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JASPAR was poor, and vice and want
Had made his heart like stone ; And Jaspar look'd with envious eyes
On riches not his own.
On plunder bent abroad he went
Toward the close of day, And loiter'd on the lonely road
Impatient for his prey.
No traveller came .. he loiter'd long,
And often look'd around, And paused and listen'd eagerly
To catch some coming sound.
He sate him down beside the stream
That cross’d the lonely way, So fair a scene might well have charm’d
All evil thoughts away :
He sate beneath a willow tree
Which cast a trembling shade, The gentle river full in front
A little island made ;
Where pleasantly the moon-beam shone
Upon the poplar trees,
Play'd slowly to the breeze.
He listen'd .. and he heard the wind
That waved the willow tree; He heard the waters flow along,
And murmur quietly.
He listen’d for the traveller's tread,
The nightingale sung sweet,.. He started up, for now he heard
The sound of coming feet;
He started up and graspt a stake,
And waited for his prey; There came a lonely traveller, • And Jaspar crost his way.
But Jaspar's threats and curses faild
The traveller to appal, He would not lightly yield the purse
Which held his little all.
Awhile he struggled, but he strove
With Jaspar's strength in vain ; Beneath his blows he fell and groan’d,
And never spake again.
Jaspar raised up the murder'd man,
And plunged him in the flood, And in the running water then
He cleansed his hands from blood.
The waters closed around the corpse,
And cleansed his hands from gore, The willow waved, the stream flow'd on,
And murmur'd as before.
There was no human eye had seen
The blood the mựrderer spilt, And Jaspar's conscience never knew
The avenging goad of guilt.
And soon the ruffian had consumed
The gold he gain’d so ill,
One eve beside the alehouse fire
He sate as it befell, When in there came a labouring man
Whom Jaspar knew full well.
He sate him down by Jaspar's side
A melancholy man,
Went hard with Jonathan.
His toil a little earn'd, and he
With little was content ; But sickness on his wife had fallen,
And all he had was spent.
Then with his wife and little ones
He shared the scanty meal, And saw their looks of wretchedness,
And felt what wretches feel.