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And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its side.

No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tether'd to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took, Seem'd to feast with head and ears; and his tail with

pleasure shook. Drink, pretty creature, drink,' she said in such a tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare!
I watch'd them with delight; they were a lovely pair.
Now with her empty can, the maiden turn'd away ;
But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.

Towards the lamb she look’d; and from that shady place
I, unobserved, could see the workings of her face;
If Nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing-
"What ails thee, young one? What? Why pull so at

thy cord ?
Is it not well with thee? Well both for bed and board ?
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ;
Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee?

"What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy

heart? Thy limbs are they not strong? And beautiful thou art: This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no

peers ; And that green corn, all day, is rustling in thy ears ! If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen

chain, This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain;

For rain and mountain storms, the like thou need'st not

fear; The rain and storm are things which scarcely can come

here.

'Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day When my father found thee first in places far away : Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert own'd by

none; And thy mother from thy side for evermore was gone.

'He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee

home : A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou roam? A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.

'Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in

this can Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran;' And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is, and new.

• Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now, Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough; My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold, Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

It will not, will not rest!- poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee? Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor

hear. Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair ! I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there; The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play, When they are angry, rvar like lions for their prey. .

"Here thou needs't not dread the raven in the sky; Night and day thou art safe, - our cottage is hard by. Unvisited, where not a broken bough Droop'd with its wither'd leaves, ungracious sign Of devastation, but the hazels rose Tall and erect, with milk-white clusters hung, A virgin scene ! A little while I stood, Breathing with such suppression of the heart As joy delights in ; and, with wise restraint Voluptuous, fearless of a rival, eyed The banquet, -or beneath the trees I sat Among the flowers, and with the flowers I play'd ; A temper known to those, who, after long And weary expectation, have been bless'd With sudden happiness beyond all hope. Perhaps it was a bower beneath whose leaves The violets of five seasons reappear And fade, unseen by any human eye; Where fairy water-breaks do murmur on For ever,- and I saw the sparkling foam, And with my cheek on one of those green stones That, fleeced with moss, beneath the shady trees, Lay round me, scatter'd like a flock of sheep, I heard the murmur and the murmuring sound, In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay Tribute to ease ; and, of its joy secure, The heart luxuriates with indifferent things, Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones, And on the vacant air. Then up I rose, And dragg’d to earth both branch and bough, with crash And merciless ravage ; and the shady nook Of hazels, and the green and mossy bower, Deform'd and sullied, patiently gave up Their quiet being : and, unless I now Confound my present feelings with the past, Even then, when from the bower I turn'd away Exulting, rich beyond the wealth of kings, I felt a sense of pain when I beheld The silent trees and the intruding sky. Then, dearest maiden ! move along these shades In gentleness of heart; with gentle hand Touch — for there is a spirit in the woods.

II.

Beneath a rock, upon the grass,
Two boys are sitting in the sun ;
It seems they have no work to do,
Or that their work is done.
On pipes of sycamore they play
The fragments of a Christmas hymn ;
Or with that plant which in our dale
We call stag-horn, or fox's tail,
Their rusty hats they trim :
And thus, as happy as the day,
Those shepherds wear the time away.

III.

Along the river's stony marge,
The sand-lark chants a joyous song ;
The thrush is busy in the wood,
And carols loud and strong.
A thousand lambs are on the rocks,
All newly born ! both earth and sky
Keep jubilee; and more than all,
Those boys with their green coronal ;
They never hear the cry,
That plaintive cry! which up the hill
Comes from the depth of Dungeon-Ghyll.

Said Walter, leaping from the ground, ‘Down to the stump of yon old yew We'll for our whistles run a race.'

Away the shepherds flew. They leapt- they ran — and when they came Right opposite to Dungeon-Ghyll, Seeing that he should lose the prize, 'Stop!' to his comrade Walter cries James stopp'd with no good will : Said Walter then, 'Your task is here, 'Twill keep you working half a year.

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'Now cross where I shall cross — come on,
And follow me where I shall lead'-
The other took him at his word;
But did not like the deed.
It was a spot, which you may see
If ever you to Langdale go :
Into a chasm a mighty block
Hath fallen, and made a bridge of rock :
The gulf is deep below;
And in a basin black and small
Receives a lofty waterfall.

VI.

With staff in hand across the cleft
The challenger began his march;
And now, all eyes and feet, hath gain'd
The middle of the arch.
When list! he hears a piteous moan —
Again ! -- his heart within him dies —
His pulse is stopp'd, his breath is lost,
He totters, pale as any ghost,
And, looking down, he spies
A lamb, that in the pool is pent
Within that black and frightful rent.

VII.

The lamb had slipp'd into the stream, And safe without a bruise or wound The cataract had borne him down Into the gulf profound. His dam had seen him when he fell, She saw him down the torrent borne ; And, while with all a mother's love She from the lofty rocks above Sent forth a cry forlorn, The lamb, still swimming round and round, Made answer to that plaintive sound.

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