter.
But now, as from a dream, his Reason sprung, And heartiest greetings dwelt upon his tongue; The sounding Kitchen floor at once receiv'd The happy group, with all their fears reliev'd: 'Soldier,' he cried, 'you've found your Girl; 'tis true: But suffer me to be a Father too; For, never Child that blest a Parent's knee, Could show more duty than she has to met Strangely she came; Affliction chas'd her hard: I pitied her;—and this is my reward! Here sit you down; recount your perils o'er: Henceforth be this your home; and grieve no more: Plenty hath shower'd her dewdrops on my head; Care visits not my Table, nor my Bed. My heart's warm wishes thus then I fulfill:— My Dame and I can live without the Mill: George, take the whole; I'll near you still remain To guide your judgment in the choice of Grain:
Perfect Content: hopes and prospects of Goodness.
In Virtue's path commence your prosperous life; And from my hand receive your worthy Wife. Rise, Phoebe; rise, my Girl!—kneel not to me; But to THAT POW'R who interpos'd for thee. Integrity hath mark'd your favourite Youth; Fair budding Honour, Constancy, and Truth: Go to his arms;—and may unsullied joys Bring smiling round me, rosy Girls and Boys! I'll love them for thy sake. And may your days Glide on, as glides the Stream that never stays; Bright as whose shingled bed, till life's decline, May all your Worth, and all your Virtues shine!'
THE WIDOW TO HER HOUR-GLASS.
Come, friend, I'll turn thee up again: Companion of the lonely hour! Spring thirty times hath fed with rain And cloath'd with leaves my humble bower, Since thou hast stood In frame of wood, On Chest or Window by my side: At every Birth still thou wert near, Still spoke thine admonitions clear.— And, when my Husband died,
I've often watch'd thy streaming sand And seen the growing Mountain rise, And often found Life's hopes to stand On props as weak in Wisdom's eyes: Its conic crown Still sliding down, Again heap'd up, then down again; The sand above more hollow grew, Like days and years still filt'ring through, And mingling joy and pain.
While thus I spin and sometimes sing, (For now and then my heart will glow) Thou measur'st Time's expanding wing By thee the noontide hour I know: Though silent thou, Still shalt thou flow, And jog along thy destin'd way: But when I glean the sultry fields, When Earth her yellow Harvest yields, Thou get'st a Holiday.
Steady as Truth, on either end Thy daily task performing well, Thou'rt Meditation's constant friend, And strik'st the Heart without a Bell: Come, lovely May! Thy lengthen'd day Shall gild once more thy native plain; Curl inward here, sweet Woodbine flow'r;— 'Companion of the lonely hour, 'I'll turn thee up again.
'O Winds, howl not so long and loud; Nor with your vengeance arm the snow: Bear hence each heavy-loaded cloud; And let the twinkling Star-beams glow.
'Now sweeping floods rush down the slope, Wide scattering ruin.—Stars, shine soon! No other light my Love can hope; Midnight will want the joyous Moon.
'O guardian Spirits!—Ye that dwell Where woods, and pits, and hollow ways, The lone night-trav'ler's fancy swell With fearful tales, of older days,—
'Press round him:—guide his willing steed Through darkness, dangers, currents, snows; Wait where, from shelt'ring thickets freed, The dreary Heath's rude whirlwind blows.
'From darkness rushing o'er his way, The Thorn's white load it bears on high! Where the short furze all shrouded lay, Mounts the dried grass;—Earth's bosom dry.
'Then o'er the Hill with furious sweep It rends the elevated tree— Sure-footed beast, thy road thou'lt keep; Nor storm nor darkness startles thee!
'O blest assurance, (trusty steed,) To thee the buried road is known; Home, all the spur thy footsteps need, When loose the frozen rein is thrown,
'Between the roaring blasts that shake The naked Elder at the door, Though not one prattler to me speak, Their sleeping sighs delight me more.
'Sound is their rest:—they little know What pain, what cold, their Father feels; But dream, perhaps, they see him now, While each the promis'd Orange peels.
Would it were so!—the fire burns bright, And on the warming trencher gleams; In Expectation's raptur'd sight How precious his arrival seems!
'I'll look abroad!—'tis piercing cold!— How the bleak wind assails his breast! Yet some faint light mine eyes, behold: The storm is verging o'er the West.
