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And that's the very Pony, too! Where is she, where is Betty Foy? She hardly can sustain her fears; The roaring waterfall she hears, And cannot find her Idiot Boy. Your Pony's worth his weight in gold: Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy! She's coming from among the trees, And now all full in view she sees Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. And Betty sees the Pony too: Why stand you thus, good Betty Foy? It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost, "Tis he whom you so long have lost, He whom you love, your Idiot Boy. She looks again-her arms are up-. She screams-she cannot move for joy: She darts, as with a torrent's force, She almost has o'erturned the Horse, And fast she holds her Idiot Boy. And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud; Whether in cunning or in joy I cannot tell; but while he laughs, Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs To hear again her Idiot Boy. And now she's at the Pony's tail, And now is at the Pony's head, On that side now, and now on this; And, almost stifled with her bliss, A few sad tears does Betty shed. She kisses o'er and o'er again Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy ; She's happy here, is happy there, She is uneasy every where; Her limbs are all alive with joy. She pats the Pony, where or when She knows not, happy Betty Foy! The little Pony glad may be, But he is milder far than she, You hardly can perceive his joy. “Oh! Johnny, never mind the Doctor You've done your best, and that is all: She took the reins, when this was said, And gently turned the Pony's hcad From the loud waterfall. By this the stars were almost gone, The moon was setting on the hill, So pale you scarcely looked at her: The little birds began to stir, Though yet their tongues were still. The Pony, Betty, and her Boy, Wind slowly through the woody dale; And who is she, betimes abroad, That hobbles up the steep rough road? Who is it, but old Susan Gale? Long time lay Susan lost in thought ; And many dreadful fears beset her, Both for her Messenger and Nurse : And, as her mind grew worse and worse, Her body-it grew better. She turned, she tossed herself in bed, On all sides doubts and terrors met her ; Point after point did she discuss ; And, while her mind was fighting thus, Her body still grew better,
“Alas! what is become of them ? These fears can never be endured ; I'll to the wood."- The word scarce said, Did Susan rise up from her bed, As if by magic cured. Away she goes up hill and down, And to the wood at length is come; She spies her Friends, she shouts a greeting; Oh me! it is a merry meeting As ever was in Christendom. The owls have hardly sung their last, While our four travellers homeward wend; The owls have hooted all night long, And with the owls began my song, And with the owls must end. For while they all were travelling home, Cried Betty, "Tell us, Johnny, do, Where all this long night you have been, What you have heard, what you have seen: And, Johnny, mind you tell us true." Now Johnny all night long had heard The owls in tuneful concert strive ; No doubt too he the moon had seen ; For in the moonlight he had been From eight o'clock till five. And thus, to Betty's question, he Made answer, like a traveller bold, (His very words I give to you,) " The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo, And the sun did shine so cold!"
- Thus answered Johnny in his glory, And that was all his travel's story. 1798.
A PASTORAL POEM. If from the public way you turn your steps Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll, You will suppose that with an upright path Your feet must struggle ; in such bold ascent The pastoral inountains front you, face to face. But, courage! for around that boisterous brook The mountains have all opened out themselves, And made a hidden valley of their own. No habitation can be seen : but they Who journey thither find themselves alone With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and
kites That overhead are sailing in the sky. It is in truth an utter solitude : Nor should I have made mention of this Dell But for onc object which you might pass by, Might sec and notice not. Beside the brook Appears a straggling heap of unhewn stones: And to that simple object appertains A story-unenriched with strange events, Yet not unfit, I deem, for the fireside, Or for the summer shade, It was the first Of those domestic tales that spake to me Of Shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men Whom I already loved ;-not verily For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills Where was their occupation and abode. And hence this Tale, while I was yet a Boy Careless of books, yet having felt the power Of Nature, by the gentle agency
Of natural objects, led me on to feel
That they were as a proverb in the vale For passions that were not my own, and think For endless industry. When day was gone, (At random and imperfectly indeed)
And from their occupations out of doors On man, the heart of man, and human life. The Son and Father were come home, even Therefore, although it be a history
then, Homely and rude, I will relate the same Their labour did not cease ; unless when all For the delight of a few natural hearts ; Turned to the cleanly supper-board, and there, And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk, Of youthful Poets, who among these hills Sat round the basket piled with oaten cakes, Will be my second self when I am gone. And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when
the meal Upon the forest-side in Grasmere Vale There dwelt a Shepherd, Michael was his name ;
Was ended, Luke (for so the Son was named)
And his old Father both betook themselves An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.
