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JANE.

That is not changed, my friend! you 'll always find The same old bounty and old welcome there.

THE GRANDMOTHER'S TALE.

JANE
HARRY! I'm tired of playing. We'll draw round
The fire, and Grandmamma perhaps will tell us
One of her stories.

HARRY.

Aye-dear Grandmamma!
A pretty story! something dismal now;
A bloody murder.

JANE
Or about a ghost.

GRANDMOTHER.
Nay, nay, I should but frighten ye. You know
The other night when I was telling ye
About the light in the churchyard, how you trembled
Because the screech-owl hooted at the window,
And would not go to bed.

JANE.

Why, Grandmamma, You said yourself you did not like to hear him. Pray now!-we won't be frightened.

GRANDMOTHER.

Well, well, children! But you 've heard all my stories—Let me see, Did I never tell you how the smuggler murderd The woman down at Pill?

HARRY.

No-never! never!

GRANDMOTHER.
Not how he cut her head off in the stable?

HARRY.
Oh-now!--do tell us that!

GRANDMOTHER.

You must have heard
Your mother, children! often tell of her.
She used to weed in the garden here, and worm
Your uncle's dogs,' and serve the house with coal;
And glad enough she was in winter time
To drive her asses here! it was cold work
To follow the slow beasts through sleet and snow;
And here she found a comfortable mcal
And a brave fire to thaw her, for poor Moll
Was always welcome.

HARRY.

Oh! 't was blear-cyed Moll
The collier woman,-a great ugly woman;
I've heard of her.

GRANDMOTHER.

Ugly enough, poor soul! At ten yards distance you could hardly tell If it were man or woman, for her voice Was rough as our old mastiff's, and she wore A man's old coat and hat:--and then her face! There was a merry story told of hier, How when the press-gang came to take her husband As they were both in bed, she heard them coming, Drest John up in her night-cap, and herself Put on his clothes and went before the captain.

And so they prest a woman!

GRANDMOTHER.

'Twas a trick
She dcarly loved to tell; and all the country
Soon knew the jest, for she was used to travel
For miles around. All weathers and all hours
She cross'd the bill, as hardy as her beasts,
Bearing the wiod and rain and drifting snow.
And if she did not reach her home at night,
She laid her down in the stable with her asses,
And slept as sound as they did.

HARRY.

With her asses!

GRANDMOTHER.
Yes; and she loved her beasts. For though, poor wretch,
She was a terrible reprobate, and swore
Like any trooper, she was always good
To the dumb creatures; never loaded them
Beyond their strength; and rather, I believe,
Would stint herself than let the poor beasts want,
Because she said they could not ask for food.
I never saw her stick fall heavier on them
Than just with its own weight. She little thought
This tender-heartedness would cause her death!
There was a fellow who had oftentimes,
As if he took delight in cruelty,
Il-used her beasts. He was a man who lived
By smuggling, and,- for she had often met him
Crossing the down at night, --she threaten'd him,
If ever he abused them more, to inform
Of his unlawful ways. Well-so it was
'T was what they both were born to be provoked her:
She laid an information; and one morning
They found her in the stable, her throat cut
From ear to ear, till the head only hung
Just by a bit of skin.

JANE.
Oh dear! oh dear!

HARRY.
I hope they hung the min!

GRANDMOTHER.

They took him up;
There was no proof, no man had seen the deed,
And he was set at liberty. But God,
Whose eye beholdeth all things, he had seen
The murder; and the murderer knew that God
Was witness to his crime. He fled the place, -
But nowhere could he fly the avenging hand
Of Heaven,- but nowhere could the murderer rest;

guilty conscience haunted him; by day,
By night, in company, in solitude,
Restless and wretched, did he bear upon him
The weight of blood! Her cries were in his ears;
Her stifled groans, as when he knelt upon her,
Always he heard; always be saw hier stand
Before his eyes; even in the dead of night
Distinctly seen as though in the broad sun,
She stood beside the murderer's bed, and yawn'd
Her glastly wound; till life itself became
A punishment at last he could not bear,
And he confess'd it all, and gave himself
To death; so terrible, he said, it was
To have a guilty conscience!

HARRY

Was he hung, then ?

"I know not whether this cruel and stupid custom is common in other parts of England. It is supposed to prevent the dogs from doing any mischief should they afterwards become mad.