'There shines a Star!—O welcome sight!— Through the thin vapours brightening still! Yet, 'twas beneath the fairest night The murd'rer stained yon lonely Hill.
'Mercy, kind Heav'n! such thoughts dispel! No voice, no footstep can I hear! (Where Night and Silence brooding dwell, Spreads thy cold reign, heart-chilling Fear.)
'Distressing hour! uncertain fate! O Mercy, Mercy, guide him home!— Hark!—then I heard the distant gate;— Repeat it, Echo; quickly, come!
'One minute now will ease my fears— Or, still more wretched must I be? No: surely Heaven has spar'd our tears: I see him, cloath'd in snow;—'tis he.—
'Where have you stay'd? put down your load. How have you borne the storm, the cold? What horrors did I not forebode— That Beast is worth his weight in gold.'
Thus spoke the joyful Wife;—then ran And hid in grateful steams her head: Dapple was hous'd, the hungry Man With joy glanc'd o'er the Children's bed.
'What, all asleep!—so best;' he cried: O what a night I've travell'd through! Unseen, unheard, I might have died; But Heaven has brought me safe to you.
'Dear Partner of my nights and days, That smile becomes thee!—Let us then Learn, though mishap may cross our ways, It is not ours to reckon when.'
THE FAKENHAM GHOST.
The Lawns were dry in Euston Park; (Here Truth  inspires my Tale) The lonely footpath, still and dark, Led over Hill and Dale.
[Footnote 1: This Ballad is founded on a fact. The circumstance occurred perhaps long before I was born: but is still related by my Mother, and some of the oldest inhabitants in that part of the country. R.B.]
Benighted was an ancient Dame, And fearful haste she made To gain the vale of Fakenham, And hail its Willow shade.
Her footsteps knew no idle stops, But follow'd faster still; And echo'd to the darksome Copse That whisper'd on the Hill;
Where clam'rous Rooks, yet scarcely hush'd, Bespoke a peopled shade; And many a wing the foliage brush'd, And hov'ring circuits made.
The dappled herd of grazing Deer That sought the Shades by day, Now started from her path with fear, And gave the Stranger way.
Darker it grew; and darker fears Came o'er her troubled mind; When now, a short quick step she hears Come patting close behind.
She turn'd; it stopt;—nought could she see Upon the gloomy plain! But, as she strove the Sprite to flee, She heard the same again.
Now terror seiz'd her quaking frame; For, where the path was bare, The trotting Ghost kept on the same! She mutter'd many a pray'r.
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 follow'd down the plain! She own'd her sins, and down she knelt, And said her pray'rs 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 pass'd through.
Loud fell the gate against the post! Her heart-strings like to crack: For, much she fear'd the grisly Ghost Would leap upon her back.
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 surpris'd: Out came her Daughter dear: Good-natur'd Souls! all unadvis'd Of what they had to fear.
The Candle's gleam pierc'd through the night, Some short space o'er the green; And there the little trotting Sprite Distinctly might be seen.
An Ass's Foal had lost its Dam Within the spacious Park; And simple as the playful Lamb Had follow'd in the dark.
No Goblin he; no imp of sin: No crimes had ever known. They took the shaggy stranger in, And rear'd him as their own.
His little hoofs would rattle round Upon the Cottage floor: The Matron learn'd to love the sound That frighten'd her before.
A favorite the Ghost became; And, 'twas his fate to thrive: And long he liv'd and spread his fame, And kept the joke alive.
For many a laugh went through the Vale; And some conviction tod:— Each thought some other Goblin Perhaps, was just as true.
THE FRENCH MARINER.
An Old French Mariner am I, Whom Time hath render'd poor and gray; Hear, conquering Britons, ere I die, What anguish prompts me thus to say.
I've rode o'er many a dreadful wave, I've seen the reeking blood descend: I've heard the last groans of the brave;— The shipmate dear, the steady Friend.
'Twas when De Grasse the battle join'd And struck, on April's fatal morn: I left three smiling boys behind, And saw my Country's Lily torn.
There, as I brav'd the storms of Fate, Dead in my arms my Brother fell; Here sits forlorn his widow'd Mate, Who weeps whene'er the tale I tell.
Thy reign, sweet Peace, was o'er too soon; War, piecemeal, robs me of my joy: For, on the bloodstain'd first of June Death took my eldest favorite Boy.