To such convenient work as might employ His bodily frame had been from youth to age
Their hands by the fire-side ; perhaps to card Of an unusual strength: his mind was keen, Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs,
Wool for the Housewife's spindle, or repair
Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe, And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt And watchful more than ordinary men.
Or other implement of house or field. Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds, Down from the ceiling, by the chimney's Of blasts of every tone ; and, oftentimes,
edge, When others heeded not, he heard the South That in our ancient uncouth country style Make subterraneous music, like the noise With huge and black projection overbrowed Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills. Large space beneath, as duly as the light The Shepherd, at such warning, of his flock Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a lamp: Bethought him, and he to himself would say, An aged utensil, which had performed “The winds are now devising work for me !" Service beyond all others of its kind. And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives Early at evening did it burn--and late, The traveller to a shelter, summoned him Surviving comrade of uncounted hours, Up to the mountains : he had been alone Which, going by from year to year, had found, Amid the heart of many thousand mists, And left the couple neither gay perhaps That came to him, and left him, on the heights. Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes, So lived he till his eightieth year was past. Living a life of eager industry. And grossly that man errs, who should suppose And now, when Lukehad reached his eighteenth That the green valleys, and the streams and year, rocks,
There by the light of this old lamp they sate, Were things indifferent to the Shepherd's Father and Son, while far into the night thoughts.
The Housewife plied her own peculiar work, Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had Making the cottage through the silent hours breathed
Murmur as with the sound of summer flies. The common air ; hills, which with vigorous step This light was famous in its neighbourhood, He had so often climbed ; which had impressed And was a public symbol of the life So many incidents upon his mind
That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced, Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear ; Their cottage on a plot of rising ground Which, like a book, preserved the memory Stood single, with large prospect, north and Of the dumb animals whom he had saved,
south, Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts High into Easedale, up to Dunmail-Raise, The certainty of honourable gain;
And westward to the village near the lake; Those fields, those hills—what could they less? And from this constant light, so regular -had laid
And so far seen, the House itself, by all Strong hold on his affections, were to him Who dwelt within the limits of the vale, A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
Both old and young, was named THE EVENING The pleasure which there is in life itself.