Crave till

GRANDMOTHER. Hung and anatomized. Poor wretched man, Your uncles went to see bim on his trial; He was so pale, so thin, so hollow-eyed, And such a horror in his meagre face, They said he look'd like one who never slept. He begg'd the prayers of all who saw his end, And met his death with fears that well might warn From guilt, though not without a hope in Christ.

From the fresh

grass

should cover it; Nature would do that office soon; and none Who Irod upon the senseless turf would think Of what a world of woes lay buried there!

1797.

THE SAILOR'S MOTHER.

WOMAN.
Sir, for the love of God, some small relief
To a poor woman!

TRAVELLER,

Wbither are you bound?
"T is a late hour to travel o'er these downs,
No liouse for miles around us, and the way
Dreary and wild. The evening wind already
Makes one's teeth chalter; and the very Sun,
Setting so pale behind those thin white clouds,
Looks cold. 'T will be a bitter night!

WOMAN

Aye, Sir, 'T is cutting keep! I smart at every breath; Heaven knows how I shall reach my journey's end, For the way is long before me, and my feet, God help me! sore with travelling. I would gladly, If it pleased God, at once lie down and die.

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HANNAH. Passing across a green and lonely lane A funeral met our view. It was not here A sight of every day, as in the streets Of some great city, and we stopt and ask'd Whom they were bearing to the grave. A girl, They answer'd, of the village, who had pined Through the long course of eighteen painful monilis With such slow wasting, that the hour of death Came welcome to her. We pursued our way To the house of mirth, and with that idle talk Which passes o'er the mind and is forgot, We wore away the time. But it was eve When homewardly I went, and in the air Was that cool freshness, that discolouring shade Which makes the eye turn inward: bearing then Over the vale the heavy toll of death Sound slow, it made me think upon the dead; I question'd more, and learnt her mournful tale. She bore unhusbanded a mother's pains, And he who should have cherish'd her, far off Sailid on the seas. Left thus, a wretched one, Scorn made a mock of her, and evil tongues Were busy with her name. She had to bear The sharper sorrow of neglect from him Whom she had loved so dearly. Once he wrote, But only once that drop of comfort came To mingle with her cup of wretchedness; And when his parents had some tidings from him, There was no mention of poor Hannah there, Or 't was the cold inquiry, more unkind Than silence. So she pined and pined away, And for herself and baby toil'd and toil'd, Nor did she, even on her death-bed, rest From labour, knitting there with lifted

arms, Till she sunk with very weakness. Her old mother Omilted no kind office, working for her, Albeit her hardest labour barely earn'd Enough to keep life struggling, and prolong The pains of grief and sickness. Thus she lay On the sick bed of poverty, worn out With her long suffering and those painful thoughts Which at her heart were rankling, and so weak, That she could make no effort to express Affection for her infant; and the child, Whose lisping love perhaps had solaced her, Shunn'd her as one indifferent. But she too Had grown indifferent to all things of earth, Finding her only comfort in the thought Of that cold bed wherein the wretched rest. There bad she now, in that last home, been laid, And all was over now,-sickness and grief, Her shame, her suffering, and her penitence : Their work was dope. The school-boys as they sport la the churchyard, for awhile might turn away

Sir, I am going
To see my son at Plymouth, sadly hurt
In the late action, and in the hospital
Dying, I fear me, now.

TRAVELLER

Perhaps your fears Make evil worse. Even if a limb be lost, There

may be still enough for comfort left; An arm or leg shot off, there's yet the heart To keep life warm, and he may live to talk With pleasure of the glorious fight that maim'd him, Proud of his loss. Old England's gratitude Makes the maim'd Sailor happy.

WOMAN.

'T is not that, An arm or leg, -I could have borne with that. It was no ball, Sir, but some cursed thing Which bursts, and burns that hurt him. Something, Sir, They do not use on board our English ships, It is so wicked!

TRAVÉller.

Rascals ! a mean art
Of cruel cowardice, yet all in vain!

WOMAN.
Yes, Sir; and they should show po mercy to them
For making use of such unchristian arms.

"The stink-pots used on board the French ships. In the engagement between the Mars and L'Hercule, some of our sailors were sbockingly mangled by them: one in particular, as described in the Eclogae, lost both his eyes. It would be right and bumane to employ means of destruction, could they be discovered, powerful enough to destroy fleets and armies; but to use any thing that only indicis additional torture upon the sufferers in war, is cruel and wicked.

