Archaic and variable spelling was preserved as printed.
Missing quotation marks were added to standardize usage. Otherwise, the editor's punctuation style was preserved.
Authors' and First Lines' Indices were updated to match the poems.
As noted in the Preface, some poems have been altered from the original by Patmore for content and length.
Text in italics is enclosed by underscores (italics).
Emphasized text within italics is enclosed by plus signs (emphasized text).
Text in bold face is enclosed by equal signs (bold).
Golden Treasury Series
THE CHILDREN'S GARLAND FROM THE BEST POETS
Selected and Arranged by
London MacMillan and Co. and New York 1895
First Edition printed 1861 (dated 1862). Reprinted with corrections, and Index added, February 1862. Reprinted with corrections, 1863. Reprinted 1866, 1871, 1874, 1877, 1879, March and August 1882, 1884, 1891, 1892, 1895.
This volume will, I hope, be found to contain nearly all the genuine poetry in our language fitted to please children,—of and from the age at which they have usually learned to read,—in common with grown people. A collection on this plan has, I believe, never before been made, although the value of the principle seems clear.
The test applied, in every instance, in the work of selection, has been that of having actually pleased intelligent children; and my object has been to make a book which shall be to them no more nor less than a book of equally good poetry is to intelligent grown persons. The charm of such a book to the latter class of readers is rather increased than lessened by the surmised existence in it of an unknown amount of power, meaning and beauty, beyond that which is at once to be seen; and children will not like this volume the less because, though containing little or nothing which will not at once please and amuse them, it also contains much, the full excellence of which they may not as yet be able to understand.
The application of the practical test above mentioned has excluded nearly all verse written expressly for children, and most of the poetry written about children for grown people. Hence, the absence of several well-known pieces, which some persons who examine this volume may be surprised at not finding in it.
I have taken the liberty of omitting portions of a few poems, which would else have been too long or otherwise unsuitable for the collection; and, in a very few instances, I have ventured to substitute a word or a phrase, when that of the author has made the piece in which it occurs unfit for children's reading. The abbreviations I have been compelled to make in the "Ancient Mariner," in order to bring that poem within the limits of this collection, are so considerable as to require particular mention and apology.
No translations have been inserted but such as, by their originality of style and modification of detail, are entitled to stand as original poems.
INDEX OF FIRST LINES PAGE A barking sound the shepherd hears 248 A chieftain to the Highlands bound 246 A country life is sweet 31 A fox, in life's extreme decay 171 A fragment of a rainbow bright 41 A lion cub, of sordid mind 301 A Nightingale that all day long 276 A parrot, from the Spanish main 124 A perilous life, and sad as life may be 76 A widow bird sate mourning for her love 329 A wonder stranger ne'er was known 165 Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase) 19 Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight 20 Among the dwellings framed by birds 32 An ancient story I'll tell you anon 159 An old song made by an aged old pate 136 An outlandish knight came from the North lands 221 Art thou the bird whom man loves best 99 As I a fare had lately past 9 As it fell upon a day 169 As in the sunshine of the morn 271 At dead of night, when mortals lose 295 Attend all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise 70
Before the stout harvesters falleth the grain 115 Beside the Moldau's rushing stream 96
Clear had the day been from the dawn 35 Close by the threshold of a door nail'd fast 303 Come dear children, let us away 50 Come listen to me, you gallants so free 44 Come live with me and be my Love 7 Come unto these yellow sands 67
Did you hear of the curate who mounted his mare 304 Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove 3
Faintly as tolls the evening chime 81 Fair daffodils, we weep to see 207 Full fathom five thy father lies 57
Gentlefolks, in my time, I've made many a rhyme 149 Good-bye, good-bye to Summer 106 Good people all, of every sort 241
Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove 43 Half a league, half a league 174 Hamelin Town's in Brunswick 150 Happy insect! what can be 117 Her arms across her breast she laid 200 Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue 18 Ho, sailor of the sea 68 How beautiful is the rain 15
I am monarch of all I survey 86 I come from haunts of coot and hern 4 I had a dove, and the sweet dove died 125 I sail'd from the Downs in the Nancy 74 I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris and he 38 I wander'd by the brook-side 322 If all the world was apple-pie 339 In ancient times, as story tells 254 In distant countries have I been 317 In her ear he whispers gaily 119 In the hollow tree in the grey old tower 107 Into the sunshine 226 It chanced upon a winter's day 281 It is an ancient Mariner 58 It is not growing like a tree 340 It was a summer evening 184 It was the schooner Hesperus 78 I've watch'd you now a full half-hour 291
Jaffar, the Barmecide, the good Vizier 96 Jenny Wren fell sick 336 John Bull for pastime took a prance 242 John Gilpin was a citizen 138
King Lear once ruled in this land 265
Lady Alice was sitting in her bower window 220 Laid in my quiet bed in study as I were 339 Little Ellie sits alone 320 Little white Lily 238 Lord Thomas he was a bold forester 258
Mary-Ann was alone with her baby in arms 30 My banks they are furnished with bees 118 My heart leaps up when I behold 341
Napoleon's banners at Boulogne 178 No stir in the air, no stir in the sea 23 Now ponder well, you parents dear 100 Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger 2 Now the hungry lion roars 2 'Now, woman, why without your veil?' 296
O Mary, go and call the cattle home 55 O listen, listen, ladies gay 82 O say what is that thing called Light 126 O sing unto my roundelay 239 O then, I see, Queen Mab hath been with you 261 O where have ye been, Lord Randal, my son? 26 O where have you been, my long, long, love 273 O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west 262 Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray 13 Oh, hear a pensive prisoner's prayer 116 Oh, to be in England 88 Oh! what's the matter? what's the matter 127 Old stories tell how Hercules 292 On his morning rounds the master 264 On the green banks of Shannon when Sheelah was nigh 243 Once on a time a rustic dame 147 Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary 191 One day, it matters not to know 218 One morning (raw it was and wet) 186 Open the door, some pity to show 49 Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had lower'd 182
Piping down the valleys wild 1 Proud Maisie is in the wood 305
Remember us poor Mayers all 233
See the Kitten on the wall 8 Seven daughters had Lord Archibald 197 Shepherds all, and maidens fair 123 Sir John got him an ambling nag 287 Some will talk of bold Robin Hood 284 Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king 223
The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold 328 The boy stood on the burning deck 35 The cock is crowing 25 The crafty Nix, more false than fair 196 The fox and the cat, as they travell'd one day 251 The gorse is yellow on the heath 314 The greenhouse is my summer seat 244 The hollow winds begin to blow 37 The Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor 108 The mountain and the squirrel 122 The noon was shady, and soft airs 252 The ordeal's fatal trumpet sounded 215 The post-boy drove with fierce career 312 The stately homes of England 208 The stream was as smooth as glass, we said, 'Arise and let's away' 84 The summer and autumn had been so wet 133 The warm sun is failing, the bleak wind is wailing 190 The Wildgrave winds his bugle horn 200 There came a ghost to Margaret's door 224 There came a man, making his hasty moan 187 There was a jovial beggar 131 There was a little boy and a little girl 339 There was an old woman, as I've heard tell 338 There was three kings into the East 27 There were three jovial Welshmen 337 There's that old hag Moll Brown, look, see, just past 335 They glide upon their endless way 6 They grew in beauty side by side 315 Three fishers went sailing away to the west 311 Three times, all in the dead of night 98 Thou that hast a daughter 76 Tiger, tiger, burning bright 158 To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall 302 To sea! to sea! the calm is o'er 248 Toll for the brave 56 Tread lightly here, for here, 'tis said 254 'Twas in the prime of summer time 88 'Twas on a lofty vase's side 170
Under the green hedges after the snow 48 Under the greenwood tree 12 Underneath an old oak tree 41 Up the airy mountain 163 Up, Timothy, up with your staff and away 324 Up! up! ye dames, ye lasses gay 327 Upon a time a neighing steed 216
When Arthur first in court began 306 When as King Henry ruled this land 228 When I remember'd again 289 When I was still a boy and mother's pride 127 When icicles hang by the wall 22 When shall we three meet again 214 When the British warrior queen 180 Whither, 'midst falling dew 283 Who is yonder poor maniac, whose wildly fixed eyes 210 Will you hear a Spanish lady 234 With farmer Allan at the farm abode 329 Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush 316
Ye mariners of England 176 Year after year unto her feet 325 'You are old, Father William,' the young man cried 173 You beauteous ladies great and small 277 You spotted snakes with double tongue 257 Young Henry was as brave a youth 183
