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Her life was turning, turning,

In mazes of heat and sound;
But for peace her soul was yearning,

And now peace laps her round.

Her cabin'd, ample spirit,

It flutter'd and fail'd for breath;
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty hall of death.




THE SCHOLAR GIPSY There was very lately a lad in the University of Oxford, who was by his poverty forced to leave his studies there ; and at last to join himself to a company of vagabond gipsies. Among these extravagant people, by the insinuating subtilly of his carriage, he quickly got so much of their love and esteem as that they discovered to him their mystery. After he had been a pretty while well exercised in the trade, there chanced to ride by a couple of scholars, who had formerly been of his acquaintance. They quickly spied out their old friend among the gipsies; and he gave them an account of the necessity which drove him to that kind of life, and told them that the people he went with were not such impostors as they were taken for, but that they had a traditional kind of learning among them, and coud do wonders by the power of imagination, their fancy binding that of others : that himself had learned much of their art, and when he had compassed the whole secret, he intended, he said, to leave their company, and give the world an account of what he had learned.' -GLANVIL'S Vanity of Dogmatizing, 1661.

Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill !
Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes !

No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed,
Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their throats,
Nor the cropp'd grasses shoot another head !

But when the fields are still,
And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest,

And only the white sheep are sometimes seen
Cross and recross the strips of moon-blanch'd

green, Come, shepherd, and again begin the quesi ! 10


Here, where the reaper was at work of late-
In this high field's dark corner, where he leaves

His coat, his basket, and his earthen cruse, And in the sun all morning binds the sheaves, Then here, at noon, comes back his stores to


Here will I sit and wait,
While to my ear from uplands far away

The bleating of the folded flocks is borne,

With distant cries of reapers in the cornAll the live murmur of a summer's day. 20



Screen'd is this nook o’er the high, half-reap'd field And here till sun-down, shepherd, will I be!

Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep, And round green roots and yellowing stalks I see Pale blue convolvulus in tendrils creep ;

And air-swept lindens yield Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed

showers Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid,

And bower me from the August sun with shade; And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers.


And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's book-
Come, let me read the oft-read tale again!

The story of that Oxford scholar poor,
Of shining parts and quick inventive brain,
Who, tired of knocking at preserment's door,

One summer morn forsook His friends, and went to learn the gipsy lore, And roam'd the world with that wild brotherhood,

38 And came, as most men deem'd, to little good, But came to Oxford and his friends no more.

But once, years after, in the country-lanes,
Two scholars whom at college erst he knew

Met him, and of his way of life inquir’d.

13 46




Whereat he answer'd, that the gipsy crew, His mates, had arts to rule as they desired

The workings of men's brains ; And they can bind them to what thoughts they will.

• And I,' he said, 'the secret of their art,

When fully learn’d, will to the world impart; But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill ! This said, he left them, and return'd no more.— But rumours hung about the country-side

That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray, Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied, In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey,

The same the gipsies wore.
Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in spring ;

At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors,
On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock'd

Had found him seated at their entering,
But, mid their drink and clatter, he would fly ;-
And I myself seem half to know thy looks,

And put the shepherds, wanderer, on thy trace; And boys who in lone wheatfields scare the rooks I ask if thou hast pass'd their quiet place ;

Or in my boat I lie Moor'd to the cool bank in the summer heats,

Midwidegrass meadows which the sunshine fills,

And watch the warm green-muffied Cumnerhills, And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy retreats. For most, I know, thou lov'st retired ground ! 71 Thee, at the ferry, Oxford riders blithe,

Returning home on summer nights, have met Crossing the stripling Thames at Bablock-hithe, Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet,

As the punt's rope chops round;
And leaning backward in a pensive dream,

And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers
Pluck'd in shy fields and distant Wychwood

bowers, And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream!


76 95

And then they land, and thou art seen no more ! Maidens who from the distant hamlets come

To dance around the Fyfield elm in May,
Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee

Or cross a stile into the public way.

Oft thou hast given them store
Of flowers-the frail-leaf'd, white anemone,
Dark bluebells drench'd with dews of summer

eves, And purple orchises with spotted leaves But none has words she can report of thee. 90 And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time’s here In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames, Men who through those wide fields of breezy

grass Where black-wing'd swallows haunt the glittering

To bathe in the abandon'd lasher pass,

Have often pass'd thee near
Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown ;

Mark'd thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare,

Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted airBut, when they came from bathing, thou wert

gone! At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills, Where at her open door the housewife darns,

Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate To watch the threshers in the mossy barns. Children, who early range these slopes and late

For cresses from the rills,
Have known thee watching, all an April day,

The springing pastures and the feeding kine;
And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and

Through the long dewy grass move slow away.
In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley-wood,
Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way

Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see



111 116



With scarlet patches tagg’d and shreds of grey, Above the forest-ground callid Thessaly

The blackbird picking food Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all !

So often has he known thee past him stray

Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray, And waiting for the spark from Heaven to fall. And once, in winter, on the causeway chill Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers

go, Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow Thy face toward Hinksey and its wintry ridge ?

And thou hast climb'd the hill And gain’d the white brow of the Cumner range ; Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes

fall, The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall Then sought thy straw in

thy straw in some sequester'd

grange. But what I dream! Two hundred years are

flown Since first thy story ran through Oxford halls,

And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe That thou wert wander'd from the studious walls To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy tribe.

And thou from earth art gone Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid ! Some country nook, where o'er thy unknown

grave Tall grasses and white flowering nettles waveUnder a dark red-fruited yew-tree's shade. 140 —No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours ! For what wears out the life of mortal men ? 'Tis that from change to change their being

rolls ; 'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again,

Exhaust the energy of strongest souls, 145



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