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By the same fire to boil their pottage,
poor old dames, as I have known, Will often live in one small cottage; But she, poor woman, housed alone. 'Twas well enough when summer came, The long, warm, lightsome summer-day, Then at her door the canty Dame Would sit, as any linnet gay.
But when the ice our streams did fetter,
Oh! then how her old bones would shake,
You would have said, if you had met her,
'Twas a hard time for Goody Blake.
Her evenings then were dull and dead !
Sad case it was, as you may think,
For very cold to go to bed ;
And then for cold not sleep a wink.
Oh, joy for her! whene'er in winter
The winds at night had made a rout;
And scattered many a lusty splinter
And many a rotten bough about.
Yet never had she, well or sick,
As every man who knew her says,
A pile beforehand, turf or stick,
Enough to warm her for three days.
Now, when the frost was past enduring,
And made her poor old bones to ache,
Could anything be more alluring
Than an old hedge to Goody Blake?
And, now and then, it must be said,
When her old bones were cold and chill,
She left her fire, or left her bed,
To seek the hedge of Harry Gill.
Now Harry he had long suspected
This trespass of old Goody Blake;
And vowed that she should be detected,
And he on her would vengeance take.
And oft from his warm fire he'd go,
And to the fields his road would take.
And there, at night, in frost and snow,
He watched to seize old Goody Blake.
And once, behind a rick of barley,
Thus looking out did Harry stand:
The moon was full and shining clearly,
And crisp with frost the stubble land.
He hears a noise-he's all awake-
Again !-on tiptoe down the hill
He softly creeps — 'Tis Goody Blake,
She's at the hedge of Harry Gill.
Right glad was he when he beheld her:
Stick after stick did Goody pull :
He stood behind a bush of elder,
Till she had filled her
When with her load she turned about,
The byway back again to take;
He started forward with a shout,
And sprang upon poor Goody Blake.
And fiercely by the arm he took her,
And by the arm he held her fast,
And fiercely by the arm he shook her,
And cried, “I've caught you, then, at last!”
Then Goody, who had nothing said,
Her bundle from her lap let fall ;
And, kneeling on the sticks, she prayed
To God that is the judge of all.
Thrice welcome, darling of the spring !
Even yet thou art to me
No bird : but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery.
The same whom in my schoolboy days
I listened to; that cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen.
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blessed bird ! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial fairy place;
That is fit home for thee !
The sky is overcast With a continuous cloud of texture close, Heavy and wan, all whitened by the moon, Which through that veil is indistinctly seen, A dull, contracted circle, yielding light So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls, Chequering the ground-from rock, plant, tree, or tower. At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam Startles the pensive traveller while he treads His lonesome path, with unobserving eye Bent earthwards: he looks up-the clouds are split
Asunder,-and above his head he sees
The clear moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives ;-how fast they wheel away,
Yet vanish not !--the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent ;-still they roll along
Immeasurably distant;-and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens its unfathomable depth.
At length the vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delight it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.
Mark how the feathered tenants of the flood,
With grace of motion that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, prolong
Their curious pastime! shaping in mid air
(And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops)
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain ;--but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circles, to and fro,
Upward and downward, progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight.- 'Tis done
Ten times, or more, I fancied it had ceased;
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending ;-they approach-I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound,
Past in a moment-and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport amid their plumes;
They tempt the water, or the gleaming ice,
To show them a fair image;—'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain,
Painted more soft and fair as they descend
Almost to touch ;—then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!
THERE is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore,
Not loth to furnish weapons for the bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree !-a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks !—and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved, -
Nor uninformed with phantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane ;-a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially--beneath whose sable roof