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Be heard

Everything that's left is a waste of time,
to wait in the pressure,
trying to keep yourself together,
when everyone ignores you,
and you shout your feelings,
and no body is listening,
become the one that is feared,
give out your warning,
and make sure you say it loud and clear,
but when no one is listening,
unleash the anger,
the battle that is held within,
unleash your true you,
and let yourself be heard.

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The Rock Stops Here

(eric carmen/fred carmen)
(recorded by eric carmen)
Cool 101 / 1986
A dj in cleveland brought some bands to town
When the music got started
They tore the house down
People said everybody just went out of control
Alan freed grabbed a mike and called it rock and roll
They started bandstand in philly back in 55
And elvis rock-a-billy brought memphis alive
L.a. gave us surfers and detroits got soul
But theres only one home of rock and roll
And kids a hundred thousand strong
Burned the phone lines all night long
To send a message loud and clear
In the u.s.a., I said, the rock stops here
The rock stops here
Little richard brought miss molly
The rock stops here
Peggy sues with buddy holly
The rock stops here
Everybodys gettin down
The rock stops here
Oww! here comes the great james brown
The rock stops here
Chuck berrys with maybelline
The rock stops here
Jerry lees pianos screamin
The rock stops here
Elvis singin blue suede shoes
I need a shot of rock-a-billy
With my rhythm and blues
They looked from new york to l.a. to find the spot
Every city in the nation took their very best shot
When the dust all settled, one city stood tall
And they knew who deserved the rock and roll hall
So to prove the facts they already knew
They took a nationwide poll
That made the front page news
When the votes were counted, the results all showed
In cleveland, we eat, sleep and drink rock and roll
Kids a hundred thousand strong
Shouted, put the hall where it belongs
Now heres the message loud and clear
In the u.s.a., you know the rock stops here
I said the rock stops here
Cathys clowns with don and phil
The rock stops here
Fats is up on blueberry hill
The rock stops here
Ray charles shoutin whatd I say
The rock stops here
And sam cooke is twistin the night away
The rock stops here
Elvis doin jailhouse rock
The rock stops here
Chuck berry doin the duck walk
The rock stops here
Little richards singin woooo
I said, wop-bomp-a-loo-bop ba-lomp-bam-boom
Kids a hundred thousand strong
Shouted, put the hall where it belongs
Heres the message loud and clear
In the u.s.a., I said the rock stops here
The rock stops here
Little richard brought miss molly
The rock stops here
Peggy sues with buddy holly
The rock stops here
Everybodys gettin down
The rock stops here
Oww! here comes the great james brown
The rock stops here
Chuck berrys with maybelline
The rock stops here
Jerry lees pianos screamin
The rock stops here
Elvis singin blue suede shoes
I need a shot of rock-a-billy
With my rhythm and blues
I said the rock stops here
Cathys clowns with don and phil
The rock stops here
Fats is up on blueberry hill
The rock stops here
Ray charles shoutin whatd I say
The rock stops here
And sam cooke is twistin the night away
The rock stops here
Elvis doin jailhouse rock
The rock stops here
Chuck berry doin the duck walk
The rock stops here
Little richards singin woooo
I said, wop-bomp-a-loo-bop ba-lomp-bam-boom
I said the rock stops here
Gonna shout it to the nation
The rock stops here
At every radio station
The rock stops here
Say it loud and clear
cause in the u.s.a., you know the rock stops here

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Lewis Carroll

Canto I — The Trystyng

One winter night, at half-past nine,
Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
I had come home, too late to dine,
And supper, with cigars and wine,
Was waiting in the study.

There was a strangeness in the room,
And Something white and wavy
Was standing near me in the gloom —
I took it for the carpet-broom
Left by that careless slavey.

But presently the Thing began
To shiver and to sneeze:
On which I said "Come, come, my man!
That's a most inconsiderate plan.
Less noise there, if you please!"

"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."
I turned to look in some surprise,
And there, before my very eyes,
A little Ghost was standing!

He trembled when he caught my eye,
And got behind a chair.
"How came you here," I said, "and why?
I never saw a thing so shy.
Come out! Don't shiver there!"

He said "I'd gladly tell you how,
And also tell you why;
But" (here he gave a little bow)
You're in so bad a temper now,
You'd think it all a lie.

"And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear the dark."

"No plea," said I, "can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
For Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse
To grant the interview."

He said "A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain my visit.

"Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Of Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as weight,
With Coals and other lumber).

"This is a 'one-ghost' house, and you
When you arrived last summer,
May have remarked a Spectre who
Was doing all that Ghosts can do
To welcome the new-comer.

"In Villas this is always done —
However cheaply rented:
For, though of course there's less of fun
When there is only room for one,
Ghosts have to be contented.

"That Spectre left you on the Third —
Since then you've not been haunted:
For, as he never sent us word,
'Twas quite by accident we heard
That any one was wanted.

"A Spectre has first choice, by right,
In filling up a vacancy;
Then Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite —
If all these fail them, they invite
The nicest Ghoul that they can see.

"The Spectres said the place was low,
And that you kept bad wine:
So, as a Phantom had to go,
And I was first, of course, you know,
I couldn't well decline."

"No doubt," said I, "they settled who
Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
Was no great compliment!"

"I'm not so young, Sir," he replied,
"As you might think. The fact is,
In caverns by the water-side,
And other places that I've tried,
I've had a lot of practice:

"But I have never taken yet
A strict domestic part,
And in my flurry I forget
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette
We have to know by heart."

My sympathies were warming fast
Towards the little fellow:
He was so utterly aghast
At having found a Man at last,
And looked so scared and yellow.

"At least," I said, "I'm glad to find
A Ghost is not a dumb thing!
But pray sit down: you'll feel inclined
(If, like myself, you have not dined)
To take a snack of something:

"Though, certainly, you don't appear
A thing to offer food to!
And then I shall be glad to hear —
If you will say them loud and clear
The Rules that you allude to."

"Thanks! You shall hear them by and by.
This is a piece of luck!"
"What may I offer you?" said I.
"Well, since you are so kind, I'll try
A little bit of duck.

"One slice! And may I ask you for
Another drop of gravy?"
I sat and looked at him in awe,
For certainly I never saw
A thing so white and wavy.

And still he seemed to grow more white,
More vapoury, and wavier —
Seen in the dim and flickering light,
As he proceeded to recite
His "Maxims of Behaviour."

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Lewis Carroll

Phantasmagoria Canto I (The Trystyng )

ONE winter night, at half-past nine,
Cold, tired, and cross, and muddy,
I had come home, too late to dine,
And supper, with cigars and wine,
Was waiting in the study.

There was a strangeness in the room,
And Something white and wavy
Was standing near me in the gloom -
I took it for the carpet-broom
Left by that careless slavey.

But presently the Thing began
To shiver and to sneeze:
On which I said "Come, come, my man!
That's a most inconsiderate plan.
Less noise there, if you please!"

"I've caught a cold," the Thing replies,
"Out there upon the landing."
I turned to look in some surprise,
And there, before my very eyes,
A little Ghost was standing!

He trembled when he caught my eye,
And got behind a chair.
"How came you here," I said, "and why?
I never saw a thing so shy.
Come out! Don't shiver there!"

He said "I'd gladly tell you how,
And also tell you why;
But" (here he gave a little bow)
"You're in so bad a temper now,
You'd think it all a lie.

"And as to being in a fright,
Allow me to remark
That Ghosts have just as good a right
In every way, to fear the light,
As Men to fear the dark."

"No plea," said I, "can well excuse
Such cowardice in you:
For Ghosts can visit when they choose,
Whereas we Humans ca'n't refuse
To grant the interview."

He said "A flutter of alarm
Is not unnatural, is it?
I really feared you meant some harm:
But, now I see that you are calm,
Let me explain my visit.

"Houses are classed, I beg to state,
According to the number
Of Ghosts that they accommodate:
(The Tenant merely counts as WEIGHT,
With Coals and other lumber).

"This is a 'one-ghost' house, and you
When you arrived last summer,
May have remarked a Spectre who
Was doing all that Ghosts can do
To welcome the new-comer.

"In Villas this is always done -
However cheaply rented:
For, though of course there's less of fun
When there is only room for one,
Ghosts have to be contented.

"That Spectre left you on the Third -
Since then you've not been haunted:
For, as he never sent us word,
'Twas quite by accident we heard
That any one was wanted.

"A Spectre has first choice, by right,
In filling up a vacancy;
Then Phantom, Goblin, Elf, and Sprite -
If all these fail them, they invite
The nicest Ghoul that they can see.

"The Spectres said the place was low,
And that you kept bad wine:
So, as a Phantom had to go,
And I was first, of course, you know,
I couldn't well decline."

"No doubt," said I, "they settled who
Was fittest to be sent
Yet still to choose a brat like you,
To haunt a man of forty-two,
Was no great compliment!"

"I'm not so young, Sir," he replied,
"As you might think. The fact is,
In caverns by the water-side,
And other places that I've tried,
I've had a lot of practice:

"But I have never taken yet
A strict domestic part,
And in my flurry I forget
The Five Good Rules of Etiquette
We have to know by heart."

My sympathies were warming fast
Towards the little fellow:
He was so utterly aghast
At having found a Man at last,
And looked so scared and yellow.

"At least," I said, "I'm glad to find
A Ghost is not a DUMB thing!
But pray sit down: you'll feel inclined
(If, like myself, you have not dined)
To take a snack of something:

"Though, certainly, you don't appear
A thing to offer FOOD to!
And then I shall be glad to hear -
If you will say them loud and clear -
The Rules that you allude to."

"Thanks! You shall hear them by and by.
This IS a piece of luck!"
"What may I offer you?" said I.
"Well, since you ARE so kind, I'll try
A little bit of duck.

"ONE slice! And may I ask you for
Another drop of gravy?"
I sat and looked at him in awe,
For certainly I never saw
A thing so white and wavy.

And still he seemed to grow more white,
More vapoury, and wavier -
Seen in the dim and flickering light,
As he proceeded to recite
His "Maxims of Behaviour."

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God Speaks In Many Ways

God speaks to us in many ways, many times throughout our days.
In our trials The Lord may send, a comforting word through a friend,
During that special time of need, God may use them to plant a seed.
A tiny seed sown just for that trial, that will cause your heart to smile.

God may send a friend to impart, words of wisdom into your heart.
God can even speak in the night, even when there’s no one in sight.
God will use the events of life, to draw you closer unto Jesus Christ.
For God is still quite active friend, speaking to the hearts of all men.

Almost anyone The Lord can use, to impart to men His Good News.
And when you truly come to Him, He’s with you through thick and thin.
God begins with you New Life, and talks to you through Jesus Christ.
For Jesus Christ is the Living Word, on this earth until all have heard.

The blessed news of Jesus Christ, that He came to grant Eternal Life.
And He gives you His Holy Spirit, to grasp the Word when you hear it.
Through The Word He will guide, Christians to walk close by His side.
For through The Word He speaks to you, as your life becomes anew.

