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STORIES IN VERSEFOR THESTREET AND LANE:BEING THESECOND SERIES OF "HOMELY BALLADS FORTHE FIRESIDE."BY MRS. SEWELL,Author ofSMOTHER'S LAST WORDS," "OUR FATHER'S CARE," &C.LONDON: JARROLD AND SONS,3, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS.
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PA'.THE CHAFFINCH'S NEST ... ... ... 5"WIDOW HAYE; OR, THE GOSSIPPING NEIGHBOURS 12M IRIAM ... ... ... ... SITHE BOY AND THE ROOKS ... ... .. ... 3THE LADY'S DILEMMA ... ... ... ... 43THE DRUNKARDS ... ... ... ... 51A SAD STORY ... ... ... .. ... 61THE LONDON ATTIC. (ANOTHER STORY) ... ... 74THE GREEN HILLSIDE ... ... .. ... 80THE TRAVELLER AND THE FARMER ... ... ... 84THE LITTLE SCHISMATICS; OR, IRRELIGION ... 89MARRIAGE AS IT MAY BE ... ... ... ... 98TRUTH IS BEST ... .. ... ... 103A GHOST STORY ... .. .. ... ... IoCRAZED ... ... .... .. 118THE TWO NOBLEMEN ... ... ... .. 121
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STORIES IN VERSEor the $trpet and ane.THE CHAFFINCH'S NEST.SDOWN a green lane, seldom travelled by man,A bright little brook in its cool current ran;For many long years it had trickled that way,And never had loitered by night or by day;By starlight and sunlight it glided along,And sung to its neighbours the very same song;And when the deep dark over all of them fell,It still had the same pleasant story to tell;But whence it had come, or the words that it said,Were thoughts that ne'er puzzled a passenger'shead;Though still where the little brook trickled along,The flowers grew bright, and the rushes grewstrong.A noble elm-tree, that was stately and tall,Looked down on its neighbours and shelteredthem all,Its delicate leaves were yet tender and new,The brown spreading branches were visiblethrough,
6 The Chaffinc's Nest.But never a bit of the stem could be seen,'Twas covered so thick with the bright ivy green.The ivy ran straight, and it grappled him fast,It flung its arms round him, and lovingly clasped,That one might have fancied the ivy and treeWere true-hearted friends, that would alwaysagree;And many a cosy and snug little bowerThey formed as a refuge from tempest and shower,Where any small creature, that travelled that way,Found shelter and lodging, with nothing to pay;And thus they grew on, in the green shady lane,Whilst deep in their shadow the rivulet ran.One beautiful morn, in the fine month of May,Two sweet little birds were seen flying that way;They'd business on hand, it was easy to see,As they lighted among the small twigs of the tree;They hopped about here, and they peeped aboutthere,Considering every corner with care;When, twittering gaily, they both seemed to say,"We've settled the matter"-and then flew away.In a very few minutes-it could not be ten-They both had come back to the elm-tree again,'Twere vain to conjecture what burden they bore,As both disappeared in the leaves as before.They just had agreed to be husband and wife,To settle for comfort, and never for strife,To build a small dwelling, and carefully rearA family safe from destruction and fear.
The Chaffinch's Nest. 7They had not a pattern, a rule, nor a line,Nor compass to set them a circle so fine,They neither had gimlet, nor hammer, nor saws,But only their beak and their dexterous claws;But sensible workmen, 'tis said, as a rule,Will hardly find fault with the commonest tool,And these little workpeople never had thoughtThat new-fashioned implements need to bebought;So away they were flying, away and away,To fetch and to carry the whole of the day,And then in a branch of the sheltering tree,They both were as busy as busy could be.At close of the day, when the shadows grew dim,And each little chaffinch had warbled its hymn,No robbers to fear, and no money to keep,They perched themselves easy, and then fellasleep,And all the night long a light westerly breezeWas humming a tune in the rustling trees;But soon as the morning's first roseate rayHad sent them a sign of the new coming day,They washed in the streamlet, and when theywere trim,They sang in the elm-tree a sweet morning hymn,Which people might hear, if they would but arise,When little birds first tune their notes to the skies.This done, they went forth in the fresh dewy morn,To pick off the wool from the scrubby old thorn;They knew where the sheep had been taking itsrest,And thought of a tuft for their own little nest;
8 The Chaffinch's Nest.And where in the meadow the horses had lain,They gathered some hairs that had droppedfrom the mane;The duck by the water sat pluming her breast,Some feathers were left for the chaffinch's nest;And whether they gathered wool, feather, or hair,They knew how to make the best use of it there.The cobweb hung out. with its dew-spangled line,They rolled up the thread as a fine ball of twine,And mosses and lichens, green, yellow, and brown,Well answered the purpose of soft eider down;They carried them all to the sheltering tree,And there were as busy as busy could be.And oh! what a spirit they had in their work,From earliest dawn till the evening dark,It only seemed pastime and pleasure to be,So gaily they worked in the shade of the tree;But when the soft walls were beginning to rise,The hen-bird bethought her to measure the size,She elbowed about her, and puffed out her breast,To settle completely the round of the nest,And when she was certain the circle was true,She said with a twitter, " My dear, it will do,"-The ivy leaves hung as a green folding door,And now the small architects' labour is o'er.Next day came a joy too delightful to tell,One should be a chaffinch, to write of it well,-A smooth little egg was observed in the nest,Laid soft in the warmth of the mother bird'sbreast;The colour was whitish, and authors have said,The spots and the streaks should be purplish red;
The Chaffinch's Nest. 9On this point the chaffinches fully agree,-A lovelier object they never did see.Another egg came, then another was laid,And great was the joy in the green ivy shade,For when they had added another or two,The number was right, as they perfectly knew.And then the hen-bird, without further delay,Sat close on the eggs through the whole of the day.Do you think she grew weary in sitting so long ?Her husband amused her by singing a song,And out of the joy of his heart warbled he,Perched up on the twig of a neighbouring tree.Perhaps he was singing about the small thingsThat soon would be nestling under her wings;Perhaps he was planning, along with his wife,The future concerns of their innocent life;To train up their children to love and obey,And not let them quarrel, nor get their own way;He might be protesting how faithful he'd be,And watch night and day, as she sat in the tree;Whatever it was, they had plenty to say,To make conversation the whole of the day;He whistled his loudest, and plumed up his crest,Whilst she answered low from the snug little nest;And when she was hungry, and wanted fresh air,He sat on the eggs with a fatherly care;They'd one common object,this husband and wife,Their home and their eggswere the joy of their life.And so they sat on them, by night and by day,For more than a week in the sweet month of May.The mother then whispered her partner so dear,She thought that their young ones would shortlyappear,
10 The Chafinch's Nest.Nor could he prevail on her even to goTo sip a cool draught at the streamlet below.She hears a faint tap-and another-and then-Oh! who can imagine the joy of the hen!She hears a low chirp-and with pleasure elate,She tells the glad news to her listening mate,And soon he'll be off to select the right food,Long known as the best for a chaffinch's brood,But first pipes a ditty, rejoicing and clear,That all their good neighbours the tidings mayhear.Ah! what is that noise that is coming along?The chaffinch has suddenly stopped in his song:The mother's heart beats in her poor little breast,And throbs hard against the warm sides of hernest.Loud shouting and laughing come near, andmore near,And beating on bushes, they anxiously hear,And ere they can fancy what next there may be,Some boys have come up to the foot of the tree:They beat on the ivy-the mother-bird flies-"Oh! there's an old chaffinch," a little boy cries;"They've built in that ivy, as sure as a gun.I'll climb up and get it-now isn't that fun ?"And up went the boy with his hands and hisknees,And soon the poor chaffinch's treasure he sees."Ho! ho! I have got it-young birds I declare.Now lend me a hand, lads, for I must take care."
The Chaffinch's Nest. TIThen down he came sliding, till firm he couldstand,The poor little chaffinch's nest in his hand;And away go the boys, with a laugh and a shout,Still beating the hedges and bushes- about.But hardly the robbers had quitted the lane,Ere both the birds flew to the elm-tree again.And oh! what a havoc and ruin they see;The branches were broken away from the tree,And the green folding-doors, that so easilyswung,Were torn from their places, and heavily hung;And their own little nest that was hid in thegreen,They looked all about-it was not to be seen.The mother-bird uttered a piteous cry,And dropped on the ground, as unable to fly;She ruffled her feathers and dropped down herwings;There's no one to pity you, poor little things!Her mate hides beneath the low branch of a tree,But no word of comfort to give her has he.Again and again they return to the place,No sign of their own little home can they trace,-Except a small bit, that was left here and there,Of the moss or the lichen, the wool or the hair;Yet still they fly round it, and anxiously call,But the boys are away to their home at the hall,Telling one to another, with boasting and glee,How they saw the old chaffinch fly out of thetree;And the nest of small birds, with a piteous cry,Deprived of their mother's warmth, shiver and die.
WIDOW HAYE; OR, THE GOSSIPINGNEIGHBOURS.HERE was a small town, without any renown,Or place in our national story,Where members of Parliament never came down,Nor mayoralty gave it a glory;Where wheel of a cotton-mill never had whirled,Nor tourists passed through to the Highlands;Nor railway approached it;-'twas out of the world,As much as the " Friendly Islands."But save the great stir and the struggle of life,'Twas like other towns in the nation;Ill-nature, and envy, and gossip, and strife,Were found there without importation.The people were, mostly, a specimen fairOf those we oft designate brothers;Good neighbours, and very bad neighbours, were there,Who envied the welfare of others.And sorrow had found for herself a retreat,And joy had her season of pleasure,And poverty suffered, with little to eat,And vanity squandered her treasure.