I The Child and the Piper II On May Morning III The Approach of the Fairies IV Answer to a Child's Question V The Brook VI Stars VII The Shepherd to his Love VIII The Kitten and Falling Leaves IX The Ferryman, Venus, and Cupid X Song XI Lucy Gray, or Solitude XII Rain in Summer XIII Epitaph on a Hare XIV Abou Ben Adhem and the Angel XV La Belle Dame sans Mercy XVI Winter XVII The Inchcape Rock XVIII Written in March XIX Lord Randal XX John Barleycorn XXI Mary-Ann's Child XXII The Useful Plough XXIII A Wren's Nest XXIV A Fine Day XXV Casabianca, a True Story XXVI Signs of Rain XXVII How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix XXVIII The Rainbow XXIX The Raven and the Oak XXX Ode to the Cuckoo XXXI Robin Hood and Allin a Dale XXXII Violets XXXIII The Palmer XXXIV The Forsaken Merman XXXV The Sands o' Dee XXXVI The Loss of the Royal George XXXVII A Sea Dirge XXXVIII The Ancient Mariner XXXIX Song of Ariel XL How's my Boy? XLI The Spanish Armada XLII The Tar for all Weathers XLIII The Fisherman XLIV The Sailor XLV The Wreck of the Hesperus XLVI A Canadian Boat Song XLVII Rosabelle XLVIII The Ballad of the Boat XLIX Verses, supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk L Home Thoughts from Abroad LI The Dream of Eugene Aram LII The Beleaguered City LIII Jaffar LIV Colin and Lucy LV The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly LVI The Children in the Wood LVII Robin Redbreast LVIII The Owl LIX Hart Leap Well LX The Summer Shower LXI The Mouse's Petition LXII The Grasshopper LXIII The Shepherd's Home LXIV The Lord of Burleigh LXV The Mountain and the Squirrel LXVI Evening LXVII The Parrot LXVIII Song LXIX The Blind Boy LXX False Friends-like LXXI Goody Blake and Harry Gill LXXII The Jovial Beggar LXXIII Bishop Hatto LXXIV The Old Courtier LXXV John Gilpin LXXVI The Milkmaid LXXVII Sir Sidney Smith LXXVIII The Pied Piper of Hamelin LXXIX The Tiger LXXX King John and the Abbot of Canterbury LXXXI The Fairies LXXXII The Suffolk Miracle LXXXIII The Nightingale LXXXIV On a favourite Cat drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes LXXXV The Fox at the Point of Death LXXXVI The Old Man's Comforts and how he gained them LXXXVII The Charge of the Light Brigade LXXXVIII Ye Mariners of England LXXXIX Napoleon and the Sailor XC Boadicea, an Ode XCI The Soldier's Dream XCII Love and Glory XCIII After Blenheim XCIV The Sailor's Mother XCV Mahmoud XCVI Autumn, a Dirge XCVII The Raven XCVIII The Nix XCIX The Seven Sisters, or the Solitude of Binnorie C The Beggar Maid CI The Wild Huntsman CII To Daffodils CIII The Homes of England CIV Mary the Maid of the Inn CV The Witches' Meeting CVI Adelgitha CVII The Council of Horses CVIII St. Romuald CIX Lady Alice CX The Outlandish Knight CXI Spring CXII Sweet William's Ghost CXIII The Fountain CXIV Fair Rosamund CXV The Hitchen May-Day Song CXVI The Spanish Lady's Love CXVII Little White Lily CXVIII Minstrel's Song in Ella CXIX An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog CXX Nongtongpaw CXXI Poor Dog Tray CXXII The Faithful Bird CXXIII Lord Ullin's Daughter CXXIV The Sea CXXV Fidelity CXXVI The Fox and the Cat CXXVII The Dog and the Water-Lily CXXVIII An Epitaph on a Robin Redbreast CXXIX Baucis and Philemon CXXX Lullaby for Titania CXXXI Lord Thomas and Fair Ellinor CXXXII Queen Mab CXXXIII Young Lochinvar CXXXIV Incident Characteristic of a Favourite Dog CXXXV King Lear and his Three Daughters CXXXVI The Butterfly and the Snail CXXXVII The Daemon Lover CXXXVIII The Nightingale and the Glow-worm CXXXIX The Lady turned Serving-Man CXL Pairing Time Anticipated CXLI To a Water Fowl CXLII Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford CXLIII Sir John Suckling's Campaign CXLIV The Nun's Lament for Philip Sparrow CXLV To a Butterfly CXLVI The Dragon of Wantley CXLVII The Ungrateful Cupid CXLVIII The King of the Crocodiles CXLIX The Lion and the Cub CL The Snail CLI The Colubriad CLII The Priest and the Mulberry-Tree CLIII The Pride of Youth CLIV Sir Lancelot du Lake CLV The Three Fishers CLVI Alice Fell, or Poverty CLVII The First Swallow CLVIII The Graves of a Household CLIX The Thrush's Nest CLX The Last of the Flock CLXI The Romance of the Swan's Nest CLXII Song CLXIII Timothy CLXIV The Sleeping Beauty CLXV Choral Song of Illyrian Peasants CLXVI The Destruction of Sennacherib CLXVII The Widow Bird CLXVIII Dora CLXIX A Witch, Spoken by a Countryman CLXX Nursery Rhymes CLXXI The Age of Children Happiest CLXXII The Noble Nature CLXXIII The Rainbow
The Children's Garland from the Best Poets
THE CHILD AND THE PIPER
Piping down the valleys wild, Piping songs of pleasant glee, On a cloud I saw a child, And he, laughing, said to me,
'Pipe a song about a lamb,' So I piped with merry cheer; 'Piper, pipe that song again,' So I piped, he wept to hear.
'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe, Sing thy songs of happy cheer.' So I sang the same again, While he wept with joy to hear.
'Piper, sit thee down and write In a book that all may read.' So he vanish'd from my sight; And I pluck'd a hollow reed,
And I made a rural pen, And I stain'd the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear.
ON MAY MORNING
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger, Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose. Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire Mirth and youth and warm desire! Woods and groves are of thy dressing, Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early song, And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
THE APPROACH OF THE FAIRIES
Now the hungry lion roars, And the wolf behowls the moon; Whilst the heavy ploughman snores, All with weary task foredone. Now the wasted brands do glow, Whilst the scritch owl, scritching loud, Puts the wretch that lies in woe, In remembrance of a shroud. Now it is the time of night That the graves, all gaping wide, Every one lets forth his sprite, In the churchway paths to glide: And we fairies, that do run, By the triple Hecate's team, From the presence of the sun, Following darkness like a dream, Now are frolic; not a mouse Shall disturb this hallowed house: I am sent with broom before, To sweep the dust behind the door.
Through the house give glimmering light; By the dead and drowsy fire, Every elf and fairy sprite, Hop as light as bird from brier; And this ditty after me, Sing and dance it trippingly. First rehearse this song by rote, To each word a warbling note, Hand in hand, with fairy grace, We will sing, and bless this place.
ANSWER TO A CHILD'S QUESTION
Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove, The linnet, and thrush say 'I love, and I love!' In the winter they're silent, the wind is so strong; What it says I don't know, but it sings a loud song. But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather, And singing and loving—all come back together. But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love, The green fields below him, the blue sky above, That he sings, and he sings, and forever sings he, 'I love my Love, and my Love loves me.'
S. T. Coleridge
I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally, And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down, Or slip between the ridges, By twenty thorps, a little town, And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Philip's farm I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever.
I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.
With many a curve my bank I fret By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set With willow-weed and mallow.
I chatter, chatter, as I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever.
I wind about, and in and out, With here a blossom sailing, And here and there a lusty trout, And here and there a grayling,
And here and there a foamy flake Upon me as I travel, With many a silvery waterbreak Above the golden gravel,
And draw them all along and flow To join the brimming river, For men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever.
I steal by lawns and grassy plots, I slide by hazel covers, I move the sweet forget-me-nots That grow for happy lovers.
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, Among my skimming swallows; I make the netted sunbeam dance Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars In brambly wildernesses; I linger by my shingly bars; I loiter round my cresses;
And out again I curve and flow To join the brimming river, For men may come, and men may go, But I go on forever.
They glide upon their endless way, For ever calm, for ever bright; No blind hurry, no delay, Mark the Daughters of the Night: They follow in the track of Day, In divine delight.
Shine on, sweet orbed Souls for aye, For ever calm, for ever bright: We ask not whither lies your way, Nor whence ye came, nor what your light. Be—still a dream throughout the day, A blessing through the night.
THE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE
Come live with me and be my Love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dale and field, And all the craggy mountains yield.
There will we sit upon the rocks And see the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee beds of roses And a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool, Which from our pretty lambs we pull, Fair lined slippers for the cold, With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me and be my Love.
Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Come live with me and be my Love.
THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES
See the Kitten on the wall, Sporting with the leaves that fall, Withered leaves—one—two—and three— From the lofty elder tree! Through the calm and frosty air Of this morning bright and fair, Eddying round and round they sink Softly, slowly: one might think From the motions that are made, Every little leaf conveyed Sylph or Fairy hither tending, To this lower world descending, Each invisible and mute, In his wavering parachute. —But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts! First at one, and then its fellow, Just as light and just as yellow; There are many now—now one— Now they stop and there are none: What intenseness of desire In her upward eye of fire! With a tiger-leap half-way Now she meets the coming prey, Lets it go as fast, and then Has it in her power again: Now she works with three or four, Like an Indian conjuror; Quick as he in feats of art, Far beyond in joy of heart. Were her antics played in the eye Of a thousand standers-by, Clapping hands with shouts and stare, What would little Tabby care For the plaudits of the crowd? Over happy to be proud, Over wealthy in the treasure Of her own exceeding pleasure!
THE FERRYMAN, VENUS, AND CUPID
As I a fare had lately past, And thought that side to ply, I heard one, as it were, in haste, A boat! a boat! to cry; Which as I was about to bring, And came to view my fraught, Thought I, what more than heavenly thing Hath fortune hither brought? She, seeing mine eyes still on her were, Soon, smilingly, quoth she, Sirrah, look to your rudder there, Why look'st thou thus at me? And nimbly stepp'd into my boat With her a little lad, Naked and blind, yet did I note That bow and shafts he had, And two wings to his shoulders fixt, Which stood like little sails, With far more various colours mixt Than be your peacocks' tails! I seeing this little dapper elf Such arms as these to bear, Quoth I, thus softly to myself, What strange things have we here? I never saw the like, thought I, 'Tis more than strange to me, To have a child have wings to fly, And yet want eyes to see. Sure this is some devised toy, Or it transform'd hath been, For such a thing, half bird, half boy, I think was never seen. And in my boat I turn'd about, And wistly view'd the lad, And clearly I saw his eyes were out, Though bow and shafts he had. As wistly she did me behold, How lik'st thou him? quoth she. Why, well, quoth I, the better should, Had he but eyes to see. How sayst thou, honest friend, quoth she, Wilt thou a 'prentice take? I think, in time, though blind he be, A ferryman he'll make. To guide my passage-boat, quoth I, His fine hands were not made; He hath been bred too wantonly To undertake my trade. Why, help him to a master, then, Quoth she, such youths be scant; It cannot be but there be men That such a boy do want. Quoth I, when you your best have done, No better way you'll find, Than to a harper bind your son, Since most of them are blind. The lovely mother and the boy Laugh'd heartily thereat, As at some nimble jest or toy, To hear my homely chat. Quoth I, I pray you let me know, Came he thus first to light, Or by some sickness, hurt, or blow, Deprived of his sight? Nay, sure, quoth she, he thus was born. 'Tis strange, born blind! quoth I; I fear you put this as a scorn On my simplicity. Quoth she, thus blind I did him bear. Quoth I, if't be no lie, Then he's the first blind man, I'll swear, E'er practis'd archery. A man! quoth she, nay, there you miss, He's still a boy as now, Nor to be elder than he is The gods will him allow. To be no elder than he is! Then sure he is some sprite, I straight reply'd. Again at this The goddess laugh'd outright. It is a mystery to me, An archer, and yet blind! Quoth I again, how can it be, That he his mark should find? The gods, quoth she, whose will it was That he should want his sight, That he in something should surpass, To recompense their spite, Gave him this gift, though at his game He still shot in the dark, That he should have so certain aim, As not to miss his mark. By this time we were come ashore, When me my fare she paid, But not a word she utter'd more, Nor had I her bewray'd. Of Venus nor of Cupid I Before did never hear, But that a fisher coming by Then told me who they were.
Under the greenwood tree, Who loves to lie with me, And tune his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat, Come hither, come hither, come hither; Here shall we see No enemy But winter and rough weather. Who doth ambition shun, And loves to live in the sun, Seeking the food he eats, And pleased with what he gets, Come hither, come hither, come hither; Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather.
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray: And, when I crossed the wild, I chanced to see at break of day The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew; She dwelt on a wide moor, —The sweetest thing that ever grew Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play, The hare upon the green; But the sweet face of Lucy Gray Will never more be seen.
'To-night will be a stormy night— You to the town must go; And take a lantern, child, to light Your mother through the snow.'
'That, Father, will I gladly do! 'Tis scarcely afternoon— The minster-clock has just struck two, And yonder is the moon!'
At this the Father raised his hook, And snapped a faggot-band; He plied his work;—and Lucy took The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe: With many a wanton stroke Her feet disperse the powdery snow, That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time: She wandered up and down; And many a hill did Lucy climb; But never reached the town.
The wretched parents all that night Went shouting far and wide; But there was neither sound nor sight To serve them for a guide.
At day-break on a hill they stood That overlooked the moor; And thence they saw the bridge of wood, A furlong from their door.
They wept, and, turning homeward, cried, 'In heaven we all shall meet!' —When in the snow the mother spied The print of Lucy's feet.
Then downward from the steep hill's edge They tracked the footmarks small; And through the broken hawthorn hedge, And by the long stone wall;
And then an open field they crossed; The marks were still the same; They tracked them on, nor ever lost; And to the bridge they came.
They followed from the snowy bank Those footmarks, one by one, Into the middle of the plank; And further there were none!
—Yet some maintain that to this day She is a living child; That you may see sweet Lucy Gray Upon the lonesome wild.
O'er rough and smooth she trips along, And never looks behind; And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.
RAIN IN SUMMER
How beautiful is the rain! After the dust and the heat, In the broad and fiery street, In the narrow lane, How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs, Like the tramp of hoofs! How it gushes and struggles out From the throat of the overflowing spout! Across the window-pane It pours and pours; And swift and wide, With a muddy tide, Like a river down the gutter roars The rain, the welcome rain!
The sick man from his chamber looks At the twisted brooks; He can feel the cool Breath of each little pool; His fevered brain Grows calm again, And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
From the neighbouring school Come the boys, With more than their wonted noise And commotion; And down the wet streets Sail their mimic fleets, Till the treacherous pool Engulfs them in its whirling And turbulent ocean.
In the country on every side, Where far and wide, Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide Stretches the plain, To the dry grass and the drier grain How welcome is the rain!
In the furrowed land The toilsome and patient oxen stand; Lifting the yoke-encumbered head, With their dilated nostrils spread, They silently inhale The clover-scented gale, And the vapours that arise From the well-watered and smoking soil. For this rest in the furrow after toil Their large and lustrous eyes Seem to thank the Lord, More than man's spoken word.
Near at hand, From under the sheltering trees, The farmer sees His pastures and his fields of grain, As they bend their tops To the numberless beating drops Of the incessant rain. He counts it as no sin That he sees therein Only his own thrift and gain.
H. W. Longfellow
EPITAPH ON A HARE
Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue Nor swifter greyhound follow, Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew, Nor ear heard huntsman's hallo!
Old Tiney, surliest of his kind, Who, nurs'd with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined, Was still a wild Jack-hare.
Though duly from my hand he took His pittance every night, He did it with a jealous look, And, when he could, would bite.
His diet was of wheaten bread, And milk, and oats, and straw; Thistles, or lettuces instead, With sand to scour his maw.
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled, On pippin's russet peel, And when his juicy salads failed, Sliced carrot pleased him well.
A Turkey carpet was his lawn, Whereon he loved to bound, To skip and gambol like a fawn, And swing himself around.
His frisking was at evening hours, For then he lost his fear, But most before approaching showers, Or when a storm drew near.
Eight years and five round-rolling moons He thus saw steal away, Dozing out all his idle noons, And every night at play.
I kept him for his humours' sake, For he would oft beguile My heart of thoughts that made it ache, And force me to a smile.
But now, beneath this walnut shade, He finds his long last home, And waits, in snug concealment laid, Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more aged, feels the shocks From which no care can save, And, partner once of Tiney's box, Must soon partake his grave.
ABOU BEN ADHEM AND THE ANGEL
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace And saw within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom, An angel writing in a book of gold:— Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold, And to the Presence in the room he said, 'What writest thou?'—The vision raised its head, And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answer'd, 'The names of those who love the Lord.' 'And is mine one?' said Abou. 'Nay, not so,' Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still; and said, 'I pray thee then, Write me as one that loves his fellow men.'
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCY
Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, Alone and palely loitering? The sedge is wither'd from the lake, And no birds sing.
Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, So haggard and so woe-begone? The squirrel's granary is full, And the harvest's done.
I see a lily on thy brow, With anguish moist and fever dew; And on thy cheek a fading rose Fast withereth too.
I met a Lady in the meads, Full beautiful, a fairy's child; Her hair was long, her foot was light, And her eyes were wild.
I set her on my pacing steed, And nothing else saw all day long; For sideways would she lean and sing A fairy's song.
I made a garland for her head, And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; She look'd at me as she did love, And made sweet moan.
She found me roots of relish sweet, And honey wild, and manna dew; And sure in language strange she said, I love thee true.
She took me to her elfin grot, And there she gazed and sighed deep, And there I shut her wild sad eyes, So kissed to sleep.
And there we slumber'd on the moss, And there I dream'd, ah, woe betide, The latest dream I ever dream'd On the cold hill-side.
I saw pale kings, and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; Who cried 'La belle Dame sans mercy Hath thee in thrall!'
I saw their starved lips in the gloom With horrid warning gaped wide, And I awoke and found me here, On the cold hill-side.
And this is why I sojourn here Alone and palely loitering, Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake, And no birds sing.
When icicles hang by the wall, And Dick the Shepherd blows his nail, And Tom bears logs into the hall, And milk comes frozen home in pail; When blood is nipt, and ways be foul, Then nightly sings the staring owl Tuwhoo! Tuwhit! tuwhoo! A merry note While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all around the wind doth blow, And coughing drowns the parson's saw, And birds sit brooding in the snow And Marian's nose looks red and raw When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, Then nightly sings the staring owl Tuwhoo! Tuwhit! tuwhoo! A merry note While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
THE INCHCAPE ROCK
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea, The ship was as still as she could be, Her sails from heaven received no motion, Her keel was steady in the ocean.
Without either sign or sound of their shock The waves flow'd over the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell, They did not move the Inchcape Bell.
The good old Abbot of Aberbrothok Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung, And over the waves its warning rung.
When the Rock was hid by the surges' swell, The Mariners heard the warning bell; And then they knew the perilous Rock, And blest the Abbot of Aberbrothok.
The sun in heaven was shining gay, All things were joyful on that day; The sea-birds scream'd as they wheel'd round, And there was joyance in their sound.
The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen A darker speck on the ocean green; Sir Ralph the Rover walk'd his deck, And he fix'd his eye on the darker speck.
He felt the cheering power of spring, It made him whistle, it made him sing; His heart was mirthful to excess, But the Rover's mirth was wickedness.
His eye was on the Inchcape float; Quoth he, 'My men, put out the boat, And row me to the Inchcape Rock, And I'll plague the priest of Aberbrothok.'
The boat is lower'd, the boatmen row, And to the Inchcape Rock they go; Sir Ralph bent over from the boat, And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.
Down sunk the bell, with a gurgling sound, The bubbles rose and burst around; Quoth Sir Ralph, 'The next who comes to the Rock Won't bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.'
Sir Ralph the Rover sail'd away, He scour'd the seas for many a day; And now grown rich with plunder'd store, He steers his course for Scotland's shore.