The other two enrag'd arose; 'Our Country claims our lives,' they said. With them I lost my Soul's repose; That fatal hour my last hope fled.
With BRUYES the proud NILE they sought; Where one in ling'ring wounds expir'd; While yet the other bravely fought The Orient's magazine was fir'd.
And must I mourn my Country's shame? And envious curse the conquering Foe? No more I feel that thirst of Fame;—All I can feel is private woe.
E'en all the joy that Vict'ry brings, (Her bellowing Guns, and flaming pride) Cold, momentary comfort flings Around where weeping Friends reside.
Whose blighted bud no Sun shall cheer, Whose Lamp of Life no longer shine: Some Parent, Brother, Child, most dear, Who ventur'd, and who died like mine.
Proud crested Fiend, the World's worst foe, Ambition, canst thou boast one deed, Whence no unsightly horrors flow, Nor private peace is seen to bleed?
Ah! why do these old Eyes remain To see succeeding mornings rise! My Wife is dead, my Children slain. And Poverty is all my prize.
Yet shall not poor enfeebled Age Breathe forth revenge;—but rather say O God, who seest the Battle's rage, Take from men's hearts that rage away.
From the vindictive tongue of strife Bid Hatred and false Glory See; That babes may meet advancing life, Nor feel the woes that light on me.
"Ingenuous trust, and confidence of Love."
The Bat began with giddy wing His circuit round the Shed, the Tree; And clouds of dancing Gnats to sing A summer-night's serenity.
Darkness crept slowly o'er the East! Upon the Barn-roof watch'd the Cat; Sweet breath'd the ruminating Beast At rest where DOLLY musing sat.
A simple Maid, who could employ The silent lapse of Evening mild, And lov'd its solitary joy; For Dolly was Reflection's child.
He who had pledg'd his word to be Her life's dear guardian, far away, The flow'r of Yeoman Cavalry, Bestrode a Steed with trappings gay.
And thus from memory's treasur'd sweets, And thus from Love's pure fount she drew That peace, which busy care defeats, And bids our pleasures bloom anew.
Six weeks of absence have I borne Since HENRY took his fond farewell: The charms of that delightful morn My tongue could thus for ever tell.
He at my Window whistling loud, Arous'd my lightsome heart to go: Day, conqu'ring climb'd from cloud to cloud; The fields all wore a purple glow.
We stroll'd the bordering flow'rs among: One hand the Bridle held behind; The other round my waist was flung: Sure never Youth spoke half so kind!
The rising Lark I could but hear; And jocund seem'd the song to be: But sweeter sounded in my ear, 'Will Dolly still be true to me!'
From the rude Dock my skirt had swept A fringe of clinging burrs so green; Like them our hearts still closer crept, And hook'd a thousand holds unseen.
High o'er the road each branching bough Its globes of silent dew had shed; And on the pure-wash'd sand below The dimpling drops around had spread.
The sweet-brier op'd its pink-ey'd rose, And gave its fragrance to the gale; Though modest flow'rs may sweets disclose; More sweet was HENRY'S earnest tale.
He seem'd, methought, on that dear morn, To pour out all his heart to me; As if, the separation borne, The coming hours would joyless be,
A bank rose high beside the way, And full against the Morning Sun; Of heay'nly blue there Violets gay His hand invited one by.
The posy with a smile he gave; I saw his meaning in his eyes: The withered treasure still I have; My bosom holds the fragrant prize.
With his last kiss he would have vow'd; But blessings crouding forc'd their way: Then mounted he his Courser proud; His time elaps'd, he could not stay.
Then first I felt the parting pang;— Sure the worst pang the Lover feels! His Horse unruly from me sprang, The pebbles flew beneath his heels;
Then down the road his vigour tried, His rider gazing, gazing still; 'My dearest, I'll be true,' he cried:— And, if he lives, I'm sure he will.
Then haste, ye hours, haste, Eve and Morn, Yet strew your blessings round my home: Ere Winter's blasts shall strip the thorn My promis'd joy, my love, will come.
LINES OCCASIONED BY A VISIT TO WHITTLEBURY FOREST,
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, IN AUGUST, 1800.
ADDRESSED TO MY CHILDREN.
Genius of the Forest Shades! Lend thy pow'r, and lend thine ear! A Stranger trod thy lonely glades, Amidst thy dark and bounding Deer; Inquiring Childhood claims the verse, O let them not inquire in vain; Be with me while I thus rehearse The glories of thy Sylvan Reign.
Thy Dells by wint'ry currents worn, Secluded haunts, how dear to me! From all but Nature's converse borne, No ear to hear, no eye to see. Their honour'd leaves the green Oaks rear'd, And crown'd the upland's graceful swell; While answering through the vale was heard Each distant Heifer's tinkling bell.
Hail, Greenwood shades, that stretching far, Defy e'en Summer's noontide pow'r, When August in his burning Car Withholds the Cloud, withholds the Show'r. The deep-ton'd Low from either Hill, Down hazel aisles and arches green, (The Herd's rude tracks from rill to rill) Roar'd echoing through the solemn scene.
From my charm'd heart the numbers sprung, Though Birds had ceas'd the choral lay: I pour'd wild raptures from my tongue, And gave delicious tears their way. Then, darker shadows seeking still, Where human foot had seldom stray'd, I read aloud to every Hill Sweet Emma's Love, 'the Nut-brown Maid.'
Shaking his matted mane on high The gazing Colt would raise his head; Or, tim'rous Doe would rushing fly, And leave to me her grassy bed: Where, as the azure sky appear'd Through Bow'rs of every varying form, Midst the deep gloom methought I heard The daring progress of the storm.
How would each sweeping pond'rous bough Resist, when straight the Whirlwind cleaves, Dashing in strength'ning eddies through A roaring wilderness of leaves! How would the prone descending show'r From the green Canopy rebound! How would the lowland torrents pour! How deep the pealing thunder sound!
But Peace was there: no lightnings blaz'd:— No clouds obscur'd the face of Heav'n: Down each green op'ning while I gaz'd, My thoughts to home, and you, were giv'n. O tender minds! in life's gay morn Some clouds must dim your coming day; Yet, bootless pride and falsehood scorn, And peace like this shall cheer your way.
Now, at the dark Wood's stately side, Well pleas'd I met the Sun again; Here fleeting Fancy travell'd wide! My seat was destin'd to the Main: For, many an Oak lay stretch'd at length, Whose trunks (with bark no longer sheath'd) Had reach'd their full meridian strength Before your Father's Father breath'd!
Perhaps they'll many a conflict brave, And many a dreadful storm defy; Then groaning o'er the adverse wave, Bring home the flag of victory. Go, then, proud Oaks; we meet no more! Go, grace the scenes to me denied, The white Cliffs round my native shore, And the loud Ocean's swelling tide.
'Genius of the Forest Shades,' Sweet, from the heights of thy domain, When the grey ev'ning shadow fades, To view the Country's golden grain! To view the gleaming Village Spire Midst distant groves unknown to me; Groves, that grown bright in borrow'd fire, Bow o'er the peopled Vales to thee!
Where was thy Elfin train that play Round Wake's huge Oak, their favourite tree; May a poor son of Song thus say, Why were they not reveal'd to me! Yet, smiling Fairies left behind, Affection brought you to nay view; To love and tenderness resign'd, I sat me down and thought of you.
When Morning still unclouded rose, Refresh'd with sleep and joyous dreams, Where fruitful fields with woodlands close, I trac'd the births of various streams. From beds of Clay, here creeping rills Unseen to parent Ouse would steal; Or, gushing from the northward Hills, 'Would glitter through Toves' winding dale.
But ah! ye cooling springs, farewell! Herds, I no more your freedom share; But long my grateful tongue shall tell What brought your gazing stranger there. 'Genius of the Forest Shades, 'Lend thy power, and lend thine ear;' Let dreams still lengthen thy long glades, And bring thy peace and silence here.
SONG FOR A HIGHLAND DROVER RETURNING FROM ENGLAND.
Now fare-thee-well, England; no further I'll roam; But follow my shadow that points the way home; Your gay southern Shores shall not tempt me to stay; For my Maggy's at Home, and my Children at play! Tis this makes my Bonnet set light on my brow, Gives my sinews their strength and my bosom its glow.
Farewell, Mountaineers! my companions, adieu; Soon, many long miles when I'm severed from you, I shall miss your white Horns on the brink of the Bourne, And o'er the rough Heaths, where you'll never return: But in brave English pastures you cannot complain, While your Drover speeds back to his Maggy again.