The Gossiping Neighbours. 13In one of the dwellings just out of the town(In the suburb, they'd say of a city),A widow had settled in penury down,- And she is the theme of our ditty.,Long time she had mourned, in disconsolate grief,The friend God had given and taken;No sympathy soothed, or afforded relief-A widow, poor, sad, and forsaken.At length it passed by, as the sweet showers of rainThat fall when the winter is over,When the turtle comes back to the valley again,And the honey-bee hums in the clover:Her eyes, that so long on the pavement were bentIn sorrow and weeping dejection,Looked cheerfully up, with a smile of content,As if under the Royal protection.She murmured of hardship and trouble no more,Or that poverty soon would assail her,But spoke as a person possessing a store,With a banker who never would fail her.And though she still wrought with a diligent hand,Her labour seemed constantly lighter;If oppression were practised, or injury planned,She knew of a Friend who would right her.Her neighbours they wondered, and gossiped, andlaughed,They'd neither a doubt, nor a question,But luck had come to her, by favour or craft;They read it in every action.
14 The Gossiping NeigIbours.Some jeeringly said, she would marry again,And some had begun to suspect her,And one woman hinted, a very rich manWould soon be the widow's protector.But a sharp little neighbour, who happened to come,Gave quite a new view of the matter,Which carried unwilling conviction to some,And spoiled all the mischievous chatter.One night, is she passed, it came'into her mind(The room being light with a candle)To peep through a little round hole in the blind,To learn what she could of the scandal."And what do you think that I saw in tle place?""Ah what?" said the neighbours-" a lover?""No-the widow sat there with the tears on her face,And the Bible lay open before her."On her trouble-worn features, so placid and pale,Was a look of such sweet resignation,That led me at once to discredit the taleAs slander and sheer defamation."But much more than that, if you like, I could tell,And of Peter, as well as his mother;One instance there is I know perfectly well,'Twas kindness he showed to my brother."MRS. PERRY'S STORY."You know that last spring-time John injured his leg'Twas a terrible fracture, and healed very slow;He's too independent to borrow or beg,But a family can't live on nothing, you know.
The Gossiping Neighbours. r3"With his garden, he always had managed right well,For he mostly had luck with his fruit and hiscrops,And plenty of customers, when he could sell;-But what can be done when the labourer stops?"I was sitting beside him, and talking it o'er,And his heart was so full that the tears could notstay,When I heard a light step, and a tap at the door,And there, with his pleasant face, stood Peter Haye."Said he, Mrs. Perry, I've just come from plough,And it entered my mind, as I came down the lane,The garden down here would be going back now,Till your. brother got out to his labour again."'An hour or so, now, after work every night,Or one in the morning sometimes I could spare,And nothing would give me a greater delightThan to rid him of some of his trouble and care.'"'Ah Peter,' said I, 'but you know he can't pay'-'Now hold there!' said he, 'You don't mean tooffend;Don't take me for such an old miser, I pray,I'll come here to help like a neighbour or friend."'So give me the spade, and the dibble, and hoe,I'll ask him myself how the work should be done;The potatoes he'll want to be getting in now,To have them in market the middle of June.'"'Twould have done your hearts good, as I'm sure itdid mine,To see what I call such nobility shown,And I can assure you, in rain or in shine,He has worked in that garden, as if 'twere his own.
16 The Gossiping Neiglbours"No slovenly furrows, nor ridges awry,-A capital workman young Peter will be;I know he's the light of his poor mother's eye,And a finer young fellow I never did see."The crops are all thriving, as if they were pleasedTo reward such a heart with a plentiful store;And even poor John, now his spirit is eased,Is getting on faster a deal than before."The neighbours agreed that 'twas pretty indeed,They hoped all the others would turn out aswell,-"'Tis likely they will, for a sample I've seen:I'll tell you about it," said Margaret Bell.MARGARET BELL'S STORY."Widow Haye's little daughters, Jemima and Jane,Attend the same school with my Betsy, you know;She's the very worst tom-boy that ever was seen,And always is getting in trouble, somehow."The two little Hayes looked as nice as a print,A thousand times better than if they'd been fine;I felt rather jealous, I'm sorry to hint,Her children behaved so much better than mine."They took hold of hands and they tripped off toschool,So daintily stepping, to keep their shoes neat,When off went my Betsy, as wild as a fool,And threw little Jane in the dirt of the street.
The Gossiping Neighbours. 17" I laughed, I must own, though I'm sure'twas not right,I thought how the widow would grumble at noon,For the little round tippet, so pretty and white,Had a mud-coloured pattern all over it soon."I slipped on my bonnet, and went down the street,I wanted to see how the matter would end,And there was my Betsy, her frock with a slitThat would take a good seamstress a half hourto mend." I thought to myself, you shall pay for this sport,Miss Betsy, with loss of your dinner to-day;They none of them saw me-my temper was short,And I waited impatient, my lady to pay."She was later than common, and red as a coal,-No sign of a slit could I anywhere spy;At last I said, Betsy, who darned up the holeThat you tore in your frock, Miss, this morning?'says I."* She looked quite astonished, and said, 'It was Jane;.She's the best tempered girl that I ever did see;.I toppled her down in the gutter again,And yet she has mended this great hole for me."'I never will act in this way any more,I don't think I ever did feel so ashamed;.Look here-'twas a terrible place that I tore;And she darned it because she knew I should beblamed.'"'And was that her reason?-now, Bessie, be plain-Don't you think she had any reward in her view?''Oh! no-for Jemima just whispered to Jane,"Return good for evil, dear-pray, Jenny do.' "B
18 The Gossiping Neighbours."To tell the truth, neighbours, I hardly could speak,I felt so confounded, it really was pain;And Betsy stood there, with the tears on her cheek,Declaring she'd never tease Jenny again."The neighbours agreed that was pretty, indeed;They hoped little Joseph would settle to work;But one of them, shaking her head, was afraidThat Joseph would turn out a terrible Turk.But Margaret Bell took the story again,She could not help saying she liked little Joe;The boy had a spirit just fit for a man,That she saw a sign of some evenings ago.She was coming herself from the farm on the " Rise,"Quite laden with baskets, and weary and warm,When Joseph ran up, with his merry black eyes,And lifted a great basket off from her arm."We walked on, you know, till we came to the pond,And there were some boys with a frog and astring-It was shocking to see how they could be so fondOf teasing the harmless and innocent thing."He put down the basket as quick as the light,He looked like a lion, and fiercely he spoke;The boys only mocked him: he scolded outright,They laughed at his passion, and turned him tojoke."A moment he stood to consider his foe,Then dived in his pocket his marbles to find :'Here, these shall be yours if you let the frog go,And the marbles, I hope, will be more to yourmind.'
The Gossiping Neighbours. 19"The bargain was struck, and the string was untied,I saw the frog plunge in the water below;He took up the basket and trudged by my side,His eyes flashing bright and his cheeks in a glow."Thinks I to myself then, You never will seeThe poor and the feeble oppressed by the proud-You'll stand up, my lad, by what's noble and free,And not be led on by a clamouring crowd."'Then the neighbours agreed that 'twas pretty indeed;They wished their own children were like JosephHaye;And, so being all on this matter agreed,Were just turning homeward, and bidding goodday;But ere they had parted, from Widow Haye's doorCame out an old neighbour, well known in theRow-Contented and thankful, though sightless and poor,And his few scattered hairs were as white as thesnow."You have just come in time, Father Faithful," saidone;"We want your opinion, you must not say nay:We've had a long gossip and a good bit of fun,About the fine luck of your friend Widow Haye."She looks so contented, so thriving, and well,We fancy she's going to marry once more-That something has happened 'tis easy to tell,She's not the same woman we've known herbefore."
20 The Gossiping Neighbours."Good neighbours," he answered, "you're wrongand you're right,She has a good husband, the Lord up on high;Her fatherless children He feeds with delight,And His merciful ear is awake to her cry."He brought her to Jesus to rest in His love,Who bears all her care and her sorrow away;She has a kind Saviour her sins to remove,And she trusts in His promises every day."When sitting beside her, I feel God is near;No gossip, good neighbours, nor slandering words;But the voice of content, and the spirit of prayer,Bears witness that she is a child of the Lord's."His blessing is on her, and never will cease;His love is her shield, and her shelter alway;Like a lamb in His fold she reposes in peace,He guards her by night, and He guides her byday."Dear friends, hear the words of a simple old man,Love God, the good Father, and Jesus your friendThen, love all your neighbours as well as you can,For Love is the thing that will last to the end."
MIRIAM.HE funeral bell swung sad and slowOne autumn afternoon;A drizzling mist began to fall,And sparrows chirping on the wall,Foretold rain coming soon.The mournful sound kept circling round,The air was full of woe,When falling on the silent streetA distant tread of pacing feet,Came solemnly and slow.Two friendly neighbours heard the bell,And stood beside their door,And presently there came in view.A little train of two and two,A coffin went before.That feeblest form of grief was there-A Workhouse funeral;When friends too poor to show regret,Leave strangers' hands to pay the debtOf decent burial.Some aged paupers formed the train,And by the hand they led(Along the damp and narrow street,And guiding their unconscious feet)The children of the dead.
22 Miriam.A smiling boy of three years old,Looked round with happy face,As glad to find himself once moreOutside the gloomy Workhouse door,His latest dwelling-place.The second was a little girlToo young her loss to know;She only thought 'twas very sad,Now they were all in mourning clad,And walked along so slow.The eldest girl was eight years old,A shrinking tender flower,Ne'er brightened by the joyous sun;Dark clouds rolled o'er it one by one,And saddened every hour.The boundless wealth of childhood's mirthWas never hers to know;The sharer in her tender yearsOf all her mother's grief and tears,She only knew of woe.And when that mother's wasted handDropped lifeless on the bed,And when she spoke to her no more,When that dear face was covered o'er,She wished she too were dead.And now in that small companyShe takes the foremost place,And vainly with her 'kerchief smallShe strives to check the tears that fallFast down her sad young face.