So thick a haze o'erspreads the sky They cannot see the sun on high; The wind hath blown a gale all day, At evening it hath died away.
On the deck the Rover takes his stand, So dark it is they see no land. Quoth Sir Ralph, 'It will be lighter soon, For there is the dawn of the rising moon.'
'Can'st hear,' said one, 'the breakers roar? For methinks we should be near the shore; Now where we are I cannot tell, But I wish I could hear the Inchcape Bell.'
They hear no sound, the swell is strong; Though the wind hath fallen, they drift along, Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock: Cried they, 'It is the Inchcape Rock!'
Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair, He curst himself in his despair; The waves rush in on every side, The ship is sinking beneath the tide.
But even in his dying fear One dreadful sound could the Rover hear, A sound as if with the Inchcape Bell, The fiends below were ringing his knell.
WRITTEN IN MARCH
The cock is crowing, The stream is flowing, The small birds twitter, The lake doth glitter, The green field sleeps in the sun; The oldest and youngest Are at work with the strongest; The cattle are grazing, Their heads never raising; There are forty feeding like one!
Like an army defeated The snow hath retreated, And now doth fare ill On the top of the bare hill; The Plough-boy is whooping anon, anon. There's joy in the mountains; There's life in the fountains; Small clouds are sailing, Blue sky prevailing; The rain is over and gone!
'O, where have ye been, Lord Randal, my son? O, where have ye been, my handsome young man?' 'I have been to the wood; mother, make my bed soon, For I'm weary with hunting, and fain would lie down.'
'Where got ye your dinner, Lord Randal, my son? Where got ye your dinner, my handsome young man?' 'I dined with my love; mother, make my bed soon, For I'm weary with hunting, and fain would lie down.'
'What got ye to dinner, Lord Randal, my son? What got ye to dinner, my handsome young man?' 'I got eels boil'd in broth; mother, make my bed soon, For I'm weary with hunting, and fain would lie down.'
'And where are your bloodhounds, Lord Randal, my son? And where are your bloodhounds, my handsome young man?' 'O, they swell'd and they died; mother, make my bed soon, For I'm weary with hunting, and fain would lie down.'
'O, I fear ye are poison'd, Lord Randal, my son! O, I fear ye are poison'd, my handsome young man!' 'O, yes, I am poison'd! mother, make my bed soon, For I'm sick at the heart, and I fain would lie down.'
There was three kings into the East, Three kings both great and high, And they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and ploughed him down, Put clods upon his head, And they hae sworn a solemn oath, John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerful spring came kindly on, And showers began to fall; John Barleycorn got up again, And sore surprised them all.
The sultry suns of summer came, And he grew thick and strong, His head well armed wi' pointed spears, That no one should him wrong.
The sober autumn entered mild, When he grew wan and pale; His bending joints and drooping head Show'd he began to fall.
His colour sickened more and more, He faded into age; And then his enemies began To show their deadly rage.
They've ta'en a weapon long and sharp, And cut him by the knee; And tied him fast upon the cart, Like a rogue for forgerie.
They laid him down upon his back, And cudgell'd him full sore; They hung him up before the storm, And turn'd him o'er and o'er.
They filled up a darksome pit With water to the brim, They heaved in John Barleycorn, There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor, To work him further woe, And still, as signs of life appear'd, They toss'd him to and fro.
They wasted, o'er a scorching flame, The marrow of his bones; But a miller used him worst of all, For he crush'd him between two stones.
And they hae ta'en his very heart's blood, And drank it round and round; And still the more and more they drank, Their joy did more abound.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold, Of noble enterprise; For if you do but taste his blood, 'Twill make your courage rise.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn, Each man a glass in hand; And may his great posterity Ne'er fail in old Scotland!
Mary-Ann was alone with her baby in arms, In her house with the trees overhead, For her husband was out in the night and the storms, In his business a-toiling for bread; And she, as the wind in the elm-heads did roar, Did grieve to think he was all night out of door.
And her kinsfolk and neighbours did say of her child (Under the lofty elm-tree), That a prettier never did babble and smile Up a-top of a proud mother's knee; And his mother did toss him, and kiss him, and call Him her darling, and life, and her hope and her all.
But she found in the evening the child was not well (Under the gloomy elm-tree), And she felt she could give all the world for to tell Of a truth what his ailing could be; And she thought on him last in her prayers at night, And she look'd at him last as she put out the light.
And she found him grow worse in the dead of the night (Under the gloomy elm-tree), And she press'd him against her warm bosom so tight, And she rock'd him so sorrowfully; And there, in his anguish, a-nestling he lay, Till his struggles grew weak, and his cries died away.
And the moon was a-shining down into the place (Under the gloomy elm-tree), And his mother could see that his lips and his face Were as white as clean ashes could be; And her tongue was a-tied, and her still heart did swell Till her senses came back with the first tear that fell.
Never more can she feel his warm face in her breast (Under the leafy elm-tree), For his eyes are a-shut, and his hands are at rest, And he's now from his pain a-set free; For his soul we do know is to heaven a-fled, Where no pain is a-known, and no tears are a-shed.
THE USEFUL PLOUGH
A country life is sweet! In moderate cold and heat, To walk in the air, how pleasant and fair, In every field of wheat, The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers, And every meadow's brow; So that I say, no courtier may Compare with them who clothe in grey, And follow the useful plough.
They rise with the morning lark, And labour till almost dark; Then folding their sheep, they hasten to sleep; While every pleasant park Next morning is ringing with birds that are singing, On each green, tender bough. With what content and merriment, Their days are spent, whose minds are bent To follow the useful plough!
A WREN'S NEST
Among the dwellings framed by birds In field or forest with nice care, Is none that with the little wren's In snugness may compare.
No door the tenement requires, And seldom needs a laboured roof; Yet is it to the fiercest sun Impervious, and storm-proof.
So warm, so beautiful withal, In perfect fitness for its aim, That to the Kind, by special grace, Their instinct surely came.
And when for their abodes they seek An opportune recess, The hermit has no finer eye For shadowy quietness.
These find, 'mid ivied abbey walls, A canopy in some still nook; Others are pent-housed by a brae That overhangs a brook.
There to the brooding bird her mate Warbles by fits his low clear song; And by the busy streamlet both Are sung to all day long.
Or in sequestered lanes they build, Where, till the flitting bird's return, Her eggs within the nest repose, Like relics in an urn.
But still, where general choice is good, There is a better and a best; And, among fairest objects, some Are fairer than the rest.
This, one of those small builders proved In a green covert, where from out The forehead of a pollard oak The leafy antlers sprout;
For she who planned the mossy lodge, Mistrusting her evasive skill, Had to a primrose looked for aid, Her wishes to fulfil.
High on the trunk's projecting brow, And fixed an infant's span above The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest, The prettiest of the grove!
The treasure proudly did I show To some whose minds without disdain Can turn to little things; but once Looked up for it in vain:
'Tis gone—a ruthless spoiler's prey, Who heeds not beauty, love, or song, 'Tis gone! (so seemed it) and we grieved, Indignant at the wrong.
Just three days after, passing by In clearer light, the moss-built cell I saw, espied its shaded mouth; And felt that all was well.
The primrose for a veil had spread The largest of her upright leaves; And thus, for purposes benign, A simple flower deceives.
Concealed from friends who might disturb Thy quiet with no ill intent, Secure from evil eyes and hands On barbarous plunder bent,
Rest, mother-bird! and when thy young Take flight, and thou art free to roam, When withered is the guardian flower, And empty thy late home,
Think how ye prospered, thou and thine, Amid the unviolated grove, Housed near the growing primrose tuft In foresight, or in love.
A FINE DAY
Clear had the day been from the dawn, All chequer'd was the sky, Thin clouds like scarfs of cobweb lawn Veil'd heaven's most glorious eye. The wind had no more strength than this, That leisurely it blew, To make one leaf the next to kiss That closely by it grew.
A True Story
The boy stood on the burning deck Whence all but he had fled; The flame that lit the battle's wreck Shone round him o'er the dead.
The flames roll'd on. He would not go Without his father's word; That father faint in death below, His voice no longer heard.
He called aloud: 'Say, father, say If yet my task is done!' He knew not that the chieftain lay Unconscious of his son.
'Speak, father!' once again he cried, 'If I may yet be gone!' And but the booming shots replied, And fast the flames roll'd on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath, And in his waving hair, And look'd from that lone post of death In still, yet brave despair;
And shouted but once more aloud, 'My father! must I stay?' While o'er him fast through sail and shroud, The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild, They caught the flag on high, And streamed above the gallant child Like banners in the sky.
Then came a burst of thunder-sound— The boy—oh! where was he? Ask of the winds that far around With fragments strewed the sea,
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair, That well had borne their part; But the noblest thing that perished there Was that young faithful heart!
SIGNS OF RAIN
The hollow winds begin to blow, The clouds look black, the glass is low, The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep, The spiders from their cobwebs peep: Last night the sun went pale to bed, The moon in halos hid her head; The boding shepherd heaves a sigh, For, see, a rainbow spans the sky: The walls are damp, the ditches smell, Closed is the pink-eyed pimpernel. Hark how the chairs and tables crack! Old Betty's joints are on the rack; Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry, The distant hills are seeming nigh. How restless are the snorting swine; The busy flies disturb the kine; Low o'er the grass the swallow wings, The cricket too, how sharp he sings; Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws, Sits wiping o'er her whiskered jaws. Through the clear stream the fishes rise, And nimbly catch the incautious flies. The glow-worms, numerous and bright, Illumed the dewy dell last night. At dusk the squalid toad was seen, Hopping and crawling o'er the green; The whirling wind the dust obeys, And in the rapid eddy plays; The frog has changed his yellow vest, And in a russet coat is dressed. Though June, the air is cold and still, The mellow blackbird's voice is shrill. My dog, so altered in his taste, Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast; And see yon rooks, how odd their flight, They imitate the gliding kite, And seem precipitate to fall, As if they felt the piercing ball. 'Twill surely rain, I see with sorrow, Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.
HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX
I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; 'Good speed!' cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew; 'Speed!' echoed the wall to us galloping through; Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast.
Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place; I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight, Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.
'Twas moonset at starting; but, while we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear; At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see; At Duffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be; And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime, So Joris broke silence with, 'Yet there is time!'
At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun, And against him the cattle stood black every one, To stare through the mist at us galloping past, And I saw my stout galloper, Roland, at last, With resolute shoulders each butting away The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray;
And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track; And one eye's black intelligence,—ever that glance O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.
By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, 'Stay spur! Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her, We'll remember at Aix'—for one heard the quick wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and staggering knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.
So we were left galloping, Joris and I, Past Loos and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky; The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh, 'Neath our foot broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff; Till over by Dalhem a dome-tower sprang white, And 'Gallop,' cried Joris, 'for Aix is in sight!'
'How they'll greet us!' and all in a moment his roan Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone; And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate, With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim, And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.
Then I cast my loose buff-coat, each holster let fall, Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without peer; Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or good, Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
And all I remember is friends flocking round As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground, And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine, As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine, Which (the burgesses voted by common consent) Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.
A fragment of a rainbow bright Through the moist air I see, All dark and damp on yonder height, All bright and clear to me.
An hour ago the storm was here, The gleam was far behind, So will our joys and grief appear, When earth has ceased to blind.
Grief will be joy if on its edge Fall soft that holiest ray, Joy will be grief if no faint pledge Be there of heavenly day.
THE RAVEN AND THE OAK
Underneath an old oak tree There was of swine a huge company, That grunted as they crunch'd the mast: For that was ripe and fell full fast. Then they trotted away, for the wind it grew high One acorn they left and no more might you spy. Next came a Raven that liked not such folly: He belonged, they did say, to the witch Melancholy! Blacker was he than blackest jet, Flew low in the rain and his feathers not wet. He picked up the acorn and buried it straight By the side of a river both deep and great. Where then did the Raven go? He went high and low, Over hill, over dale, did the black Raven go. Many autumns, many springs Travelled he with wandering wings; Many summers, many winters— I can't tell half his adventures.
At length he came back, and with him a she, And the acorn was grown to a tall oak tree. They built them a nest in the topmost bough, And young ones they had and were happy enow. But soon came a woodman in leathern guise, His brow, like a pent house, hung over his eyes. He'd an axe in his hand, not a word he spoke, But with many a hem! and a sturdy stroke, At length he brought down the poor Raven's old oak. His young ones were killed, for they could not depart, And their mother did die of a broken heart. The boughs from the trunk the woodman did sever; And they floated it down on the course of the river. They sawed it in planks, and its bark they did strip, And with this tree and others they made a good ship. The ship it was launched; but in sight of the land Such a storm there did rise as no ship could withstand. It bulged on a rock, and the waves rushed in fast: Round and round flew the Raven and cawed to the blast. He heard the last shriek of the perishing souls— See! see! o'er the top-mast the mad water rolls! Right glad was the Raven, and off he went fleet, And Death riding home on a cloud he did meet, And he thanked him again and again for this treat: They had taken his all, and revenge it was sweet.
S. T. Coleridge
ODE TO THE CUCKOO
Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove! Thou messenger of spring! Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat, And woods thy welcome sing.
What time the daisy decks the green, Thy certain voice we hear; Hast thou a star to guide thy path, Or mark the rolling year?
Delightful visitant, with thee I hail the time of flowers, And hear the sound of music sweet From birds among the bowers.
The school-boy wandering through the wood To pull the primrose gay, Starts the new voice of spring to hear, And imitates the lay.
What time the pea puts on the bloom Thou fliest thy vocal vale, An annual guest in other lands, Another spring to hail.
Sweet bird! thy bower is ever green, Thy sky is ever clear; Thou hast no sorrow in thy song, No winter in thy year!
O could I fly, I'd fly with thee! We'd make, with joyful wing, Our annual visit o'er the globe, Companions of the spring.
ROBIN HOOD AND ALLIN A DALE
Come listen to me, you gallants so free, All you that love mirth for to hear, And I will tell you of a bold outlaw That lived in Nottinghamshire.
As Robin Hood in the forest stood, All under the greenwood tree, There he was aware of a brave young man As fine as fine might be.
The youngster was cloth'd in scarlet red, In scarlet fine and gay; And he did frisk it over the plain, And chanted a roundelay.
As Robin Hood next morning stood Amongst the leaves so gay, There did he espy the same young man, Come drooping along the way.
The scarlet he wore the day before It was clean cast away; And at every step he fetch'd a sigh, 'Alack and a well-a-day!'
Then stepp'd forth brave Little John, And Midge, the miller's son, Which made the young man bend his bow, When as he saw them come.
'Stand off, stand off!' the young man said, 'What is your will with me?' 'You must come before our master straight, Under yon greenwood tree.'
And when he came bold Robin before, Robin asked him courteously, 'O, hast thou any money to spare For my merry men and me?'
'I have no money,' the young man said, 'But five shillings and a ring; And that I have kept this seven long years, To have it at my wedding.
'Yesterday I should have married a maid, But she soon from me was tane, And chosen to be an old knight's delight, Whereby my poor heart is slain.'
'What is thy name?' then said Robin Hood, 'Come tell me without any fail:' 'By the faith of my body,' then said the young man, 'My name it is Allin a Dale.'
'What wilt thou give me?' said Robin Hood, 'In ready gold or fee, To help thee to thy true love again, And deliver her unto thee?'
'I have no money,' then quoth the young man, 'No ready gold nor fee, But I will swear upon a book Thy true servant for to be.'
'How many miles is it to thy true love? Come tell me without guile:' 'By the faith of my body,' then said the young man, 'It is but five little mile.'
Then Robin he hasted over the plain, He did neither stint nor lin, Until he came unto the church, Where Allin should keep his wedding.
'What hast thou here?' the bishop then said, 'I prithee now tell unto me:' 'I am a bold harper,' quoth Robin Hood, 'And the best in the north country.'
'O welcome, O welcome,' the bishop he said. 'That music best pleaseth me;' 'You shall have no music,' quoth Robin Hood, 'Till the bride and the bridegroom I see.'
With that came in a wealthy knight, Which was both grave and old, And after him a finikin lass, Did shine like the glistering gold.
'This is not a fit match,' quoth bold Robin Hood, 'That you do seem to make here, For since we are come into the church, The bride shall choose her own dear.'
Then Robin Hood put his horn to his mouth, And blew blasts two or three; When four-and-twenty bowmen bold Came leaping over the lea.
And when they came into the churchyard, Marching all on a row, The very first man was Allin a Dale, To give bold Robin his bow.
'This is thy true love,' Robin he said, 'Young Allin as I hear say; And you shall be married at this same time, Before we depart away.'
'That shall not be,' the bishop he said, 'For thy word shall not stand; They shall be three times asked in the church, As the law is of our land.'
Robin Hood pulled off the bishop's coat, And put it upon Little John; 'By the faith of my body,' then Robin said, 'This cloth doth make thee a man.'
When Little John went into the quire, The people began to laugh; He asked them seven times in the church, Lest three times should not be enough.
'Who gives me this maid?' said Little John; Quoth Robin Hood, 'That do I, And he that takes her from Allin a Dale, Full dearly he shall her buy.'
And thus having end of this merry wedding, The bride looked like a queen; And so they returned to the merry greenwood, Amongst the leaves so green.
Under the green hedges after the snow, There do the dear little violets grow, Hiding their modest and beautiful heads Under the hawthorn in soft mossy beds.
Sweet as the roses, and blue as the sky, Down there do the dear little violets lie; Hiding their heads where they scarce may be seen, By the leaves you may know where the violet hath been.
'Open the door, some pity to show! Keen blows the northern wind! The glen is white with the drifted snow, And the path is hard to find.
'No outlaw seeks your castle gate, From chasing the king's deer, Though even an outlaw's wretched state Might claim compassion here.
'A weary Palmer worn and weak, I wander for my sin; O, open, for Our Lady's sake! A pilgrim's blessing win!
'The hare is crouching in her form, The hart beside the hind; An aged man, amid the storm, No shelter can I find.
'You hear the Ettrick's sullen roar, Dark, deep, and strong is he, And I must ford the Ettrick o'er, Unless you pity me.
'The iron gate is bolted hard, At which I knock in vain; The owner's heart is closer barr'd, Who hears me thus complain.
'Farewell, farewell! and Heaven grant, When old and frail you be, You never may the shelter want, That's now denied to me!'
The Ranger on his couch lay warm, And heard him plead in vain; But oft, amid December's storm, He'll hear that voice again:
For lo, when through the vapours dank Morn shone on Ettrick fair, A corpse, amid the alders rank, The Palmer welter'd there.
Sir W. Scott
THE FORSAKEN MERMAN
Come dear children, let us away; Down and away below. Now my brothers call from the bay; Now the great winds shorewards blow; Now the salt tides seawards flow; Now the wild white horses play, Champ and chafe and toss in the spray. Children dear, let us away. This way, this way.
Call her once before you go. Call once yet, In a voice that she will know: 'Margaret! Margaret!'
