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That he might neither fight nor flee;
For when the Red-Cross spied he,
The boy strove long and violently.
“Now, by St. George,” the archer cries,
“ Edward, methinks we have a prize!
This boy's fair face, and courage free,
Shows he is come of high degree.”—
“Yes! I am come of high degree,
For I am the heir of bold Buccleuch; And if thou dost not set me free,
False Southron, thou shalt dearly rue! For Walter of Harden shall come with speed, And William of Deloraine, good at need, And every Scott from Esk to Tweed; And, if thou dost not let me go, Despite thy arrows and thy bow, I'll have thee hanged to feed the crow!”
“ Gramercy, for thy good will, fair boy!
My mind was never set so high;
But if thou art chief of such a clan,
And art the son of such a man,
And ever comest to thy command,
Our wardens had need to keep good order : My bow of yew to a hazel wand,
Thou'lt make them work upon the Border.
Meantime, be pleased to come with me,
For good Lord Dacre shalt thou see :
I think our work is well begun,
When we have taken thy father's son.”
UNDERNEATH an old oak tree
There was of swine a huge company,
That grunted as they crunched the mast :
For that was ripe, and fell full fast.
Then they trotted away, for the wind grew high :
One acorn they left, and no more might you spy.
Next came a Raven, that liked not such folly :
He belonged, they did say, to the witch Melancholy!
Blacker was he than blackest jet,
Flew low in the rain, and his feathers not wet.
He picked up the acorn, and buried it straight
By the side of a river both deep and great.
Where then did the Raven go ?
He went high and low,
Over hill, over dale, did the black Raven go.
Many Autumns, many Springs,
Travelled he with wandering wings :
Many Summers, many Winters,
I can't tell half his adventures.
At length he came back, and with him a She,
And the acorn was grown to a tall oak tree.
They built them a nest in the topmost bough,
And young ones they had, and were happy enow.
But soon came a woodman in leathern guise,
His brow, like a pent-house, hung over his eyes.
He'd an axe in his hand, not a word he spoke,
But with many a hem ! and a sturdy stroke,
At length he brought down the poor Raven's own oak.
His young ones were killed; for they could not depart,
And their mother did die of a broken heart.
The boughs from the trunk the woodman did sever;
And they floated it down on the course of the river.
They sawed it in planks, and its bark they did strip,
And with this tree and others they made a good ship.
The ship it was launched; but in sight of the land
Such a storm there did rise as no ship could withstand,
It bulged on a rock, and the waves rushed in fast:
Round and round flew the Raven, and cawed to the blast.
He heard the last shriek of the perishing souls-
See! see! o'er the topmast the mad water rolls !
Right glad was the Raven, and off he went fleet,
And Death riding home on a cloud he did meet,
And he thanked him again and again for this treat :
They had taken his all, and Revenge it was sweet!
ANSWER TO A CHILD'S QUESTION.
Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
The linnet, and thrush say, "I love and I love!”
In the winter they're silent—the wind is so strong ;
What it says, I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving—all come back together.
But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he-
“I love my Love, and my Love loves me!”
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire ;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
THE boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but he had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroie blood.
A proud, though child-like form.
The flames rolled on-he would not go,
Without his Father's word;
That Father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He called alond—“Say, Father, say,
If yet my task be done?”.
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.
“ Speak, Father,” once again he cried,
“If I may yet be gone! And”—but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair ;
And looked from that lone post of death
In still, but brave despair.
And shouted but once more aloud,
“My Father! must I stay ?” While o’er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapt the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder-sound-
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds, that far around
With fragments strewed the sea !