Miriam. 23The heavy bell went tolling on,It smote upon her ear,And curdled all the creeping blood,As by her mother's grave she stood,In agony and fear.The burial service has been read,The clerk has said, "Amen,"A child's convulsive sob is heardTo mingle with that solemn word,And then is hushed again.Fast falls the chill autumnal rain,As back with hastening feet,The neighbours watch the workhouse train,And friendless orphans pass againAlong the narrow street."Poor Miriam!" said Mary Howe,And drew a heavy sigh,"How little any of us know;Who would have thought she'd come so low,Who once looked up so high!""You knew her well?" said Mrs. Head;"Pray what has brought her down ?"--"Oh! yes; I knew her from a child,When every face upon her smiled,And no one had a frown."But if you like to hear her tale,Come in, and bring your work;It is a melancholy case;But many such are taking place,Almost without remark."
24 Miriam."As I was saying, Mrs. Head,I've known her all my life,At school, in service, and at last,When she became a wife."Our homes were never far apart,And when we were at schoolWe grew fast friends, and always saidOur love should never cool."Our characters were not alike;I was sedate and plain,And she was like the wild briar rose,That glows in summer rain."I see her, as she used to laugh,And shake her curling hair,And dance along, as though her feetWere treading on the air."She was a wild and winning girl,She always got her way;Though people might protest and scold,They never said her nay."She knew her power, and used it, too,She laughed if she were schooled;If she had been a young princess,My word she would have ruled."And yet her nature was as frank,And free as mountain air;The clouds that gathered on her brow,Could never tarry there.
Miriam. i 25"Oh! what she might have been, with care-But that is gone and past;The training, that her childhood missed,She sorely gained at last." You've heard of old Squire Harkaway,Who lived at Ferney Chase,Both she and I were servants there,'Twas Miriam's second place."I was engaged as laundry-maid,And she was housemaid then;A large establishment was kept,Of maids, as well as men."The family was very gay,The world was all in all,Amusement was the only thingThat pleased at Ferney Hall."My lady liked to see her maids'Well dressed,' as she would say;For Miriam that was quite enough,Her thoughts all ran that way."I've heard it said, that e'en the poorAre sometimes born with grace;It was a natural gift in her,And she'd a lovely face."She knew of course that she was fair,That need be no surprise;Admiring looks oft told her that,Beside, she used her eyes.
26 Miriam."And when she dressed, and looked her best,And shook her glossy curls,I've often thought her prettierThen ladies dressed in pearls."The company all took to her,And made her presents, too,Of clothing they had cast aside,Though just as good as new."It was a pity; gifts like theseMay often prove a curse;For girls once dressed in ladies' clothes,Don't fancy what are worse."I saw this growing love for dress,And how it fed her pride;I cautioned her, and when she laughed,I often could have cried." I loved her, as you love a child,She weighed upon my mind;I never hold with those who sayThat all true love is blind."I had a fear about the end,And sometimes told her so.'My dear,' she'd say, 'you can't expectThat I should dress like you.'"And then she'd pull a prudish face,And straighten down her dress,Or toss her head, and fling away,With childish carelessness.
Miriam. 27"The servant men all courted her,Of that you may be sure;And she would laugh and flirt with them,But kept her heart secure,-"Until, as I remember wvell,The Squire went up to town,And brought with him, on his return,A fine new footman down."My mind distrusted him at once,Despite his polished air;He'd mince and smile with us young girls,With men he'd drink and swear."I never was a favourite,I hated all his ways,And often spoke my mind, to checkHis foolish, fulsome praise."'Twas different with Miriam;She thought the man sincere,And to his wily, flattering tongueSoon gave a ready ear."She thought him quite a gentleman,As coming fresh from town;He brought to our old country placeSome fine new fashions down."We used to call her Miriam,But 'twas 'Miss Miriam' now,And when he spoke to her, he smirked,And made a genteel bow.
28 Miriam."They met about their work sometimes,She was not there to blame,If I had had her work to do,It must have been the same."But she was forward, light, and free,And sought his company,And I should say, she courted him,And gave him liberty."She'd steal away to take a walk,And thus her work neglect,And stand outside the door to talk,With little self-respect."She liked his fine affected ways,His foolish talk and mirth;I never heard him say a thingThat I thought any worth."But this was clear, he won her heart;She wished to be a bride,And reckoned little what might hangTo that sweet name beside."My warnings were of no avail,She turned them into fun;'My dear,' she said, 'I could not wedYour sober sweetheart, John."' I'll twist Fred round my thumb, you'll see,When I am once his wife ;I don't see, Mary, why he mayNot worship me for life.
Miriam. 29"'You'll have your John, and I'll have Fred,And when the knot is tied,I think, my dear, the folks will sayThat I'm the blithest bride.'"'Twas no use talking, I could see,He had her in his power;You'll judge yourself, with such a man,There came a darker hour."And that bright face, that used to lookSo innocent and clear,Shrunk from your gaze, and turned away,With sickening guilt and fear."She sought her ruin; I don't sayThat he was most to blame;She should have prized herself too highTo lose her virtuous name."She was dismissed with great contempt;The man was kept on still;I never thought it right and just,But 'twas the Squire's will."He said the man should wed the girl,If not, he'd lose his place:He would not have his familyMixed up with such disgrace."And so they married,-one poor roomWas all that she could get;She never laid her wages by,And he was deep in debt."
30 Miriam."Poor thing! she was unfortunate,I'm sure," said Mrs. Head."Pray, neighbour, do not use that word,It never should be said:"'Twas not misfortune-it was sin,That carries in its trainThe loss of woman's loveliness,And leaves a lasting stain."No woman is the same again;She cannot claim respect,And often from her husband getsHard words, or cold neglect." I did not see her from that time,Till my own wedding day;And then the pathway to the churchBy her poor dwelling lay."I never shall forget her look;She just came to the door,-So changed, I scarcely could have knownThe face I loved before."She took my hand in both her own,And heavily she sighed;'Mary!' she said, 'the folks may seeWho is the blithest bride.'"She tried to smile-but oh! so wanAnd haggard was her cheek;I only squeezed her hand again;I had no voice to speak.
Miriam. 31"When I got settled here with John,And all my comforts round,Bought with the money we had saved,Just five-and-twenty pound;"I often thought of Miriam,So altered and forlorn;And went to call the very dayHer little girl was born."When first she saw me coming in,She raised her head and smiled;Then laid her poor cheek on my hand,And sobbed just like a child."She raised the sheet, to show her babe--The little Miriam:But oh! 'twas not a mother's joy-There was a look of shame."She did not name her husband then-' I blame myself,' she said;'The misery I suffer nowI've brought it on my head."'I might have been so different,Had I been warned by you;But I have made my burden now,And I must bear it through.'"She never said so much again,She kept herself apart,As if to hide from every oneThe anguish of her heart.
32 Miriam."No neighbour ever heard her speakOf him with any slight;Though some are sure they've heard herWhen he came home at night. [scream,"He was a wild and wicked man,He'd bet and drink and curse;But for her comforts always hadA mean, or empty purse.""How was it that he kept his place ?""Well, that I cannot tell-He waited on the company,And cleaned the plate so well."She lost all pride about herself-Grief broke her spirit down;I've even seen her go aboutWith tatters in her gown."She had no heart for anything-She started wrong in life,And found no blessing in her path,But ever toil and strife."So years passed on; at last I heardThat he had run away:'Twas rumoured he had stolen plate-That may be as it may."I told my John I could not restTill I should know her state;Her youngest was but three months old,And she'd been ill of late.
Miriaft. 33"It was a bitter blowing day,The sleet was driving fast,And John was wishful I should stayUntil the storm was past."But something in me drove me on;And when I feel just so,I think there's something to be done,And I resolved to go."He would not let me walk alone,He said 'twas slippery:You smile, and think that my good manMakes quite a child of me."I almost trembled at the doorOf that deserted home;She had the infant in her arms,And walked about the room."She moved with that determined step,As if she'd do and dareAll that a woman can and will,When driven to despair."The little children, blue with cold,Were shivering by the grate,Where it was plain enough to seeNo fire had been of late."She looked upon the little babeThat laid upon her arm;She looked upon the little girls,-But still her face was calm.c
34 Miriam."It wasn't natural-she seemedInsensible to pain,And much I feared that it might turn,To frenzy on the brain."I tried my best to comfort her,But what was there to say ?-I seemed but speaking to the wind-Until my heart gave way."I wept-the tears ran down my cheeks,She seemed to watch them fall-At last she said, 'These tears of yoursDo me more good than all.'"And then she talked more like herselfOf what she meant to do,And I could see her mind was bentTo strive and struggle through."I said, 'perhaps some small relief,The Parish Board may grant.'She tossed her head in her old way-'No, I had rather want.'"I spoke of him-she quickly said,' I've but myself to blame;I chose my lot, and I must bearMy punishment and shame.'"But to cut short my dismal tale-She worked like any slave,And ne'er gave in, though one might seeHer hastening to the grave.
Miriam. 35"Out in the fields in fog and rain,At early dawn and late;But sparely fed, and thinly clad,She almost dared her fate."And little Miriam was left,So patient and so mild,To nurse the babe and mind the house-She never was a child."I've often slipped in as I passed,To take a piece of cake,And many a time to see her thereHas made my own heart ache."No one can sin, and they aloneThe consequences bear;And parents' crimes are sure to fallOn those they hold most dear."It could not last; about three yearsI think she persevered,And then, poor thing, was forced to yieldTo what she scorned and feared."She waited till the very last,And when starvation came,The child went to the Overseer,Some parish help to claim."They gave an order for the House,'And then of course she went;Her independent soul at last,Was forced to give consent.