Children's voices should be dear (Call once more) to a mother's ear: Children's voices wild with pain. Surely she will come again. Call her once, and come away. This way, this way. 'Mother dear, we cannot stay.' The wild white horses foam and fret, Margaret! Margaret!
Come dear children, come away down. Call no more. One last look at the white-walled town, And the little grey church on the windy shore, Then come down. She will not come though you call all day. Come away, come away.
Children dear, was it yesterday We heard the sweet bells over the bay? In the caverns where we lay, Through the surf and through the swell, The far-off sound of a silver bell? Sand-strewn caverns cool and deep, Where the winds are all asleep; Where the spent lights quiver and gleam; Where the salt weed sways in the stream; Where the sea-beasts rang'd all round Feed in the ooze of their pasture ground; Where the sea-snakes coil and twine, Dry their mail and bask in the brine; Where great whales come sailing by, Sail and sail, with unshut eye, Round the world forever and aye? When did music come this way? Children dear, was it yesterday?
Children dear, was it yesterday (Call yet once) that she went away? Once she sat with you and me, On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea. And the youngest sat on her knee. She comb'd its bright hair, and she tended it well, When down swung the sound of the far-off bell, She sigh'd, she look'd up through the clear green sea, She said, 'I must go, for my kinsfolk pray In the little grey church on the shore to-day. 'Twill be Easter-time in the world—ah me! And I lose my poor soul, Merman, here with thee.' I said: 'Go up, dear heart, through the waves: Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves.' She smiled, she went up through the surf in the bay. Children dear, was it yesterday?
Children dear, were we long alone? 'The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan; Long prayers,' I said, 'in the world they say.' 'Come,' I said, and we rose through the surf in the bay. We went up the beach in the sandy down Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-walled town, Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still To the little grey church on the windy hill. From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers, But we stood without in the cold blowing airs. We climb'd on the graves on the stones worn with rains, And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes. She sat by the pillar; we saw her clear; 'Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here. Dear heart,' I said, 'we are here alone. The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan.' But, ah, she gave me never a look, For her eyes were seal'd to the holy book. 'Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door.' Come away, children, call no more, Come away, come down, call no more.
Down, down, down, Down to the depths of the sea, She sits at her wheel in the humming town, Singing most joyfully. Hark what she sings: 'O joy, O joy, From the humming street, and the child with its toy, From the priest and the bell, and the holy well, From the wheel where I spun, And the blessed light of the sun.' And so she sings her fill, Singing most joyfully, Till the shuttle falls from her hand, And the whizzing wheel stands still. She steals to the window and looks at the sand; And over the sand at the sea; And her eyes are set in a stare; And anon there breaks a sigh, And anon there drops a tear, From a sorrow clouded eye, And a heart sorrow laden, A long, long sigh, For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden, And the gleam of her golden hair.
Come away, away children, Come children, come down. The hoarse wind blows colder; Lights shine in the town. She will start from her slumber When gusts shake the door; She will hear the winds howling, Will hear the waves roar. We shall see, while above us The waves roar and whirl, A ceiling of amber, A pavement of pearl. Singing, 'Here came a mortal, But faithless was she, And alone dwell forever The kings of the sea.'
But children, at midnight, When soft the winds blow, When clear falls the moonlight, When spring-tides are low; When sweet airs come seaward From heaths starr'd with broom; And high rocks throw mildly On the blanch'd sands a gloom: Up the still, glistening beaches, Up the creeks we will hie; Over banks of bright seaweed The ebb-tide leaves dry. We will gaze from the sand-hills, At the white sleeping town; At the church on the hill-side— And then come back, down. Singing, 'There dwells a loved one, But cruel is she: She left lonely forever The kings of the sea.'
THE SANDS O' DEE
'O Mary, go and call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, And call the cattle home, Across the sands o' Dee!' The western wind was wild and dank with foam, And all alone went she.
The creeping tide came up along the sand, And o'er and o'er the sand, And round and round the sand, As far as eye could see; The blinding mist came down and hid the land— And never home came she.
Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair?— A tress o' golden hair, O' drowned maiden's hair, Above the nets at sea. Was never salmon yet that shone so fair Among the stakes on Dee.
They row'd her in across the rolling foam, The cruel crawling foam, The cruel hungry foam, To her grave beside the sea: But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home, Across the sands o' Dee.
THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE
Toll for the brave! The brave that are no more! All sunk beneath the wave, Fast by their native shore!
Eight hundred of the brave, Whose courage well was tried, Had made the vessel heel, And laid her on her side.
A land breeze shook the shrouds, And she was overset; Down went the Royal George, With all her crew complete.
Toll for the brave! Brave Kempenfelt is gone; His last sea-fight is fought, His work of glory done.
It was not in the battle; No tempest gave the shock: She sprang no fatal leak; She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath; His fingers held the pen, When Kempenfelt went down, With twice four hundred men.
Weigh the vessel up, Once dreaded by our foes! And mingle with our cup The tear that England owes.
Her timbers yet are sound, And she may float again, Full charged with England's thunder, And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone, His victories are o'er; And he and his eight hundred Shall plough the wave no more.
A SEA DIRGE
Full fathom five thy father lies: Of his bones are coral made: Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea change Into something rich and strange; Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Hark! now I hear them,— Ding, dong, bell.
THE ANCIENT MARINER
It is an ancient Mariner, And he stoppeth one of three. "By thy long grey beard and glittering eye, Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?
"The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide, And I am next of kin: The guests are met, the feast is set: May'st hear the merry din."
He holds him with his glittering eye— The Wedding-Guest stood still, And listens like a three years' child: The Mariner hath his will.
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone: He cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner.
"The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared, Merrily did we drop Below the kirk, below the hill, Below the lighthouse top.
"The sun came up upon the left, Out of the sea came he, And he shone bright, and on the right Went down into the sea.
"Higher and higher every day, Till over the mast at noon"— The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon.
The Bride hath paced into the hall: Red as a rose is she; Nodding their heads before her goes The merry minstrelsy.
The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast, Yet he cannot choose but hear; And thus spake on that ancient man, The bright-eyed Mariner.
"And now the storm-blast came, and he Was tyrannous and strong: He struck with his o'er-taking wings, And chased us south along.
"With sloping masts and dipping prow, As who pursued with yell and blow Still treads the shadow of his foe, And forward bends his head, The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast, And southward aye we fled.
"And now there came both mist and snow, And it grew wondrous cold: And ice, mast-high, came floating by, As green as emerald.
"And through the drifts the snowy clifts Did send a dismal sheen: Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken— The ice was all between.
"The ice was here, the ice was there, The ice was all around: It cracked and growled, and roared and howled, Like noises in a swound!
"At length did cross an Albatross, Thorough the fog it came; As if it had been a Christian soul, We hailed it in God's name.
"It ate the food it ne'er had eat, And round and round it flew, The ice did split with a thunder-fit; The helmsman steered us through!
"And a good south wind sprung up behind; The Albatross did follow, And every day, for food or play, Came to the mariner's hollo!
"In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud, It perched for vespers nine; Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white Glimmered the white moonshine."
"God save thee, ancient Mariner! From the fiends that plague thee thus!— Why look'st thou so?" "With my cross-bow I shot the Albatross.
"And I had done a hellish thing, And it would work 'em woe: For all averr'd I had killed the bird That made the breeze to blow! 'Ah wretch!' said they, 'the bird to slay, That made the wind to blow!'
"Nor dim nor red, like God's own head, The glorious Sun uprist: Then all averred, I had killed the bird That brought the fog and mist. 'Twas right, said they, such birds to slay, That bring the fog and mist.
"Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down, 'Twas sad as sad could be; And we did speak only to break The silence of the sea.
"Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship Upon a painted ocean.
"Water, water everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.
"About, about, in reel and rout The death-fires danced at night; The water, like a witch's oils, Burnt green, and blue, and white.
"And every tongue, through utter drought, Was withered at the root; We could not speak, no more than if We had been choked with soot.
"Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.
"There passed a weary time. Each throat Was parched, and glazed each eye. A weary time! a weary time! How glazed each weary eye, When looking westward, I beheld A something in the sky.
"At first it seemed a little speck, And then it seemed a mist; It moved and moved, and took at last A certain shape, I wist.
"A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist! And still it neared and neared: As if it dodged a water-sprite, It plunged, and tacked, and veered.
"See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more! Hither to work us weal; Without a breeze, without a tide, She steadies with upright keel!
"The western wave was all a-flame, The day was well nigh done! Almost upon the western wave Rested the broad, bright Sun: When that strange shape drove suddenly Betwixt us and the Sun.
"And straight the Sun was flecked with bars, (Heaven's Mother send us grace!) As if through a dungeon grate he peered With broad and burning face.
"Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud) How fast she nears and nears! Are those her sails that glance in the Sun, Like restless gossameres?
"Are those her ribs through which the Sun Did peer, as through a grate? And is that Woman all her crew? Is that a Death? and are there two? Is Death that Woman's mate?
"The naked hull alongside came, And the twain were casting dice; 'The game is done! I've won, I've won!' Quoth she, and whistles thrice.
"The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out: At one stride comes the dark; With far-heard whisper o'er the sea, Off shot the spectre-bark.
"The stars were dim and thick the night, The steersman's face by his lamp gleamed white, From the sails the dew did drip— Till clomb above the eastern bar The horned Moon, with one bright star Within the nether tip.
"Four times fifty living men, (And I heard nor sigh nor groan,) With heavy thump, a lifeless lump, They dropped down one by one.
"The souls did from their bodies fly,— They fled to bliss or woe! And every soul, it passed me by, Like the whizz of my cross-bow!