TRAVELLER

I had a letter from the hospital,
He got some friend to write it, and he tells me
That my poor boy has lost his precious eyes,
Burnt out. Alas! that I should ever live
To see this wretched day!--they tell me, Sir,
There is no cure for wounds like his. Indeed
"T is a hard journey that I go upon
To such a dismal end!

TRAVELLER

He yet may live. But if the worst should chance, why you must bear The will of leaven with patience. Were it not Some comfort to reflect your son has fallin Fighting his country's cause ? and for yourself You will not in unpilied poverty Be left to mourn liis loss. Your grateful country, Amid the triumph of her victory, Remembers those who paid its price of blood, And with a noble charily relieves The widow and the orphan.

WOMAN.

God reward them! God bless them! it will help me in iny age, But, Sir! it will not pay me for my

child!

TRAVELLER. Was he your only child ?

WOMAN.

My only one, The stay and comfort of widowhood, A dear good boy!-when first he went to sea I felt what it would come to, --something told me I should be childless soon.

But tell me, Sir, If it be true that for a hurt like huis There is no curc? Please God 10 spare his life Though he be blind, yet I should be so thankful ! I can remember there was a blind man Lived in our village, one from his youth up Quite dark, and yet he was a merry man, And he had pone to tend on him so well As I would tend my boy!

TRAVELLER.

of this be sure,
His hurts are look'd to well, and the best help
The land affords, as rightly is his due,
Ever at hand, How happen'd it he left you?
Was a seafaring life his early choice!

But how came it He chose to be a Sailor?

WOMAN

You shall hear, Sir;
As he grew up he used to watch the birds
In the corn, child's work you know, and easily done.
'T is an idle sort of task; so he built up
A little hut of wicker-work and clay
Under the hedge, lo shelter him in rain :
And then he look, for very idleness,
To making traps to catch the plunderers;
All sorts of cunning traps that boys can make,
Propping a stone to fall and shut them in,
Or crush them with its weight, or else a springe
Swung on a bough. He made them cleverly, -
And I, poor foolish woman! I was pleased
To see the boy so handy. You may guess
What follow'd, Sir, from this unlucky skill.
He did what he should not when he was older :
I warn'd him oft enough; but he was caught
In wiring hares at last, and had his choice,
The prison or the ship.

TRAVELLER

The choice at least Was kindly left him, and for broken laws This was, methinks, no lieavy punishment.

WOMAN.

my

So I was told, Sir. And I tried to think so,
But 't was a sad blow to me! I was used
To sleep at nights as sweetly as a child, -
Now if the wind blew rough, it made me start,
And think of my poor boy lossing about
Upon the roaring seas. And then I seem d
To feel that it was hard to take hiin from me
For such a little fault. But he was wrong,
Oh very wrong, -a murrain on his traps !
See what they 've brought him to!

TRAVELLER.

Well! well! take comfort He will be taken care of if he lives; And should you lose your child, this is a country Where the brave Sailor never leaves a parent To weep for him in want.

WOMAN.

Sir, I shall want
No succour long. In the common course of years
I soon must be at rest, and 't is a comfort,
When grief is hard upon me, to reflect
It only leads me to that rest the sooner.

WOMAN.

THE WITCH.

No, Sir! poor fellow,--he was wise enough
To be content at home, and 't was a home
As comfortable, Sir! even though I say it,
As any in the country. He was left
A little boy when his poor father died,
Just old enough to toller by himself,
And call his mother's name. We two were all,
And as we were not left quite destitute,
We bore up well. In the summer time I work'd
Sometimes a-field. Then I was famed for knitting,
And in long winter nights my spinning-wlieel
Seldom stood still. We had kind neighbours too,
And never felt distress. So he grew up
A comely lad, and wonderous well disposed;
I taught him well; there was not in the parish
A child who said his prayers more regular,
Or answer'd readier througli bis Catechism.
If I had foreseen this! but 't is a blessing
We dont't know what we're born to!

NATHANIEL. FATHER! here, father! I have found a horse-shoe! Faith it was just in time; for i' other night I laid two straws across at Margery's door, And ever since I feard that she mighe do me A mischief for 't. There was the Miller's boy Who set his dog at that black cat of liers, I met him upon crutches, and he told me 'T was all her evil eye.

FATHER.

