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I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.
“The first that died was little Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain ;
And then she went away.
“So in the churchyard she was laid ;
And when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.
“And when the ground was white with snow
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."
“How many are you, then," said I,
“If they two are in heaven?"
The little maiden did reply,
“O master! we are seven.
“But they are dead ; those two are dead !
Their spirits are in heaven!”
'Twas throwing words away : for still
The little maid would have her will,
And said, “Nay, we are seven !”
Showing how the practice of lying may be taught.
I HAVE a boy of five years old ;
His face is fair and fresh to see ;
His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,
And dearly he loves me.
One morn we strolled on our dry walk,
Our quiet home all full in view,
And held such intermitted talk
As we are wont to do.
My thoughts on former pleasures ran;
I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,
Our pleasant home when spring began,
A long, long year before.
A day it was when I could bear
Some fond regrets to entertain ;
With so much happiness to spare,
I could not feel a pain.
The green earth echoed to the feet
Of lambs that bounded through the glade,
From shade to sunshine, and as fleet
From sunshine back to shade.
Birds warbled round me-every trace
Of inward sadness had its charm;
“Kilve," said I, was a favoured place,
And so is Liswyn farm.”
My boy was by my side, so slim
And graceful in his rustic dress !
And oftentimes I talk'd to him
In very idleness.
“Now tell me, had you rather be,” I said, and took him by the arm, “On Kilve's smooth shore, by the green sea, Or here at Liswyn farm ? "
In careless mood he look'd at me,
While still I held him by the arm,
And said, “At Kilve I'd rather be
Than here at Liswyn farm.”
“Now, little Edward, say why so ;
My little Edward, tell me why._"
“I cannot tell, I do not know."
“Why, this is strange,” said I;
“For, here are woods, and green hills warm :
There surely must some reason be
Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm
For Kilve by the green sea.”
At this my boy hung down his head,
He blushed with shame, nor made reply;
And five times to the child I said, “Why, Edward, tell me why?"
His head he raised—there was in sight,
It caught his eye, he saw it plain-
Upon the house-top, glittering bright,
A broad and gilded vane.
Then did the boy his tongue unlock ;
And thus to me he made reply :
“At Kilve there was no weathercock,
And that's the reason why."
O dearest, dearest boy ! my heart
For better lore would seldom yearn,
Could I but teach the hundredth part
Of what from thee I learn,
The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;
I heard a voice ; it said, “Drink, pretty creature, drink ! ”
And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb with a maiden at its side.
No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.
The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took, Seemed to feast with head and ears; and his tail with
pleasure shook. “Drink, pretty creature, drink,” she said in such a tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.
'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare !
I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair.
Now with her empty can the maiden turned away:
But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay.
Towards the lamb she looked ; and from that shady place
I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face :
If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing: