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Not five yards from the mountain path,
And wherefore does she cry :This thorn you on your left espy;
Oh wherefore? wherefore ? tell me why And to the left, three yards beyond,
Does she repeat that doleful cry?”
“ I cannot tell; I wish I could; Though but of compass small, and bare
For the true reasou no one knows: To thirsty suns, and parching air.
But if you'd gladly view the spot,
The spot to which she goes; And, close beside this aged thorn,
The heap that's like an infant's grave, There is a fresh and lovely sight,
The pond—and thorn, so old and gray; A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
Pass by her door—'tis seldom shutJust half a foot in height.
And, if you see her in her hut, All lovely colours there you see,
Then to the spot away! All colours that were ever seen;
I never heard of such as dare And mossy net-work too is there,
Approach the spot when she is there." As if by hand of lady fair The work had woven been;
« But wherefore to the mountain-top And cups, the darlings of the eye,
Can this unhappy woman go, So deep is their vermilion dye.
Whatever star is in the skies,
Whatever wind may blow?" Ah me! what lovely tints are there!
“ 'Tis known, that twenty years are passed Of olive green and scarlet bright,
Since she (her name is Martha Ray) In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
Gave with a maiden's true good will Green, red, and pearly white.
Her company to Stephen Hill; This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss,
And she was blithe and gay, Which close beside the thorn you see,
While friends and kindred all approved So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,
Of him whom tenderly she loved.
And they had fixed the wedding-day, But never, never any where,
The morning that must wed then both; An infant's grave was half so fair.
But Stephen to another maid
Had sworn another oath;
And with this other maid to church
Unthinking Stephen went-
Poor Martha! on that woeful day For oft there sits between the heap
A pang of pitiless dismay
Into her soul was sent;
A fire was kindled in her breast,
Which inight not burn itself to rest. And to herself she cries,
They say, full six months after this, “Oh misery! oh misery!
While yet the summer leaves were green, Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
She to the mountain-top would go, At all times of the day and night
And there was often seen. This wretched woman thither
'Tis said, her lamentable state
goes; And she is known to every star,
Even to a careless eye was plain; And every wind that blows;
She was with child, and she was mad; And there, beside the thorn, she sits
Yet often she was sober sad When the blue daylight's in the skies,
From her exceeding pain. And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
O guilty father,—would that death Or frosty air is keen and still,
Had saved him from that breach of faith! And to herself she cries, “ Oh misery! oh misery!
Sad case for such a brain to hold Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
Communion with a stirring child!
Sad case, as you may think, for one “ Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
Who had a brain so wild! In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Last Christmas-eve we talked of this, Thus to the dreary mountain-top
And gray-haired Wilfred of the glen Does this poor woman go?
Held that the unborn infant wrought And why sits she beside the thorn
About its mother's heart, and brought When the blue daylight's in the sky,
Her senses back again : Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
And when at last her time drew near, Or frosty air is keen and still,
Her looks were calm, her seases clear.
No more I know, I wish I did,
“ I cannot tell; but some will say And I would tell it all to you,
She hanged her baby on the tree; For what became of this poor child
Some say she drowned it in the pond, There's none that ever knew:
Which is a little step beyond: And if a child was born or no,
But all and each agree, There's no one that could ever tell;
The little babe was buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
I've heard, the moss is spotted red
With drops of that poor infant's blood: Would up the mountain often climb.
But kill a new-born infant thus,
I do not think she could! And all that winter, when at night
Some say, if to the pond you go, The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
And fix on it a steady view, 'Twas worth your while, though in the dark, The shadow of a babe you trace, The church-yard path to seek:
A baby and a baby's face, For many a time and oft were heard
And that it looks at you; Cries coming from the mountain-head:
Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain Some plainly living voices were;
The baby looks at you again.
And some had sworn on oath that she
Should be to public justice brought;
And for the little infant's bones They had to do with Martha Ray.
With spades they would have sought. But that she goes to this old thorn,
But then the beauteous hill of moss The thorn which I've described to you,
Before their eyes began to stir! And there sits in a scarlet cloak,
And for full fifty yards around, I will be sworn is true.
The grass,-it shook upon the ground! For one day with my telescope,
But all do still aver To view the ocean wide and bright,
The little babe is buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
I cannot tell how this may be:
But plain it is, the thorn is bound No object higher than my knee.
With heavy tufts of moss, that strive
To drag it to the ground; 'Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain,
And this I know, full many a time, No screen, no fence could I discover,
When she was on the mountain high, And then the wind ! in faith, it was
By day, and in the silent night, A wind full ten times over.
When all the stars shone clear and bright, I looked around, I thought I saw
That I have heard her cry, A jutting crag,-and off I ran,
“ Oh misery! ob misery! Head foremost, through the driving rain,
Oh woe is me! oh misery!"
PART I. I did not speak I saw her face;
The knight had ridden down from Wensley moor Her face !-it was enough for me;
With the slow motion of a summer's cloud; I turned about and heard her cry,
He turned aside towards a vassal's door, " Oh misery! oh misery!”
