網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Kate scorned to damp the generous flame
That warmed her aged partner's breast:
Yet, ere determination came,

She thus some trifling doubts expressed :

"Night will come on; when seated snug,
And you've perhaps begun some tale,
Can you then leave your dear stone mug;
Leave all the folk, and all the ale ?"

"Ay, Kate, I wool;1-because I know,
Though time has been we both could run,
Such days are gone and over now ;—
I only mean to see the fun!"

She straight slipped off the wall2 and band,2
And laid aside her lucks3 and twitches ;3
And to the hutch+ she reached her hand,
And gave him out his Sunday breeches.

His mattock5 he behind the door,
And hedging-gloves again replaced;
And looked across the yellow moor,
And urged his tottering spouse to haste.

The day was up, the air serene,

The firmament without a cloud;
The bee hummed o'er the level green,

Where knots of trembling cowslips bowed.

And Richard thus, with heart elate,

As past things rushed across his mind,
Over his shoulder talked to Kate,

Who, snug tucked up, walked slow behind.

"When once a giggling mauther you,
And I a red-faced chubby boy,

1 Wool-a provincial corruption of will.

2 Wall, band-terms used in spinning.

3 Lucks-or locks; small portions of wool, twisted on the finger in spinning. Hutch-chest, case, used also in the compound, rabbit-hutch.

5 Mattock-a kind of pickaxe with broad, instead of pointed ends.

6 Mauther a young girl. This is a Danish word, which, together with several others employed in the North and East of England remains as a trace of the irruption of the Danes on that coast.

Sly tricks you played me not a few;
For mischief was your greatest joy.

66

Once, passing by this very tree,

A gotch1 of milk I'd been to fill,
You shouldered me; then laughed to see
Me and my gotch spin down the hill!"

""Tis true!" she said; "but here behold,
And marvel at the course of time;
Though you and I are both grown old,
This tree is only in its prime!"

"Well, goody, don't stand preaching now,
Folks don't preach sermons at a fair;
We've reared ten boys and girls you know,
And I'll be bound they'll all be there."

Now friendly nods and smiles had they
From many a kind fair-going face;
And many a pinch Kate gave away,
While Richard kept his usual pace.

At length arrived amidst the throng,
Grand-children bawling hemmed them round,
And dragged them by the skirts along
Where gingerbread bestrewed the ground.

And soon the aged couple spied

Their lusty sons and daughters dear :When Richard thus exulting cried,

"Didn't I tell you they'd be here ?"

The cordial greetings of the soul
Were visible in every face;
Affection, void of all control,

Governed with a resistless grace.

'Twas good to see the honest strife
Which should contribute most to please,
And hear the long-recounted life
Of infant tricks, and happy days,

I Gotch-a large jug or pitcher.

But now, as at some nobler places,
Amongst the leaders 'twas decreed
Time to begin the dicky races;

More famed for laughter than for speed.

Richard looked on with wondrous glee,
And praised the lad who chanced to win;
'Kate, wa'n't I such a one as he?

66

As like him, ay, as pin to pin?

"Full fifty years are passed away
Since I rode this same ground about;
Why, I was lively as the day;

I won the high-lows1 out and out!

"I'm surely growing young again,
I feel myself so kedge and plump.
From head to foot I've not one pain;
Nay, hang me if I could'nt jump!"

Thus spoke the ale in Richard's pate,
A very little made him mellow;
But still he loved his faithful Kate,

Who whispered thus:-"My good old fellow,

"Remember what you promised me;
And see, the sun is getting low;
The children want an hour, ye see
To talk a bit before we go."

[ocr errors]

Like youthful lover most complying,

He turned and chucked her by the chin;
Then all across the green grass hieing,
Right merry faces, all akin,

Their farewell smiles, beneath a tree
That drooped its branches from above,

Awaked the pure felicity

That waits upon parental love.

Kate viewed her blooming daughters round,
And sons, who shook her withered hand;

1 High-lows-a high sort of shoe, worn by ploughmen, hedgers, &c.

2

Kedge-an East-Anglian word-brisk, active.

Her features spoke what joy she found,
But utterance had made a stand.

The children toppled on the green,

And bowled their fairings down the hill;
Richard with pride beheld the scene,
Nor could he for his life sit still.

A father's unchecked feelings gave
A tenderness to all he said;—
"My boys, how proud am I to have

My name thus round the country spread!

"Through all my days I've laboured hard,
And could of pains and crosses tell;
But this is labour's great reward,

To meet ye thus, and see ye well.

"My good old partner, when at home,
Sometimes with wishes mingles tears;—
Goody ! says I, let what wool come,

،،

We've nothing for them but our prayers.

May you be all as old as I,

And see your sons to manhood grow;
And many a time, before you die,
Be just as pleased as I am now."

Then raising yet once more his voice;-
"An old man's weakness don't despise!
I love you well, my girls and boys,

God bless

all;"
you –so said his eyes–

For as he spoke, a big round drop
Fell bounding on his ample sleeve;
A witness which he could not stop,
A witness which all hearts believe.

Thou, filial piety, wert there;

And round the ring, benignly bright,
Dwelt1 in the luscious half-shed tear

And in the parting word-good-night.

' Dwelt-the grammar halts here. It should be, dweltest, or didst dwell.

With thankful hearts and strengthened love,
The poor old pair, supremely blest,
Saw the sun sink behind the grove

And gained once more their lowly rest.

Bloomfield.

WOMAN.1

THROUGH many a land and clime a ranger,2
With toilsome steps I've held my way,
A lonely unprotected stranger,3

To all the stranger's ills a prey.

While steering thus my course precarious,
My fortune still has been to find
Men's hearts and dispositions various,
But gentle Woman ever kind;

Alive to every tender feeling,

To deeds of mercy ever prone;
The wounds of pain and sorrow healing
With soft Compassion's sweetest tone.

No proud delay, no dark suspicion
Stints the free bounty of their heart;
They turn not from the sad petition,
But cheerful aid at once impart.

Formed in benevolence of Nature,
Obliging, modest, gay, and mild,
Woman's the same endearing creature,
In courtly town and savage wild.

When parched with thirst, with hunger wasted,
Her friendly hand refreshment gave;

The sentiments which are above so tastefully versified may be found in the journal of Ledyard the traveller. See his interesting "Life and Travels," p. 348. "Ranger-Ledyard was the companion of Cook in his last voyage, and travelled much besides in the North of Europe and in Africa.

3 Stranger-from the Latin extraneus, outside, foreign; the word is thus formed:-ex, extra, extraneus, estrange, (old French,) strange, stranger.

« 上一頁繼續 »