Through the changes in your life, you shall hear the voice of Christ.
And as a shepherd always near, His voice you’ll hear loud and clear.
So when Christ calls, follow Him, and He will lead you from your sin.
And He will speak to you my friend, and Eternal Life will be your end.

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Dennis & Lois

We all lern to box from the midgit club
Where we punch with love and did somebody good
Its good to see you to see you nice
If you do me one, well well do you twice
Were twice as likely were twice as right
Right
Right on, right on
Right
Right on, right on
We all learnt to wash at the scrubbers club
Where we ring out the dirt with a rud a dub dub
Tell how you think if you think it was good
Say it loud and clear so its understood
You take it how you made it like I know you would
Let it bled let it heal let me sleep its no good, so...
Lets ride, right on right on
Honey hows your breathing
If it stops for good well be leaving
And honey hows your daughter
Did you teach her what weve taught yer
And if you didnt well you ought to do it now
Well lets ride on ride on

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Born This Way

(geoffrey williams and simon stirling)
Some people know what they wanna be
Some people see what they wanna see
Everyday needs some kind of dream
But the complexities of life escape to an ideal scene, yeah
People try to tell you how to live your life
Let the blind lead the blind
Well, thats all right
So make up your mind
The fool or the wise
There are things in this life
Which you cant compromise
Break away
And take the time to know your mind
And leave it all behind you
And say
Thats the way I am
Yeah - I was born this way
Cant you see it in my eyes
Yeah, heah, heah
Oh, I was born this way
Cant you feel it in your heart
Yeah, heah, heah, oh
Its not always easy to disagree
Dont make excuses for what you see
Theres one thing in life
I have no doubt
Youre on the way up
On the way out, baby, oh
Some people see whats gonna be
But they hide in a corner
From reality
Sometimes youre up
And sometimes youre down
You cant spend your whole life
Just fooling around
Break away
And take the time to break the ties
And leave it all behind you and say
Thats the way I am
Yeah - I was born this way
Cant you see it in my eyes
Yeah, heah, heah
Oh, I was born this way
Cant you feel it in your heart and say
Yeah, heah, heah, oh
In this world
Theres a love thats unspoken
Letting go
Reaching out
Then its time to search your heart
And stop, its you
Learn to love yourself
Respect yourself
Say - thats the way I am
Say, I was born this way
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah - I was born this way
Cant you see it in my eyes?
Yeah, heah, heah
Oh, I was born this way
Cant you feel it in your hearts and say
Yeah, heah, heah, oh
The fool or the wise
So open your eyes
And say yeah, heah, heah
Yeah - say it loud and clear
And say yeah, heah, heah
I was born this way, oh, oh, oh
Say yeah, heah, heah
I was born this way
Born this way
So say, so say, yeah
I said yeah

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Dennis And Lois

We all learn to box at the Midget Club
Where we punch with love and did someone some good
It's good to see ya, to see ya nice
If you do it once, well we'll do it twice
We're twice as likely we're twice as bright
You say it's wrong but we know it's right
Right
Right on, right on
Right
Right on, right on
We all learn to wash at the scrubbers club
Where we ring out the dirt with rub a dub dub
Tell me how you think if you think it's good
Say it loud and clear so it's understood
You take it how you make it like I knew you would
Let it bleed let it heal let me sleep it's no good, so...
Let's ride, right on right on
Right, right on right......
Honey how's your breathing
If it stops for good we'll be leaving
And honey how's your daughter
Did you teach her what we've taught yer
And if you didn't well you ought to do it now
Well lets ride ride on ride on
Ride on ride...
Honey how's your breathing
If it stops for good we'll be leaving
And honey how's your daughter
Did you teach her what we've taught yer
And if you didn't well you ought to do it now

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Let me say this loud and clear. There is a world of difference between terrorist acts and the Islamic Shari'a. Islam is not only a religion, but a way of life. And at its heart lie the sacred principles of tolerance and dialogue.

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When I Laid Bare Everything That I Am

When I laid bare everything that I am
it was totally unconditional
that I told the secrets of my own humanity,
and everything that I am was freely

revealed to you and now I fear
that everything else goes from my thoughts
as if you are the only one
that touches my days, nights and years

and in your love I am totally lost
as daily it takes on new forms
and I know that you are destined for me,
wherever my days want to go

and from the beginning to the end
you fit perfectly into my life.

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Everything That You Want

(randy sharp, jack weslet routh)
In the beginning
The nights were long
Under the moonlight
I could do no wrong
You told me
I was everything you wanted me to be
Then summer was over
And the nights grew cold
You got restless
And hard to hold
I tried to be
Everything you wanted me to be
Now you keep staring
At that open door
You got what you wanted
And you still want more
Well look at me
Im everything you wanted me to be
Chorus:
Well if I dont keep you satisfied
You cant say that I havent tried
And if Im not what you want by now
For the life of me I cant see how
Ill ever be
Everything that you want me to be
In the beginning
The nights were long
Under the moonlight
I could do no wrong
Remember me?
I was everything you wanted me to be

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Everything That We Have

Now you cry a river
as you're lying here dreaming
you opened up your eye's
and started believing
but it's too late now to care
everything that we have here is gone
there is no more forever
it's too late now to realize
what we done wrong
everything that we have here is gone

Was a time you could've lend a hand
but you never would make a stand
said it was just part of God's plan
so you just sat there watching the destruction
as we fade away into nothing
now everything that we have here is gone
did it come to you as a surprise
when you never heard that morning bird
sing it's last song
now everything that we have here is gone

So now you cry a river
as you're lying there dreaming
feeling no one was there
you opened up your eye's
to find everything that we have here gone
was it worth hiding behind the lies
through the words you only heard
now everything that we have here is gone
(Spiritwind-2010)

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Everything that Goes.....

looks the flower wait the butterfly to touch down the
sweet petals that it can offer, see the fish swim in the
water flows in the riding waves of forever stream of
the sea, as the birds zooming fly in the hovering of the
wind in the high sky

see the eyes have wizardly blinks the crystallized
ball of morning dew, the moist wet the smooth surface
of your wonder eyes; listen my dear heart the harmony
of whispering humid echo in a distance song of the
Crickets, as the lunar light window the coming night to
stay, till dawn of your midnight sleep and the sky has
offer to close its morning return

show my emptiness of the longing, you’re everything
that i always adores and captures my hope, as the lone
past hold me to sanctify the wishing heart to remember
that you’re the answer of what i am living for, many of
years i believe, finding the most in you the real you, i
do wait

you have thought me of what i felt, think the moment
of knowing me alone of what is the truth and real my
dear one, stand my hour and everything goes fine, for
the timeless moment of myself, love's you and always
stay with you my lasting wish of mystery

day is night before i sleep, thinking of loving you and
never i have change my will to love you, let then be
the stream of every streams of willing stay, and i still
love YOU....... i will

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There Is a Welcoming of Truth In Everything That Is Done

I remember my encounter...
With reality!
That's when I was stripped,
From those things I valued.
I was spinning in a whirlpool
Of a cruel introduction to truth.

I had some things I liked.
Things I thought I needed,
And kept polished!
Waxed to keep dust reflecting shadows.
Yes!
Even though accelerated winds,
Kept cars I owned spotless.
Dust and I became enemies.
I just didn't want to see any of it on my cars.

I took my parents for granted.
Until they became ill,
And passed away.

Friends I shared nakedness with.
And every conceivable intimacy...
Were gone!
Vanished in thin air it seemed.
And the things we shared,
To impress each other with...
Became useless possessions.
Especially when loved ones go,
And you are left holding onto emptiness!
And it doesn't take long...
To discover the valueless nonsense in this!

I remember my encounter...
With reality!
That's when I was stripped,
From those things I valued.
I was spinning in a whirlpool
Of a cruel introduction to truth.

And when I began my pursuit,
To free myself of guilt...
I had to forgive a superficiality I had with life.
When I discovered my heart could be broken,
By the permanent absence of those I love!

There is a welcoming of truth in everything that is done.
I am blessed to have learned how to love and forgive.
And blessed to appreciate my life as it is.
And so very blessed to have come to know the ones I loved!

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Simple Observation #34 - Everything that is true......

Everything that is true we can also usually prove to be such
but something thats false may not be obvious even to touch.

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That Penny Held Tightly Within One's Fist

Harsh assessments.
Coming to bombard.
A treasured way of life.
One valued with standards,
Presented and upheld.
As the only way of life,
Enforced upon others.
Whether this way of life is disliked,
Despised.
Or defended as right and liked!

This blind obsession,
Has proven in time.
Even those who were convinced,
Others envied this life with a jealousy meant.
Has been overdue for a self examination.

It would be difficult today,
To locate anyone who will say.
It thrills them to maintain their pretentions.
Knowing every penny they save.
Is less,
Than the penny they earned yesterday!

However.
That penny held tightly within one's fist,
Is done so with the greatest of devoted loyalty.
Regardless of its worthlessness.

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Make Sure That The Feelins Right

(d. pickerill)
You cant ask a man why hes looking smart
Ask him why hes feeling good
Make a simple gesture, like to touch his hand
And baby you are on to something good
Mmm, baby you are on to something good
Chorus 1:
Make sure that the feelings right
Burning when I hold him tight
Chorus 2:
Loving is for people with a broken heart
Loving is for people who dont care
Love can make the potion that will keep you apart
Make sure he needs you yeah
People making [offers? ] for the peace
That moment is the one you ought to miss
The kisses just to see the other style
And loving will deceive you for a while
Loving is deception for a while
Chorus 1 & 2
Ill make sure that the feelings right
And Im burning when I hold him tight
Chorus 2 (x2)
Make sure that the feelings right
Make sure he needs you yeah (x5)