36 Miriam."But once I saw her after this,She sank so very fast,And then 'twas evident to meThat she was near her last."She raised herself.upon her bed:It seemed a great reliefTo open out her heart to oneWho understood her grief."Her talk was of her little dearsThat she must leave behind;And many things she charged me withThat weighed upon her mind."E'en to the last she blamed herself,And laid no fault elsewhere;'Do watch my little girls,' she said,'And bid them both beware."'When my poor Miriam's old enough,Then tell her of my fall;And, Mary, do not spare the truth,But let her know it all."'Tell her how bitterly I ruedThe loss of maiden fame;And how the troubles of my lifeSFrom that beginning came."'And tell her, when I thus was sunkIn shame and poverty,I had no comfort in my soul,No blessing from on high.
Miriam. 37"'And now, I go in prime of life,Mary-I know not where-And leave my helpless little onesWithout a mother's care.'"A dreadful coughing fit came on,She uttered no more then,And my old friend, poor Miriam!I never saw again."My dear, good John has promised meTo bring up Miriam,That we may teach her how to shunHer mother's sin and shame."John never liked her-men, you know,See through such girls as these;And sensible, right-minded menThey hardly ever please."But, as he says, 'tis not for usTo take the judgment-seat;But, like our Saviour, strive to turnThe sinner's wandering feet.""Well, you will have your recompense,I'm sure," said Mrs. Head,"And may the Lord in heaven blessThe children of the dead.""Amen," said Mary, and she raisedHer eyes in silent prayer,That these poor orphans might be keptBeneath God's tender care.
THE BOY AND THE ROOKS." H, dear! oh, dear! how hoarse I am,I do declare it is a shame!These rooks are here before 'tis light,SAnd I've to shout from morn till night.I can't think why such birds were made,I only wish they all were dead;'Tis no use giving them a chase,They light upon another place."Poor little Will! The day was hot;At sunrise he had left his cot,And cross and weary now was he,As down he sat beneath a tree.He nodded, then he rubbed his eyes,He yawned again, and tried to rise;But watch no more, his eyes will keep;Beneath the tree he falls asleep.But, in his dreams, the rooks still flyIn numbers, darkening the sky,Alighting on the sheaves of corn,As if in very spite and scorn.Anon, he hears them lightly treadAmongst the boughs above his head,Hopping about with clamorous croak,And joining in an angry talk.
The Boy and the Rooks. 39At length they ceased, and from them spokeAn old, experienced, sober rook,To whom the others bowed with awe;And when he paused, they answered " Caw!""For many years," he said, "I've seenThe ways of these ungrateful men;Through my long life I've watched the elves,And think them far beneath ourselves,But most in this-they are so mean;These men will only think of men:I do not wish to boast-but youAre well aware the fact is true;Because we know the starlings sayThey can't alone secure their prey;They're welcome in our company,To take whatever they can see.If we were like these stingy men,Those birds would hunt the fields in vain;For we have might upon our sideTo scatter them both far and wide:But we agree with them to feed,And give assistance, if they need.How is't with man, I ask you now?Pray what example does he show?Has he not broken mercy's law?"-And here the rooks responded "Caw!""I ask you, where had been this wheat,So plentiful! so ripe and sweet!Had we not followed when the ploughTurned up the earth so deep and slow,With courage true, and eye intent,And all our resolution bent.
40 The Boy and the Rooks.To clear the ground of worms and slugs,And multitudes of insect plagues?And when again the seed was sown,If we had not to aid them flown,Those chafer grubs, and many more,Would here have left a meagre store !But we-who helped, and asked no pay,Though toiling with them all the day-Are treated now as enemies;Forgotten all our services,And hunted out by that poor child,Whose howling nearly makes me wild.Beside this base ingratitude,We have the loss of needful food,Which 'tis our right to share with man,Because it is in heaven's plan."And here-so strangely dreams are mixed,Old Rook, he seemed to quote a text,Which filled the boy with secret awe,As all the others answered " Caw!""You know, my friends, how oft we've satUpon the trees in deep debate,That we might wisely comprehendOur wants and duties, means and end;And, not through ignorance or fear,Yield up the claims of children dear;And we've by one consent agreed,And in the rookery decreed,By every wise expedient,The plans of men to circumvent.And thus before the morning breezeHas wakened up the sleeping trees,
The Boy and the Rooks. 41We're sailing through the silent greyThat clothes the sky till break of day:Before the smoke curls from the thatch,Or labourer lifts the cottage latch,We're on our way to take the storeWe planned to take the night before.But soon a troop of people comeTo drive us from our 'harvest home:'Such is not the Creator's law."Again the rooks responded "Caw!""Nor is that all, nor worst by far,-They take away our character!That every honest creature shouldHold dearer than his daily food.They call us 'Thieves !'-'tis false, I say,We're not so much of thieves as they ;They steal from all the things that live,And very little do they give!This field we helped to cultivate,And worked at early dawn and late;And now, when all is ripe, 'tis fairThat we should take our little share.'Thieves!' do they say ? We break no law."The rooks with clamour answered, " Caw !""You know quite well," the bird resumed,"Our law :-If any have presumedTo steal a stick from neighbour's nest,Instead of seeking, like the rest,And working, willingly and free,Like all the honest family,-You know how then, by one consent,We all inflict the punishment;
42 The Boy and the Rooks.That they may learn such ways to dreadWe pull their house about their head.We ought not, friends, to bear the shameOf thief upon our ancient name;We are not thieves; we know 'tis fairThat those who work should have a share."With that, all rising from the bough,They lighted on the field below.The rooks in loud approval spoke,And with the noise young Willy woke.And many a day he pondered throughThe things he'd heard, so strange and new;And when he drove them from the wheat,He almost thought they called him "Cheat!"But this, it may be safely said,He no more wished they all were dead.Indeed, the text he learned to say,From which the rook had preached that day,When perched upon the old oak stem,-"My Heavenly Father feedeth them."
THE LIDY'S DILEMMf." 1~ iY son is going suddenly to countries far away,l And I must have his shirts cut out, and madewithout delay,And get a set of stockings darned, and lookto all his clothes,That every thing may be complete and nice beforehe goes.Maria, come here instantly, and tell me if you knowOf any needle-women here I could engage to sew;There's not a single day to spare, and therefore youmay tell,That I will pay them handsomely, if they will do itwell.""Why, ma'am, I've heard repeatedly, that not a wo-man hereCan make a shirt, with work that's fit for gentlemento wear;I'm sure I don't know where to ask, with any hopeto findA person who can do the work according to yourmind.""It can't be quite so bad as that; but bring my bon-net down,And I will go myself and make inquiry in thetown."
44 The Lady's Dilemma.The lady stopped before a house, and there upon aline,Were children's garments hanging out, trimmedround with crochet fine."Maria was not right, I see, I thought she could not tell;For people who do crochet-work, of course can sewas well."She stood before the open door, and quickly she espiedSome children's bonnets gaily trimmed with bowsand flowers beside;But lying on the table there, and hanging on thechairs,Were many other articles that wanted great repairs;The husband's shirt was cobbled up, his stockingheels were out,And, with a flounced and dirty gown, were lyingtossed about.The lady turned her quickly round, just saying witha sigh," If husbands drink and women beg, I see the reasonwhy."The next house looked more promising, for therewere daughters four,The eldest might be seventeen, the youngest ten, ormore." Oh! here's a nest of workwomen," the lady thoughtand smiled."And can you make a shirt?" she said unto theyoungest child." No, ma'am," replied the little girl; "but I cancrochet do;And sisters they do broderie, and can knit borderstoo.""But all your elder girls can work, I'm sure," thelady said.The mother looked uneasily, and rather shook herhead.
The Lady's Dilemma. 45"Well, ma'am, they can't do work that's fine-they'velittle time to sew;At school there are so many things to learn beside,you know.""But needle-work should surely take the very fore-most place;To fail in that must ever be a woman's great disgrace.""Yes, ma'am, indeed that's very true, 'tis what I'vealways thought,And I can't see the worth of all my children havebeen taught.I've always kept my girls to school, to do a mother'spart,And sure enough there's many things which theycan say by heart;They've lessons in the grammar rules, and history,and spheres,And such a power of learned words, I'm fit to stopmy ears;But still I'm never quite content about this education,For now the girls are too genteel to fill a humblestation;They get too proud for servants' work, but few willlearn to cook,And at a place of all-work now they're quite toogrand to look.The ladies' object is not this, I'm certain, in theschools,Which makes me think there may be somethingwrong about the rules.By my experience, I should say a poor man's childshould read,Make out a bill, and write and spell, and sew rightwell indeed;Should darn and. stitch, work button-holes, andmake and mend, you see;But as to crochet, that may go to Jericho for me.
46 The Lady's Dilemma.Of course the maps and other things are useful intheir place;But then to fail in needlework, that is a sore dis-grace."The mother cast an anxious eye upon her eldest there,Who wished a lady's-maid to be, or else a milliner.A flush passed quickly o'er her cheek, a cloud wason her brow;"Young girls," she said, "were hard to keep frombad companions now."The lady still pursued the search, and found where'ershe went,The power to make a finished shirt a rare accom-plishment.At last she tried another house that she had heardabout,And here she found a "hand," indeed, a sempstress,out and out;But when she told her pressing need, she learnedwith great dismay,That needlework had been bespoke for many acoming day."I can assure you, madam, I refuse it with regret,But many hands would fail to do the work that Icould get.Now ladies do not work themselves, and poor folksdo not learn,I find it is not difficult my livelihood to earn.I often wonder how it is, that such a thing couldgrow,That onlyfancy needlework should be in fashion now;Of course the gentry please themselves, but for ahumble station,I think that needlework stands first, in woman'seducation;
The Lady's Dilemma. 47To make the most of everything, and in the neatestway,And earn an honest shilling too, against a rainy day."The lady left the sempstress there with many a sagereflection,To try the school submitted to the Governmentinspection;The hum of youthful voices, and the glance of eagereyes,Gave hopeful expectation still, that they were grow-ing wise;Her heart swelled with emotion, her eyes were filledwith tears,To see these young ones gathering in a store forafter years,To fit them for the toils and cares of workingwomen's lives,As skilful household servants, or as thrifty work-men's wives.The school was all in classes then, of children greatand small,The eldest stood before a map that hung againstthe wall,All eyes were fixed intently, as the pointer flew about,And darted here and darted there, to point theplaces out;And one might almost smile to see the lady's greatsurprise,When children small repeated all the principalities,The duchies and the provinces, Danubian andFrench,In words almost as accurate as those we gain fromTrench.