And“ Bring another horse!” he cried aloud. And there she sits, until the moon
“ Another horse !”—That shout the vassal heard Through half the clear blue sky will go;
And saddled his best steed, a comely gray; And, when the little breezes make
Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third The waters of the pond to shake,
Which he had mounted on that glorious day. As all the country know, She shudders, and you hear her cry,
Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes; “Oh misery! oh misery!"
The horse and horseman are a happy pair;
But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies, “ But what's the thorn ? and what's the pond ?
There is a doleful silence in the air.
That as they galloped made the echoes roar;
But horse and man are vanished, one and all; Such race, I think, was never seen before.
And, in the summer-time when days are long,
Till the foundations of the mountains fail,
Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind,
- This chace it looks not like an earthly chace; Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone.
Then home he went, and left the Hart, stone-dead,
The poor Hart toils along the mountain-side; I will not stop to tell how far he fled, Nor will I mention by what death he died; But now the knight beholds him lying dead. Dismounting then, he leaned against a thorn; He had no follower, dog, nor man, nor boy: He neither cracked his whip, nor blew his horn, But gazed upon the spoil with silent joy. Close to the thorn on which Sir Walter leaned, Stood his dumb partner in this glorious feat; Weak as a lamb the hour that it is yeaned; And white with foam as if with cleaving sleet. Upon his side the Hart was lying stretched : His nostril touched a spring beneath a hill, And with the last deep groan his breath had fetched The waters of the spring were trembling still. And now, too happy for repose or rest, (Never had living man such joyful lot!) Sir Walter walked all round, north, south, and west, And gazed and gazed upon that darling spot. And climbing up the hill-(it was at least Nine roods of sheer ascent) Sir Walter found Three several hoof-marks which the hunted beast Had left imprinted on the grassy ground. Sir Walter wiped his face and cried, “ Till now Such sight was never seen by living eyes: Three leaps have borne him from this lofty brow, Down to the very fountain where he lies. I'll build a pleasure-house upon this spot, And a small arbour, made for rural joy; 'Twill be the traveller's shed, the pilgrim's cot, A place of love for damsels that are coy. A cunning artist will I have to frame A bason for that fountain in the dell! And they, who do make mention of the same From this day forth, shall call it Hart-leap Well. And, gallant brute! to make thy praises known, Another monument shall here be raised; Three several pillars, each a rough-hewn stone, And planted where thy hoofs the turf have grazed.
chanced that I saw standing in a dell
the hollow:-Him did I accost, And what this place might be I then inquired.
The shepherd stopped, and that same story told She leaves these objects to a slow decay,
These monuments shall all be overgrown.
One lesson, shepherd, let us two divide, Some say that they are beeches, others elms- Taught both by what she shews, and what conceals, These were the bower; and here a mansion stood, Never to blend our pleasure or our pride The finest palace of a hundred realms!
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."
The arbour does its own condition tell;
Here on the grass perhaps asleep he sank,
LINES, Composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour.
July 13, 1798.
Though absent long,
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
Of eye and ear, both what they half create, In body, and become a living soul:
And what perceive; well pleased to recognize While with an eye made quiet by the power In nature and the language of the sense, Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, We see into the life of things.
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul If this
Of all my moral being. Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft,
Nor perchance, In darkness, and amid the many shapes
If I were not thus taught, should I the more Of joyless day-light; when the fretful stir
Suffer my genial spirits to decay: Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
For thou art with me, here, upon the banks Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
Of this fair river; thou, my dearest friend, How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
My dear, dear friend, and in thy voice I catch Osylvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods, The language of my former heart, and read How often has my spirit turned to thee! (thought, My former pleasures in the shooting lights
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while With many recognitions dim and faint,
May I behold in thee what I was once, And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
My dear, dear sister! And this prayer I make, The picture of the mind revives again:
Knowing that Nature never did betray While here I stand, not only with the sense The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts Through all the years of this our life, to lead That in this moment there is life and food
From joy to joy: for she can so inform For future years. And so I dare to hope, [first The mind that is within us, so impress Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when With quietness and beauty, and so feed I came among these hills; when like a roe
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men, Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all Wherever Nature led: more like a man
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then, By thought supplied, or any interest
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief, Unborrowed from the eye.—That time is past, Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts And all its aching joys are now no more,
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me, And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
And these my exhortations ! Nor, perchance, Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur; other gifts
If I should be where I no more can hear Have followed, for such loss, I would believe, Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleals Abundant recompence. For I have learned Of past existence, wilt thou then forget To look on Nature, not as in the hour
That on the banks of this delightful stream Of thoughtless youth ; but hearing oftentimes We stood together; and that I, so long The still, sad music of humanity,
A worshipper of Nature, hither came, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power Unwearied in that service: rather say To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
With warmer love, oh! with far deeper zeal A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget, Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
That after many wanderings, many years Of something far more deeply interfused,
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me And the round ocean, and the living air,
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake. And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
SONNETS. And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
THOUGH NARROW. A lover of the meadows and the woods,
Though narrow be that Old Man's cares, and neai, And mountains; and of all that we behold
The poor Old Man is greater than he seems: From this green earth; of all the mighty world For he hath waking empire, wide as dreams;