STAR, His days had not been passed in singleness. T'hus living on through such a length of His Helpmate was a comely matron, old
years, Though younger than himself full twenty years. The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs She was a woman of a stirring life,
Have loved his Helpmate ; but to Michael's Whose heart was in her house : two wheels she heart had
This son of his old age was yet more dearOf antique form ; this large, for spinning wool ; Less from instinctive tenderness, the same That small, for flax; and if one wheel had rest Fond spirit that blindly works in the blood of It was because the other was at work,
allThe Pair had but one inmate in their house, Than that a child, more than all other gifts An only Child, who had been born to them That earth can offer to declining man, When Michael, telling o'er his years, began Brings hope with it, and forward-looking Todeem that he was old,-in shepherd's phrgse, thoughts, With one foot in the grave. This only Son, And stirrings of inquietude, when they With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a By tendency of nature needs must fail. storm,
Exceeding was the love he bare to him, The one of an inestimable worth,
His heart and his heart's joy! For oftentimes Made all their household. I may truly say Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
Had done him female service, not alone Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture, For pastime and delight, as is the use
A grievous penalty, but little less Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced Than half his substance. This unlooked-fo To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
claim, His cradle, as with a woman's gentle hand. At the first hearing, for a moment took And, in a later time, ere yet the Boy
More hope out of his life than he supposed Had put on boy's attire, did Michael love, That any old man ever could have lost. Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
As soon as he had armed himself with strength To have the Young-one in his sight, when he
To look his trouble in the face, it seemed Wrought in the field, or on his shepherd's stool
The Shepherd's sole resource to sell at once Sate with a fettered sheep before him stretched A portion of his patrimonial fields. Under the large old oak, that near his door
Such was his first resolve ; he thought again, Stood single, and, from matchless depth of shade, And his heart failed him..." Isabel," said he, Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun,
Two evenings after he had heard the news, Thence in our rustic dialect was called
“I have been toiling more than seventy years, The CLIPPING TREE, * a name which yet it bears. And in the open sunshine of God's love There, while they two were sitting in the shade, Have we all lived ; yet if these fields of ours With others round them, earnest all and blithe,
Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
That I could not lie quiet in my grave. Of fond correction and reproof bestowed
Our lot is a hard lot: the sun himself Upon the Child, if he disturbed the sheep
Has scarcely been more diligent than I ; By catching at their legs, or with his shouts
And I have lived to be a fool at last Scared them, while they lay still beneath the To my own family: An evil man shears.
That was, and made an evil choice, if he
Were false to us ; and if he were not false, And when by Heaven's good grace the boy There are ten thousand to whom loss like this grew up
Had been no sorrow. I forgive him ;-but A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek
'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus. Two steady roses that were five years old ; Then Michael from a winter coppice cut With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
When I began, my purpose was to speak With iron, making it throughout in all
Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel ; the land Due requisites a perfect shepherd's staff,
Shall not go from us, and it shall be free ; And gave it to the Boy; wherewith equipt
He shall possess it, free as is the wind He as a watchman oftentimes was placed That passes over it. We have, thou know'st, At gate or gap, to stem or turn the flock;
Another kinsman-he will be our friend And, to his office prematurely called,
In this distress. He is a prosperous man, There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
Thriving in trade-and Luke to him shall go, Something between a hindrance and a help;
And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift And for this cause not always, I believe,
He quickly will repair this loss, and then Receiving from his Father hire of praise ;
He may return to us. If here he stay, Though nought was left undone which staff, or What can be done? Where every one is poor, voice,
What can be gained ?". Or looks, or threatening gestures, could perform.
At this the old Man paused, But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could And Isabel sat silent, for her mind stand
Was busy, looking back into past times. Against the mountain blasts, and to the heights, There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herNot fearing toil, nor length of weary ways,
self, He with his father daily went, and they He was a parish-boy-at the church-door Were as companions, why should I relate They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence That objects which the Shepherd loved before And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbours Were dearer now? that from the Boy there caine bought Feelings and emanations-things which were A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares ; Light to the sun and music to the wind : And, with this basket on his arm, the lad And that the old Man's heart seemed born again? Went up to London, found a master there, Thus in his Father's sight the Boy grew up: To go and overlook his merchandise
Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy And now, when he had reached his eighteenth Beyond the seas; where he grew wondrous rich, year,
And left estates and monies to the poor, He was his comfort and his daily hope.
And, at his birth-place, built a chapel floored While in this sort the simple household lived with marble, which he sent from foreign lands. From day to day, to Michael's ear there came These thoughts, and many others of like sort, Distressful tidings. Long before the time Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel, Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound And her face brightened.
The old Man was In surety for his brother's son, a man
glad, Of an industrious life, and ample means ; And thus resumed :—“Well, Isabel ! this But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
scheme Had prest upon him ; and old Michael now These two days, has been meat and drink to me.
Far more than we have lost is left us yet. Clipping is the word used in the North of -We have enough-I wish indeed that I England for shearing.