"The many men, so beautiful! And they all dead did lie: And a thousand thousand slimy things Lived on; and so did I.
"I looked upon the rotting sea, And drew my eyes away; I looked upon the rotting deck, And there the dead men lay.
"I looked to heaven, and tried to pray But or ever a prayer had gusht, A wicked whisper came, and made My heart as dry as dust.
"The moving Moon went up the sky, And nowhere did abide: Softly she was going up, And a star or two beside.
"Beyond the shadow of the ship, I watched the water-snakes: They moved in tracks of shining white, And when they reared, the elfish light Fell off in hoary flakes.
"Within the shadow of the ship I watched their rich attire: Blue, glossy green, and velvet black, They coiled and swam; and every track Was a flash of golden fire.
"O happy living things! no tongue Their beauty might declare: A spring of love gushed from my heart, And I blessed them unaware: Sure my kind Saint took pity on me, And I blessed them unaware.
"The selfsame moment I could pray; And from my neck so free The Albatross fell off, and sank Like lead into the sea.
"And soon I heard a roaring wind: It did not come anear; But with its sound it shook the sails, That were so thin and sere.
"The loud wind never reached the ship, Yet now the ship moved on! Beneath the lightning and the moon The dead men gave a groan.
"They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose Nor spake, nor moved their eyes; It had been strange, even in a dream, To have seen those dead men rise.
"The helmsman steered, the ship moved on, Yet never a breeze up blew; The mariners all 'gan work the ropes, Where they were wont to do; They raised their limbs like lifeless tools— We were a ghastly crew."
"I fear thee, ancient Mariner!" "Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest! 'Twas not those souls that fled in pain, Which to their corses came again, But a troop of spirits blest.
"Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship, Yet she sailed softly too: Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze— On me alone it blew.
"Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed The light-house top I see? Is this the hill? is this the kirk? Is this mine own countree?
"Since then, at an uncertain hour, My agony returns: And till my ghastly tale is told, This heart within me burns.
"I pass, like night, from land to land; I have strange power of speech; That moment that his face I see, I know the man that must hear me: To him my tale I teach.
"What loud uproar bursts from that door! The wedding-guests are there: But in the garden-bower the bride And bride-maids singing are: And hark the little vesper bell, Which biddeth me to prayer!
"O sweeter than the marriage-feast, 'Tis sweeter far to me, To walk together to the kirk With a goodly company!
"To walk together to the kirk, And altogether pray, While each to his great Father bends, Old men, and babes, and loving friends, And youths and maidens gay!
"Farewell, farewell! but this I tell To thee, thou Wedding-Guest! He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast.
"He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all."
S. T. Coleridge
SONG OF ARIEL
Come unto these yellow sands, And then take hands,— Curtsied when you have and kiss'd; (The wild waves whist)— Foot it featly here and there; And, sweet sprites, the burden bear. Hark, hark! Bough wough, The watch dogs bark, Bough wough, Hark, hark! I hear The strain of strutting chanticleer, Cry, cock-a-doodle-doo.
HOW'S MY BOY?
Ho, sailor of the sea! How's my boy—my boy? 'What's your boy's name, good wife, And in what good ship sail'd he?'
My boy John— He that went to sea— What care I for the ship, sailor? My boy's my boy to me.
You come back from sea And not know my John? I might as well have asked some landsman Yonder down in the town. There's not an ass in all the parish But he knows my John.
How's my boy—my boy? And unless you let me know I'll swear you are no sailor, Blue jacket or no, Brass button or no, sailor, Anchor and crown or no! Sure his ship was the Jolly Briton— 'Speak low, woman, speak low!'
And why should I speak low, sailor, About my own boy John? If I was loud as I am proud I'd sing him over the town! Why should I speak low, sailor? 'That good ship went down.'
How's my boy—my boy? What care I for the ship, sailor, I never was aboard her. Be she afloat, or be she aground, Sinking or swimming, I'll be bound. Her owners can afford her! I say, how's my John? 'Every man on board went down, Every man aboard her.'
How's my boy—my boy? What care I for the men, sailor? I'm not their mother— How's my boy—my boy? Tell me of him and no other! How's my boy—my boy?
THE SPANISH ARMADA
Attend all ye who list to hear our noble England's praise, I tell of the thrice famous deeds she wrought in ancient days, When that great fleet invincible against her bore in vain The richest spoils of Mexico, the stoutest hearts of Spain.
It was about the lovely close of a warm summer day, There came a gallant merchant-ship full sail to Plymouth Bay; Her crew hath seen Castile's black fleet beyond Aurigny's isle, At earliest twilight, on the waves lie heaving many a mile; At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace; And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close in chase. Forthwith a guard at every gun was placed along the wall; The beacon blazed upon the roof of Edgcumbe's lofty hall; Many a light fishing-bark put out to pry along the coast; And with loose rein and bloody spur rode inland many a post. With his white hair unbonneted the stout old sheriff comes; Behind him march the halberdiers, before him sound the drums; His yeomen, round the market-cross, make clear an ample space, For there behoves him to set up the standard of her Grace. And haughtily the trumpets peal, and gaily dance the bells, As slow upon the labouring wind the royal blazon swells. Look how the lion of the sea lifts up his ancient crown, And underneath his deadly paw treads the gay lilies down. So stalked he when he turned to flight on that famed Picard field, Bohemia's plume, and Genoa's bow, and Caesar's eagle shield: So glared he when at Agincourt in wrath he turned to bay, And crushed and torn beneath his paws the princely hunters lay. Ho! strike the flag-staff deep, Sir Knight; ho! scatter flowers, fair maids: Ho! gunners fire a loud salute: ho! gallants, draw your blades; Thou sun, shine on her joyously; ye breezes waft her wide; Our glorious SEMPER EADEM, the banner of our pride. The freshening breeze of eve unfurled that banner's massy fold, The parting gleam of sunshine kissed that haughty scroll of gold; Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea,— Such night in England ne'er had been, nor ne'er again shall be. From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford Bay, That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day; For swift to east and swift to west the ghastly war-flame spread; High on St. Michael's Mount it shone: it shone on Beachy Head. Far on the deep the Spaniard saw, along each southern shire, Cape beyond cape, in endless range, those twinkling points of fire; The fisher left his skiff to rock on Tamar's glittering waves, The rugged miners poured to war from Mendip's sunless caves. O'er Longleat's towers, o'er Cranbourne's oaks, the fiery herald flew; He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge, the rangers of Beaulieu. Right sharp and quick the bells all night rang out from Bristol town, And ere the day three hundred horse had met on Clifton down; The sentinel on Whitehall gate looked forth into the night, And saw, o'erhanging Richmond Hill, the streak of blood-red light. Then bugle's note and cannon's roar the death-like silence broke, And with one start, and with one cry, the royal city woke. At once on all her stately gates arose the answering fires; At once the loud alarum clashed from all her reeling spires; From all the batteries of the Tower pealed loud the voice of fear; And all the thousand masts of Thames sent back a louder cheer: And from the furthest wards was heard the rush of hurrying feet, And the broad streams of flags and pikes rushed down each roaring street: And broader still became the blaze, and louder still the din, As fast from every village round the horse came spurring in: And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath, the warlike errant went, And raised in many an ancient hall the gallant squires of Kent. Southward, from Surrey's pleasant hills flew those bright couriers forth; High on bleak Hampstead's swarthy moor they started for the North; And on, and on, without a pause, untired they bounded still, All night from tower to tower they sprang; they sprang from hill to hill, Till the proud Peak unfurled the flag o'er Darwin's rocky dales, Till like volcanoes flared to Heaven the stormy hills of Wales, Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze on Malvern's lonely height, Till streamed in crimson on the wind the Wrekin's crest of light, Till broad and fierce the star came forth on Ely's stately fane, And tower and hamlet rose in arms o'er all the boundless plain; Till Belvoir's lordly terraces the sign to Lincoln sent, And Lincoln sped the message on o'er the wide vale of Trent; Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned on Gaunt's embattled pile, And the red glare of Skiddaw roused the burghers of Carlisle.
THE TAR FOR ALL WEATHERS
I sail'd from the Downs in the Nancy, My jib how she smack'd through the breeze! She's a vessel as tight to my fancy As ever sail'd on the salt seas. So adieu to the white cliffs of Britain, Our girls and our dear native shore! For if some hard rock we should split on, We shall never see them any more. But sailors were born for all weathers, Great guns let it blow, high or low, Our duty keeps us to our tethers, And where the gale drives we must go.
When we entered the Straits of Gibraltar I verily thought she'd have sunk, For the wind began so for to alter, She yaw'd just as tho' she was drunk. The squall tore the mainsail to shivers, Helm a-weather, the hoarse boatswain cries; Brace the foresail athwart, see she quivers, As through the rough tempest she flies. But sailors were born for all weathers, Great guns let it blow, high or low, Our duty keeps us to our tethers, And where the gale drives we must go.
The storm came on thicker and faster, As black just as pitch was the sky, When truly a doleful disaster Befel three poor sailors and I. Ben Buntline, Sam Shroud, and Dick Handsail, By a blast that came furious and hard, Just while we were furling the mainsail, Were every soul swept from the yard. But sailors were born for all weathers, Great guns let it blow, high or low, Our duty keeps us to our tethers, And where the gale drives we must go.
Poor Ben, Sam, and Dick cried peccavi, As for I, at the risk of my neck, While they sank down in peace to old Davy, Caught a rope, and so landed on deck. Well, what would you have? We were stranded, And out of a fine jolly crew Of three hundred that sail'd, never landed But I, and I think, twenty-two. But sailors were born for all weathers, Great guns let it blow, high or low, Our duty keeps us to our tethers, And where the gale drives we must go.