48 The Lady's Dilemma.They told where all the rivers rise that feed theMississippi,And where the famous sage was born, the husbandof Xantippe.They posted then to Paraguay, and touched at theBrazils,Nor stopped, till quite confounded, on the Neilgherryhills.The lady said, " This surely is an almost useless task.""The Inspector's coming shortly, Ma'am-we don'tknow what he'll ask.And in the maps especially we wish them to excel;Lest when he makes report of us, we should notstand so wellAs other schools, and thus incur discouragementand blame,And bring a slur, it may be, on the governess's name."The lady felt the reasoning, and turned her to a class,That round a pupil-teacher had arranged itself toparse.She listened with astonishment, to hear grammariansyoung,Anatomize the very roots of our fine English tongue;They marshalled all the parts of speech, and withno hesitation,Of every kind of verb they showed mood, tense, andconjugation.The lady felt her ignorance, and was afraid to showTo those triumphant, eager eyes, how little ladiesknow;So passed to where another class was then in fulldisplay,And here again she almost felt inclined to run away.Such miracles in rule of three! such mental calcu-lation 1Whilst billions and quintillions ran in easy numer-tion.
The Lady's Dilemma. 49But now at last she called to mind the thing forwhich she came,And straight went to the governess, her businessthere to name.Could she have half a dozen shirts made by thechildren there?About her shirt work, she must say, she was particular.The mistress looked along the forms, and scannedher workers o'er;But one might read upon her face, that she had notthe power."We've very few good workers now-our time is veryfull-So many other things have been put foremost in theschool-And little interest is felt about the sewing too,Compared with many other things the children haveto do.The learned gentlemen who come, with collegeeducation,Of course consider needlework beneath their observation.But as we gain a grant of books, and money for theschools,The whole committee think it best to carry outtheir rules.I wish that ladies comnetent were made inspectors too,To give importance to the things that women oughtto do;We should not then be posed to find young peoplewho could sew;"Tis nothing but encouragement, that children want,you know.And were my own opinion asked, I certainly shouldsay,The time that's spent on needlework, is neverthrown away;D
50 The Lady's Dilemma.But 'tis with that, as other things, in order to excel,There must be time, and practice too, before theydo it well."The lady. looked at all the work, and sadly shookher head.She plainly saw that at the school, her shirts couldnot be made.She went away-what next she did, I need not nowrelate;But I have heard it, as a fact, that from that verydate,She reconciled her mind to what she had opposedbefore;That we must have machines to sew, now handscan sew no more.d-
THE DRUNKARDS.OW drunken Tom went posting on,Went posting to the pot-house door,'Twas Saturday, his work was done;His comrade, Ned, was there before."Come in, come in," to Tom, he said," Now let us have a pot of drink;You've been so plaguey long, old lad,I fancied you'd begun to slink;"I fancied you'd begun to think,To take to water, and to sign;What, Tom! says I, afraid to drink!And turn us off like Peter Pine!"But here you are-now sit you down;There's plenty of'em in the tap ;There's Simon Sour begun to frown,And heavy Jack begun to nap;"There's Billy Pitcher on the bench,I saw his wife, as I came in;She's very fond of him, poor wench;But he don't care for her a pin.""I've had a row," said Tom, "just now;I met my missis by the way;She thought to catch me, any how,Before I paid the tin away.
5 2 The Drunkards."Now, that's a plan won't suit my turn,And so I told her pretty plain;I packed her home to wash and darn,And not hunt after me again.""Tom, you're the lad," his comrade said,"You are a brick, upon my life;You'll never by the nose be led,Nor yet be mastered by your wife."Who do you think I just now met,But that old turncoat, Peter Pine ?I, told him I would make a betHe'd never get old Tom to sign.""I sign!" said Tom, "you'll not catch meAt-any foolery like that,-I sign the pledge ? ha! ha!-he! he!Here's to the 'Jolly Brewer's Vat!'"They drank, they swore, they danced, theysung, [laighed,They quarrelled, fought, shook hands, andAbout the room the dancers flung,And deeper still the drinkers quaffed.Unseen, the Devil watched them there,To stir up every foul desire,To help their drunken lips to swear,To set their evil hearts on fire.Confused and fierce the uproar grew;Tom dared his comrade to a fight;Away their guardian angels flew,And left them as the devil's right
The Drunkards. 53Wild rose the yell of closing fight,The combatants like demons strove;Bill Pitcher clapped with all his might,"Now, Ned, my lad, your mettle prove.""Take that-and die," said Ned, and flungHis reeling mate upon the floor,With loud hurrahs the pothouse rung,Which drunken Tom would hear no more.The man was killed. The jury met,And Ned upon his trial stood:"The man, his death in fighting met,-And Ned, was guilty of his blood."Tom's widow never shed a tear;His comrades said he was a fool,"Who always got too full of beer,And then his temper could not rule.But where is Tom ?-Before a courtWhere God is judge, who knows the whole,Who waiteth not for man's report,But gives a verdict on the soul.Before that high and holy throne,How conscience stung him none can tell;He dared not face the Righteous One-Self-doomed, his spirit sunk to hell,To dwell where devils haunt the placeWith cruel mockery and jeer;"Where never sight of happy faceHis everlasting grief might cheer.
54 The Drunkards.To recollect, he might have beenAn angel in the world of light,Redeemed from sorrow, pain, and sin,And filled with ever new delight.And Billy Pitcher-where is he?He saw Ned strike the fatal blow;He saw his vain attempt to flee;He saw him off to prison go.And he stole out a sobered man,Aghast with fear, and cold with dread;And hardly knowing where he ran,He took the path that homeward led.That drunken yell of dying painKept ringing in his haunted ear;He stopped and listened, ran again,With horror dumb, and guilty fear.The gusty wind, in fitful moans,Went wailing through the rushing trees;His flesh was creeping on his bones,His very life-blood seemed to freeze.Dull, murky-clouds flew wildly fast,The moon just seen, then pitchy night;A shrouded form is gliding past-A shriek appals him with affright.
The Drunkards. 55'Twas but a screech-owl, hooting shrillIts dreary and foreboding cry,-The moonlight glanced upon a mill,Its ghostly form uprising high.He stumbled on with headlong speed,The wild briar switched across his face;The startled birds whirred o'er his head,Affrighted from their roosting-place.At last, beneath the parting gloom,He saw his cottage, dull and dim;No cheerful ray bade welcome home,No loving face looked forth for him.A squalid form unclosed the door,Why did she shrink and tremble so?Oh, hardest lot! oh, poorest poor!Her husband's greeting is a blow.But not to-night-he stumbled in,And not a single word he said,But with a vacant ghastly grin,He flung himself upon the bed.The little ones, afraid to hearTheir mother's cries, their father's blows,Crept down the bed in trembling fear,And hid themselves beneath the clothes.In troubled sleep the night passed on;The wretched wife, too, sank to rest,Till startled by a frightful groan,That shook her husband's heaving breast
56 The Drunkards.He did not wake, but muttered o'erDisjointed words; then, with a cry,Sprung out upon the cottage floor,And stared about with glaring eye.But still he spoke not: at the dawnHe left his house, and slunk away,With haggard look and step forlorn,As though he loathed the light of day.He sat him down upon a bank,The lark was singing in the skies,Straining its little throat to thankThe unknown author of its joys.A linnet's nest was in a bush,He listless marked their busy caresTo feed their young-the constant gushOf love from faithful hearts like theirs.He sat and watched, till o'er his soulA gentle thrill of nature crept,And softer feelings kindly stole,Until he bowed his head and wept.He wept, that hard and selfish man,Such tears as gave his heart relief;Fast down his rugged cheeks they ran,Yet were not wholly tears of grief.Oh, heavenly pity, love divine!Omnipotent, unsearchable- -Above our thoughts Thy counsels shine,We only know Thou doest well.
The Drunkards. 57Poor prodigal, He looks on thee!Before thy God and Saviour bow;Like wool thy scarlet sins may be,Like snow upon the mountain's brow."Repent and live: why will ye die ?"The door is open-tarry not;To Him. who died for sinners fly,And all your sins shall be forgot.Poor Will he pondered o'er his life,His mad career of hardened crime;He thought of his neglected wife,Whose days he darkened in their prime.He thought about his little ones,Who never climbed their father's knee;He thought of Ned, the dead man's groans,And what he yet himself might be.He thought about his youthful days,When he was innocent and good,About his mother's pious ways,And how she prayed for him to God.His memory brought clearly backThe steps by which he'd hurried on,A frightful path of sin, as blackAs ever faced the mid-day sun.Amazed, and more perplexed he stood,The sweat streamed off his rugged brow;Like midnight wanderer in a wood,More hopeless still his prospects grow.
58 The Drunkards.The day wore on, he marked it not,He felt not that his cheeks were wet;He saw himself a drunken sotBound fast within the devil's net.He groaned beneath his heavy load;At last, a bitter cry there came,-"Be merciful to me, O God!For I, a wretched sinner am."The soul has dealings with its GodIn such an hour, we may not write,When all His grace is shed abroad,And darkness melts in floods of light.Thus, even now, that mercy came,And righteous retribution slept,The man could trust a Saviour's name,And like a little child he wept.And through his soul there ran a senseOf hope, and faith, and sin forgiven;A healing glow of penitence,With power to lift his heart to heaven.At length the slanting western rayStreamed glancing through the leafy trees;The birds sang forth on every spray,And softly sighed the evening breeze.And all around, the peaceful earth,Glimmernig in purpled sunshine lay,-He felt the sweet harmonious mirth,The grateful hymn of closing day
The Drunkards. 59Homeward he turned-he thought of Jane,-Meek victim of his vicious course;And bitterly, with stinging pain,Came inward shame and deep remorse.His children saw him drawing nigh,Their playful mirth at once they check;The little one began to cry,And clung around its mother's neck.He met her with a timid gaze,-His heart was full, he could not speak,But with a look of early daysHe pressed a kiss upon her cheek.Oh, faithful woman gentle dove,-Her pent-up heart she could not check,But, with a bursting cry of love,She flung her arms about his neck."Dear William! love me once again;-Oh! heal your Jenny's broken heart;Forget this horrid dream-and then,With love all new, our lives shall start.""I'll try, indeed I will, my love;Forgive me, Jenny, if you can;As God is true, in heaven above,I'll try to be a better man."As winter streams that long have lainIn icy fetters darkly bound,When spring returns, leap forth again,And fill the vale with song and sound;
6o The Drunkerds.So did their spring-time now return,And love dissolved the icy chain,And smothered hopes began to burn,And Jenny was herself again.The children stole in one by one,And sidled round with downcast eyes;The baby clapped its hands for fun,And stared about with laughing eyes.The father took them on his knees,And gave each little cheek a kiss.Poor Jane the sight with rapture sees;Oh! when was Sabbath eve like this?Himself-he now began to fear;He felt he stood on peril's edge,And whispered in his Jenny's ear," I'm going, wife, to sign 'the pledge.'"He signed it, and he kept it, too,And more than that, he fled from sin;The Saviour's love he held in view,And so his strength increased within.With wages good his work was paid;He served his earthly master well;But oh his heavenly Master madeHis heart more rich than words can tell.
A SAD STORY."H, mother! I see Mr. Sharp-He's coming up this way;He's coming for the rent, I know-He said he would not stay,But put an execution inIf 'twas not paid to-day.""Well, Mary, child don't tremble so,For I have paid the rent;When you were fast asleep last nightI to the Pawn-shop went,And left my woollen shawl behind,And they've the money lent."I've said, I never would go there;But then, what must be, must:Your father says he can't get workTo earn the barest crust;And, seeing we've no chance to pay,I dare not go on trust."I could not let them take our bedWhilst Jane is lying there;She has not many days, poor child !-I'm sure it is my prayer,That God would take her to Himself,Away from all our care."
62 A Sad Story."I think I'll go again, mother,To Mrs. Cramp, and seeIf she will give her anything,However small it be,To tempt her just to eat a bit-She can but scold at me."We've lived so long near Mrs. Cramp,She knows you are no cheat,Nor like the common beggar-folksThat go about the streetAnd boldly ask for charityFrom any one they meet." No, Mary, child, 'twill be no use,For people do not think,Whilst every day they have themselvesEnough to eat and drink,That people starve about their homes,Who still from begging shrink."No doubt it is an easy thingTo reckon us a mass,And say, imposture and deceitAre common to the class;And that it is on principleOur misery they pass."I'm sure I hate to beg myself,I'd rather work to death;But what you would, and what you can,Is not like drawing breath:You may be forced to do a thing,And hold it far beneath;
A Sad Story. 63"I felt it far beneath myselfThat woollen shawl to pawn;I hold the plan, and always did-And always shall-in scorn;But what to do, I know no moreThan infant just new born." You can't make work, I wish you could-I hope that by and byOur work will look a little up,And bread not be so high;If not-we have but two things left-The workhouse, or to die."It passes me to understandWhy things should go this way;Why some folks' life is chained to work,And some do nought but play-But 'tis a riddle I supposeWill all be clear some day."They talk of great advantagesThat working folks have now,And wonderful improvements too,They're quite prepared to show;Well-if 'tis in the dwelling-house-I should be glad to know."I'm sure when I remember now,The house where I was born,When through the old oak-trees I've watchedThe earliest flush of dawn,I never thought that life could beSo utterly forlorn.
64 A Sad Story."Our rooms were large, and rather low,We did not care for that;There was the chimney corner, whereMy mother always sat;But here, they are so cramped and smaiYou could not swing a cat."I hate these gloomy papered walls,They eat up all the light;They're not so wholesome, any way,As when they're clean and white;And if they do put papers up,They might be clean and bright."We've had the fever, now three times,Within this dwelling here-They say, infection has been left,And we should get it clear;'Tis in the paper, I've no doubt,If 'tis left anywhere."Tell us to clear it !-What's the use ?-Why just look in the street!The horrid standing puddles,And the filthy smells you meet,-And landlords not at all concernedTo make the drains complete."I think that landilords should be forcedTo make good sound repairs;Just see that leakage in the roofThat we have got upstairs.I know it's just the death of Jane,With that bad cough of hers.
A Sad Story. 65" The room is always damp and cold,It strikes one to the heart,But when I've asked to have it stopped,He says that we can start;That if folks are dissatisfied,They'd better far depart."He knows 'twould cost us many penceTo move our things away ;And so he calculates on thatTo force us on to stay-And let the dripping wet come inOn every rainy day.SThen, in such wretched holes as theseTo preach of modesty!When we are forced to sleep as thickAs pigs within a sty;When they have room, poor folks don't lackA sense of decency."Oh! what a little thing would makeA toil-worn woman glad!-But all the round of day and night,Is only sad, and sad;Shut out of light, and air, and room;And pay and victuals bad."I've been a fool, I know sometimes,For really I could stopAnd cry my heart away beforeAn ironmonger's shop,And wish a little cooking stove,Would from the heavens drop.E
66 A Sad Stoiy."I've heard there are advertisements,About them in the bus,'And every paper tells of someFresh novelty or fuss;Oh! why will nobody contriveA cooking stove for us ?"One might begin to see a chanceOf management once more,Which seems to me a banished thingFrom many people's door;We have not things to manage with,And so-we've lost the power."The everlasting cup of tea,And loaf of baker's bread;Without the least variety,The family is fed ;-You cannot make your husband guess,What he may find instead." I've sometimes thought, and sometimes dreamtAbout a little range,And through me ran a thrill of joy,A happy sort of change;-I saw the smoking home-baked bread,All smelling sweet and strange;" I thought of puddings made of rice,To fill the children well,Just sweetened up with treacle too,To make it taste and smell;And baked potatoes!-nice and hot!-Too good almost to tell.
A Sad Story. 67"I've thought, if there should be a chance,To get a bit of meat,How nicely I cduld bake it then,And have it so complete!And always have the water hot,To wash, and keep us neat."Yes, then I'd manage with a hope,And prize my little pelf;They would not find our bread, I know,Come off the baker's shelf;For I would buy good household flour,And bake it for myself."It almost goes as far again-Of course, if not cut new;A hundred little odds and ends,I've thought to bake and stew,And get a better nourishment,With pleasant changes too."But that's a dream-an oven here,With copper and a fire,So bake and boil, and dry at onceYour very heart's desire !You might as well ask for the moon,Or think that you could buy her!"I can't think what willcome to us !I really cannot tell!I'm sometimes frightened at myself,My feelings will rebel;And then I'm fit to think that earthIs half as bad as hell.
68 A Sad Story."If any one had said to me,About six years ago,That I should talk of Jenny's death,And not a tear would flow,-I should have said-' A mother's heart!You cannot feel, or know.'"But so it is-poor little dear!-The horrid thoughts I have,-That when the first distress is past,And she is in her grave,That we shall then be better off,And some expenses save."I hardly think it is myself,When I go on this way;I feel so lost, and wretched, too,I cannot read or pray ;-There's nothing but a miracleWould help, as you may say." I dreamt last night-the whole night through-About a funeral,And I walked foremost in the train,And nearly touched the pall,And there were many mourners there,The clergyman and all."We stood around an open grave,Beneath a spreading tree;A pleasant sound the branches made,All waving light and free.;The service and the tolling bellSeemed music unto me.
A Sad Story. 69"I knew it was my mother's grave,That we were standing by,And all were dressed in handsome black,And so were you and I,Whilst she, dear soul! was sleeping thereAmongst her family."A little robin sat and sangSo sweetly o'er the dead;And far above, a lonely rook,Went sailing overhead,Calling aloud from time to timeThe friends, who onward sped." It was so still, that you could hearThe insects in the air,And sunshine flickered through the leaves,Just stealing here and there;And all came in so peacefully,To join the solemn prayer."I saw the sexton take his spade,And heard the fresh earth fall;-Then, suddenly, I stood besideA dirty churchyard wall,And there a wretched coffin stood,Without a bit of pall."It was a little coffin, too,Just big enough for Jane;It was a pauper's funeral,I saw that very plain;The people talked and pushed about,As if there were no pain.
70 A Sad Story."The service, that was hurried through,You could not catch the words;And then, they let the coffin downWith two old dirty cords;And filled the grave a little bit,And took away the boards." The yellow fog was thick and raw,You could not see the sky;And no one had a mourning dress,And no one stopped to cry;A woman and a girl stood there,-And that was you and I.""Oh, mother! pray don't go on so,You make me quite afraid !Do you forget the beggar-manWho every day was laidBefore the cruel rich man's gate,For only crumbs of bread ?"But when at last they came to. die,The rich man and the other,The beggar went to Abraham,As if he were his brother:Then he was richest of the two,And that for ever, mother!"We are as badly off, I think,As Lazarus could be;And if we bear our troubles well,And patiently as he,We, too, may rest with Abraham,A.nd all the blessed see."
A Sad Story. 71"Don't talk so, child-I'm not like him:I hope there'll come the day.When I shall read the Bible, too,And go to church and pray;-I wonder if our troubles hereDo take our sins away.""I dreamt a dream last night, mother,I thought that I was dead,And I was laid upon the floor,Because you'd sold the bed,And you were kneeling by my side,And gently held my head."Your face seemed then to fade away,These walls grew thin as air,And light broke in on every side,So beautiful and fair,I never saw the sunshine lookSo dazzling anywhere.-"I heard you cry,' Oh, Mary! stay;'Your voice died on my ear,But suddenly the air was filledWith music far and near,-Sweet, lovely sounds, that sunk away,Then rose up high and clear."I cannot tell you how I went,My spirit seemed to fly,I left the earth behind, and flewRight upward to the sky;And I was singing as I wentI was so full of joy.
72 A Sad Story."I heard the angels' wings around,And brighter grew the light;They seemed to watch and welcome me,And guide my spirit right,Until I reached a lovely place,Where all was glowing white."I can't describe it--'twas too brightFor any living eye;But if poor Jane, and all of us,Might go there when we die,I would not care, nor fret again,About our poverty."I saw ten thousand faces there,All beaming like the sun,Such blessed joy and happinessOn all their faces shone,And when they sang, their voices seemedTo mingle all in one."And there I saw the Saviour stand,My very heart did melt-Ah! mother, I can never tellHow happy then 1 felt,When He looked down and smiled on me,As at His feet I knelt."I woke up then, for Jane began,Her dreadful cough and cry;But though I woke, I saw that face,And shall do till I die:I long to take dear Jenny's place,And to my Saviour fly.
A Sad Story. 73"Oh! how I wish that you could dreamMy dream a little while,And see that shining companyRejoicing in His smile;I think 'twould give you heart to bearOur poverty and toil."Well child, perhaps it might be so,If I had less to bear;But now I'm almost worn to death,And driven to despair;'Twould be hypocrisy in meTo talk of God and prayer.""Oh! mother, don't you recollectThe words which Christ addressedTo weary, heavy-laden souls,With care and sin distressed ?He said if they would come to Him,That He would give them rest."Do let us try to bear our lot,However hard it be,And take our troubles all to Him,Who looked so kind at me;And think how pleasant rest will beThroughout eternity.""Why, Mary, child, you've learned to preach,Just like a minister;Go, tell poor Jane your pretty dream;Perhaps 'twill comfort her;And I will go and try to raiseA little spark of fire."
THE LONDON ATTIC. (ANOTHER STORY.)AST fades the year, and Christmas timeHas travelled round again;The naked trees are shiveringS Upon the barren plain.The birds are mute, the bees are still,Their pleasant mirth is done;There's not a fly, to hum or buzzBeneath December's sun.But men and boys are shouting there,And beat the bushes round,And huntsmen in their scarlet coatsAre riding o'er the ground.And they will ride, and laugh, and shout,As long as they can see;Then hasten home to blazing fires,And jovial company.But we will leave the Christmas sports,And all the Christmas fare,To watch a lady, in a courtOf London town so fair.Take care! take care! the place is dark,That narrow stair is steep-And broken, too, and dangerous-She'll scarce her footing keep.
The London Attic. 75But up she goes-she's at the door,And trembles now with fear;She'd better far go back again-The dwelling looks so queer.One cannot tell what people dwellIn such abodes as these;The worst of thieves, or murderers,Might shelter here with ease.But there she stops-she fears to knock,Yet will not go away;For she has heard the folks will starveIf left another day.She stands, and listens for a while-The door is just ajar-And dimly now she can observeA boy and woman there.The woman's voice is sweet and low,Her face is very pale;But there's a calm upon her brow,That tells a thoughtful tale.What have they in that dismal place ?The room looks very bare;There's something like a wretched bed,And children sleeping there.And what beside ? there is no fire;And this is Christmas eve!And not a sign of any food,That she can yet perceive.
76 The London Attic.The woman's light is burning low;She lays her work aside;And still keeps talking to the boy,Who listens at her side."I do not yet despair, my child,We've been as low before,And God has not forgot His wayUnto the widow's door." We have no food nor work to do,We've neither light nor fire;But still, my heart says God is true,Though man may be a liar." I've proved Him oft, through year and year,That He will not forsake-Will not forsake me utterly,Though sore my heart may ache." He feeds the ravens when they call;He clothes the lilies fine;And He has numbered every hairUpon your head and mine." I say it, James, with sense of sin,And yet with humble trust,That we have tried to do His will,And sought His kingdom first."I do not claim, as our desert,That God should give us bread;But He has promised that He will,And there my faith is stayed.
The London Attic. 77"Your father on the day he died,In deep and earnest prayerGave up his. helpless familyTo God's Almighty care." He knew the world was rough and wild,And all its ways uneven;He knew we should have weary feetBefore we got to heaven." His prayer was heard, and heeded too,And registered on high;I've always felt that he was heard,Through all our poverty." What but the grace of God has keptOur hands and hearts from sin,When day and night we've wanted bread,And nothing coming in ?"Oh, Jemmy, lad it was the LordWho kept you in the streetFrom joining in with wicked boys,Or stealing food to eat." Oh! many a time, and many, child,My heart has trembled through,Lest hunger, and temptation sore,Should be too strong for you." But you are my sweet comfort, James,My good, my honest son !And we will trust our Father still,And say, 'Thy will be done.'" I once had hoped on Christmas-dayThat you might have a treat,
78 The London Attic.But now, I fear, the little onesWill cry for bread to eat"The Lord can send it, if He will;We cannot beg or steal;He knows we've tried in vain for work,SAnd now have not a meal."'Twas on this evening, Jemmy dear!Our Saviour came to earth;A lowly manger was His bed,And poor men hailed His birth."And now He'll not forget the poor,In poverty's dark hour;He died to save us from our sins,And lives to give us power."'Tis hard, .I know, 'tis very hard,To bear these things in mind,When all the world, and every thing,Looks hopeless and unkind."But 'tis in worst extremity,The Saviour draweth nigh;We'll tell Him, once again, my child,Of all our poverty."She knelt beside the flickering light,Upon that naked floor,And lifted up her voice to God,His mercy to implore.And angels bowed their heads to hear-It was a solemn sightTo see those lonely pleaders there,In that dark attic height,-
The London Attic. 79Speaking to Him who guides the stars,Who makes the welkin ring,And "taketh up the islandsAs a very little thing;"Pleading with Him as children pleadWho know their parent's heart-Not with a wordy eloquence,Nor speeches framed with art;But in a language clear and full,And simple and sincere,As if they knew that every wordWould reach their Father's ear.And thankful praise ascended, too,For mercies even then;And Jemmy, with his youthful voice,Responded his "Amen."And when they both had risen upFrom off that hallowed floor,The lady, with a swelling heart,Tapped gently at the door.We need not tell what then befel,But this can truly say,That theirs was not an empty .boardUpon that Christmas day.Because the God of ProvidenceIs watching everywhere,And sending forth His ministersTo answer faithful prayer.
THE GREEN HILLSIDE.HE sheep are browsing on the hill,The shepherd boy all day,Has no one but his faithful dogTo hear what he would say.But yet, he has companions hereWho many tales could tell,If he had wit to question them,And mark their answers well." Just let us ask the little bee,That makes that pleasant hum,How first it found the mountain thymeSo far away from home ?"The bee raised up its knowing head,And poised upon its wing,And as it hummed, methought it said,"When first a little thing,
The Green Hillside. 8"I knew where all the flowers grewAs well as I do now;I knew the way to build a cell,And no one taught me how."I found the pattern in my heart,And printed in my mind,I could not make the least mistakeIf I had been inclined."I never sting unless provoked,Unless compelled to stay,-My work is all of consequence."With that it flew away."Now down upon the ground, my boy,And see if you can findWho made this sheet of gossamer,That's floating in the wind."You see it spread o'er all the hill,And shining in the sun,Some skilful workman surely hasThis wondrous labour done.""I see a little tiny thing,Scarce bigger than a pin,But that can never have the powerA web like this to spin !""We'll ask it,-' Did you make this web,Small thing, who look so weak?"Upon the web its foot it set,And seemed inclined to speak.F
82 The Green Hillside.We laid our heads close to the ground,The tiny voice to hear;And then methought there came a sound,Clear ringing in my ear:-"The webs you think so wonderfulWe make with great content;We are a numerous family,But work with one consent."We all have made a slender web,To fasten in this way,Lest we should lose the little fliesSent to us day by day."We spread them in the twilight hour,When stars begin to wink,And thus we get the mountain dew,The purest kind of drink."We don't keep always on the ground,Because we have the powerTo rise up lightly in the sky,Above your steeple tower."If you were on the pinnacle,And looked around you there,You'd see a fleet of silken sails,All floating in the air."Sometimes the giant foot or manOur slender work will tear;But knowing how to make the web,We also can repair.
The Greun Hillside. 83"I made a web the very dayWhen first I saw the sky;No one instructed me;" it stopped-For then a little flyCame skimming lightly o'er the grass,It fell my face before;I saw the little cobweb shake,And then, I saw no more;But down we sat upon the turf,And looked around the skies,And talked of God, whose wisdom madeThese little creatures wise.And we resolved another dayTo come, whate'er betide,To hear the little teachers talk,Upon the green hillside.
THE TRAVELLER AND THE FARMER." 'HERE'S a snug little farm in the valley below,Lying up to the road, by the overshot mill,SAnd stretching, I fancy, as far as the brow,That shelters the beech-wood, on Honey-down Hill."I've travelled this road twice before in my life,And have pulled up my horse to observe andadmire,But this time, I thought, as I said to my wife,The name of the farmer I'd stop to enquire."Your farm, sir, I see borders close upon that,-Of course you can tell me the gentleman's name;But if you have leisure for traveller's chat,I may learn why that farmer puts others to shame.'"You are heartily welcome, sir,'light from your horse,And make no apology, pray sir, I beg;And whilst we are having a little discourse,My groom shall attend to your capital nag.""Oh! you have an eye for good horses, my friend,-A better than that never took to the road;He's good wind and limb, you can't alter to mend;He's one that may warrant a man to be proud.
