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THE post-boy drove with fierce career,
For threatening clouds the moon had drowned;
When, as we hurried on, my ear
Was smitten with a startling sound.
As if the wind blew many ways,
I heard the sound—and more and more ;
It seemed to follow with the chaise,
And still I heard it as before.
At length I to the boy called out;
He stopped his horses at the word,
But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout,
Nor aught else like it, could be heard.
The boy then smacked his whip, and fast
The horses scampered through the rain ;
But, hearing soon upon the blast
The cry, I bade him halt again.
Forthwith, alighting on the ground,
“Whence comes,” said I, “this piteous moan ?"
And there a little girl I found,
Sitting behind the chaise, alone.
“My cloak !” no other word she spake,
But loud and bitterly she wept,
As if her innocent heart would break;
And down from off her seat she leapt.
“What ails you, child ?”—She sobbed, “Look
I saw it in the wheel entangled,
A weather-beaten rag as e'er
From any garden scarecrow dangled.
There, twisted between nave and spoke,
It hung; nor could at once be freed,
But our joint pains unloosed the cloak,
A miserable rag indeed !
“And whither are you going, child,
To-night along these lonesome ways ?”
“To Durham," answered she, half wild-
“Then come with me into the chaise."
Insensible to all relief ;
Sat the poor girl, and forth did send
Sob after sob, as if her grief
Coull never, never have an end.
“My child, in Durham do you dwell ? "
She checked herself in her distress,
And said “My name is Alice Fell;
I'm fatherless and motherless.
“And I to Durham, sir, belong." Again, as if the thought would choke Her very heart, her grief grew strong; And all was for her tattered cloak !
The chaise drove on ; our journey's end
Was nigh ; and sitting by my side,
As if she had lost her only friend,
She wept, nor would be pacified.
Up to the tavern door we post;
Of Alice and her grief I told;
And I gave money to the host,
To buy a new cloak for the old.
“And let it be of duffil grey,
As warm a cloak as man can sell !"
Proud creature was she the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell !
A SIMPLE child, That lightly draws its breath, And feels its life in every limb, What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl :
She was eight years old, she said ;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad :
Her eyes were fair, and very fair ;
-Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid How many may you be ?" “How many ? Seven in all,” she said, And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they? I pray you tell.”
She answered, “Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,
My sister and my brother ;
And in the churchyard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."
“You say that two at Conway dwell, And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven !I pray you tell, i Sweet maid, how this may be."
Then did the little maid reply,
“Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about my little maid,
Your limbs they are alive ;
If two are in the churchyard laid,
Then ye are only five."
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,” The little maid replied, “Twelve steps or more from my mother's door, And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem ;
And there upon the ground I sit-
I sit and sing to them.
“And often after sunset, sir, When it is light and fair,