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And yet he with no feign’d delight
Had woo'd the maiden, day and night
Had loved her, night and morn:
What could he less than love a Maid
Whose heart with so much nature play'd ?
So kind and so forlorn !
Sometimes, most earnestly, he said,
“ () Ruth! I have been worse than dead;
False thoughts, thoughts bold and vain,
Encompass'd me on every side
When first, in confidence and pride,
I cross'd the Atlantic Main.
66 It was a fresh and glorious world,
A banner bright that was unfurld
Before me suddenly :
I look'd upon those hills and plains,
And seem'd as if let loose from chains
To live at liberty.
“ But wherefore speak of this ? For now,
Sweet Ruth! with thee, I know not how,
I feel my spirit burn
Even as the East when day comes forth ;
And, to the West, and South, and North,
The morning doth return."
Full soon that purer mind was gone;
No hope, no wish remain'd, not one,
They stirr'd him now no more ;
New objects did new pleasure give,
And once again he wish'd to live
As lawless as before.
Meanwhile, as thus with him it fared,
They for the voyage were prepared,
And went to the seashore ;
But, when they thither came, the Youth
Deserted his poor Bride, and Ruth
Could never find him more.
“ God help thee, Ruth !”-Such pains she had
That she in half a year was mad,
And in a prison housed ;
And there she sang tumultuous songs,
By recollection of her wrongs,
To fearful passion roused.
Yet sometimes milder hours she knew,
Nor wanted sun, nor rain, nor dew,
Nor pastimes of the May,
-They all were with her in her cell ;
And a wild brook with cheerful knell
Did o'er the pebbles play.
When Ruth three seasons thus had lain,
There came a respite to her pain ;
She from her prison fled ;
But of the Vagrant none took thought ;
And where it liked her best she sought
Her shelter and her bread.
Among the fields she breathed again :
The master-current of her brain
Ran permanent and free ;
And, coming to the banks of Tone, (a)
(a) The Tone is a river of Somersetshire, at no great dis
There did she rest ; and dwell alone
Under the greenwood tree.
The engines of her pain, the tools
That shaped her sorrow, rocks and pools,
And airs that gently stir
The vernal leaves, she loved them still,
Nor ever taxed them with the ill
Which had been done to her.
A Barn her winter bed supplies ;
But, till the warmth of summer skies
And summer days is gone,
(And all do in this tale agree)
She sleeps beneath the greenwood tree,
And other home hath none.
An innocent life, yet far astray !
And Ruth will, long before her day,
Be broken down and old.
Sore aches she needs must have! but less
Of mind, than body's wretchedness,
From damp, and rain, and cold.
If she is press’d by want of food,
She from her dwelling in the wood
Repairs to a road-side ;
And there she begs at one steep place,
Where up and down with easy pace
The horsemen-travellers ride.
tance from the Quantock Hills. These hills, which are alluded to a few stanzas below, are extremely beautiful, and in most places richly covered with coppice woods.
That oaten Pipe of hers is mute,
Or thrown away ; but with a flute
Her loneliness she cheers :
This flute, made of a hemlock stalk,
At evening in his homeward walk
The Quantock Woodman hears.
I, too, have pass'd her on the hills
Setting her little water-mills
By spouts and fountains wild-
Such small machinery as she turn'd
Ere she had wept, ere she had mourn'd,
A young and happy Child !
Farewell! and when thy days are told,
Ill-fated Ruth ! in hallow'd mould
Thy corpse shall buried be ;
For thee a funeral bell shall ring,
And all the congregation sing
A Christian psalm for thee.
LINES PREFIXED TO THE WHITE DOE OF
In trellised shed with clustering roses gay,
And, MARY! oft beside our blazing fire,
When years of wedded life were as a day
Whose current answers to the heart's desire,
Did we together read in Spenser's Lay
How-Una, sad of soul-in sad attire,
The gentle Una, born of heavenly birth,
To seek her Knight went wandering o'er the earth.
Ah, then, Beloved ! pleasing was the smart,
And the tear precious in compassion shed
For Her, who, pierced by sorrow's thrilling dart,
Did meekly bear the pang unmerited ;
Meek as that emblem of her lowly heart
The milk-white Lamb which in a line she led,
And faithful, loyal in her innocence,
Like the brave Lion slain in her defence.
Notes could we hear as of a faery shell
Attuned to words with sacred wisdom fraught ;
Free Fancy prized each specious miracle,
And all its finer inspiration caught ;
'Till, in the bosom of our rustic Cell,
e by a lamentable change were taught That “ bliss with mortal Man may not abide :"How nearly joy and sorrow are allied !
For us the stream of fiction ceased to flow,
For us the voice of melody was mute.
-But, as soft gales dissolve the dreary snow,
And give the timid herbage leave to shoot,
Heaven's breathing influence failed not to bestow
A timely promise of unlooked-for fruit,
Fair fruit of pleasure and serene content
From blossoms wild of fancies innocent,
It soothed us—it beguiled us- --then, to hear
Once more of troubles wrought by magic spell;
And griefs whose aery motion comes not near
The pangs that tempt the Spirit to rebel ;
Then, with mild Una in her sober cheer,
High over hill and low adown the dell