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Robert Frost

The Black Cottage

We chanced in passing by that afternoon
To catch it in a sort of special picture
Among tar-banded ancient cherry trees,
Set well back from the road in rank lodged grass,
The little cottage we were speaking of,
A front with just a door between two windows,
Fresh painted by the shower a velvet black.
We paused, the minister and I, to look.
He made as if to hold it at arm's length
Or put the leaves aside that framed it in.
'Pretty,' he said. 'Come in. No one will care.'
The path was a vague parting in the grass
That led us to a weathered window-sill.
We pressed our faces to the pane. 'You see,' he said,
'Everything's as she left it when she died.
Her sons won't sell the house or the things in it.
They say they mean to come and summer here
Where they were boys. They haven't come this year.
They live so far away-one is out west-
It will be hard for them to keep their word.
Anyway they won't have the place disturbed.'
A buttoned hair-cloth lounge spread scrolling arms
Under a crayon portrait on the wall
Done sadly from an old daguerreotype.
'That was the father as he went to war.
She always, when she talked about war,
Sooner or later came and leaned, half knelt
Against the lounge beside it, though I doubt
If such unlifelike lines kept power to stir
Anything in her after all the years.
He fell at Gettysburg or Fredericksburg,
I ought to know-it makes a difference which:
Fredericksburg wasn't Gettysburg, of course.
But what I'm getting to is how forsaken
A little cottage this has always seemed;
Since she went more than ever, but before-
I don't mean altogether by the lives
That had gone out of it, the father first,
Then the two sons, till she was left alone.
(Nothing could draw her after those two sons.
She valued the considerate neglect
She had at some cost taught them after years.)
I mean by the world's having passed it by-
As we almost got by this afternoon.
It always seems to me a sort of mark
To measure how far fifty years have brought us.
Why not sit down if you are in no haste?
These doorsteps seldom have a visitor.
The warping boards pull out their own old nails
With none to tread and put them in their place.
She had her own idea of things, the old lady.
And she liked talk. She had seen Garrison
And Whittier, and had her story of them.
One wasn't long in learning that she thought
Whatever else the Civil War was for
It wasn't just to keep the States together,
Nor just to free the slaves, though it did both.
She wouldn't have believed those ends enough
To have given outright for them all she gave.
Her giving somehow touched the principle
That all men are created free and equal.
And to hear her quaint phrases-so removed
From the world's view to-day of all those things.
That's a hard mystery of Jefferson's.
What did he mean? Of course the easy way
Is to decide it simply isn't true.
It may not be. I heard a fellow say so.
But never mind, the Welshman got it planted
Where it will trouble us a thousand years.
Each age will have to reconsider it.
You couldn't tell her what the West was saying,
And what the South to her serene belief.
She had some art of hearing and yet not
Hearing the latter wisdom of the world.
White was the only race she ever knew.
Black she had scarcely seen, and yellow never.
But how could they be made so very unlike
By the same hand working in the same stuff?
She had supposed the war decided that.
What are you going to do with such a person?
Strange how such innocence gets its own way.
I shouldn't be surprised if in this world
It were the force that would at last prevail.
Do you know but for her there was a time
When to please younger members of the church,
Or rather say non-members in the church,
Whom we all have to think of nowadays,
I would have changed the Creed a very little?
Not that she ever had to ask me not to;
It never got so far as that; but the bare thought
Of her old tremulous bonnet in the pew,
And of her half asleep was too much for me.
Why, I might wake her up and startle her.
It was the words 'descended into Hades'
That seemed too pagan to our liberal youth.
You know they suffered from a general onslaught.
And well, if they weren't true why keep right on
Saying them like the heathen? We could drop them.
Only-there was the bonnet in the pew.
Such a phrase couldn't have meant much to her.
But suppose she had missed it from the Creed
As a child misses the unsaid Good-night,
And falls asleep with heartache-how should I feel?
I'm just as glad she made me keep hands off,
For, dear me, why abandon a belief
Merely because it ceases to be true.
Cling to it long enough, and not a doubt
It will turn true again, for so it goes.
Most of the change we think we see in life
Is due to truths being in and out of favour.
As I sit here, and oftentimes, I wish
I could be monarch of a desert land
I could devote and dedicate forever
To the truths we keep coming back and back to.
So desert it would have to be, so walled
By mountain ranges half in summer snow,
No one would covet it or think it worth
The pains of conquering to force change on.
Scattered oases where men dwelt, but mostly
Sand dunes held loosely in tamarisk
Blown over and over themselves in idleness.
Sand grains should sugar in the natal dew
The babe born to the desert, the sand storm
Retard mid-waste my cowering caravans-
'There are bees in this wall.' He struck the clapboards,
Fierce heads looked out; small bodies pivoted.
We rose to go. Sunset blazed on the windows.

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The Drug-Shop, or, Endymion in Edmonstoun

"Oh yes, I went over to Edmonstoun the other day and saw Johnny, mooning around as usual! He will never make his way."
Letter of George Keats, 18--


Night falls; the great jars glow against the dark,
Dark green, dusk red, and, like a coiling snake,
Writhing eternally in smoky gyres,
Great ropes of gorgeous vapor twist and turn
Within them. So the Eastern fisherman
Saw the swart genie rise when the lead seal,
Scribbled with charms, was lifted from the jar;
And -- well, how went the tale? Like this, like this? . . .

No herbage broke the barren flats of land,
No winds dared loiter within smiling trees,
Nor were there any brooks on either hand,
Only the dry, bright sand,
Naked and golden, lay before the seas.

One boat toiled noiselessly along the deep,
The thirsty ripples dying silently
Upon its track. Far out the brown nets sweep,
And night begins to creep
Across the intolerable mirror of the sea.

Twice the nets rise, a-trail with sea-plants brown,
Distorted shells, and rocks green-mossed with slime,
Nought else. The fisher, sick at heart, kneels down;
"Prayer may appease God's frown,"
He thinks, then, kneeling, casts for the third time.

And lo! an earthen jar, bound round with brass,
Lies tangled in the cordage of his net.
About the bright waves gleam like shattered glass,
And where the sea's rim was
The sun dips, flat and red, about to set.

The prow grates on the beach. The fisherman
Stoops, tearing at the cords that bind the seal.
Shall pearls roll out, lustrous and white and wan?
Lapis? carnelian?
Unheard-of stones that make the sick mind reel

With wonder of their beauty? Rubies, then?
Green emeralds, glittering like the eyes of beasts?
Poisonous opals, good to madden men?
Gold bezants, ten and ten?
Hard, regal diamonds, like kingly feasts?

He tugged; the seal gave way. A little smoke
Curled like a feather in the darkening sky.
A blinding gush of fire burst, flamed, and broke.
A voice like a wind spoke.
Armored with light, and turbaned terribly,

A genie tramped the round earth underfoot;
His head sought out the stars, his cupped right hand
Made half the sky one darkness. He was mute.
The sun, a ripened fruit,
Drooped lower. Scarlet eddied o'er the sand.

The genie spoke: "O miserable one!
Thy prize awaits thee; come, and hug it close!
A noble crown thy draggled nets have won
For this that thou hast done.
Blessed are fools! A gift remains for those!"

His hand sought out his sword, and lightnings flared
Across the sky in one great bloom of fire.
Poised like a toppling mountain, it hung bared;
Suns that were jewels glared
Along its hilt. The air burnt like a pyre.

Once more the genie spoke: "Something I owe
To thee, thou fool, thou fool. Come, canst thou sing?
Yea? Sing then; if thy song be brave, then go
Free and released -- or no!
Find first some task, some overmastering thing
I cannot do, and find it speedily,
For if thou dost not thou shalt surely die!"

The sword whirled back. The fisherman uprose,
And if at first his voice was weak with fear
And his limbs trembled, it was but a doze,
And at the high song's close
He stood up straight. His voice rang loud and clear.


The Song.

Last night the quays were lighted;
Cressets of smoking pine
Glared o'er the roaring mariners
That drink the yellow wine.

Their song rolled to the rafters,
It struck the high stars pale,
Such worth was in their discourse,
Such wonder in their tale.

Blue borage filled the clinking cups,
The murky night grew wan,
Till one rose, crowned with laurel-leaves,
That was an outland man.

"Come, let us drink to war!" said he,
"The torch of the sacked town!
The swan's-bath and the wolf-ships,
And Harald of renown!

"Yea, while the milk was on his lips,
Before the day was born,
He took the Almayne Kaiser's head
To be his drinking-horn!

"Yea, while the down was on his chin,
Or yet his beard was grown,
He broke the gates of Micklegarth,
And stole the lion-throne!

"Drink to Harald, king of the world,
Lord of the tongue and the troth!
To the bellowing horns of Ostfriesland,
And the trumpets of the Goth!"

Their shouts rolled to the rafters,
The drink-horns crashed and rang,
And all their talk was a clangor of war,
As swords together sang!

But dimly, through the deep night,
Where stars like flowers shone,
A passionate shape came gliding --
I saw one thing alone.

I only saw my young love
Shining against the dark,
The whiteness of her raiment,
The head that bent to hark.

I only saw my young love,
Like flowers in the sun --
Her hands like waxen petals,
Where yawning poppies run.

I only felt there, chrysmal,
Against my cheek her breath,
Though all the winds were baying,
And the sky bright with Death.

Red sparks whirled up the chimney,
A hungry flaught of flame,
And a lean man from Greece arose;
Thrasyllos was his name.

"I praise all noble wines!" he cried,
"Green robes of tissue fine,
Peacocks and apes and ivory,
And Homer's sea-loud line,

"Statues and rings and carven gems,
And the wise crawling sea;
But most of all the crowns of kings,
The rule they wield thereby!

"Power, fired power, blank and bright!
A fit hilt for the hand!
The one good sword for a freeman,
While yet the cold stars stand!"

Their shouts rolled to the rafters,
The air was thick with wine.
I only knew her deep eyes,
And felt her hand in mine.

Softly as quiet water,
One finger touched my cheek;
Her face like gracious moonlight --
I might not move nor speak.

I only saw that beauty,
I only felt that form
There, in the silken darkness --
God wot my heart was warm!

Their shouts rolled to the rafters,
Another chief began;
His slit lips showed him for a Hun;
He was an evil man.

"Sing to the joys of women!" he yelled,
"The hot delicious tents,
The soft couch, and the white limbs;
The air a steam of scents!"

His eyes gleamed, and he wet his lips,
The rafters shook with cheers,
As he sang of woman, who is man's slave
For all unhonored years.

"Whether the wanton laughs amain,
With one white shoulder bare,
Or in a sacked room you unbind
Some crouching maiden's hair;

"This is the only good for man,
Like spices of the South --
To see the glimmering body laid
As pasture to his mouth!

"To leave no lees within the cup,
To see and take and rend;
To lap a girl's limbs up like wine,
And laugh, knowing the end!"

Only, like low, still breathing,
I heard one voice, one word;
And hot speech poured upon my lips,
As my hands held a sword.

"Fools, thrice fools of lust!" I cried,
"Your eyes are blind to see
Eternal beauty, moving far,
More glorious than horns of war!
But though my eyes were one blind scar,
That sight is shown to me!

"You nuzzle at the ivory side,
You clasp the golden head;
Fools, fools, who chatter and sing,
You have taken the sign of a terrible thing,
You have drunk down God with your beeswing,
And broken the saints for bread!

"For God moves darkly,
In silence and in storm;
But in the body of woman
He shows one burning form.

"For God moves blindly,
In darkness and in dread;
But in the body of woman
He raises up the dead.

"Gracile and straight as birches,
Swift as the questing birds,
They fill true-lovers' drink-horns up,
Who speak not, having no words.

"Love is not delicate toying,
A slim and shimmering mesh;
It is two souls wrenched into one,
Two bodies made one flesh.

"Lust is a sprightly servant,
Gallant where wines are poured;
Love is a bitter master,
Love is an iron lord.

"Satin ease of the body,
Fattened sloth of the hands,
These and their like he will not send,
Only immortal fires to rend --
And the world's end is your journey's end,
And your stream chokes in the sands.

"Pleached calms shall not await you,
Peace you shall never find;
Nought but the living moorland
Scourged naked by the wind.

"Nought but the living moorland,
And your love's hand in yours;
The strength more sure than surety,
The mercy that endures.

