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Now would you see this aged Thorn,
This Pond, and beauteous Hill of moss,
You must take care and choose your time
The mountain when to cross.
Por oft there sits between the Heap
That's like an infant's grave in size,
And that same Pond of which I spoke,
A Woman in a scarlet cloak,
And to herself she cries,
“Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery !"
At all times of the day and night
This wretched Woman thither goes ;
And she is known to every star,
And every wind that blows ;
And there, beside the Thorn, she sits
When the blue daylight's in the skies,
And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And to herself she cries, : “ Oh misery! oh misery!
“ Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain-top
Does this poor Woman go ?
And why sits she beside the Thorn
When the blue daylight's in the sky,
Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And wherefore does she cry?-
Oh wherefore? wherefore ? tell me why
Does she repeat that doleful cry?”
“ I cannot tell ; I wish I could;
For the true reason no one knows :
But if you'd gladly view the spot,
The spot to which she goes ;
The Heap that's like an infant's grave,
The Pond — and Thorn, so old and gray;
Pass by her door — 'tis seldom shut –
And, if you see her in her hut,
Then to the spot away!
I never heard of such as dare
Approach the spot when she is there.”
“ But wherefore to the mountain-top
Can this unhappy Woman go,
Whatever star is in the skies,
Whatever wind may blow ?”
“ 'Tis known, that twenty years are passed
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maiden's true good will
Her company to Stephen Hill ;
And she was blithe and gay,
While friends and kindred all approved
Of him whom tenderly she loved.
And they had fixed the wedding-day,
The morning that must wed them both ;
But Stephen to another Maid
Had sworn another oath ;
And with this other Maid to church
Unthinking Stephen went -
Poor Martha! on that woeful day
A pang of pitiless dismay
Into her soul was sent;
A Fire was kindled in her breast,
Which might not burn itself to rest.
They say, full six months after this,
While yet the summer leaves were green,
She to the mountain-top would go,
And there was often seen.
'Tis said, her lamentable state
Even to a careless eye was plain;
She was with child, and she was mad;
Yet often she was sober sad
From her exceeding pain.
O guilty Father, - would that death
Had saved him from that breach of faith!
Sad case for such a brain to hold
Communion with a stirring child !
- Sad case, as you may think, for one
Who had a brain so wild !
Last Christmas-eve we talked of this,
And grey-haired Wilfred of the glen
Held that the unborn Infant wrought
About its mother's heart, and brought
Her senses back again :
And when at last her time drew near,
Her looks were calm, her senses clear.
No more I know, I wish I did,
And I would tell it all to you
For what became of this poor child
There's none that ever knew:
And if a child was born or no,
There's no one that could ever tell ;
And if 'twas born alive or dead,
There's no one knows, as I have said ;
But some remember well,'
That Martha Ray about this time
Would up the mountain often climb.
And all that winter, when at night
The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
The churchyard path to seek :
For many a time and oft were heard
Cries coming from the mountain-head:
Some plainly living voices were ;
And others, I've heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead :
I cannot think, whate'er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.