O Tweed! gentle Tweed, as I pass your green vales, More than life, more than Love, my tir'd Spirit inhales; There Scotland, my darling, lies full in my view, With her bare-footed Lasses and Mountains so blue: To the Mountains away; my heart bounds like the Hind; For home is so sweet, and my Maggy so kind.
As day after day I still follow my course, And in fancy trace back every Stream to its source, Hope cheers me up hills, where the road lies before O'er hills just as high, and o'er tracks of wild Moor; The keen polar Star nightly rising to view; But Maggy's my Star, just as steady and true.
O Ghosts of my Fathers! O heroes, look down! Fix my wandering thoughts on your deeds of renown, For the glory of Scotland reigns warm in my breast, And fortitude grows both from toil and from rest; May your deeds and your worth be for ever in view, And may Maggy bear sons not unworthy of you.
Love, why do you urge me, so weary and poor? I cannot step faster, I cannot do more; I've pass'd silver Tweed; e'en the Tay flows behind: Yet fatigue I'll disdain;—my reward I shall find: Thou, sweet smile of innocence, thou art my prize; And the joy that will sparkle in Maggy's blue eyes.
She'll watch to the southward;—perhaps she will sigh, That the way is so long, and the Mountains so high; Perhaps some huge Rock in the dusk she may see, And will say in her fondness, 'That surely is he!' Good Wife, you're deceiv'd; I'm still far from my home; Go, sleep, my dear Maggy,—to-morrow I'll come.
A WORD TO TWO YOUNG LADIES.
WHEN tender Rose-trees first receive On half-expanded Leaves, the Shower; Hope's gayest pictures we believe, And anxious watch each coining flower.
Then, if beneath the genial Sun That spreads abroad the full-blown May, Two infant Stems the rest out-run, Their buds the first to meet the day,
With joy their op'ning tints we view, While morning's precious moments fly: My pretty Maids, 'tis thus with you; The fond admiring gazer, I.
Preserve, sweet Buds, where'er you be; The richest gem that decks a Wife; The charm of female modesty: And let sweet Music give it life.
Still may the favouring Muse be found: Still circumspect the paths ye tread: Plant moral truths in Fancy's ground; And meet old Age without a dread.
Yet, ere that comes, while yet ye quaff The cup of Health without a pain, I'll shake my grey hairs when you laugh, And, when you sing, be young again.
Both the young Ladies had addressed to me a few complimentary lines, (and I am sorry that those of the elder sister were never in my possession;) in return for which I sent the above. It was received on the day on which the younger completed her ninth year. Surely it cannot be ascribed to vanity, if, in gratitude to a most amiable family, I here preserve verbatim an effort of a child nine years old. I hare the more pleasure in doing it, because I know them to be her own. R.B.
"Accept, dear Bard, the Muse's genuine thought, And take not ill the tribute of my heart:— For thee the laureat wreath of praise I'll bind, None that have read thy commendable mind Can let it pass unnotic'd—nor can I— For by thy lays I know thy sympathy." F.P.
ON HEARING THE TRANSLATION OF PART OF THE FARMER'S BOY INTO LATIN
By the Rev. Mr. C—;
Hey, Giles! in what new garb art dresst? For Lads like you methinks a bold one; I'm glad to see thee so caresst; But, hark ye!—don't despise your old one. Thou'rt not the first by many, a Boy Who've found abroad good friends to own 'em; Then, in such Coats have shown their joy, E'en their own Fathers have not known 'em.
You ask me, dear Nancy, what makes me presume That you cherish a secret affection for me? When we see the Flow'rs bud, don't we look for the Bloom? Then, sweetest, attend, while I answer to thee.
When we Young Men with pastimes the Twilight beguile, I watch your plump cheek till it dimples with joy: And observe, that whatever occasions the smile, You give me a glance; but provokingly coy.
Last Month, when wild Strawberries pluckt in the Grove, Like beads on the tall seeded grass you had strung; You gave me the choicest; I hop'd 'twas for Love; And I told you my hopes while the Nightingale sung.
Remember the Viper:—'twas close at your feet; How you started, and threw yourself into my arms; Not a Strawberry there was so ripe nor so sweet As the lips which I kiss'd to subdue your alarms.
As I pull'd down the clusters of Nuts for my Fair, What a blow I receiv'd from a strong bending bough; Though Lucy and other gay lasses were there, Not one of them show'd such compassion as you.