"Then, though they give you to be burned,
And slay you like a stoat,
You have found the world's heart in the turn of a cheek,
Heaven in the lift of a throat.

"Although they break you on the wheel,
That stood so straight in the sun,
Behind you the trumpets split the sky,
Where the lost and furious fight goes by --
And God, our God, will have victory
When the red day is done!"

Their mirth rolled to the rafters,
They bellowed lechery;
Light as a drifting feather
My love slipped from my knee.

Within, the lights were yellow
In drowsy rooms and warm;
Without, the stabbing lightning
Shattered across the storm.

Within, the great logs crackled,
The drink-horns emptied soon;
Without, the black cloaks of the clouds
Strangled the waning moon.

My love crossed o'er the threshold --
God! but the night was murk!
I set myself against the cold,
And left them to their work.

Their shouts rolled to the rafters;
A bitterer way was mine,
And I left them in the tavern,
Drinking the yellow wine!

The last faint echoes rang along the plains,
Died, and were gone. The genie spoke: "Thy song
Serves well enough -- but yet thy task remains;
Many and rending pains
Shall torture him who dares delay too long!"

His brown face hardened to a leaden mask.
A bitter brine crusted the fisher's cheek --
"Almighty God, one thing alone I ask,
Show me a task, a task!"
The hard cup of the sky shone, gemmed and bleak.

"O love, whom I have sought by devious ways;
O hidden beauty, naked as a star;
You whose bright hair has burned across my days,
Making them lamps of praise;
O dawn-wind, breathing of Arabia!

"You have I served. Now fire has parched the vine,
And Death is on the singers and the song.
No longer are there lips to cling to mine,
And the heart wearies of wine,
And I am sick, for my desire is long.

"O love, soft-moving, delicate and tender!
In her gold house the pipe calls querulously,
They cloud with thin green silks her body slender,
They talk to her and tend her;
Come, piteous, gentle love, and set me free!"

He ceased -- and, slowly rising o'er the deep,
A faint song chimed, grew clearer, till at last
A golden horn of light began to creep
Where the dumb ripples sweep,
Making the sea one splendor where it passed.

A golden boat! The bright oars rested soon,
And the prow met the sand. The purple veils
Misting the cabin fell. Fair as the moon
When the morning comes too soon,
And all the air is silver in the dales,

A gold-robed princess stepped upon the beach.
The fisher knelt and kissed her garment's hem,
And then her lips, and strove at last for speech.
The waters lapped the reach.
"Here thy strength breaks, thy might is nought to stem!"

He cried at last. Speech shook him like a flame:
"Yea, though thou plucked the stars from out the sky,
Each lovely one would be a withered shame --
Each thou couldst find or name --
To this fire-hearted beauty!" Wearily

The genie heard. A slow smile came like dawn
Over his face. "Thy task is done!" he said.
A whirlwind roared, smoke shattered, he was gone;
And, like a sudden horn,
The moon shone clear, no longer smoked and red.

They passed into the boat. The gold oars beat
Loudly, then fainter, fainter, till at last
Only the quiet waters barely moved
Along the whispering sand -- till all the vast
Expanse of sea began to shake with heat,
And morning brought soft airs, by sailors loved.

And after? . . . Well . . .
The shop-bell clangs! Who comes?
Quinine -- I pour the little bitter grains
Out upon blue, glazed squares of paper. So.
And all the dusk I shall sit here alone,
With many powers in my hands -- ah, see
How the blurred labels run on the old jars!
Opium -- and a cruel and sleepy scent,
The harsh taste of white poppies; India --
The writhing woods a-crawl with monstrous life,
Save where the deodars are set like spears,
And a calm pool is mirrored ebony;
Opium -- brown and warm and slender-breasted
She rises, shaking off the cool black water,
And twisting up her hair, that ripples down,
A torrent of black water, to her feet;
How the drops sparkle in the moonlight! Once
I made a rhyme about it, singing softly:

Over Damascus every star
Keeps his unchanging course and cold,
The dark weighs like an iron bar,
The intense and pallid night is old,
Dim the moon's scimitar.

Still the lamps blaze within those halls,
Where poppies heap the marble vats
For girls to tread; the thick air palls;
And shadows hang like evil bats
About the scented walls.

The girls are many, and they sing;
Their white feet fall like flakes of snow,
Making a ceaseless murmuring --
Whispers of love, dead long ago,
And dear, forgotten Spring.

One alone sings not. Tiredly
She sees the white blooms crushed, and smells
The heavy scent. They chatter: "See!
White Zira thinks of nothing else
But the morn's jollity --

"Then Haroun takes her!" But she dreams,
Unhearing, of a certain field
Of poppies, cut by many streams,
Like lines across a round Turk shield,
Where now the hot sun gleams.

The field whereon they walked that day,
And splendor filled her body up,
And his; and then the trampled clay,
And slow smoke climbing the sky's cup
From where the village lay.

And after -- much ache of the wrists,
Where the cords irked her -- till she came,
The price of many amethysts,
Hither. And now the ultimate shame
Blew trumpet in the lists.

And so she trod the poppies there,
Remembering other poppies, too,
And did not seem to see or care.
Without, the first gray drops of dew
Sweetened the trembling air.

She trod the poppies. Hours passed
Until she slept at length -- and Time
Dragged his slow sickle. When at last
She woke, the moon shone, bright as rime,
And night's tide rolled on fast.

She moaned once, knowing everything;
Then, bitterer than death, she found
The soft handmaidens, in a ring,
Come to anoint her, all around,
That she might please the king.

Opium -- and the odor dies away,
Leaving the air yet heavy -- cassia -- myrrh --
Bitter and splendid. See, the poisons come,
Trooping in squat green vials, blazoned red
With grinning skulls: strychnine, a pallid dust
Of tiny grains, like bones ground fine; and next
The muddy green of arsenic, all livid,
Likest the face of one long dead -- they creep
Along the dusty shelf like deadly beetles,
Whose fangs are carved with runnels, that the blood
May run down easily to the blind mouth
That snaps and gapes; and high above them there,
My master's pride, a cobwebbed, yellow pot
Of honey from Mount Hybla. Do the bees
Still moan among the low sweet purple clover,
Endlessly many? Still in deep-hushed woods,
When the incredible silver of the moon
Comes like a living wind through sleep-bowed branches,
Still steal dark shapes from the enchanted glens,
Which yet are purple with high dreams, and still
Fronting that quiet and eternal shield
Which is much more than Peace, does there still stand
One sharp black shadow -- and the short, smooth horns
Are clear against that disk?
O great Diana!
I, I have praised thee, yet I do not know
What moves my mind so strangely, save that once
I lay all night upon a thymy hill,
And watched the slow clouds pass like heaped-up foam
Across blue marble, till at last no speck
Blotted the clear expanse, and the full moon
Rose in much light, and all night long I saw
Her ordered progress, till, in midmost heaven,
There came a terrible silence, and the mice
Crept to their holes, the crickets did not chirp,
All the small night-sounds stopped -- and clear pure light
Rippled like silk over the universe,
Most cold and bleak; and yet my heart beat fast,
Waiting until the stillness broke. I know not
For what I waited -- something very great --
I dared not look up to the sky for fear
A brittle crackling should clash suddenly
Against the quiet, and a black line creep
Across the sky, and widen like a mouth,
Until the broken heavens streamed apart,
Like torn lost banners, and the immortal fires,
Roaring like lions, asked their meat from God.
I lay there, a black blot upon a shield
Of quivering, watery whiteness. The hush held
Until I staggered up and cried aloud,
And then it seemed that something far too great
For knowledge, and illimitable as God,
Rent the dark sky like lightning, and I fell,
And, falling, heard a wild and rushing wind
Of music, and saw lights that blinded me
With white, impenetrable swords, and felt
A pressure of soft hands upon my lips,
Upon my eyelids -- and since then I cough
At times, and have strange thoughts about the stars,
That some day -- some day --
Come, I must be quick!
My master will be back soon. Let me light
Thin blue Arabian pastilles, and sit
Like a dead god incensed by chanting priests,
And watch the pungent smoke wreathe up and up,
Until he comes -- though he may rage because
They cost good money. Then I shall walk home
Over the moor. Already the moon climbs
Above the world's edge. By the time he comes
She will be fully risen. -- There's his step!

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The Lay of the Last Minstrel: Canto IV.

I
Sweet Teviot! on thy silver tide
The glaring bale-fires blaze no more;
No longer steel-clad warrior ride
Along thy wild and willow'd shore
Where'er thou wind'st, by dale or hill
All, all is peaceful, all is still,
As if thy waves, since Time was born
Since first they roll'd upon the Tweed,
Had only heard the shepherd's reed,
Nor started at the bugle-horn.

II
Unlike the tide of human time,
Which, though it change in ceaseless flow
Retains each grief, retains each crime
Its earliest course was doom'd to know;
And, darker as it downward bears,
Is stain'd with past and present tears
Low as that tide has ebb'd with me,
It still reflects to Memory's eye
The hour my brave, my only boy
Fell by the side of great Dundee.
Why, when the volleying musket play'd
Against the bloody Highland blade,
Why was not I beside him laid!
Enough, he died the death of fame;
Enough, he died with conquering Graeme.

III
Now over Border dale and fell
Full wide and far was terror spread;
For pathless marsh, and mountain cell,
The peasant left his lowly shed.
The frighten'd flocks and herds were pent
Beneath the peel's rude battlement;
And maids and matrons dropp'd the tear,
While ready warriors seiz'd the spear.
From Branksome's towers, the watchman's eye
Dun wreaths of distant smoke can spy,
Which, curling in the rising sun,
Show'd southern ravage was begun.

IV
Now loud the heedful gate-ward cried-
'Prepare ye all for blows and blood!
Watt Tinlinn, from the Liddel-side
Comes wading through the flood.
Full oft the Tynedale snatchers knock
At his lone gate, and prove the lock;
It was but last St. Barnabright
They sieg'd him a whole summer night,
But fled at morning; well they knew
In vain he never twang'd the yew.
Right sharp has been the evening shower
That drove him from his Liddel tower;
And, by my faith,' the gate-ward said,
'I think 'twill prove a Warden-Raid.'

V
While thus he spoke, the bold yeoman
Enter'd the echoing barbican.
He led a small and shaggy nag,
That through a bog, from hag to hag,
Could bound like any Billhope stag.
It bore his wife and children twain;
A half-clothed serf was all their train;
His wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-brow'd,
Of silver brooch and bracelet proud,
Laugh'd to her friends among the crowd.
He was of stature passing tall,
But sparely form'd, and lean withal
A batter'd morion on his brow;
A leather jack, as fence enow
On his broad shoulders loosely hung;
A border axe behind was slung;
His spear, six Scottish ells in length,
Seem'd newly dyed with gore
His shafts and bow, of wondrous strength,
His hardy partner bore.