The Traveller and the Farmer. 85"But not to intrude on your time very long,For I see that your reapers are slashing away,To whom do those glorious wheat fields belong,And the barley-fields there, that compelled me tostay ?"I ride through the country, and see pretty much,And know many farmers who stand very high;But still I must say that I never saw suchA farmer as this man appears to my eye."Sir, the farm is a garden !-he knows the right wayTo cajole mother earth, to afford him a prize.""Well, that is what I and my neighbours all say;But he maintains this, sir-it comes from the skies."He's a comical fish, as you'll find in your time,But a farmer to beat him you'll not find at all;His crops, as you say, and his stock are all prime;But a saint or fanatic old Peter we call.""Oh! that is the genus! Well, what does he do?Saints ar'n't very common 'mongst farmers, I'veheard;But let him be Gentile, or let him be Jew,He knows how to manage a farm and a herd.""Well! what does he do? Now I'm sure you willlaugh,Though I cannot but say I'm afraid he'll go mad;And value his barley no more than his chaff;. He's a teetotal fool, sir, or something as bad.""Well! that is a subject I quite let alone;For a drunkard I reckon much worse than a brute;But 'tis not through water such crops have beengrown,I'd drink it myself, sir, if that were the fruit."
86 The Traveller and the Farmer."'Tis not as you say, and, of course, cannot be;But he beats us quite hollow, and, year after year,We can't take a sample to market, not we,That can in the least with his samples compare."We farm much alike, but he still keeps ahead;His sheep now are sound, sir, while mine havethe rot;I lost many lambs, while he hadn't one dead,And his bullocks are always a capital lot."I tell him he's lucky He says, 'No such thing;He takes but the means that are put in his power;'So he prays for a season to sow and to spring,And asks for the sunshine, the rain, and the shower." 'Tis childish to hear him, how often he prays !As if all his praying the weather had made!But he really has faith in these credulous ways,And the Bible, he says, put it into his head."He has proverbs and texts that he strings by thescore,About covenants under an old standing lease,Where special regard is bestowed on the poor,And their treatment connects with the farmer'sincrease." There's one way he has-and it isn't quite fair-He gives higher wages than we have agreed;He says there's enough for himself, and to spare,And 'tis right that the folks should have plenty offeed."Well! of course he gets all the respectable hands;He employs, I should think, twice as many as I;But it answers, he says, on his arable lands,And he likes them about him, and under his eye.
The Traveller and the Farmer. 87"And they like it, too, sir; he's foolishly good,His men are all spoiled for a farmer elsewhere;There's no end of lending, and helping, and food,And mending their dwellings, and mending theirfare."My little girl read about Boaz and Ruth;Old Peter might well for the likeness have sat,With his people about him-his children forsooth-Well, it kept in my memory days after that."I expect the old man likes to copy those ways;You would not believe, what the gleaners will find;There's gleaning and gleaning for days upon days,All the wheat in the corners he leaves it behind."I should not much wonder, if he'd been a Jew-For Peter, you see, is a Testament name-And it's written, they say-but I hope 'tis not true-That some day they'll put all the Gentiles toshame.""Hold! hold! for I think you have got from yourtext;I should call him a Christian quite sound to thebone,And whether the Gentile or Jew flourish next,Old Peter the saint is a Christian alone.""Incendiary fires he would not much dread,If I've a right guess of his people at all ?""Oh, bless your heart! no-every hair of his headThey would catch it, and kiss it, before it shouldfall."
88 The Traveller and the Farmer."Well then, I must say that his plans answer best;" He's a blessing to others, as well as himself,His barns are all full, and his mind is at rest,And his riches increase, though he scatters his pelf."When I turn a farmer, I'll come to his school,For I hate all oppression, and grinding, and strife;And I think that the Bible will do as a ruleFor a farmer to work by, and order his life."But further intrusion I'm sure would be wrong,Whilst your reapers are gallantly working away;So I'll ponder our talk as I'm riding along,And I heartily thank you and wish you goodday."
THELITTLE SCHISMATICS; OR, IRRELIGION.HREE little girls were walking home from school,Engaged, it seemed, in very warm debate,And though I do not listen as a rule,I heard the converse which I now relate.The eldest of them might be twelve years old,The youngest ten-she might be near eleven,But felt herself quite competent to holdDiscourse on Doctrine, and the things of Heaven.For there had been, what people call a "split,"A cruel jar, which rends a church in two,And brings forth many things, alike unfitFor Christian men to sanction or to do.It often rises from a simple cause,In which religion has no real part,-A love of rule maybe-or splitting straws,-Or narrow views of God's paternal heart.And friendly neighbours who had chanted praise,And walked together in communion sweet,Will then another little chapel raise,And pass each other in the public street.
90 The Little Schismatics.And listening children these contentions hear,And think religion is a thing of strife,To talk and boast about, and domineer,And not the balm that sweetens human life.And so these children tossed their bags about,All speaking loud, the other's voice to drown,Then drew up short, to crush an honest doubt,Or pin a little adversary down.The robin redbreast hopped upon their path,And watched them keenly with his bright black eye,Then picked a worm to pieces, as in wrath,Meaning, we thought, to warn them on the sly.The butterflies were dancing in the sun,Chasing each other in their loving play;The well-grown lambs, so full of freak and fun,Were starting races on the upland way.The ants all toiled together on the ground;With pleasant greetings, on their busy road:The bees hummed gaily, flitting round and round,To gather wax and honey for their load.The nightingale was singing in the oak;The blackbird whistled from the apple-tree;The skylark from the clouds his music shook,Not two alike-and yet they all agree.The poplar and the elm stood side by side,The weeping willow grew beneath their shade;The little brawling.brook went tumbling wide,But joined the stream that rippled through the glade.
The Little Schismatics. 91Bright flowers together nestled on the bank;The foxglove rose above, with no pretence;There was no squabble there, for rule or rank,And all were lovely in their difference.The little girls who strayed along the path,Did not perceive these lessons, all so good;But as the robin picked the worm,-in wrathThey mangled things they little understood.FANNY FLIP."My father and the deacon got to words,They both were angry, as they well could be,My mother said, 'twas well they had not swords,It might not then have ended peaceably."My father-he took Mr. Sawyer's part,The deacon-he was quite the other way,And he declared the minister should start,My father said, the minister should stay."MARY BROWN."Well, Fanny Flip, then come to church with me,You chapel folks do always quarrel so,I never see our clergy disagree,And church is more genteel, of course you know.FANNY FLIP."Well-are you High Church then-or are you Low,For all low doctrine we esteem as nought;We call ourselves High Calvinists, you know,We're very different from the common sort."
92 The Little Schismatics.MARY BROWN." We are The Church, and we shall go to heaven,If we're baptized, and always go on right,Our sins are washed away, and we're forgiven;'Twas said so in the sermon t'other night."FANNY FLIP."Pray, what's the good your infant sprinkling does?Are Christian people manufactured so?Without immersion, 'tis an idle fuss, [go?And who knows where your sprinkled babes will"' My father says that infants go to hellBefore they even know they have a soul,That reprobation lights on them, as wellAs wicked people who have lied and stole.""Well-that I don't believe," said Jessie Young," Or why should Jesus little children call?"" No, you don't know-you'd better hold your tongue,You Independents ar'n't baptized at all."JESSIE YOUNG."Oh Fanny Flip, how can you be so rude?We call ourselves baptized as well as you;We have our way, that we think quite as good,And hold it to be scriptural and true."Baptized or not, I never will believeThat Jesus meant that babies should be lost;My mother says 'tis shocking to conceive,She thinks they're all among the heavenly host"
Tue Little Schismatics. 93FANNY FLIP."Yes, you are ignorant, but we are right,And that we'll stick to, for we know it well;""You're wrong," said Mary Brown, "for Mr. BlightSaid, where Dissenters went he could not tell.""I shall not speak to you, Miss Mary Brown,""Nor I to you, Miss Fanny Flip-you'll see-We'd better part at once, and walk alone,It's no use talking if we can't agree."It would have come to this; but very near,A gentlewoman followed on their track;They talked so loud, that any one could hear,And were too eager to be looking back."Stop, little girls !" she said, "and rest awhile;You all look heated on this pleasant day,There's room to sit upon this meadow stile,And we can talk, and pass the time away."I've read this morning of a robberyThat very nearly into murder ran;But that a traveller, passing by the way,Came just in time to save the wretched man."It seems that he was going to a town;His business there, the writer has not said;When cruel robbers came and knocked him down,Took all he had, and left him there for dead."Alone and bleeding on the ground he lay-At last, poor man he saw a priest draw nigh,One of the sect with whom he used to pray,A man renowned for rigid,piety,-
94 The Little Schismatics."Who kept his Church's law with strictest zeal-In forms and festivals was quite at home;'Twas said, his heart was not much given to feel,But still the man was glad to see him come."He did not doubt in him a friend to find,To bind his wounds, and give a little ease,Who would at least be pitiful and kind,And like a minister, speak words of peace."But would you think it? When the priest came by,And saw him lying in that doleful case,He crossed the road with cold averted eye,Spoke not a word, but went a quicker pace.""Oh! what a shame," the little gills replied," How could he leave the poor man on the road!""The priest, my dears, was full of self and pride,And so despised his neighbour, and Ins God."The hours passed on, the sun looked fiercely down;Still from his wounds the crimson life-blood flowed,All hope of succour from his mind had gone,When he perceived a traveller on the road."Oh, joyful sight! this man was reckoned good;An office-bearer in a church he knew:Oh he would come and staunch the flowing blood,And be a friend, and sweet companion too."He could not speak, the power of speech had fled;But up he looked with mute imploring gaze:The traveller paused-then on his way he sped,He would not stop the dying man to raise"