Were younger ;-but this hope is a good hope. - Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best Two days, and blessings from thy Father's Buy for him more, and let us send him forth
tongue Tomorrow, or the next day, or to-night: Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on, -If he could go, the Boy should go to-night." And still I loved thee with increasing love. Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went than when I heard thee by our own fire-side
Never to living ear came sweeter sounds forth
First uttering, without words, a natural tune ; With a light heart. The Housewife for five days while thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy Was restless morn and night, and all day long
Sing at thy Mother's breast. Month followed Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare
month, Things needful for the journey of her son. And in the open fields my life was passed But Isabel was glad when Sunday came
And on the mountains ; else I think that thou To stop her in her work : for, when she lay
Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees. By Michael's side, she through the last two
But we were playmates, Luke: among these nights
hills, Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep: As well thou knowest, in us the old and young And when they rose at morning she could see
Have played together, nor with me didst thou That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
Lack any pleasure which a boy can know.' She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
Luke had a manly heart : but at these words Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go:
He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his We have no other Child but thee to lose,
hand, None to remember-do not go away,
And said, “Nay, do not take it so I see For if thou leave thy Father he will die.".
That these are things of which I need not speak. The Youth made answer with a jocund voice ;
-Even to the utmost I have been to thee And Isabel, when she had told her fears,
A kind and a good Father : and herein Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
I but repay a gift which I myself Did she bring forth, and all together sat Received at others' hands ; for, though now old Like happy people round a Christmas fire.
Beyond the common life of man, I still With daylight Isabel resumed her work ;
Remember them who loved me in my youth.
Bo And all the ensuing week the house appeared
of them sleep together: here they lived,
As all their Forefathers had done; and when As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
At length their time was come, they were not The expected letter from their kinsman came,
loth With kind assurances that he would do His utmost for the welfare of the Boy :
To give their bodies to the family mould. To which, requests were added, that forthwith I wished that thou shouldst live the life they
lived : He might be sent to him. Ten times or more The letter was read over ; Isabel
But, 'tis a long time to look back, my Son, Went forth to show it to the neighbours round
And see so little gain from threescore years.
These fields were burthened when they came Nor was there at that time on English land
to me ; A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel Had to her house returned, the old Man said,
Till I was forty years of age, not more “He shall depart to-morrow.
To this word Than half of my inheritance was mine. The Housewife answered, talking much of
I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my things
work, Which, if at such short notice he should go,
And till these three weeks past the land was
free. Would surely be forgotten. But at length She
It looks as if it never could endure gave consent, and Michael was at ease.
Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke, Near the tumultuous brook of Green-head If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good Ghyll,
That thou should'st go." In that deep valley, Michael had designed
At this the old Man paused : To build a Sheep-fold; and, before he heard Then, pointing to the stones near which they The tidings of his melancholy loss,
stood, For this same purpose he had gathered up Thus, after a short silence, he resumed : A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge “ This was a work for us ; and now, my Son, Lay thrown together, ready for the work It is a work for me. But, lay one stoneWith Luke that evening thitherward he walked: Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own And soon as they had reached the place he hands. stopped, Nay, Boy, be of good hope ;--we both may
live And thus the old Man spake to him :-"My To see a better day. At eighty-four Son,
I still am strong and hale :-do thou thy part ; To-morrow thou wilt leave me : with full heart I will do mine.--I will begin again I look upon thee, for thou art the same
With many tasks that were resigned to thee: That wert a promise to me ere thy birth Up to the heights, and in among the storms, And all thy life hast been my daily joy. Will I without thee go again, and do I will relate to thee some little part
All works which I was wont to do alone, Of our two histories ; 'twill do thee good Before I knew thy face. – Heaven bless thee, When thou art from me, even if I should touch Boy ! On things thou canst not know of.--After thou Thy heart these two weeks has been beating First cam'st into the world-as oft befals
