« ForrigeFortsett »
Founded on fa&t.
Now which is the road across the Common,
“ Good Woman! in pity declare ; “No path can I trace, for the night is dark, “And I fear me before the far turnpike I mark,
“Some grim-visaged Ghost will appear."
“ The Ghost never walks till the clock strikes twelve,
“ And this is the first of the night,” Cried the woman. Now why dost thou look at me so? "And why do thine eyes so fearfully glow?
“Good Stranger, forbear thy affright.
“ I tell thee that across the Common,
“ This cart-track thy horse must pursue ; “ Till close by thy feet two Gibbets thou meet, « Where the rains and the tempests the Highwaymen beat,
“ That a Traveller once murder'd like you."
The Horseman replied,
« I have no terror “Of men who in midnight plan; “ But a Ghost that pops on one before or behind, “ And around him sees clearly while mortals are blind,
Aye, that tries the heart of the man.
“ Is there no road but by those gibbets ?"
“ No road," the woman replied. “ But tho' with the wind each Murderer swings
They both of them are harmless things, “ And so are the Ravens beside."
** What are there Ravens there those creatures
« That are so black and blue! “ But are they ravens ? I enquire, “ For I have heard by the Winter's fire,
“ That phantoms the dead pursue."
The Woman replied, “They are Night-Ravens
“ That pick the dead-men's eyes ; “ And they cry qua, with their hollow jaw; 6 Methinks I one this moment saw !
“ To the banquet at hand he flies.
« Now fare thee well!" The Traveller, silent,
Whilst terror consumed his soul, Went musing on. The night was still, And every star had drunk his fill,
At the brim of oblivion's bowl.
And now he near to the Gibbets approach'd!
The black Men waved in the air ; He rais'd his head, and cast a glance, Yet heeded them not, tho' they seemed to dance,
For he determin'd not to fear,
Wherefore, he cried, should men incline
To fear where no danger is found !
He trembled, and could not look round,
He gallop'd away! the Spirit pursued !
And the murderers' irons they screak! The gibbets are past, and now fast and more fast, The Horseman and Spirit outstrip the loud blast,
Tho' neither have courage to speak.
Now both on the verge of the Common arrive,
Where a gate the free passage denied.
The mouth of the Spirit did glide.
He started ! and swift through the still-darker lane
Gallop'd fast from the Being he fear'd;
And more luminous now it appear'd !
The turnpike he reach'd ; " Oh tell me,"-he cried,
“ I can neither look round or go on ; “ What Spirit is this which has follow'd me here “ From the Common? good Master, I dreadfully fear,
Speak! speak! or my sense will be gone!"
“ Ah Jenny," he cried, “thou crafty old Jade !
“ Is it thee? I'll beat thy bones bare. « Good Gentleman, fear not, no Spirit is nigh, “ Which has follow'd you here from the common hard-by: “ 'Tis only old Gaffer's grey Mare!"
By ROBERT SOUTHEY.
THE LAST OF THE FAMILY.
What Gregory! you are come I see to join us On this sad business.
Aye, James, I am come, But with a heavy heart, God knows it, man ! Where shall we meet the corpse ?
Some hour from hence ; By noon, and near about the elms, I take This is not as it should be, Gregory, Old men to follow young ones to the grave ! This morning when I heard the bell strike out, I thought that I had never heard it toll So dismally before.