« PreviousContinue »
O my pleasant garden-plot!
A shrubbery was beside it,
With a woodbine wreathed to hide it.
Oft-times I sat within my bower,
Like a king in all his glory;
Some pleasant wondrous story.
I read of Gardens in old times,
Old, stately Gardens, kingly,
Or for silent musing, singly.
The noblest and the fairest;
And thought it far the rarest.
And all among my flowers I walk'd,
Like a miser 'mid his treasure ;
THE TRUE STORY OF WEB-SPINNER.
WEB-SPINNER was a miser old,
Who came of low degree;
And he kept bad company;
And his visage had the evil look
Of a black felon grim; To all the country he was known,
But none spoke well of him.
His house was seven stories high,
In a corner of the street,
When other homes weré neat;
Up in his garret dark he lived,
And from the windows high Look'd out in the dusky evening
Upon the passers by. Most people thought he lived alone;
Yet many have averr'd, That dismal cries from out his house Were often loudly heard ;
And that none living left his gate,
Although a few went in, For he seized the very beggar old,
And stripp'd him to the skin;
And though he pray'd for mercy,
Yet mercy ne'er was shown The miser cut his body up,
And pick'd him bone from bone.
Thus people said, and all believed
The dismal story true;
I tell it so to you.
One Madgy, de la Moth,
Had not gone there in troth;
But she was poor, and wander'd out
At nightfall in the street,
Dry scraps of broken meat.
So she knock'd at old Web-Spinner's door,
With a modest tap, and low,
Like an arrow from a bow.
“Walk in, walk in, mother!" said he,
And shut the door behind
That he was wondrous kind;
But ere the midnight clock had toll'd, .
Like a tiger of the wood, He had eaten the flesh from off her bones,
And drank of her heart's blood !
Now after this fell deed was done,
A little season's space,
The sport was dull, the day was hot,
The sun was sinking down, When wearily the Baron rode
Into the dusty town.
Says he, “ I'll ask a lodging
At the first house I come to;" With that the gate of Web-Spinner
Came suddenly in view;
Loud was the knock the Baron gave
Down came the churl with glee, Says Bluebottle, “ Good sir, to-night
I ask your courtesy ;
I'm wearied with a long day's chase
My friends are far behind.” “You may need them all,” said Web-Spinner,
“It runneth in my mind.”
“ A Baron am I," says Bluebottle;
“From a foreign land I come.” “ I thought as much,” said Web-Spinner, .
"Fools never stay at home!" Says the Baron, “Churl, what meaneth this?
I defy ye, villain base!" And he wish'd the while in his inmost heart
He was safely from the place.
Web-Spinner ran and lock'd the door,
And a loud laugh, laughed he;
And they wrestled furiously.
A swordsman of renown;
And kept the Baron down:
Then out he took a little cord,
From a pocket at his side,
His hands and feet he tied ;
And bound him down unto the floor,
And said in savage jest, “There's heavy work in store for you ;
So, Baron, take your rest!"
Then up and down his house he went,
Arranging dish and platter, With a dull heavy countenance,
As if nothing were the matter.
At length he seized on Bluebottle,
That strong and burly man,
To hoist him up began:
He went with heavy tread;
Poor Bluebottle was dead!
Now all this while, a Magistrate,
Who lived the house hard by,
Through a window privily:
And level it with the ground;
But the wicked churl, who all his life
Had look'd for such a day,
And took himself away:
But where he went no man could'tell;
'T was said that underground, He died a miserable death,
But his body ne'er was found.
Chey pull’d his house down stick and stone,
“For a caitiff vile as he,” Said they," within our quiet town Shall not a dweller be!"