'T is rare good luck! I would have gladly given a crown for one

CURATE.

FATHER.

CURATE.

FATHER.

FATHER.

If 't would have done as well. But where didst find it?

FATHER.
NATHANIEL:

Here's the Curate coming, Down on the common; I was going a-field,

He ought to rid the parish of such vermin! And neighbour Saunders pass'd me on his mare; In the old times they used to hunt them out, He had hardly said « Good day,» before I saw

And hang them without mercy; but, Lord bless us!
The shoe drop off. 'T was just upou my tongue The world is grown so wicked !
To call him back;-it makes no difference, does it,
Because I know whose 't was?

Good day, Farmer!
Nathaniel, what art nailing to the threshold?
Why no, it can't;

NATHANIEL.
The shoe's the same, you know, and you did find it. A horse-shoe, Sir; 't is good to keep off witchcraft,
NATHANIEL.

And we 're afraid of Margery.
That mare of his has got a plaguy road
To travel, father;-and if he should lame her, -

Poor old woman ! For she is but tender-footed

What can you fear from her ?

FATHER.
Aye, indeed!

What can we fear! I should not like to see her limping back,

Who lamed the Miller's boy? who raised the wind Poor beast !- But charity begins at home,

That blew my old barn's roof down? who d'

ye

think And, Nat, there's our own horse in such a way Rides my poor horse a'nigints ? wlio mocks the hounds ? This morning!

But let me catch her at that trick again,
NATHANIEL.

And I've a silver bullet ready for her,
Why he han't been rid again!

One that shall iame her, double how she will.
Last night I hung a pebble by the manger

NATHANTEL. With a hole through, and every body says

What makes her sit there moping by herself, That 't is a special charm against the hags.

With no soul near her but that great black cat?

And do but look at her! It could not be a proper natural hole then,

CURATE. Or 't was not a right pebble ;-for I found him

Poor wretch; half blind Smoking with sweat, quaking in every limb,

And crooked with her years, without a child And panting so! Lord knows where he had been Or friend in her old age, 't is hard indeed When we were all asleep, through bush and brake, To have her very miseries made her crimes ! Up-bill and down-hill all alike, full stretch

I met her but last week in that hard frost
At such a deadly rate!-

Which made my young limbs ache, and when I ask'd
NATHANIEL.
What brought her out in the snow,

the
poor

old woman By land and water,

Told me that she was forced to crawl abroad Over the sea, perhaps!—I have heard tell

And pick the liedges, just to keep herself "T is many thousand miles off at the end

From perishing with cold,—because no neighbour Of the world, where witches go to meet the Devil. Had pity on her age; and then she cried, They used to ride on broomsticks, and to smear Apd said the children pelted her with snow-balls, Some ointment over them, and then away

And wish'd that she were dead. Out of the window! but 't is worse than all To worry poor beasts so. Shame upon it

I wish she was! That in a Christian country they should let

She has plagued the parish long enough! Such creatures li ve!

CURATE.

Shame, Farmer!
And when there 's such plain proof! Is that the charity your Bible teaches ?
I did but threaten her because she robb'd
Our hedge, and the next night there came a wind My Bible docs not teach me to love witches.
That made me shake to hear it in my bed!

I know what's charity; who pays his tithes
How came it that that storm unroofd my barn, And poor-rates readier?
And only mine in the parishı?-Look at hier,

CURATE.
And that's enough; she has it in lier face! -

Who can better do it?
A pair of large dead eyes, sunk in her head,

You 've been a prudent and industrious man,
Just like a corpse, and pursed with wrinkles round; And God has blest your labour.
A nose and chip that scarce leave room between

FATHER.
For her lean fingers to squeeze in the snuff;

Why, thank God, Sir, And when she speaks! I'd sooner hear a raven I've had no reason to complain of fortune. Croak at my door!-She sits there, nose and knees

CURATE. Smoke-dried and shriveil'd o'er a starved fire,

Complain! why you are wealthy! All the parish With that black cat beside her, whose great eyes

Look up to you. Shine like old Beelzebub's; and to be sure

FATHER
It must be one of his imps! -Aye, nail it hard.

Perhiaps, Sir, I could tell
NATHANIEL.

Guinea for guinea with the warmest of them.
I wish old Margery heard the hammer go!

CURATE She'd curse the music!

You can afford a little to the poor;

FATHER.

the

FATHER

FATHER.