VI
Thus to the Ladye did Tinlinn show
The tidings of the English foe:
'Belted Will Howard is marching here,
And hot Lord Dacre, with many a spear,
And all the German hackbut men,
Who have long lain at Askerten:
They cross'd the Liddel at curfew hour,
And burn'd my little lonely tower:
The fiend receive their souls therefore!
It had not been burnt this year and more.
Barn-yard and dwelling, blazing bright,
Serv'd to guide me on my flight;
But I was chas'd the livelong night.
Black John of Akeshaw and Fergus Graeme
Fast upon my traces came,
Until I turn'd at Priesthaugh Scrogg,
And shot their horses in the bog,
Slew Fergus with my lance outright
I had him long at high despite-
He drove my cows last Fastern's night.'

VII
Now weary scouts from Liddesdale,
Fast hurrying in, confirm'd the tale;
As far as they could judge by ken,
Three hours would bring to Teviot's strand
Three thousand armed Englishmen;
Meanwhile, full many a warlike band,
From Teviot, Aill, and Ettrick shade,
Came in, their Chief's defence to aid.
There was saddling and mounting in haste,
There was pricking o'er moor and lea;
He that was last at the trysting-place
Was but lightly held of his gay ladye.

VIII
From fair St. Mary's silver wave,
From dreary Gamescleugh's dusky height,
His ready lances Thirlestane brave
Array'd beneath a banner bright.
The treasured fleur-de-luce he claims
To wreathe his shield, since royal James,
Encamp'd by Fala's mossy wave,
The proud distinction grateful gave,
For faith 'mid feudal jars;
What time, save Thirlestane alone,
Of Scotland's stubborn barons none
Would march to southern wars;
And hence, in fair remembrance worn,
Yon sheaf of spears his crest has borne
Hence his high motto shines reveal'd -
' Ready, aye ready' for the field.

IX
An aged Knight, to danger steel'd,
With manyaa moss-trooper came on;
And azure in a golden field,
The stars and crescent graced his shield,
Without the bend of Murdieston.
Wide lay his lands round Oakwood tower
And wide round haunted Castle-Ower;
High over Borthwick's mountain flood
His wood-embosom'd mansion stood;
In the dark glen, so deep below,
The herds of plunder'd England low -
His bold retainers' daily food,
And bought with danger, blows, and blood.
Marauding chief! his sole delight
The moonlight raid, the morning fight;
Not even the Flower of Yarrow's charms,
In youth, might tame his rage for arms
And still, in age, he spurn'd at rest,
And still his brows the helmet press'd,
Albeit the blanched locks below
Were white as Dinlay's spotless snow;
Five stately warriors drew the sword
Before their father's band;
A braver knight than Harden's lord
Ne'er belted on a brand.

X
Scotts of Eskdale, a stalwart band,
Came trooping down the Todshaw-hill;
By the sword they won their land,
And by the sword they hold it still.
Hearken, Ladye, to the tale,
How thy sires won fair Eskdale.
Earl Morton was lord of that valley fair;
The Beattisons were his vassals there.
The Earl was gentle, and mild of mood;
The vassals vere warlike, and fierce, and rude;
High of heart, and haughty of word,
Little they reck'd of a tame liege lord.
The Earl into fair Eskdale came,
Homage and seignory to claim:
Of Gilbert the Galliard a heriot he sought,
Saying, 'Give thy best steed, as a vassal ought.'
'Dear to me is my bonny white steed,
Oft has he help d me at pinch of need;
Lord and Earl though thou be, I trow
I can rein Bucksfoot better than thou.'
Word on word gave fuel to fire,
Till so highly blazed the Beattison's ire,
But that the Earl the flight had ta'en,
The vassals there their lord had slain.
Sore he plied both whip and spur,
As he urged his steed through Eskdale muir;
And it fell down a weary weight,
Just on the threshold of Branksome gate.

XI
The Earl was a wrathful man to see,
Full fain avenged would he be.
In haste to Branksome's Lord he spoke,
Saying-'Take these traitors to thy yoke;
For a cast of hawks, and a purse of gold,
All Eskdale I'll sell thee, to have and hold:
Beshrew thy heart, of the Beattisons' clan
If thou leavest on Eske a landed man;
But spare Woodkerrick's lands alone,
For he lent me his horse to escape upon.'
A glad man then was Branksome bold,
Down he flung him the purse of gold;
To Eskdale soon he spurr'd amain,
And with him five hundred riders has ta'en
He left his merrymen in the mist of the hill
And bade them hold them close and still;
And alone he wended to the plain,
To meet with the Galliard and all his train.
To Gilbert the Galliard thus he said
'Know thou me for thy liege-lord and head;
Deal not with me as with Morton tame,
For Scotts play best at the roughest game.
Give me in peace my heriot due,
Thy bonny white steed, or thou shalt rue.
If my horn I three times wind,
Eskdale shall long have the sound in mind.'

XII
Loudly the Beattison laugh'd in scorn;
'Little care we for thy winded horn.
Ne'er shall it be the Galliard's lot
To yield his steed to a haughty Scott.
Wend thou to Branksome back on foot
With rusty spur and miry boot.'
He blew his bugle so loud and hoarse
That the dun deer started at fair Craikcross;
He blew again so loud and clear,
Through the grey mountain-mist there did lances appear;
And the third blast rang with such a din
That the echoes answer'd from Pentoun-linn
And all his riders came lightly in.
Then had you seen a gallant shock
When saddles were emptied and lances broke!
For each scornful word the Galliard had said
A Beattison on the field was laid.
His own good sword the chieftain drew,
And he bore the Galliard through and through;
Where the Beattisons' blood mix'dwith the rill,
The Galliard's-Haugh men call it still,
The Scotts have scatter'd the Beattison clan
In Eskdale they left but one landed man
The valley of Eske, from the mouth to the source
Was lost and won for that bonny white horse.

XIII
Whitslade the Hawk, and Headshaw came
And warriors more than I may name;
From Yarrow-cleugh to Hindhaugh-swair,
From Woodhouselie to Chesterglen,
Troop'd man and horse, and bow and spear;
Their gathering word was Bellenden.
And better hearts o'er Border sod
To siege or rescue never rode.
The Ladye mark'd the aids come in,
And high her heart of pride arose:
She bade her youthful son attend,
That he might know his father's friend,
And learn to face his foes.
'The boy is ripe to look on war;
I saw him draw a cross-bow stiff,
And his true arrow struck afar
The raven s nest upon the cliff;
The red cross on a southern breast
Is broader than the raven s nest:
Thou, Whitslade, shalt teach him his weapon to wield,
And o'er him hold his father's shield.'

XIV
Well may you think the wily page
Car'd not to face the Ladye sage.
He counterfeited childish fear
And shriekd, and shed full many tear,
And moan'd and plain'd in manner wild.
The attendants to the Ladye told
Some fairy, sure, had chang'd the child,
That wont to be so free and bold.
Then wrathful was the noble dame;
She blush'd blood-red for very shame:
'Hence! ere the clan his faintness view;
Hence with the weakling to Buccleuch!
Watt Tinlinn, thou shalt be his guide
To Rangleburn s lonely side.
Sure some fell fiend has cursed our line
That coward should e'er be son of mine!'

XV
A heavy task Watt Tinlinn had,
To guide the counterfeited lad.
Soon as the palfrey felt the wight
Of that ill-omen'd elfish freight,
He bolted, sprung, and rear'd amain,
Nor heeded bit nor curb, nor rein.
It cost Watt Tinlinn mickle toil
To drive him but a Scottish mile;
But as a shallow brook they cross'd,
The elf, amid the running stream,
His figure chang'd, like form in dream,
And fled, and shouted, 'Lost! lost! lost!'
Full fast the urchin ran and laugh'd,
But faster still a cloth-yard shaft
Whistled from startled Tinlinn's yew
And pierc'd his shoulder through and through.
Although the imp might not be slain,
And though the wound soon heal'd again
Yet, as he ran, he yell'd for pain;
And Wat of Tinlinn, much aghast,
Rode back to Branksome fiery fast.

XVI
Soon on the hill's steep verge he stood,
That looks o'er Branksome's towers and wood;
And martial murmurs, from below,
Proclaim'd the approaching southern foe.
Through the dark wood, in mingled tone,
Were Border pipes and bugles blown;
The coursers' neighing he could ken,
A measured tread of marching men;
While broke at times the solemn hum
The Almayn's sullen kettle-drum;
And banners tall of crimson sheen
Above the copse appear;
And, glistening through the hawthorns green,
Shine helm, and shield, and spear.

XVII
Light forayers, first, to view the ground,
Spurr'd their fleet coursers loosely round;
Behind, in close array, and fast,
The Kendal archers, all in green,
Obedient to the bugle blast,
Advancing from the wood were seen.
To back and guard the archer band,
Lord Dacre's bill-men were at hand:
A hardy race on Irthing bred,
With kirtles white, and crosses red,
Array'd beneath the banner tall,
That stream'd o'er Acre's conquer'd wall;
And minstrels, as they march'd in order,
Play'd 'Noble Lord Dacre, he dwells on the Border.'

XVIII
Behind the English bill and bow,
The mercenaries, firm and slow,
Moved on to fight, in dark array,
By Conrad led of Wolfenstein,
Who brought the band from distant Rhine,
And sold their blood for foreign pay.
The camp their home, their law the sword,
They knew no country, own'd no lord :
They were not arm'd like England's sons,
But bore the levin-darting guns;
Buff coats, all frounc'd and 'broider'd o'er,
And morsing-horns and scarfs they wore;
Each better knee was bared, to aid
The warriors in the escalade;
All as they march'd, in rugged tongue,
Songs of Teutonic feuds they sung.

XIX
But louder still the clamour grew,
And louder still the minstrels blew,
When fom beneath the greenwood tree,
Rode forth Lord Howard's chivalry;
His men-at-arms, with glaive and spear,
Brought up the battle's glittenng rear.
There many a youthful knight, full keen
To gain his spurs, in arms was seen;
With favor in his crest, or glove,
Memorial of his ladye-love.
So rode they forth in fair array,
Till full their lengthen'd lines display;
Then call'd a halt, and made a stand,
And cried 'St. George for merry England!'

XX
Now every English eye intent
On Branksome's armed towers was bent;
So near they were, that they might know
The straining harsh of each cross-bow;
On battlement and bartizan
Gleam'd axe, and spear, and partisan;
Falcon and culver, on each tower,
Stood prompt their deadly hail to shower;
And flashing armor frequent broke
From eddying whirls of sable smoke,
Where upon tower and turret-head,
The seething pitch and molten lead
Reek'd, like a witch's caldron red.
While yet they gaze, the bridges fall,
The wicket opes, and from the wall
Rides forth the hoary Seneschal.

XXI
Armed he rode, all save the head,
His white beard o'er his breast-plate spread;
Unbroke by age, erect his seat,
He rul'd his eager courser's gait;
Forc'd him, with chasten'd fire to prance,
And, high curvetting, slow advance;
In sign of truce, his better hand
Display'd a peeled willow wand;
His squire, attending in the rear,
Bore high a gauntlet on a spear.
When they espied him riding out,
Lord Howard and Lord Dacre stout
Sped to the front of their array,
To hear what this old knight should say.

