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On he goes ! ----resistless Fate
Twelve times the slow-voiced village clock
From moss-grown turret sounded deep; The guardian dogs, the folded flock,
And toil-spent hinds, were sunk in sleep.
Alone Susanna wak'd: her arm,
Tear-moisten'd, propt her languid head; Full on her heart she felt th' alarm,
And sudden started froin her bed.
On this sad night a year had rollid,
A year of sorrow's darkest shade, Since low beneath the hallow'd mould
Her William's clay-cold corse was laid.
Too well her memory kept the date
Of woes that knew but one relief; ' And forih she went, with tottering gait,
To taste the luxury of grief.
Across the green, the church-yard way
She scarce discern'd anid the gloom, Till from the noon a friendly ray
Burst thro' and glean'd on William's tomb.
With throbbing breast she sought the place,
And knelt beside the sacred stone ; To heav'n she turn'd her pallid face,
And clasp'd her hands in speechless moan.
At length she cried (her hollow voice
Broke awful thro' the shades of night), « Dear object of my
earliest choice, Once my heart's joy, my eyes' delight;
If yet, a spirit clad in air,
Thou hoverest round these cold remains; If earthly things be yet thy care,
Thy once-lov'd friends, and native plains;
Oh turn thy pitying looks of love
Onlier, thy own bethrouled maid ; Brood o'er her like the tender dove,
And fly to thy Susanna's aid !
Twelve dismal months this tortur'd breast
Nor joy nor soft repose has felt; Oh enter thou, a sainted guest,
And grief in holy fervours melt!
So shall these poor remains of breath
No more in sighs accuse my fate; But for the welcome stroke of death
In peace my patient soul shall wait.”
This said, she rose: and now she hears
(With Fancy's fond illusions warm) Sweet music trilling in her ears,
And sees her William's glittring form.
The vision ceas'd.- She slow returns,
With backward look and falt'ring pace; With rapture's fire her bosom burns,
While feverish lustre lights her face.
Now faint, exhausted, on her bed
Her limbs the lovely mourner throws; Kind sleep around his poppies shed,
And Nature sinks in calm repose.
But deep within her aching breast
Lurks the keen foe that saps her life; And soon in one eternal rest
Must close the sorrowing ling'ring strife,
Written in Whichwood Forest.
The hinds how blest, who ne'er beguild
When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam, They rove abroad in æther blue, To dip the scythe in fragrant dew: The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell, That nodding shades a craggy dell.
Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear, Wild Nature's sweetest notes they hear: On green untrodden banks they view The hyacinth's neglected hue : In their lone haunts, and woodland rounds, They spy the squirrel's airy bounds: And startle from her ashen spray, Across the glen, the screaming jay: Each native charm their steps explore Of Solitude's sequester'd store.
For them the moon, with cloudless tay, Mounts, to illume their homeward way: Their wears spirits to relieve, The meadows incense breathe at eve : No riot mars the simple fare That o'er a glimmering hearth they share: But when the curfeu's measur'd roar Duly, the darkening vallies v'er, Has echoed from the distant town, They wish no beds of cygnet-down, No trophied canopy to close Their drooping eyes in quick repose.
Their little sons, who spread the bloom Of health around the clay-built room, Or through the primros'd coppice stray, Or ga nbol in the new-mown lay: Or quaintly braid the cowslip twine, Or drive afield the tardy kine; Or hasten from the sultry hill To loiter at the shady rill; Or climb the tall pine's gloomy crest To rob the raven's ancient nest.
Their humble porch with honied flowers The curling woodbine's shade embowers : From the trim garden's thymy mound Their bees in busy swarms resound: Nor sell Diseasė, before his time, Hastes to consume life's golden prime: