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BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS.
TO ALFRED TENNYSON,
GOLDEN-HAIR'D Ally whose name is one with mine,
THE FIRST QUARREL.
There was a farmer in Dorset of Harry's (IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT.)
kin, that had need Of a good stout lad at his farm; he sent,
an’ the father agreed ; “Wait a little," you say, “ you are sure So Harry was bound to the Dorsetshire it'll all come right,"
farm for years an' for years; But the boy was born i’ trouble, an' looks, I walked with him down to the quay, so wan an' so white:
poor lad, an’ we parted in tears. Wait! an' once I ha' waited — I had n't The boat was beginning to move, we to wait for long.
heard them a-ringing the bell, Now I wait, wait, wait for Harry. - No, “I'll never love any but you, God bless no, you are doing me wrong!
you, my own little Nell.” Harry and I were married: the boy can hold up his head,
IV. The boy was born in wedlock, but after I was a child, an' he was a child, an' he my man was dead;
came to harm; I ha' work'd for him fifteen years, an'I There was a girl, a hussy, that workt with work an' I wait to the end.
him up at the farm, I am all alone in the world, an' you are One had deceived her an' left her alone my only friend.
with her sin an' her shame,
And so she was wicked with Harry; the II.
girl was the most to blame. Doctor, if you can wait, I'll tell you the
tale o' my life. When Harry an' I were children, he call’d And years went over till I that was little me his own little wife;
had grown so tall, I was happy when I was with him, an' The men would say of the maids “Our sorry when he was away,
Nelly's the flower of 'em all." An' when we play'd together, I loved him I did n't take heed o' them, but I taught better than play ;
myself all I could He workt me the daisy chain – he made
To make a good wife for Harry, when me the cowslip ball,
Harry came home for good. He fought the boys that were rude an' I
loved him better than all. Passionate girl tho' I was, an' often at Often I seem'd unhappy, and often as home in disgrace,
happy too, I never could quarrel with Harry - I had For I heard it abroad in the fields “ I'll but to look in his face.
never love any but you ;”
“I'll never love any but you ” the morn
XII. ing sorg of the lark,
I too wish that I had – in the pleasant "I'll never love any but you " the night
times that had past, ingale's hymn in the dark.
Before I quarrell'd with Harry — my quar.
rel — the first an' the last. VII.
XIII. And Harry came home at last, but he For Harry came in, an' I flung him the look'd at me sidelong and shy,
letter that drove me wild, Vext me a bit, till he told me that so
An' he told it me all at once, as simple many years had gone by,
as any child, I had grown so handsome and tall - that
“ What can it matter, my lass, what I did I might ha' forgot him somehow For he thought — there were other lads –
... wi' my single life?
I ha' been as true to you as ever a man to he was fear'd to look at me now.
An’she was n't one o' the worst.” “ Then," VII.
I said, “I'm none o' the best.” Hard was the frost in the field, we were
An' he smiled at me, “ Ain't you, my married o' Christmas day,
love ? Come, come, little wife, let Married among the red berries, an' all as
The man is n't like the woman, no need merry as May Those were the pleasant times, my house
to make such a stir." an' my man were my pride,
But he anger'd me all the more, an' I We seem'd like ships i' the Channel a.
said “ You were keeping with her, sailing with wind an' tide.
When I was a loving you all along an’
the same as before." An' he did n't speak for a while, an' he
anger'd me more and more. But work was scant in the Isle, tho'he Then he patted my hand in his gentle tried the villages round,
way, “Let bygones be!" So Harry went over the Soleno to see if
“ Bygones ! you kept yours hush'd," I work could be found ;
said, “when you married me! An' he wrote “ I ha' six weeks' work, lit
Bygones ma'be come-agains; an' she tle wife, so far as I know;
in her shame an' her sin I'll come for an hour to-morrow, an' kiss
You 'll have her to nurse my child, if I die you before I go."
o my lying in! You 'll make her its second mother! I
hate her -an' I hate you!' X.
Ah, Harry, my man, you had better ha' So I set to righting the house, for was n't beaten me black an' blue he coming that day?
Than ha’spoken as kind as von did, when An' I hit on an old deal-box that was I were so crazy wi' spite, push'd in a corner away,
“ Wait a little, my lass, I am sure it 'll It was full of old odds an' ends, an'a all come right.”
letter along wi' the rest, I had better ha' put my naked hand in a
XIV. hornets' nest.
An' he took three turns in the rain, an' I
watch'd him, an' when he came in I felt that my heart was hard, he was all
wet thro' to the skin, “Sweetheart” – this was the letter - An’I never said “off wi' the wet,” I never this was the letter I read -
said “on wi' the dry," * You promised to find me work near you, So I knew my heart was hard, when he an' I wish I was dead
came to bid me good-by. Did n't you kiss me an' promise ? you “You said that you hated me, Ellen, but have n't done it my lad,
that is n't true, you know; An' I almost died o' your going away, an' I am going to leave you a bit - you 'D kiss I wish that I had."
me before I go?"
III. “Going! you 're going to her - kiss her | Any thing fallen again ? nay - what was - if you will," I said,
there left to fall ? I was near my time wi' the boy, I must I have taken them home, I have number'd ha' been light i' my head
the bones, I have hidden them all. “I had sooner be cursed than kiss'd!”- What am I saying ? and what are you? I did n't know well what I meant,
do you come as a spr? But I turn'd my face from him, an' he Falls? what falls ? who knows? As the turn'd his face an' he went.
tree falls so must it lie.
