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“Scarcely a soul is out of bed ;
Good Betty, put him down again ; His lips with joy they burr at you; But, Betty, what has he to do
With stirrup, saddle, or with rein ?"
But Betty's bent on her intent,
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress;
For what she ails they cannot guess.
Her pony, that is mild and good, Whether he be in joy or pain, Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he must post without delay
Across the bridge and through the dale, And by the church and o'er the down, To bring a doctor from the town,
Or she will die-old Susan Gale. .
There is no need of boot or spur,
There is no need of whip or wand ;
He shakes the green bough in his hand. And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The boy, who is her best delight, Both what to follow, what to shun, What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge
Was, "Johnny! Johnny! mind that you Come home again, nor stop at all, Come home again, whate'er befall,
My Johnny, do- I pray you do.” To this did Johnny answer make,
Both with his head and with his hand, And proudly shook the bridle too, And then his words were not a few,
Which Betty well could understand.
But when the pony moved his legs,
Oh! then for the poor Idiot Boy ! For joy he cannot hold the bridle, For joy his head and heels are idle
He's idle all for very joy. The silence of her Idiot Boy,
What hopes it sends to Betty's heart He's at the guide-post-he turns right: She watches till he's out of sight,
And Betty will not then depart.
As loud as any mill or near it;
And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
His steed and he right well agree,
For of this pony there's a rumour, That, should he lose his eyes and ears, And should he live a thousand years,
He never will be out of humour.
But then he is a horse that thinks,
And when he thinks his pace is slack; Now, though he knows poor Johnny well, Yet, for his life, he cannot tell
What he has got upon his back.
And Betty now at Susan's side
Is in the middle of her story, What speedy help her boy will bring, With many a most diverting thing
Of Johnny's wit and Johnny's glory.
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans :
“As sure as there's a moon in heaven," Cries Betty, “he'll be back again; They'll both be here—'tis almost ten-.
Both will be here before eleven."
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans ;
The clock gives warning for eleven; 'Tis on the stroke_“He must be near," Quoth Betty; "and will soon be here,
As sure as there's a moon in heaven.”
The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
And Johnny is not yet in sight; The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees, But Betty is not quite at ease,
And Susan has a dreadful night.
And Betty half an hour ago,
On Johnny vile reflections cast; "A little, idle, sauntering thing!” With other names—an endless string;
But now that time is gone and past.
And Betty's drooping at the heart,
That happy time all past and gone; “How can it be he is so late ? The doctor, he has made him wait
Susan! they'll be both here anon."
The clock is on the stroke of one ;
But neither doctor nor his guide Appears along the moonlight road : There's neither horse nor man abroad,
And Betty's still at Susan's side.
THE IDIOT BOY.
And Susan now begins to fear
Of sad mischances not a few; That Johnny may perhaps be drowned, Or lost, perhaps, and never found,
Which they must both for ever rue.
“I must be gone, I must away;
Consider, Johnny's but half wise ;
So through the moonlight lane she goes,
And far into the moonlight dale ;
Would surely be a tedious tale.
A thought with which her heart is sore-
And never will be heard of more.
At poor old Susan then she railed,
While to the town she posts away; m66 If Susan had not been so ill, Alas ! I should have had him still,
My Johnny till my dying day.”
And now she sits her down and weeps,
Such tears she never shed before : *** Oh dear, dear pony! my sweet joy! Oh, carry back my Idiot Boy!
And we will ne'er o’erload thee more.”
She listens, but she cannot hear
The foot of horse, the voice of man;
You hear it now if e'er you can.
What Johnny and his horse are doing ! What they 've been doing all this time, Oh, could I put it into rhyme-
A most delightful tale pursuing.