XXII
'Ye English warden lords, of you
Demands the Ladye of Buccleuch
Why, 'gainst the truce of Border tide,
In hostile guise ye dare to ride,
With Kendal bow, and Gilsland brand,
And all yon mercenary band,
Upon the bounds of fair Scotland?
My Ladye redes you swith return;
And, if but one poor straw you burn
Or do our towers so much molest
As scare one swallow from her nest,
St. Mary! but we'll light a brand
Shall warm your hearths in Cumberland.'

XXIII
A wrathful man was Dacre's lord,
But calmer Howard took the word:
'May 't please thy Dame, Sir Seneschal,
To seek the castle's outward wall,
Our pursuivant-at-arms shall show
Both why we came, and when we go.'
The message sped, the noble Dame
To the wall's outward circle came;
Each chief around lean'd on his spear
To see the pursuivant appear.
All in Lord Howard's livery dress'd,
The lion argent deck-d his breast;
He led a boy of blooming hue-
O sight to meet a mother's view!
It was the heir of great Buccleuch
Obeisance meet the herald made,
And thus his master's will he said:

XXIV
'It irks, high Dame, my noble Lords,
'Gainst ladye fair to draw their swords;
But yet they may not tamely see,
All through the Western Wardenry,
Your law-contemning kinsmen ride,
And burn and spoil the Border-side;
And ill beseems your rank and birth
To make your towers a flemens-firth
We claim from thee William of Deloraine
That he may suffer march-treason pain.
It was but last St. Cuthbert's even
He bunny'd to Stapleton on Leven,
Harried the lands of Richard Musgrave,
And slew his brother by dint of glaive.
Then, since a lone and widow'd Dame
These restless riders may not tame,
Either receive within thy towers
Two hundred of my master's powers,
Or straight they sound their warrison,
And storm and spoil thy garrison:
And this fair boy, to London led,
Shall good King Edward's page be bred.'

XXV
He ceased-and loud the boy did cry,
And stretch'd his little arms on high;
Implor'd for aid each well-known face,
And strove to seek the Dame's embrace.
A moment chang'd that Ladye's cheer,
Gush'd to her eye the unbidden tear;
She gaz'd upon the leaders round,
And dark and sad each warrior frown'd;
Then, deep within her sobbing breast
She lock'd the struggling sigh to rest;
Unalter'd and collected stood,
And thus replied in dauntless mood:

XXVI
'Say to your Lords of high emprize,
Who war on women and on boys,
That either William of Deloraine
Will cleanse him by oath of march-treason stain
Or else he will the combat take
'Gainst Musgrave, for his honor's sake.
No knight in Cumberland so good,
But William may count with him kin and blood.
Knighthood he took of Douglas' sword,
When English blood swell'd Ancram's ford;
And but Lord Dacre's steed was wight,
And bare him ably in the flight,
Himself had seen him dubb'd a knight.
For the young heir of Branksome's line,
God be his aid, and God be mine;
Through me no friend shall meet his doom;
Here, while I live, no foe finds room.
Then, if thy Lords their purpose urge
Take our defiance loud and high;
Our slogan is their lyke-wake dirge,
Our moat the grave where they shall lie.'

XXVII
Proud she look'd round, applause to claim-
Then lighten'd Thirlestane's eye of flame
His bugle Wat of Harden blew;
Pensils and pennons wide were flung,
To heaven the Border slogan rung,
'St. Mary for the young Buccleuch!'
The English war-cry answer'd wide,
And forward bent each southern spear;
Each Kendal archer made a stride,
And drew the bowstring to his ear;
Each minstrel's war-note loud was blown;
But, ere a grey-goose shaft had flown
A horseman gallop'd from the rear.

XXVIII
'Ah! noble Lords!' he breathless said,
'What treason has your march betray'd ?
What make you here, from aid so far,
Before you walls, around you war?
Your foemen triumph in the thought
That in the toils the lion's caught.
Already on dark Ruberslaw
The Douglas holds his weapon-schaw;
The lances, waving in his train,
Clothe the dun heath like autumn grain;
And on the Liddel's northern strand,
To bar retreat to Cumberland,
Lord Maxwell ranks his merry-men good,
Beneath the eagle and the rood;
And Jedwood, Eske, and Teviotdale,
Have to proud Angus come;
And all the Merse and Lauderdale
Have risen with haughty Home.
An exile from Northumberland,
In Liddesdale I've wander'd long;
But still my heart was with merry England,
And cannot brook my country's wrong;
And hard I've spurr'd all night, to show
The mustering of the coming foe.'

XXIX
'And let them come!' fierce Dacre cried;
'For soon yon crest, my father's pride,
That swept the shores of Judah's sea,
And wav'd in gales of Galilee,
From Branksome's highest towers display'd,
Shall mock the rescue's lingering aid!-
Level each harquebuss on row;
Draw, merry archers, draw the bow;
Up, bill-men, to the walls, and cry,
Dacre for England, win or die!'

XXX
'Yet hear,' quoth Howard, 'calmly hear
Nor deem my words the words of fear:
For who, in field or foray slack,
Saw the blanche lion e'er fall back?
But thus to risk our Border flower
In strife against a kingdom's power,
Ten thousand Scots 'gainst thousands three,
Certes, were desperate policy.
Nay, take the terms the Ladye made,
Ere conscious of the advancing aid:
Let Musgrave meet fierce Deloraine
In single fight, and, if he gain,
He gains for us; but if he's cross'd,
'Tis but a single warrior lost:
The rest retreating as they came,
Avoid defeat, and death, and shame.'

XXXI
Ill could the haughty Dacre brook
His brother Warden's sage rebuke;
And yet his forward step he stay'd,
And slow and sullenly obey'd.
But ne'er again the Border side
Did these two lords in friendship ride;
And this slight discontent, men say,
Cost blood upon another day.

XXXII
The pursuivant-at-arms again
Before the castle took his stand;
His trumpet call'd, with parleying strain
The leaders of the Scottish band;
And he defied in Musgrave's right,
Stout Deloraine to single fight;
A gauntlet at their feet he laid,
And thus the terms of fight he said:
'If in the lists good Musgrave's sword
Vanquish the Knight of Deloraine,
Your youthful chieftain, Branksome's Lord
Shall hostage for his clan remain:
If Deloraine foil good Musgrave,
The boy his liberty shall have.
Howe'er it falls the English band,
Unharming Scots, by Scots unharm'd,
In peaceful march, like men unarm'd,
Shall straight retreat to Cumberland.'

XXXIII
Unconscious of the near relief
The proffer pleased each Scottish chief,
Though much the Ladye sage gainsay'd;
For though their hearts were brave and true,
From Jedwood's recent sack they knew
How tardy was the Regent's aid:
And you may guess the noble Dame
Durst not the secret prescience own,
Sprung from the art she might not name,
By which the coming help was known.
Clos'd was the compact, and agreed
That lists should be enclos'd with speed,
Beneath the castle, on a lawn:
They fix'd the morrow for the strife,
On foot, with Scottish axe and knife,
At the fourth hour from peep of dawn;
When Deloraine, from sickness freed,
Or else a champion in his stead,
Should for himself and chieftain stand
Against stout Musgrave, hand to hand.

XIV
I know right well, that, in their lay,
Full many minstrels sing and say,
Such combat should be made on horse,
On foaming steed, in full career,
With brand to aid, when as the spear
Should shiver in the course:
But he, the jovial Harper, taught
Me, yet a youth, how it was fought,
In guise which now I say;
He knew each ordinance and clause
Of Black Lord Archibald s battle-laws,
In the old Douglas' day.
He brook'd not, he, that scoffing tongue
Should tax his minstrelsy with wrong,
Or call his song untrue:
For this, when they the goblet plied,
And such rude taunt had chaf'd his pride,
The Bard of Reull he slew.
On Teviot's side, in fight they stood,
And tuneful hands were stain'd with blood;
Where still the thorn's white branches wave,
Memorial o'er his rival's grave.

XXXV
Why should I tell the rigid doom
That dragg'd my master to his tomb;
How Ousenam's maidens tore their hair
Wept till their eyes were dead and dim
And wrung their hands for love of him
Who died at Jedwood Air?
He died!-his scholars, one by one,
To the cold silent grave are gone;
And I, alas! survive alone,
To muse o'er rivalries of yore,
And grieve that I shall hear no more
The strains, with envy heard before;
For, with my minstrel brethren fled,
My jealousy of song is dead.
He paused: the listening dames again
Applaud the hoary Minstrel's strain.
With many a word of kindly cheer,
In pity half, and half sincere,
Marvell'd the Duchess how so well
His legendary song could tell
Of ancient deeds, so long forgot;
Of feuds, whose memory was not;
Of forests, now laid waste and bare;
Of towers, which harbor now the hare;
Of manners, long since chang'd and gone;
Of chiefs, who under their grey stone
So long had slept, that fickle Fame
Had blotted from her rolls their name,
And twin'd round some new minion's head
The fading wreath for which they bled;
In sooth,'twas strange, this old man's verse
Could call them from their marble hearse.

The Harper smil'd, well-pleas'd; for ne'er
Was flattery lost on poet's ear:
A simple race! they waste their toil
For the vain tribute of a smile;
E'en when in age their flame expires,
Her dulcet breath can fan its fires:
Their drooping fancy wakes at praise,
And strives to trim the short-liv'd blaze.

Smil'd then, well pleas'd, the aged man
And thus his tale continued ran.

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The Witch's frolic

[Scene, the 'Snuggery' at Tappington.-- Grandpapa in a high-backed cane-bottomed elbow-chair of carved walnut-tree, dozing; his nose at an angle of forty-five degrees,--his thumbs slowly perform the rotatory motion described by lexicographers as 'twiddling.'--The 'Hope of the family' astride on a walking-stick, with burnt-cork mustachios, and a pheasant's tail pinned in his cap, solaceth himself with martial music.-- Roused by a strain of surpassing dissonance, Grandpapa Loquitur. ]

Come hither, come hither, my little boy Ned!
Come hither unto my knee--
I cannot away with that horrible din,
That sixpenny drum, and that trumpet of tin.
Oh, better to wander frank and free
Through the Fair of good Saint Bartlemy,
Than list to such awful minstrelsie.
Now lay, little Ned, those nuisances by,
And I'll rede ye a lay of Grammarye.

[Grandpapa riseth, yawneth like the crater of an extinct volcano, proceedeth slowly to the window, and apostrophizeth the Abbey in the distance.]

I love thy tower, Grey Ruin,
I joy thy form to see,
Though reft of all,
Cell, cloister, and hall,
Nothing is left save a tottering wall,
That, awfully grand and darkly dull,
Threaten'd to fall and demolish my skull,
As, ages ago, I wander'd along
Careless thy grass-grown courts among,
In sky-blue jacket and trowsers laced,
The latter uncommonly short in the waist.
Thou art dearer to me, thou Ruin grey,
Than the Squire's verandah over the way;
And fairer, I ween,
The ivy sheen
That thy mouldering turret binds,
Than the Alderman's house about half a mile off,
With the green Venetian blinds.

