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« Sweet Ruth! and could you go with me, “ My helpmate in the woods to be, “ Our shed at night to rear; “ Or run, my own adopted bride; “ A sylvan huntress at my side, “ And drive the flying deer.
6-Beloved Ruth!” No more he said,
Sweet Ruth, alone, at midnight shed:
A solitary tear ;-
She thought again and did agree
With him to sail across the sea,
And drive the flying deer.
“ And now, as fitting is and right “ We in the Church our faith will plight, “ A Husband and a Wife.” Even so they did, and I may say, That to sweet Ruth that happy day: Was more than huinan life
Through dream and vision did she sink,
Delighted all the while to think,
That on those lonesome floods
And green Savannahs she should share
His board with lawful joy, and bear
His name in the wild woods.
VOL. II. H.2
But as you have before been told,
This Stripling, sportive gáy and bold,
And with his dancing crest,
So beautiful, through savage lands
Had roam'd about with vagrant bands
Of Indians in the West.
The wind, the tempest roaring high,
The tumult of a Tropic sky,
Might well be dangerous food
For him, a Youth to whom was given
So much of earth, so much of Heaven,
And such impetuous blood.
Whatever in those climes he found
Irregular in sight or sound
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse, seem'd allied
To his own powers, and justified
The workings of his heart,
Nor less to feed voluptuous thought
'The beauteous forms of Nature wrought,
Fair trees and lovely flowers;
The breezes their own languor lent,
The stars had feelings which they sent
Into those magic bowers.
Yet in his worst pursuits I ween,
That sometimes there did intervenc
Pure hopes of high intent:
For passions link'd to forms so fair
And stately, needs must have their share
Of noble sentiment.
But ill he liv'd, much evil saw
With men to whom no better law
Nor better life was known;
Deliberately and undeceiv'd
Those wild men's vices he receiv'd,
them back his own.
His genius and his moral frame
Were thus impair'd, and he became
The slave of low desires;
A man who without self controul
Would seek what the degraded soul
And yet he with no feign's delight
Had woo'd the Maiden, day and night
Had lov’d her, night and morn!
What could he less than love a Maid
Whose heart with so much nature play'd, *
So kind and so forlorn?
But now the pleasant dream was gone,
No hope, no wish remain’d, not one,
They stirr'd him now no more;
New objects did new pleasure give,.
And once again he wish'd 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 hous'd,
And there, exulting in her wrongs,
Among the music of her songs
She fearfully carouz’d..
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 wild broak 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 filed;
But of the Vagrant none took thought,
And where it lik'd her best she sought
Her shelter and her bread..
Among the fields she breath'd again:
The master-current of her brain
Ran permanent and free,
And to the pleasant banks of Tone*
She took her way, to dwell alone
Under the greenwood tree,
The engines of her grief, the tools
That shap'd her sorrow, rocks and pools,
And airs that gently stir
The vernal leaves, she loved them still,
Nor ever tax'd them with the ill
Which had been done to her.
* The Tone is a river of Somersetshire at no great: distance from the Quantock Hills. These hills, which are alluded to a few stanzas below, are extremely beautiful, and in most places richly cover-od with coppice woods.