Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

TO ALFRED TENNYSON

MY GRANDSON.

GOLDEN-HAIR'D Ally whose name is one with mine,

Crazy with laughter and babble and earth's new wine,

Now that the flower of a year and a half is thine, O little blossom, O mine, and mine of mine, Glorious poet who never hast written a line, Laugh, for the name at the head of my verse is thine.

May'st thou never be wrong'd by the name that is mine!

THE FIRST QUARREL. (IN THE ISLE of wight.)

I.

'WAIT a little,' you say, 'you are sure it'll all come right,'

But the boy was born i' trouble, an' looks so wan an' so white:

Wait! an' once I ha' waited — I hadn't to wait for long.

Now I wait, wait, wait for Harry. - No, no, you are doing me wrong! Harry and I were married: the boy can hold up his head,

The boy was born in wedlock, but after my man was dead;

I ha' work'd for him fifteen years, an' I work an' I wait to the end.

I am all alone in the world, an' you are my only friend.

II.

Doctor, if you can wait, I'll tell you the tale o' my life.

When Harry an' I were children, he call'd me his own little wife;

I was happy when I was with him, an' sorry when he was away, An' when we play'd together, I loved him better than play;

- he made

He workt me the daisy chainme the cowslip ball,

He fought the boys that were rude, an' I loved him better than all. Passionate girl tho' I was, an' often at home in disgrace, I never could quarrel with Harry — I had but to look in his face.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

'What can it matter, my lass, what I did wi' my single life?

I ha' been as true to you as ever a man to his wife;

An' she wasn't one o' the worst.' 'Then,' I said, 'I'm none o' the best.' An' he smiled at me, 'Ain't you, my love? Come, come, little wife, let it rest!

The man isn't like the woman, no need to make such a stir.'

But he anger'd me all the more, an' I said 'You were keeping with her, When I was a-loving you all along an' the same as before.'

An' he didn't speak for a while, an' he anger'd me more and more. Then he patted my hand in his gentle way, 'Let bygones be!' 'Bygones! you kept yours hush'd,' I said, 'when you married me! By-gones ma' be come-agains; an' shein her shame an' her sin You'll have her to nurse my child, if I die o' my lying in!

You'll make her its second mother! I hate her an' I hate you!'

Ah, Harry, my man, you had better ha' beaten me black an' blue

Than ha' spoken as kind as you did, when I were so crazy wi' spite, 'Wait a little, my lass, I am sure it 'ill all come right.'

XIV.

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,

An' I never said off wi' the wet,' I never

said on wi' the dry,'

·

So I knew my heart was hard, when he came to bid me goodbye. 'You said that you hated me, Ellen, but that isn't true, you know;

I am going to leave you a bit - you'll kiss me before I go?'

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

492

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

XIII.

They would scratch him up- they would hang him again on the cursed

tree. Sin? O yes - we are sinners, I know— let all that be,

And read me a Bible verse of the Lord's good will toward men

'Full of compassion and mercy, the Lord' let me hear it again;

"

Full of compassion and mercy-longsuffering.' Yes, O yes!

For the lawyer is born but to murderthe Saviour lives but to bless. He'll never put on the black cap except for the worst of the worst,

And the first may be last — I have heard it in church- and the last may be first. Suffering long-suffering - yes, as the Lord must know,

Year after year in the mist and the wind and the shower and the snow.

« PreviousContinue »