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THE SOLITARY REAPER.

BEHOLD her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass !
Reaping and singing by herself ;
Stop here, or gently pass !
Alone she cuts, and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain.
Oh, listen ! for the vale profound
Is everflowing with the sound.

No nightingale did ever chant
So sweetly to reposing bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt
Among Arabian sands :
No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time from a cuckoo-bird
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ;-
I listened till I had my fill :
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

LINES WRITTEN IN MARCH,

While resting on the bridge at the foot of Brother's

Water.

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 joy in the fountains ;
Small clouds are sailing,

Blue sky prevailing ;
The rain is over and gone !

GIPSIES.

Yet are they here—the same unbroken knot
Of human beings, in the self-same spot!

Men, women, children, yea, the frame

Of the whole spectacle the same ! Only their fire seems bolder, yielding light, Now deep and red, the colouring of night,

That on their gipsy-faces falls,

Their bed of straw and blanket-walls. Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours, are gone while I Have been a traveller under open sky,

Much witnessing of change and cheer

Yet as I left I find them here !
The weary sun betook himself to rest,
Then issued vesper from the fulgent west,

Outshining like a visible god

The glorious path on which he trod. And now, ascending, after one dark hour, And one night's diminution of her power,

Behold the mighty moon ! this way

She looks as if at them-but they
Regard not her. Oh, better wrong and strife,
Better vain deeds, or evil, than such life !

The silent heavens have goings-on ;
The stars have tasks-but these have none !

BEGGARS.

She had a tall man's height, or more ;
No bonnet screened her from the heat ;
A long drab-coloured cloak she wore,
A mantle, to her

Descending with a graceful flow,
And on her head a cap as white as new-fallen snow.

very feet,

to

Her skin was of Egyptian brown ;
Haughty, as if her eye had seen
Its own lig

distance thrown, She towered-fit person for a Queen.

To head those ancient Amazonian files :
Or ruling bandit's wife among the Grecian isles.

Before me begging did she stand,
Pouring out sorrows like a sea ;
Grief after grief. On English land
Such woes I knew could never be ;

And yet a boon I gave her ; for the creature
Was beautiful to see ; "a weed of glorious feature !"

I left her and pursued my way;
And soon before me did espy
A pair of little boys at play,
Chasing a crimson butterfly ;

The taller followed with his hat in hand,
Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of the land.

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