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And vows, where there was never need of vows,
And kisses, where the heart on one wild leap
Hung tranced from all pulsation, as above The heavens between their fairy fleeces pale
Sow'd all their mystic gulfs with fleeting stars;
Or while the balmy glooming, crescent-lit, Spread the light haze along the rivershores,
And in the hollows; or as once we met Unheedful, tho' beneath a whispering rain Night slid down one long stream of sighing wind,
And in her bosom bore the baby, Sleep. But this whole hour your eyes have been intent
On 'that veil'd picture-veil'd, for what it holds
May not be dwelt on by the common day.
And let me have an answer to my wish; Or, by the Lord that made me, you shall pack,
And never more darken my doors again.' But William answer'd madly; bit his lips,
And broke away. The more he look'd at her
The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh;
But Dora bore them meekly. Then before
The month was out he left his father's house,
And hired himself to work within the fields;
And half in love, half spite, he woo'd and wed
A labourer's daughter, Mary Morrison. Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan call'd
His niece and said: "My girl, I love you well;
But if you speak with him that was my
Or change a word with her he calls his wife,
My home is none of yours. My will is law.'
And Dora promised, being meek. She thought,
'It cannot be my uncle's mind will change!
And days went on, and there was born a boy
To William; then distresses came on him; And day by day he pass'd his father's gate, Heart-broken, and his father help'd him
But Dora stored what little she could save,
And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know
Who sent it; till at last a fever seized
Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said:
'I have obey'd my uncle until now,
And I have sinn'd, for it was all thro' me This evil came on William at the first. But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone,
And for your sake, the woman that he chose,
And for this orphan, I am come to you: You know there has not been for these five years
So full a harvest: let me take the boy, And I will set him in my uncle's eye Among the wheat; that when his heart is glad
Of the full harvest, he may see the boy, And bless him for the sake of him that's gone.'
And Dora took the child, and went her way
Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound That was unsown, where many poppies grew.
Far off the farmer came into the field And spied her not; for none of all his
And Allan said, 'I see it is a trick
To slight it. Well-for I will take the boy;
But go you hence, and never see me more.' So saying, he took the boy, that cried aloud
And struggled hard. The wreath of flowers fell
At Dora's feet. She bowed upon her hands,
And the boy's cry came to her from the field,
More and more distant. She bow'd down her head,
Remembering the day when first she came, And all the things that had been. She bow'd down
And wept in secret; and the reapers reap'd,
And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
Then Dora went to Mary's house, and stood Upon the threshold. Mary saw the boy Was not with Dora. She broke out in praise
To God, that help'd her in her widow. hood.
And Dora said, ' My uncle took the boy; But, Mary, let me live and work with you: He says that he will never see me more.' Then answer'd Mary, 'This shall never be, That thou shouldst take my trouble on thyself:
And, now I think, he shall not have the boy,
For he will teach him hardness, and to slight
His mother; therefore thou and I will go, And I will have my boy, and bring him home;
And I will beg of him to take thee back: But if he will not take thee back again, Then thou and I will live within one house,
And work for William's child, until he grows Of age to help us.'
So the women kiss'd
Each other, and set out, and reach'd the farm.
The door was off the latch: they peep'd, and saw
The boy set up betwixt his grandsire's knees,
Who thrust him in the hollows of his arm, And clapt him on the hands and on the cheeks,
Like one that loved him: and the lad stretch'd out
And babbled for the golden seal, that hung
From Allan's watch, and sparkled by the fire.
Then they came in: but when the boy beheld
His mother, he cried out to come to her: And Allan set him down, and Mary said: 'O Father!-if you let me call you
I never came a-begging for myself,
For Dora: take her back; she loves you well.
O Sir, when William died, he died at peace With all men; for I ask'd him, and he said
He could not ever rue his marrying me I had been a patient wife: but, Sir, he said
That he was wrong to cross his father thus:
"God bless him!" he said, "and may he never know
The troubles I have gone thro'!" Then he turn'd
His face and pass'd- unhappy that I am! But now, Sir, let me have my boy, for
Will make him hard, and he will learn to slight
His father's memory; and take Dora back,
And let all this be as it was before.'
So Mary said, and Dora hid her face By Mary. There was silence in the room; And all at once the old man burst in sobs:
'I have been to blame- to blame. I have kill'd my son.