And was it compassion?—by Heaven 'twas more! A telltale betrays you;—that blush on your cheek. Then come, dearest Maid, all your trifling give o'er, And whisper what Candour will teach you to speak.
Can you stain my fair Honour with one broken vow? Can you say that I've ever occasion'd a pain? On Truth's honest base let your tenderness grow: I swear to be faithful, again and again.
A Spring o'erhung with many a flow'r, The grey sand dancing in its bed, Embank'd beneath a Hawthorn bower, Sent forth its waters near my head: A rosy Lass approach'd my view; I caught her blue eye's modest beam: The stranger nodded 'How d'ye do!' And leap'd across the infant stream.
The water heedless pass'd away: With me her glowing image stay'd. 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, flow'rs though sweet, Match'd 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.
THE SHEPHERD AND HIS DOG ROVER.
ROVER, awake! the grey Cock crows! Come, shake your coat and go with me! High in the East the green Hill glows; And glory crowns our shelt'ring Tree. The Sheep expect us at the fold: My faithful Dog, let's haste away, And in his earliest beams behold, And hail, the source of cheerful day.
Half his broad orb o'erlooks the Hill, And darting down the Valley flies: At every casement welcome still; The golden summons of the skies. Go, fetch my Staff; and o'er the dews Let Echo waft thy gladsome voice. Shall we a cheerful note refuse When rising Morn proclaims 'Rejoice!'
Now then we'll start; and thus I'll sling Our store, a trivial load to bear: Yet, ere night comes, should hunger sting, I'll not encroach on Rover's share. The fresh breeze bears its sweets along; The Lark but chides us while we stay: Soon shall the Vale repeat my song; Go brush before, away, away.
Ye darksome Woods where Echo dwells, Where every bud with freedom swells To meet the glorious day: The morning breaks; again rejoice; And with old Ringwood's well-known voice Bid tuneful Echo play.
We come, ye Groves, ye Hills, we come: The vagrant Fox shall hear: his doom, And dread our jovial train. The shrill Horn sounds, the courser flies, While every Sportsman joyful cries, 'There's Ringwood's voice again.'
Ye Meadows, hail the coming throng; Ye peaceful Streams that wind along, Repeat the Hark-away: Far o'er the Downs, ye Gales that sweep, The daring Oak that crowns the steep, The roaring peal convey.
The chiming notes of chearful Hounds, Hark! how the hollow Dale resounds; The sunny Hills how gay. But where's the note, brave Dog, like thine? Then urge the Steed, the chorus join, 'Tis Ringwood leads the way.
Thy favourite Bird is soaring still: My Lucy, haste thee o'er the dale; The Stream's let loose, and from the Mill All silent comes the balmy gale; Yet, so lightly on its way, Seems to whisper 'Holiday.'
The pathway flowers that bending meet And give the Meads their yellow hue, The May-bush and the Meadow-sweet Reserve their fragrance all for you. Why then, Lucy, why delay? Let us share the Holiday.
Since there thy smiles, my charming Maid, Are with unfeigned rapture seen, To Beauty be the homage paid; Come, claim the triumph of the Green. Here's my hand, come, come away; Share the merry Holiday.
A promise too my Lucy made, (And shall my heart its claim resign?) That ere May-flowers again should fade, Her heart and hand should both be mine. Hark 'ye, Lucy, this is May; Love shall crown our Holiday.
Dear Boy, throw that Icicle down, And sweep this deep Snow from the door: Old Winter comes on with a frown; A terrible frown for the poor. In a Season so rude and forlorn How can age, how can infancy bear The silent neglect and the scorn Of those who have plenty to spare?
Fresh broach'd is my Cask of old Ale, Well-tim'd now the frost is set in; Here's Job come to tell us a tale, We'll make him at home to a pin. While my Wife and I bask o'er the fire, The roll of the Seasons will prove, That Time may diminish desire, But cannot extinguish true love.
O the pleasures of neighbourly chat, If you can but keep scandal away, To learn what the world has been at, And what the great Orators say; Though the Wind through the crevices sing, And Hail down the chimney rebound, I'm happier than many a king While the Bellows blow Bass to the sound.
Abundance was never my lot: But out of the trifle that's given, That no curse may alight on my Cot, I'll distribute the bounty of Heaven: The fool and the slave gather wealth; But if I add nought to my store, Yet while I keep conscience in health, I've a Mine that will never grow poor.