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Full soon that better mind was gone;
No hope, no wish remained, not one,-
They stirred him now no more;
New objects did new pleasure give,
And once again he wished to live
As lawless as before.
Meanwhile, as thus with him it fared,
They for the voyage were prepared,
And went to the sea-shore,
But, when they thither came, the Youth
Deserted his poor Bride, and Ruth
Could never find him more.
God help thee, Ruth !--Such pains she had,
That she in half a year was mad,
And in a prison housed ;
And there, with
song Made of wild words, her
wrong She fearfully caroused.
Yet sometimes milder hours she knew,
Nor wanted sun, nor rain, nor dew,
Nor pastimes of the May;
-They all were with her in her cell;
And a clear brook with cheerful knell
Did o'er the pebbles play.
When Ruth three seasons thus had lain,
There came a respite to her pain ;
She from her prison fled ;
But of the Vagrant none took thought;
And where it liked her best she sought
Her shelter and her bread.
Among the fields she breathed again:
The master-current of her brain
And, coming to the Banks of Tone,
There did she rest; and dwell alone
Under the greenwood tree.
The engines of her pain, the tools
That shaped her sorrow, rocks and pools,
And airs that gently stir
The verna} leaves-she loved them still :
Nor ever taxed them with the ill
Which had been done to her.
A Barn her winter bed supplies ;
But, till the warmth of summer skies
And summer days is gone
(And all do in this tale agree),
She sleeps beneath the greenwood tree,
And other home hath none.
An innocent life, yet far astray!
And Ruth will, long before her day,
Be broken down and old :
Sore aches she needs must have! but less
Of mind, than body's wretchedness,
From damp, and rain, and cold.
If she is prest by want of food,
She from her dwelling in the wood
Repairs to a road-side;
And there she begs at one steep place
and down with easy pace The horsemen-travellers ride.
That oaten pipe of hers is mute,
Or thrown away; but with a flute
Her loneliness she cheers :
This flute, made of a hemlock stalk,
At evening in his homeward walk
The Quantock woodman hears.
I, too, have passed her on the hills
Setting her little water-mills
By spouts and fountains wild-
Such small machinery as she turned
Ere she had wept, ere she had mourned,
A young and happy Child !
Farewell ! and when thy days are told,
Ill-fated Ruth, in hallowed mould
Thy corpse shall buried be,
For thee a funeral bell shall ring,
And all the congregation sing
A Christian psalm for thee.
O BLITHE New-comer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice.
O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice ?
While I am lying on the grass
Thy two-fold shout I hear,
From hill to hill it seems to pass
At once far off, and wear,
Though babbling only to the Vale,
Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.
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 school-boy 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
green; 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, faery place:
That is fit home for Thee!
LINES, COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON
REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A
TOUR.—JULY 13, 1798. FIVE years have past ; five summers, with the
length Of five long winters! and again I hear 'These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs With a soft inland murmur.* _Once again Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, That on a wild secluded scene impress Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect The landscape with the quiet of the sky. The day is come when I again repose Here, under this dark sycamore, and view These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts, Which at this season, with their unripe fruits, Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves 'Mid groves
Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild : these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
up, in silence, from among the trees ! With some uncertain notice, as might seem Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods, Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din