fast To new-born infants-thou didst sleep away With many hopes; it should be so-yes-yes
I knew that thou couldst never have a wish And to that hollow dell from time to time To leave me, Luke: thou hast been bound to Did he repair, to build the Fold of which
His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet Only by links of love : when thou art gone, The pity which was then in every heart What will be left to us!- But, I forget
For the old Man-and 'tis believed by all My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone, That many and many a day he thither went, As I requested ; and hereafter, Luke,
And never lifted up a single stone. When thou art gone away, should evil men
There, by the Sheep-fold, sometimes was he Be thy companions, think of me, my Son, And of this moment ; hither turn thy thoughts,
Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog, And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear
Then old, beside him, lying at his feet. And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou May'st bear in mind the life thy Fathers lived, He at the building of this Sheep-fold wrought,
Thelength of full seven years, from time to time, Who, being innocent, did for that cause
And left the work unfinished when he died. Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee Three years, or little more, did Isabel well
Survive her Husband : at her death the estate When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand. A work which is not here: a covenant
The Cottage which was named the EVENING 'Twill be between us : but, whatever fate
Is gone- the ploughshare has been through the
ground The Shepherd ended here ; and Luke stooped On which it stood : great changes have been down,
wrought And, as his Father had requested, laid In all the neighbourhood :-yet the oak is left The first stone of the Sheep-fold. At the sight That grew beside their door í and the remains The old Man's grief broke from him ; to his of the unfinished Sheep-fold may be seen heart
Beside the boisterous brook of Green-head He pressed his Son, he kissed him and wept;
Ghyll. And to the house together they returned.
1800. -Hushed was that House in peace, or seeming
peace, Ere the night fell :-with morrow's dawn the
THE WIDOW ON WINDERMERE SIDE. Boy, Began his journey, and when he had reached
I. The public way, he put on a bold face ;
How beautiful when up a lofty height And all
the neighbours, as he passed their doors, Honour ascends among the humblest poor, Came forth with wishes and with farewell And feeling sinks as deep! See there the door prayers,
Of One, a Widow, left beneath a weight That followed him till he was out of sight. Of blameless debt. On evil Fortune's spite A good report did from their Kinsman come,
She wașted no complaint, but strove to make Of Luke and his well-doing: and the Boy
A just repayment, both for conscience-sake Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news,
And that herself and hers should stand upright Which, as the Housewife phrased it, were
In the world's eye. Her work when daylight
failed throughout “The prettiest letters that were ever seen.'
Paused not, and through the depth of night she Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts.
kept So, many months passed on: and once again
Such earnest vigils, that belief prevailed The Shepherd went about his daily work
With some, the noble Creature never slept ; With confident and cheerful thoughts: and now
But, one by one, the hand of death assailed Sometimes when he could find a leisure hour
Her children from her inmost heart bewept. He to that valley took his way, and there Wrought at the Sheep-fold. Meantime Luke The Mother mourned, nor ceased her tears to began
flow, To slacken in his duty; and, at length, Till a winter's noon-day placed her buried Son He in the dissolute city gave himself
Before her eyes, last child of many goneTo evil courses: ignominy and shame
His raiment of angelic white, and lo! Fell on him, so that he was driven at last His very feet bright as the dazzling snow To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas. Which they are touching ; yea far brighter, even There is a comfort in the strength of love ;
As that which comes, or seems to come, from 'Twill make a thing endurable, which else
heaven, Would overset the brain, or break the heart : Surpasses aught these elements can show. I have conversed with more than one who well Much she rejoiced, trusting that from that hour Remember the old Man, and what he was
Whate'er befel she could not grieve or pine ; Years after he had heard this heavy news.
But the Transfigured, in and out of season, His bodily frame had been from youth to age
Appeared, and spiritual presence gained a power Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks
Over material forms that mastered reason. He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud,
Oh, gracious Heaven, in pity make her thine ! And listened to the wind : and, as before, Performed all kinds of labour for his sheep, But why that prayer? as if to her could come And for the land, his small inheritance. No good but by the way that leads to bliss