« PreviousContinue »
I sold a sheep as they had said,
And bought my little children bread,
And they were healthy with their food;
For me it never did me good.
A woeful time it was for me,
To see the end of all my gains,
The pretty flock which I had reared
With all my care and pains,
To see it melt like snow away!
For me it was a woeful day.
Another still! and still another!
A little lamb, and then its mother!
It was a vein that never stopp'd,
Like blood-drops from my heart they dropp’d.
Till thirty were not left alive
They dwindled, dwindled, one by one,
And I may say that many a time
I wished they all were gone :
They dwindled one by one away ;
For me it was a woeful day.
To wicked deeds I'was inclined, And wicked fancies cross'd my mind, And every inan I chane'd to see, I thought he knew some ill of me. No peace, no comfort could I find, No ease, within doors or without, And crazily, and wearily, I went my work about. Oft-times I thought to run away ; For me it was a woeful day.
Sir! 'twas a precious flock to me, As dear as my own children be; For daily with my growing store I loved my children more and more. Alas! it was an evil time ; God cursed me in my sore distress, I prayed, yet every day I thought I loved my children less ; And every week, and every day, My flock, it seemed to melt away.
They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see !
From ten to five, from five to three,
A lamb, a weather, and a ewe;
And then at last, from three to two;
And of my fifty, yesterday
I had but only one,
And here it lies upon my arm,
Alas! and I have none;
To-day I fetched it from the rock;
It is the last of all my flock.”
Left upon a seat in a YEW-TREE, which stands near the
Lake of ESTHWAITE, on a desolate part of the shore, yet commanding a beautiful prospea.
-Nay, Traveller ! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands
Far from all human dwelling: what if here,
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb;
What if these barren boughs the bee not loves ;
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
Who he was
That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod
First covered o'er and taught this aged tree
With its dark arms to form a circling bower,
I well remember.-He was one who owned
No common soul. In youth by science nursed
And led by nature into a wild scene
Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth,
A favored being, knowing na desire
Which genius did not hallow, 'gainst the taint
Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate
And scorn, against all enemies prepared,
All but neglect. The world, for so it thought,
Owed bim po service: he was like a plannt
Fair to the sun, the darling of the winds,
But hung with fruit which no one, that passed by,
Regarded, and, his spirit damped at once,
With indignation did he turn away
And with the food of pride sustained his soul
In solitude. Stranger ! these gloomy bouglas
Had charms for him; and here he loved to sit,
His only visitants a straggling sheep,
The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper;
And on these barren rocks, with juniper,
And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o'er,