Full many a tale would my Grandam tell,
In many a bygone day,
Of darksome deeds, which of old befell
In thee, thou Ruin grey!
And I the readiest ear would lend,
And stare like frighten'd pig;
While my Grandfather's hair would have stood up an end,
Had he not worn a wig.

One tale I remember of mickle dread--
Now lithe and listen, my little boy Ned!

Thou mayest have read, my little boy Ned,
Though thy mother thine idlesse blames,
In Doctor Goldsmith's history book,
Of a gentleman called King James,
In quilted doublet, and great trunk breeches,
Who held in abhorrence tobacco and witches.

Well,-- in King James's golden days,--
For the days were golden then,--
They could not be less, for good Queen Bess
Had died aged threescore and ten,
And her days, we know,
Were all of them so;
While the Court poets sung, and the Court gallants swore
That the days were as golden still as before.

Some people, 'tis true, a troublesome few,
Who historical points would unsettle,
Have lately thrown out a sort of a doubt
Of the genuine ring of the metal;
But who can believe to a monarch so wise
People would dare tell a parcel of lies?

-- Well, then, in good King James's days,--
Golden or not does not matter a jot,--
Yon ruin a sort of a roof had got;
For though, repairs lacking, its walls had been cracking
Since Harry the Eighth sent its friars a-packing,
Though joists, and floors,
And windows, and doors
Had all disappear'd, yet pillars by scores
Remain'd, and still propp'd up a ceiling or two,
While the belfry was almost as good as new;
You are not to suppose matters look'd just so
In the Ruin some two hundred years ago.

Just in that farthermost angle, where
You see the remains of a winding-stair,
One turret especially high in air
Uprear'd its tall gaunt form;
As if defying the power of Fate, or
The hand of 'Time the Innovator;'
And though to the pitiless storm
Its weaker brethren all around
Bowing, in ruin had strew'd the ground,
Alone it stood, while its fellows lay strew'd,
Like a four-bottle man in a company 'screw'd,'
Not firm on his legs, but by no means subdued.

One night --' twas in Sixteen hundred and six --
I like when I can, Ned, the date to fix,--
The month was May,
Though I can't well say
At this distance of time the particular day --
But oh! that night, that horrible night!
Folks ever afterwards said with affright
That they never had seen such a terrible sight.

The Sun had gone down fiery red;
And if that evening he laid his head
In Thetis's lap beneath the seas,
He must have scalded the goddess's knees.
He left behind him a lurid track
Of blood-red light upon clouds so black,
That Warren and Hunt, with the whole of their crew,
Could scarcely have given them a darker hue.

There came a shrill and a whistling sound,
Above, beneath, beside, and around,
Yet leaf ne'er moved on tree!
So that some people thought old Beelzebub must
Have been lock'd out of doors, and was blowing the dust
From the pipe of his street-door key.

And then a hollow moaning blast
Came, sounding more dismally still than the last,
And the lightning flash'd, and the thunder growl'd,
And louder and louder the tempest howl'd,
And the rain came down in such sheets as would stagger a
Bard for a simile short of Niagara.

Rob Gilpin 'was a citizen;'
But, though of some 'renown,'
Of no great 'credit' in his own,
Or any other town.

He was a wild and roving lad,
For ever in the alehouse boozing;
Or romping,-- which is quite as bad,--
With female friends of his own choosing.

And Rob this very day had made,
Not dreaming such a storm was brewing,
An assignation with Miss Slade,--
Their trysting-place this same grey Ruin.

But Gertrude Slade became afraid,
And to keep her appointment unwilling,
When she spied the rain on her window-pane
In drops as big as a shilling;
She put off her hat and her mantle again,--
'He'll never expect me in all this rain!'

But little he recks of the fears of the sex,
Or that maiden false to her tryst could be,
He had stood there a good half hour
Ere yet commenced that perilous shower,
Alone by the trysting-tree!

Robin looks east, Robin looks west,
But he sees not her whom he loves the best;
Robin looks up, and Robin looks down,
But no one comes from the neighbouring town.

The storm came at last, loud roar'd the blast,
And the shades of evening fell thick and fast;
The tempest grew; and the straggling yew,
His leafy umbrella, was wet through and through;
Rob was half dead with cold and with fright,
When he spies in the ruins a twinkling light --
A hop, two skips, and a jump, and straight
Rob stands within that postern gate.

And there were gossips sitting there,
By one, by two, by three:
Two were an old ill-favour'd pair;
But the third was young, and passing fair,
With laughing eyes and with coal-black hair;
A daintie quean was she!
Rob would have given his ears to sip
But a single salute from her cherry lip.

As they sat in that old and haunted room,
In each one's hand was a huge birch broom,
On each one's head was a steeple-crown'd hat,
On each one's knee was a coal-black cat;
Each had a kirtle of Lincoln green --
It was, I trow, a fearsome scene.

'Now riddle me, riddle me right, Madge Gray,
What foot unhallow'd wends this way?
Goody Price, Goody Price, now areed me aright,
Who roams the old ruins this drearysome night?'

Then up and spake that sonsie quean,
And she spake both loud and clear:
'Oh, be it for weal, or be it for woe,
Enter friend, or enter foe,
Rob Gilpin is welcome here!--

'Now tread we a measure! a hall! a hall!
Now tread we a measure,' quoth she --
The heart of Robin
Beat thick and throbbing --
'Roving Rob, tread a measure with me!'--
'Ay, lassie!' quoth Rob, as her hand he gripes,
'Though Satan himself were blowing the pipes!'

Now around they go, and around, and around,
With hop-skip-and-jump, and frolicsome bound,
Such sailing and gilding,
Such sinking and sliding,
Such lofty curvetting,
And grand pirouetting;
Ned, you would swear that Monsieur Gilbert
And Miss Taglioni were capering there!

And oh! such awful music!-- ne'er
Fell sounds so uncanny on mortal ear,
There were the tones of a dying man's groans
Mix'd with the rattling of dead men's bones:
Had you heard the shrieks, and the squeals, and the squeaks,
You'd not have forgotten the sound for weeks.

And around, and around, and around they go,
Heel to heel, and toe to toe,
Prance and caper, curvet and wheel,
Toe to toe, and heel to heel.
''Tis merry, 'tis merry, Cummers, I trow,
To dance thus beneath the nightshade bough!'--

'Goody Price, Goody Price, now riddle me right,
Where may we sup this frolicsome night?'--
'Mine Host of the Dragon hath mutton and veal!
The Squire hath partridge, and widgeon, and teal;
But old Sir Thopas hath daintier cheer,
A pasty made of the good red deer,
A huge grouse pie, and a fine Florentine,
A fat roast goose, and a turkey and chine.'--
--'Madge Gray, Madge Gray,
Now tell me, I pray,
Where's the best wassail bowl to our roundelay?'

'-- There is ale in the cellars of Tappington Hall,
But the Squire is a churl, and his drink is small;
Mine host of the Dragon
Hath many a flaggon
Of double ale, lamb's-wool, and eau de vie,
But Sir Thopas, the Vicar,
Hath costlier liquor,--
A butt of the choicest Malvoisie.
He doth not lack
Canary or Sack;
And a good pint stoup of Clary wine
Smacks merrily off with a Turkey and Chine!'

'Now away! and away! without delay,
Hey Cockalorum! my Broomstick gay,
We must be back ere the dawn of the day:
Hey up the chimney! away! away!'--
Old Goody Price
Mounts in a trice,
In showing her legs she is not over nice;
Old Goody Jones,
All skin and bones,
Follows 'like winking.' Away go the crones,
Knees and nose in a line with the toes,
Sitting their brooms like so many Ducrows;
Latest and last
The damsel pass'd,
One glance of her coal-black eye she cast;
She laugh'd with glee loud laughters three,
'Dost fear, Rob Gilpin, to ride with me!'--
Oh, never might man unscath'd espy
One single glance from that coal-black eye.
-- Away she flew!--
Without more ado
Rob seizes and mounts on a broomstick too,
'Hey! up the chimney, lass! Hey after you!'

It's a very fine thing on a fine day in June
To ride through the air in a Nassau Balloon;
But you'll find very soon, if you aim at the Moon
In a carriage like that you're a bit of a 'Spoon,'
For the largest can't fly
Above twenty miles high,
And you're not half way then on your journey, nor nigh;
While no man alive
Could ever contrive,
Mr. Green has declared, to get higher than five.
And the soundest Philosophers hold that, perhaps,
If you reach'd twenty miles your balloon would collapse,
Or pass by such action
The sphere of attraction,
Getting into the track of some comet -- Good-lack!
'Tis a thousand to one that you'd never come back;
And the boldest of mortals a danger like that must fear,
And be cautious of getting beyond our own atmosphere.
No, no; when I try
A trip to the sky,
I shan't go in that thing of yours, Mr. Gye,
Though Messieurs Monk Mason, and Spencer, and Beazly,
All join in saying it travels so easily.
No; there's nothing so good
As a pony of wood --
Not like that which, of late, they stuck up on the gate
At the end of the Park, which caused so much debate,
And gave so much trouble to make it stand straight,--
But a regular Broomstick -- you'll find that the favourite,--
Above all, when, like Robin, you haven't to pay for it.
-- Stay -- really I dread
I am losing the thread
Of my tale; and it's time you should be in your bed,
So lithe now, and listen, my little boy Ned!

The Vicarage walls are lofty and thick,
And the copings are stone, and the sides are brick,
The casements are narrow, and bolted and barr'd,
And the stout oak door is heavy and hard;
Moreover, by way of additional guard,
A great big dog runs loose in the yard,
And a horse-shoe is nail'd on the threshold sill,--
To keep out aught that savours of ill,--
But, alack! the chimney-pot's open still!
-- That great big dog begins to quail,
Between his hind-legs he drops his tail,
Crouch'd on the ground, the terrified hound
Gives vent to a very odd sort of a sound;
It is not a bark, loud, open, and free,
As an honest old watch-dog's bark should be;
It is not a yelp, it is not a growl,
But a something between a whine and a howl;
And, hark!--a sound from the window high
Responds to the watch-dog's pitiful cry:
It is not a moan,
It is not a groan;
It comes from a nose,-- but is not what a nose
Produces in healthy and sound repose.
Yet Sir Thopas the Vicar is fast asleep,
And his respirations are heavy and deep!

He snores, 'tis true, but he snores no more
As he's aye been accustom'd to snore before,
And as men of his kidney are wont to snore;--
(Sir Thopas's weight is sixteen stone four
He draws his breath like a man distress'd
By pain or grief, or like one oppress'd
By some ugly old Incubus perch'd on his breast.
A something seems
To disturb his dreams,
And thrice on his ear, distinct and clear,
Falls a voice as of somebody whispering near
In still small accents, faint and few,
'Hey down the chimney-pot!--Hey after you!'

