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With all its casements bedded, and its walls
And chimneys muffled in the leafy vine.
There, on a slope of orchard, Francis laid
A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound,
Brought out a dusky loaf that smelt of home,
And, half-cut-down, a pasty costly-made,
Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay,
Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks
Imbedded and injellied ; last, with these,
A flask of cider from his father's vats,
Prime, which I knew ; and so we sat and eat
And talk'd old matters over ; who was dead,
Who married, who was like to be, and how
The races went, and who would rent the hall :
Then touch'd upon the game, how scarce it was
This season ; glancing thence, discuss'd the farm,
The fourfield system, and the price of grain ;
And struck upon the corn-laws, where we split,
And came again together on the king
With heated faces; till he laugh'd aloud ;
And, while the blackbird on the pippin hung
To hear him, clapt his hand in mine and sang-
“Oh! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovell’d up into a bloody trench
Where no one knows ? but let me live my life.
“Oh! who would cast and balance at a desk, Perch'd like a crow upon a three-legg'd stool,
Till all his juice is dried, and all his joints
Are full of chalk ? but let me live my life.
“Who'd serve the state ? for if I carved my name
Upon the cliffs that guard my native land,
I might as well have traced it in the sands;
The sea wastes all : but let me live my life.
“Oh! who would love ? I woo'd a woman once,
But she was sharper than an eastern wind,
And all my heart turn'd from her, as a thorn
Turns from the sea ; but let me live my life.”
He sang his song, and I replied with mine :
I found it ir a volume, all of songs,
Knock'd down to me, when old Sir Robert's pride,
His books—the more the pity, so I said —
Came to the hammer here in March—and this-
I set the words, and added names I knew.
“ Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, sleep, and dream of me :
Sleep, Ellen, folded in thy sister's arm,
And sleeping, haply dream her arm is mine.
“Sleep, Ellen, foided in Emilia's arm; Emilia, fairer than all else but thou, For thou art fairer than all else that is.
“Sleep, breathing health and peace upon her breast : Sleep, breathing love and trust against her lip : I go to-night : I come to-morrow morn.
“I go, but I return : I would I were The pilot of the darkness and the dream. Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, love, and dream of me.”
So sang we each to either, Francis Hale, The farmer's son, who lived across the bay, My friend ; and I, that having wherewithal, And in the fallow leisure of my life A rolling stone of here and everywhere, Did what I would; but ere the night we rose And saunter'd home beneath a moon, that, just In crescent, dimly rain’d about the leaf Twilights of airy silver, till we reach'd The limit of the hills; and as we sank From rock to rock upon the glooming quay, The town was hush'd beneath us : lower down The bay was oily calm ; the harbour-buoy, Sole star of phosphorescence in the calm, With one green sparkle ever and anon Dipt by itself, and we were glad at heart.
John. I'm glad I walk’d. How fresh the meadows lock Above the river, and, but a month ago, The whole hill-side was redder than a fox. Is yon plantation where this byway joins The turnpike ?
John. And when does this come by James. The mail ? At one o'clock.
John. What is it now? James. A quarter to.
John. Whose house is that I see ?
No, not the County Member's with the vane:
Up higher with the yewtree by it, and half
A score of gables.
James. That ? Sir Edward Head's :
But he's abroad : the place is to be sold,
John. Oh, his. He was not broken.
James. No, sir, he,
Vex'd with a morbid devil in his blood
That veil'd the world with jaundice, hid his face
From all men, and commercing with himself,
He lost the sense that handles daily life--
That keeps us all in order more or less-
And sick of home went overseas for change.
John. And whither ?
James. Nay, who knows? he's here and there.
But let him go; his devil goes with him,
As well as with his tenant, Jocky Dawes.
John. What's that?
James. You saw the man-on Monday, was it f-
There by the humpback'd willow ; half stands up
And bristles; half has fall'n and made a bridge ;
And there he caught the younker tickling trout-
Caught in flagrante—what's the Latin word ?
Delicto : but his house, for so they say,
Was haunted with a jolly ghost, that shook
The curtains, whined in lobbies, tapt at doors,
And rummaged like a rat : no servant stay'd :
The farmer vext packs up his beds and chairs,
And all his household stuff; and with his boy
Betwixt his knees, his wife upon the tilt,
Sets out, and meets a friend who hails him, “What !
You're flitting!” “Yes, we're flitting,” says the ghost
(For they had pack'd the thing among the beds,)
“Oh well,” says he, “you flitting with us too-
Jack, turn the horses' heads and home again."