And then he sent me a letter, “I've got-Who let her in? how long has she been? ten my work to do;
you - what have you heard ? You would n't kiss me, my lass, an' I Why did you sit so quiet ? you never have never loved any but you;
spoken a word. I am sorry for all the quarrel an' sorry0 - to pray with me — yes – a lady for what she wrote,
none of their spies I ha'six weeks' work in Jersey an' go to- | But the night has crept into my heart, night by the boat.”
and begun to darken my eyes.
An' the wind began to rise, an' I thought Ah - you, that have lived so soft, what of him out at sea,
should you know of the night, An' I felt I had been to blame; he was The blast and the burning shame and the always kind to me.
bitter frost and the fright? “Wait a little, my lass, I am sure it 'll I have done it, while you were asleepall come right”
you were only made for the day. An'the boat went down that night - the I have gather'd my baby together - and boat went down that night.
now you may go your way.
Nay – for it's kind of you, Madam, to sit
by an old dying wife. 17
But say nothing hard of my boy, I have
only an hour of life I kiss'd my boy in the prison, before he
went out to die. WAILING, wailing, wailing, the wind over “ They dared me to do it,” he said, and land and sea
he never has told me a lie. And Willy's voice in the wind, “O moth. I whipt him for robbing an orchard once er, come out to me."
when he was but a child Why should he call me to-night, when he “The farmer dared me to do it,” he said ; knows that I cannot go ?
he was always so wild For the downs are as bright as day, and And idle - and could n't be idle - my the full moon stares at the snow.
Willy — he never could rest.
dier, he would have been one of
his best. We should be seen, my dear; they would spy us out of the town.
VII. The loud black nights for us, and the
storm rushing over the down, But he lived with a lot of wild mates, When I cannot see my own hand, but am
and they never would let him be led by the creak of the chain,
good; And grovel and grope for my son till I They swore that he dare not rob the mail,
find myself drenched with the rain. and he swore that he would ;
And he took no life, but he took one | My baby, the bones that had suck'd me, purse, and when all was done
the bones that had laughed and He flung it among his fellows - I'll none had cried of it, said my son.
Theirs ? O no! they are mine — not theirs
- they had moved in my side.
I came into court to the Judge and the
lawyers. I told them my tale, Do you think I was scared by the bones? God's own truth — but they kill'd him, I kiss'd 'em, I buried 'em all —
they kill'd him for robbing the I can't dig deep, I am old - in the night mail.
by the churchyard wall. They hang'd him in chains for a show My Willy'll rise up whole when the
— we had always borne a good trumpet of judgment 'ill sound, name
But I charge you never to say that I laid To be hang'd for a thief - and then put him in holy ground.
away – is n't that enough shame? Dust to dust - low down — let us hide!
XIII. but they set him so high That all the ships of the world could stare They would scratch him up- they would at him, passing by.
hang him again on the cursed tree. God ʼll pardon the hell-black raven and Sin? O yes - we are sinners, I knowhorrible fowls of the air,
let all that be, But not the black heart of the lawyer And read me a Bible verse of the Lord's who kill'd him and hang'd him
good will toward men there.
“Full of compassion and mercy, the
Lord” – let me hear it again ; IX.
“ Full of compassion and mercy – long And the jailer forced me away. I had
suffering." Yes, O yes! bid him my last good-by;
For the lawyer is born but to murder They had fasten'd the door of his cell. the Saviour lives but to bless. “() mother!” I heard him cry.
He'll never put on the black cap except I could n't get back tho' I tried, he had
for the worst of the worst, something further to say,
And the first may be last — I have heard And now I never shall know it. The jail it in church- and the last may be er forced me away.
first. Suffering –() long-suffering — yes, as
the Lord must know,
Year after year in the mist and the wind Then since I could n't but hear that cry L and the shower and the snow.
of my boy that was dead, They seized me and shut me up: they
XIV. fasten'd me down on my bed. “ Mother, ( mother!”- he call'd in the Heard, have you ? what ? they have told dark to me year after year —
you he never repented big sin. They beat me for that, they beat me - How do they know it! are they his mothyou know that I couldn't but hear;
er? are you of his kin? And then at the last they found I had Heard ! have you ever heard, when the grown so stupid and still
storm on the downs began, They let me abroad again - but the crea- The wind that 'll wail like a child, and the tures had worked their will.
sea that 'll moan like a man ?
XI. Flesh of my flesh was gone, but bone of Election, Election and Reprobation - it's my bone was left
all very well. I stole them all from the lawyers — and But I go to-night to my boy, and I shall you, will you call it a theft ?
not find him in Hell.
wi' a brokken string. 1 The vowels ai, pronounced separately, though in the closest conjunction, best render the sound
v. of the long i and y in this dialect. But since such
An' Sally she wesh'd foälks' cloäths to worls as craiin', daëin', whai, aï (1), etc., look awkward except in a page of express phonetics,
keep the wolf fro' the door, I have thought it better to leave the simple i and Eh but the moor she riled me, she druv y, and to trust that my readers will give them
me to drink the moor, he broader pronunciation. 2 The oo short, as in " wood."
8 Hip. • Scold. Lounging.