And then, what's better still, you have the heart To give from your abundance.

FATHER.

God forbid I should want charity!

CURATE,

Oh! 't is a comfort
To think at last of riches well employ'd!
I have been by a death-bed, and know the worth
Of a good deed at that most awful hour
When riches profit not.

Farmer, I'm going
To visit Margery. She is sick, I hear ;-
Old,

poor, and sick! a miserable lot,
And death will be a blessing. You might send her
Some little matter, something comfortable,
That she may go down casier to the grave,
And bless you when she dies,

FATHER.

What! is she going? Well God forgive her then, if she has dealt In the black art! I'll tell my dame of it, And she shall send her something.

CURATE.

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And Calidore for a fair shepherdess
Forgot his quest to learn the shepherd's lore,
My fancy drew from this the little hut
Where that poor princess wept her hopeless love,
Or where the gentle Calidore at eve
Led Pastorella home. There was not then
A weed where all these nettles overtop
'The garden-wall; but sweet-briar, scenting sweet
The morning air; rosemary and marjoram,
All wholesome herbs; and then, that woodbine wreathed
So lavishly around the pillar'd porch
Its fragrant flowers, that when I past this way,
After a truant absence hastening home,
I could not choose but pass with slackend speed
By that delightful fragrance. Sadly changed
Is this poor cottage! and ils dwellers, Charles!-
| 'Theirs is a simple melancholy tale, –
There's scarce a village but can fellow it:
And yet, methinks, it will not weary thee,
.Ind should not be untold.

A widow here
Dwelt with an orphan grandchild: just removed
Above the reach of pinching poverty,
She lived on some small pittance which sufficed,
la better times, the needful calls of life,
Not without comfort. I remember her
Sitting at evening in that open door-way,
And spinning in the sun. Metbinks I see her
Raising her eyes and dark-rimm'd spectacles
To see the passer-by, yet ceasing not
To twirl her lengthening thread: or in the garden,
On some dry summer evening, walking round
To view her flowers, and pointing as she lean'd
Upon the ivory handle of her stick,
To some carnation whose o'erheavy head

Needed support; while with the watering-pot
Joanna follow'd, and refresh'd and trimm'd
The drooping plaut; Joanna, her dear child,
As lovely and as happy then as youth
and innocence could make hier.

Charles, it seems
Is though I were a boy again, and all
The mediate years with their vicissitudes
A half-forgotten dream. I see the Maid
So comely in her Sunday dress! her hair,
ller bright brown hair, wreathed in contracting curls,
And then her cheek! it was a red and white
That made the delicate hues of arı look loathsome.
The countrymen who on their way lo church
Were leaning o'er the bridge, loitering to hear
The bell's last summons, and in idleness
Watching the stream below, would all look up
When she pass 'd by. And her old Mother, Charles,
When I have heard some erring infidel
Speak of our faith as of a gloomy creed,
Inspiring superstitious wretchedness,
Her figure has recurr'd; for she did love
The Sabhath-day; and many a time hath cross'd
These fields in rain and through the winter snows,
When I, a graceless boy, wishing myself
By the fire-side, have wonder'd why she came
Who might have sale at home.

One only care
Hung on her aged spirit. For herself,
Her path was plain before her, and the close
Of her long journey near. But then her child

THE RUINED COTTAGE. Ar, Charles ! I knew that this would fix thine eye! This woodbine wreathing round the broken porch, Its leaves just withering, yet one autumn flower Still fresh and fragraut; and

yon lolly-hock
That through the creeping weeds and nettles tall
Peers taller, lifting, column-like, a stem
Bright with the broad rose-blossoms. I have seen
Many an old convent reverend in decay,
And many a time have trod the castle courts
And grass-green halls, yet never did they strike
Home to the heart such melancholy thoughts
As this poor cottage. Look! its little hatch
Fleeced with that grey and wintry moss; the roof
Part moulderd in, the rest o'ergrown with weeds,
House-leek, and long thin grass, and grecoer moss;
So Nature steals on all the works of man,
Sure conqueror she, reclaiming to herself
His perishable piles.

I led thee here,
Charles, not without design; for this hath been
My favourite walk even since I was a boy;
And I remember, Charles, this ruin here,
The peatest comfortable dwelling-place!
That when I read in those dear books which first
Woke in my heart the love of poesy,
How with the villagers Erminia dwelt,

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