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similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my Readers who have it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to); and I conceived the design of shewing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the progress and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginning.
The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these was the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, no name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite.]
The Grapes upon the Vicar's wall
Were ripe as ripe could be;
Were falling from the Tree.
On the hedge-elms in the narrow lane
Still swung the strikes of corn :
Young Edward's marriage-morn.
Up through that wood behind the church,
There leads from Edward's door
For half a mile or more.
And from their house-door by that track
The Bride and Bridegroom went; Sweet Mary, tho' she was not gay,
Seem'd chearful and content.
But when they to the church-yard came,
I've heard poor Mary say,
Her heart it died away.
And when the Vicar join'd their hands,
Her limbs did creep and freeze ; But when they pray’d, she thought she saw
Her mother on her knees.
And o'er the church-path they return'd
I saw poor Mary's back,
Into the mossy track.
Her feet upon the mossy track
The married maiden set :
She wish'd she could forget.
The shade o'er-flush'd her limbs with heat
Then came a chill like death : And when the merry bells rang out,
They seem'd to stop her breath.
Beneath the foulest Mother's curse
No child could ever thrive: A Mother is a Mother still,
The holiest thing alive.
So five months pass’d: the Mother still
Would never heal the strife ; But Edward was a loving man
And Mary a fond wife.
“ My sister may not visit us,
My mother says her nay:
More lifesome and more gay.
I'm dull and sad ! indeed, indeed
I know I have no reason ! Perhaps I am not well in health,
And ’tis a gloomy season.”
'Twas a drizzly time-no ice, no snow !
And on the few fine days She stirr'd not out, lest she might meet
Her mother in the ways.
But Ellen, spite of miry ways
And weather dark and dreary, Trudg'd every day to Edward's house,
And made them all more cheary.
Oh! Ellen was a faithful Friend,
More dear than any Sister!
And then they always miss'd her.
And now Ash-Wednesday came-that day
But few to Church repair :
The Commination prayer..
Our late old Vicar, a kind man,
Once, Sir! he said to me,
Of our good Liturgy.
The Mother walk'd into the church
To Ellen's seat she went :
All church-days during Lent.
And gentle Ellen welcom’d her
With courteous looks and mild : Thought she, “ what if her heart should melt,
And all be reconcil'd !"
The day was scarcely like a day
The clouds were black outright : And many a night, with half a Moon,
I've seen the church more light.
The wind was wild ; against the glass
The rain did beat and bicker;
You scarce could hear the Vicar!
And then and there the Mother knelt,
And audibly she cried-
This woman by my side!