« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
“What ails thee, young one? what? Why pull so at thy
Is it not well with thee? well both for bed and board ?
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ;
Rest, little young one, rest; what is 't that aileth thee?
"What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy
heart? Thy limbs, are they not strong? And beautiful thou art : This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no peers ; And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears !
“If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,
This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain ;
For rain and mountain storms, the like thou need'st not fear-
The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come here.
“Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day
When my father found thee first in places far away ;
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by none,
And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone.
“He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home : A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou roam? A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.
“Thou knowest that twice a day I have brought thee in
this can Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran; And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new.
" Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now, Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough ; My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.
“It will not, will not rest!-poor creature, can it be
That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee ?
Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear,
And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor hear.
“Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair ! I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there; The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play, When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey.
“Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky;
Night and day thou art safe, -our cottage is hard by.
Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain ?
Sleep-and at break of day I will come to thee again !”
-As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet,
This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat;
And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line,
That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was mine.
Again, and once again did I repeat the song ; “Nay,” said I, "more than half to the damsel must belong, For she look'd with such a look, and she spake with such a
tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.”
THE IDLE SHEPHERD BOYS; OR, DUNGEON.
The valley rings with mirth and joy;
Among the hills the echoes play
A never, never-ending song
To welcome in the May.
The magpie chatters with delight;
The mountain raven's youngling brood
Have left the mother and the nest;
And they go rambling east and west
In search of their own food;
Or through the glittering vapours dart
In very wantonness of heart.
Beneath a rock, upon the grass,
Two boys are sitting in the sun;
It seems they have no work to do,
Or that their work is done.
On pipes of sycamore they play
The fragments of a Christmas hymn;
Or with that plant which in our dale
We call stag-horn, or fox's tail,
Their rusty hats they trim :
And thus, as happy as the day,
Those shepherds wear the time away.
Along the river's stony marge
The sand-lark chants a joyous song ;
The thrush is busy in the wood,
And carols loud and strong.
A thousand lambs are on the rocks,
All newly born! Both earth and sky
Keep jubilee ; and more than all,
Those boys with their green coronai;
They never hear the cry,
That plaintive cry! which up the hill
Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Ghyll.
Said Walter, leaping from the ground, “Down to the stump of yon old yew We'll for our whistles run a race.
-Away the shepherds flew.
They leapt—they ran—and when they came
Right opposite to Dungeon-Ghyll,
Seeing that he should lose the prize,
Stop!” to his comrade Walter cries
James stopp'd with no good will :
Said Walter then, “Your task is here,
'Twill keep you working half a year.
“Now cross where I shall cross-come on,
And follow me where I shall lead."
The other took him at his word;
But did not like the deed.
It was a spot, which you may see
If ever you to Langdale go :
Into a chasm a mighty block
Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock':
The gulf is deep below;
And in a basin black and small
Receives a lofty waterfall.
With staff in hand across the cleft
The challenger began his march ;
all eyes and feet, hath gained
The middle of the arch.
When list ! he hears a piteous moan-
Again !-his heart within him dies-
His pulse is stopped, his breath is lost
He totters, pale as any ghost,
And, looking down, he spies
A lamb that in the pool is pent
Within that black and frightful rent.
The lamb had slipp'd into the stream,
And safe without a bruise or wound
The cataract had borne him down
Into the gulf profound.
His dam had seen him when he fell,
She saw him down the torrent borne;
And, while with all a mother's love
She from the lofty rocks above
Sent forth a cry forlorn,
The lamb, still swimming round and round,
Made answer to that plaintive sound.
When he had learnt what thing it was
That sent this rueful cry, I ween,