A perilous life, and sad as life may be, Hath the lone fisher, on the lonely sea, O'er the wild waters labouring far from home, For some bleak pittance e'er compelled to roam: Few hearts to cheer him through his dangerous life, And none to aid him in the stormy strife: Companion of the sea and silent air, The lonely fisher thus must ever fare: Without the comfort, hope,—with scarce a friend, He looks through life and only sees its end!
Thou that hast a daughter For one to woo and wed, Give her to a husband With snow upon his head: Oh, give her to an old man, Though little joy it be, Before the best young sailor That sails upon the sea!
How luckless is the sailor When sick and like to die, He sees no tender mother, No sweetheart standing by. Only the captain speaks to him,— Stand up, stand up, young man, And steer the ship to haven, As none beside thee can.
Thou sayst to me, 'Stand, stand up;' I say to thee, take hold, Lift me a little from the deck, My hands and feet are cold. And let my head, I pray thee, With handkerchiefs be bound: There, take my love's gold handkerchief, And tie it tightly round.
Now bring the chart, the doleful chart; See where these mountains meet— The clouds are thick around their head, The mists around their feet: Cast anchor here; 'tis deep and safe Within the rocky cleft; The little anchor on the right, The great one on the left.
And now to thee, O captain, Most earnestly I pray, That they may never bury me In church or cloister grey; But on the windy sea-beach, At the ending of the land, All on the surfy sea-beach, Deep down into the sand.
For there will come the sailors, Their voices I shall hear, And at casting of the anchor The yo-ho loud and clear; And at hauling of the anchor The yo-ho and the cheer,— Farewell, my love, for to thy bay I never more may steer.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS
It was the schooner Hesperus, That sail'd the wintry sea; And the skipper had taken his little daughter, To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax, Her cheeks like the dawn of day, And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds, That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm, His pipe was in his mouth, And he watch'd how the veering flaw did blow The smoke now west, now south.
Then up and spake an old sailor, Had sail'd the Spanish Main, 'I pray thee put into yonder port, For I fear the hurricane.
'Last night the moon had a golden ring, And to-night no moon we see!' The skipper he blew a whiff from his pipe, And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind, A gale from the north-east; The snow fell hissing in the brine, And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm and smote amain The vessel in its strength; She shuddered and paused like a frighted steed, Then leaped her cable's length.
'Come hither! come hither! my little daughter, And do not tremble so; For I can weather the roughest gale, That ever wind did blow.'
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat, Against the stinging blast; He cut a rope from a broken spar, And bound her to the mast.
'O father! I hear the church bells ring, O say, what may it be?' ''Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!' And he steered for the open sea.
'O father! I hear the sound of guns, O say, what may it be?' 'Some ship in distress that cannot live In such an angry sea!'
'O father! I see a gleaming light, O say, what may it be?' But the father answered never a word,— A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark, With his face turn'd to the skies, The lantern gleam'd through the gleaming snow On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed That saved she might be; And she thought of Christ who stilled the waves On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear, Through the whistling sleet and snow, Like a sheeted ghost the vessel swept T'wards the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between A sound came from the land; It was the sound of the trampling surf On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows, She drifted a dreary wreck, And a whooping billow swept the crew Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves Look'd soft as carded wool, But the cruel rocks they gored her sides Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds all sheathed in ice, With the masts went by the board; Like a vessel of glass she stove and sank, Ho! ho! the breakers roared.
At day-break on the bleak sea-beach, A fisherman stood aghast, To see the form of a maiden fair Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast, The salt tears in her eyes; And he saw her hair like the brown sea-weed, On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus, In the midnight and the snow; Heav'n save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!
H. W. Longfellow
A CANADIAN BOAT SONG
Faintly as tolls the evening chime, Our voices keep tune and our oars keep time. Soon as the woods on the shore look dim, We'll sing at St. Anne's our parting hymn. Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast, The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
Why should we yet our sail unfurl? There is not a breath the blue wave to curl; But when the wind blows off the shore, Oh! sweetly we'll rest our weary oar. Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast, The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
Utawas' tide! this trembling moon Shall see us float over thy surges soon. Saint of this green isle! hear our prayers, Oh, grant us cool heavens, and favouring airs. Blow, breezes, blow, the stream runs fast, The Rapids are near and the daylight's past.
O listen, listen, ladies gay! No haughty feat of arms I tell; Soft is the note, and sad the lay, That mourns the lovely Rosabelle.
'Moor, moor the barge, ye gallant crew, And gentle lady, deign to stay! Rest thee in Castle Ravensheuch, Nor tempt the stormy firth to-day.
'The blackening wave is edged with white; To inch and rock the sea-mews fly; The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite, Whose screams forbode that wreck is nigh.
'Last night the gifted seer did view A wet shroud swathed round lady gay; Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch; Why cross the gloomy firth to-day?'
''Tis not because Lord Lindesay's heir To-night at Roslin leads the ball, But that my lady-mother there Sits lonely in her castle hall.
''Tis not because the ring they ride, And Lindesay at the ring rides well, But that my sire the wine will chide If 'tis not fill'd by Rosabelle.'
—O'er Roslin all that dreary night A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam; 'Twas broader than the watch-fires' light, And redder than the bright moonbeam.
It glared on Roslin's castled rock, It ruddied all the copse-wood glen; 'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak, And seen from cavern'd Hawthornden.
Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin'd lie, Each Baron, for a sable shroud, Sheath'd in his iron panoply.
Seem'd all on fire within, around, Deep sacristy and altar's pale; Shone every pillar foliage-bound, And glimmer'd all the dead men's mail.
Blazed battlement and pinnet high, Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair— So still they blaze, when fate is nigh The lordly line of high St. Clair.
There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold Lie buried within that proud chapelle; Each one the holy vault doth hold, But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!
And each St. Clair was buried there With candle, with book, and with knell; But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung, The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.
Sir W. Scott
THE BALLAD OF THE BOAT
The stream was smooth as glass, we said, 'Arise and let's away:' The Siren sang beside the boat that in the rushes lay; And spread the sail, and strong the oar, we gaily took our way. When shall the sandy bar be cross'd? when shall we find the bay?
The broadening flood swells slowly out o'er cattle-dotted plains, The stream is strong and turbulent, and dark with heavy rains; The labourer looks up to see our shallop speed away. When shall the sandy bar be cross'd? when shall we find the bay?
Now are the clouds like fiery shrouds; the sun, superbly large, Slow as an oak to woodman's stroke sinks flaming at their marge. The waves are bright with mirror'd light as jacinths on our way. When shall the sandy bar be cross'd? when shall we find the bay?
The moon is high up in the sky, and now no more we see The spreading rivers either bank, and surging distantly There booms a sullen thunder as of breakers far away. Now shall the sandy bar be cross'd, now shall we find the bay!
The sea-gull shrieks high overhead, and dimly to our sight The moonlit crests of foaming waves gleam towering through the night. We'll steal upon the mermaid soon, and start her from her lay, When once the sandy bar is cross'd, and we are in the bay.
What rises white and awful as a shroud-enfolded ghost? What roar of rampant tumult bursts in clangour on the coast? Pull back! pull back! The raging flood sweeps every oar away. O stream, is this thy bar of sand? O boat, is this the bay?
Supposed to be written by Alexander Selkirk, during his solitary abode in the island of Juan Fernandez
I am monarch of all I survey, My right there is none to dispute; From the centre all round to the sea, I am lord of the fowl and the brute. O Solitude! where are the charms That sages have seen in thy face? Better dwell in the midst of alarms Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach, I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech, I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man, Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship and love, Divinely bestowed upon man, O, had I the wings of a dove, How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage, In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age, And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold Lies hid in that heavenly word! More precious than silver or gold, Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell, These valleys and rocks never heard, Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell, Or smiled when a sabbath appear'd.
Ye winds that have made me your sport, Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial, endearing report Of a land I shall visit no more. My friends, do they now and then send A wish or a thought after me? O, tell me I yet have a friend, Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind! Compar'd with the speed of its flight, The tempest himself lags behind And the swift-winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land, In a moment I seem to be there; But, alas! recollection at hand Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest, The beast is laid down in his lair; Even here is a season of rest, And I to my cabin repair. There's mercy in every place, And mercy, encouraging thought, Gives even affliction a grace, And reconciles man to his lot.
HOME-THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD
Oh, to be in England Now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England—now!
And after April, when May follows, And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows— Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge— That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could re-capture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children's dower, —Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
THE DREAM OF EUGENE ARAM
'Twas in the prime of summer time, An evening calm and cool, And four-and-twenty happy boys Came bounding out of school: There were some that ran, and some that leapt, Like troutlets in a pool.
Away they sped with gamesome minds, And souls untouch'd by sin; To a level mead they came, and there They drave the wickets in; Pleasantly shone the setting sun Over the town of Lynn.
Like sportive deer they coursed about, And shouted as they ran— Turning to mirth all things of earth, As only boyhood can: But the usher sat remote from all, A melancholy man!
His hat was off, his vest apart, To catch heaven's blessed breeze; For a burning thought was in his brow, And his bosom ill at ease: So he lean'd his head on his hands, and read The book between his knees!
Leaf after leaf he turn'd it o'er, Nor ever glanced aside; For the peace of his soul he read that book In the golden eventide: Much study had made him very lean, And pale, and leaden-eyed.
At last he shut the ponderous tome; With a fast and fervent grasp He strain'd the dusky covers close, And fix'd the brazen hasp: 'O Heav'n, could I so close my mind, And clasp it with a clasp!'