Throughout the Vicarage, near and far,
There is no lack of bolt or of bar,
Plenty of locks
To closet and box,
Yet the pantry wicket is standing ajar!
And the little low door, through which you must go,
Down some half-dozen steps, to the cellar below,
Is also unfasten'd, though no one may know,
By so much as a guess, how it comes to be so;
For wicket and door,
The evening before,
Were both of them lock'd, and the key safely placed
On the bunch that hangs down from the Housekeeper's waist.

Oh! 'twas a jovial sight to view
In that snug little cellar that frolicsome crew!--
Old Goody Price
Had got something nice,
A turkey-poult larded with bacon and spice;--
Old Goody Jones
Would touch nought that had bones,--
She might just as well mumble a parcel of stones.
Goody Jones, in sooth, had got never a tooth,
And a New-College pudding of marrow and plums
Is the dish of all others that suiteth her gums.

Madge Gray was picking
The breast of a chicken,
Her coal-black eye, with its glance so sly,
Was fixed on Rob Gilpin himself, sitting by
With his heart full of love, and his mouth full of pie;
Grouse pie, with hare
In the middle, is fare
Which, duly concocted with science and care,
Doctor Kitchener says, is beyond all compare;
And a tenderer leveret
Robin had never ate;
So, in after times, oft he was wont to asseverate.
'Now pledge we the wine-cup!--a health! a health!
Sweet are the pleasures obtain'd by stealth!
Fill up! fill up!-- the brim of the cup
Is the part that aye holdeth the toothsomest sup!
Here's to thee, Goody Price! Goody Jones, to thee!
To thee, Roving Rob! and again to me!
Many a sip, never a slip
Come to us four 'twixt the cup and the lip!'

The cups pass quick,
The toasts fly thick,
Rob tries in vain out their meaning to pick,
But hears the words 'Scratch,' and 'Old Bogey,' and 'Nick.'
More familiar grown,
Now he stands up alone,
Volunteering to give them a toast of his own.
'A bumper of wine!
Fill thine! Fill mine!
Here's a health to old Noah who planted the Vine!'
Oh then what sneezing,
What coughing and wheezing,
Ensued in a way that was not over pleasing!
Goody Price, Goody Jones, and the pretty Madge Gray,
All seem'd as their liquor had gone the wrong way.

But the best of the joke was, the moment he spoke
Those words which the party seem'd almost to choke,
As by mentioning Noah some spell had been broke,
Every soul in the house at that instant awoke!
And, hearing the din from barrel and bin,
Drew at once the conclusion that thieves had got in.
Up jump'd the Cook and caught hold of her spit;
Up jump'd the Groom and took bridle and bit;
Up jump'd the Gardener and shoulder'd his spade;
Up jump'd the Scullion,-- the Footman,-- the Maid;
(The two last, by the way, occasion'd some scandal,
By appearing together with only one candle,
Which gave for unpleasant surmises some handle
Up jump'd the Swineherd,-- and up jump'd the big boy,
A nondescript under him, acting as pig boy;
Butler, Housekeeper, Coachman -- from bottom to top
Everybody jump'd up without parley or stop,
With the weapon which first in their way chanced to drop,--
Whip, warming-pan, wig-block, mug, musket and mop.

Last of all doth appear,
With some symptoms of fear,
Sir Thopas in person to bring up the rear,
In a mix'd kind of costume, half Pontificalibus,
Half what scholars denominate Pure Naturalibus;
Nay, the truth to express,
As you'll easily guess,
They have none of them time to attend much to dress;
But He or She,
As the case may be,
He or She seizes what He or She pleases,
Trunk-hosen or kirtles, and shirts or chemises.
And thus one and all, great and small, short and tall,
Muster at once in the Vicarage-hall,
With upstanding locks, starting eyes, shorten'd breath,
Like the folks in the Gallery Scene in Macbeth,
When Macduff is announcing their Sovereign's death.

And hark! what accents clear and strong,
To the listening throng come floating along!
'Tis Robin encoring himself in a song--
'Very good song! very well sung!
Jolly companions every one!'--

On, on to the cellar! away! away!
On, on, to the cellar without more delay!
The whole posse rush onwards in battle array.
Conceive the dismay of the party so gay,
Old Goody Jones, Goody Price, and Madge Gray,
When the door bursting wide, they descried the allied
Troops, prepared for the onslaught, roll in like a tide,
And the spits, and the tongs, and the pokers beside!--
'Boot and saddle's the word! mount, Cummers, and ride!'--
Alarm was ne'er caused more strong and indigenous
By cats among rats, or a hawk in a pigeon-house;
Quick from the view
Away they all flew,
With a yell, and a screech, and a halliballoo,
'Hey up the chimney! Hey after you!'
The Volscians themselves made an exit less speedy
From Corioli, 'flutter'd like doves' by Macready.

They are gone, save one,
Robin alone!
Robin, whose high state of civilization
Precludes all idea of aërostation,
And who now has no notion
Of more locomotion
Than suffices to kick, with much zeal and devotion,
Right and left at the party, who pounced on their victim,
And maul'd him, and kick'd him, and lick'd him, and prick'd him,
As they bore him away scarce aware what was done,
And believing it all but a part of the fun,
Hic -- hiccoughing out the same strain he'd begun,
'Jol -- jolly companions every one!'

Morning grey
Scarce bursts into day
Ere at Tappington Hall there's the deuce to pay;
The tables and chairs are all placed in array
In the old oak-parlour, and in and out
Domestics and neighbours, a motley rout,
Are walking, and whispering, and standing about;
And the Squire is there
In his large arm-chair,
Leaning back with a grave magisterial air;
In the front of his seat a
Huge volume, called Fleta,
And Bracton, both tomes of an old-fashion'd look,
And Coke upon Lyttleton, then a new book;
And he moistens his lips
With occasional sips
From a luscious sack-posset that smiles in a tankard
Close by on a side-table -- not that he drank hard,
But because at that day,
I hardly need say,
The Hong Merchants had not yet invented How Qua,
Nor as yet would you see Souchong or Bohea
At the tables of persons of any degree:
How our ancestors managed to do without tea
I must fairly confess is a mystery to me;
Yet your Lydgates and Chaucers
Had no cups and saucers;
Their breakfast, in fact, and the best they could get,
Was a sort of a déjeûner à la fourchette;
Instead of our slops
They had cutlets and chops,
And sack-possets, and ale in stoups, tankards, and pots;
And they wound up the meal with rumpsteaks and 'schalots.

Now the Squire lifts his hand
With an air of command,
And gives them a sign, which they all understand,
To bring in the culprit; and straightway the carter
And huntsman drag in that unfortunate martyr,
Still kicking, and crying, 'Come,-- what are you arter?'
The charge is prepared, and the evidence clear,
'He was caught in the cellar a-drinking the beer!
And came there, there's very great reason to fear,
With companions,-- to say but the least of them,-- queer;
Such as Witches, and creatures
With horrible features,
And horrible grins,
And hook'd noses and chins,
Who'd been playing the deuce with his Reverence's binns.'

The face of his worship grows graver and graver,
As the parties detail Robin's shameful behaviour;
Mister Buzzard, the clerk, while the tale is reciting,
Sits down to reduce the affair into writing,
With all proper diction,
And due 'legal fiction;'
Viz: 'That he, the said prisoner, as clearly was shown,
Conspiring with folks to deponents unknown,
With divers, that is to say, two thousand, people,
In two thousand hats, each hat peak'd like a steeple,
With force and with arms,
And with sorcery and charms,
Upon two thousand brooms
Enter'd four thousand rooms;
To wit, two thousand pantries, and two thousand cellars,
Put in bodily fear twenty-thousand in-dwellers,
And with sundry,-- that is to say, two thousand,-- forks,
Drew divers,-- that is to say, ten thousand,-- corks,
And, with malice prepense, down their two thousand throttles,
Emptied various,--that is to say, ten thousand,-- bottles;
All in breach of the peace, moved by Satan's malignity,
And in spite of King James, and his Crown, and his Dignity.'

At words so profound
Rob gazes around,
But no glance sympathetic to cheer him is found.
-- No glance, did I say?
Yes, one!-- Madge Gray!--
She is there in the midst of the crowd standing by,
And she gives him one glance from her coal-black eye,
One touch to his hand, and one word to his ear,--
(That's a line which I've stolen from Sir Walter, I fear,)--
While nobody near
Seems to see her or hear;
As his worship takes up, and surveys with a strict eye
The broom now produced as the corpus delicti,
Ere his fingers can clasp,
It is snatch'd from his grasp,
The end poked in his chest with a force makes him gasp,
And, despite the decorum so due to the Quorum,
His worship's upset, and so too is his jorum;
And Madge is astride on the broomstick before'em.
'Hocus Pocus! Quick, Presto! and Hey Cockalorum!
Mount, mount for your life, Rob!-- Sir Justice, adieu!--
-- Hey up the chimney-pot! hey after you!'

Through the mystified group,
With a halloo and whoop,
Madge on the pommel, and Robin en croupe,
The pair through the air ride as if in a chair,
While the party below stand mouth open and stare!
'Clean bumbaized' and amazed, and fix'd, all the room stick,
'Oh! what's gone with Robin,-- and Madge,-- and the broomstick?'
Ay, 'what's gone' indeed, Ned?-- of what befell
Madge Gray, and the broomstick I never heard tell;
But Robin was found, that morn, on the ground,
In yon old grey Ruin again, safe and sound,
Except that at first he complain'd much of thirst,
And a shocking bad headach, of all ills the worst,
And close by his knee
A flask you might see,
But an empty one, smelling of eau de vie.

Rob from this hour is an alter'd man;
He runs home to his lodgings as fast as he can,
Sticks to his trade,
Marries Miss Slade,
Becomes a Te-totaller -- that is the same
As Te-totallers now, one in all but the name;
Grows fond of Small-beer, which is always a steady sign,
Never drinks spirits except as a medicine;
Learns to despise
Coal-black eyes,
Minds pretty girls no more than so many Guys;
Has a family, lives to be sixty, and dies!

Now my little boy Ned,
Brush off to your bed,
Tie your night-cap on safe, or a napkin instead,
Or these terrible nights you'll catch cold in your head;
And remember my tale, and the moral it teaches,
Which you'll find much the same as what Solomon preaches.
Don't flirt with young ladies! don't practise soft speeches;
Avoid waltzes, quadrilles, pumps, silk hose, and kneebreeches;--
Frequent not grey ruins,--shun riot and revelry,
Hocus Pocus, and Conjuring, and all sorts of devilry;--
Don't meddle with broomsticks,--they're Beelzebub's switches;
Of cellars keep clear,--they're the devil's own ditches;
And beware of balls, banquettings, brandy, and -- witches!
Above all! don't run after black eyes,-- if you do,--
Depend on't you'll find what I say will come true,--
Old Nick, some fine morning, will 'hey after you!

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