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WHEN the winter wind whistles along the wild
moor, And the cottager shuts on the beggar his door; When the chilling tear stands in my comfortless eye, Oh, bow hard is the lot of the Wandering Boy!
The winter is cold, and I have no vest,
heart it is cold as it beats in
No father, no mother, no kindred have I,
For I am a parentless Wandering Boy.
Yet I had a home, and I once had a sire,
A mother who granted each infant desire;
Our cottage it stood in a wood-embower'd vale,
Where the ring-dove would warble its sorrowful
father and mother were summon’d away, And they left me to hard-hearted strangers a prey;
I fled from their rigour with many a sigh,
And now I'm a poor little Wandering Boy.
The wind it is keen, and the snow loads the gale,
And no one will list to my innocent tale;
I'll go to the grave where my parents both lie,
And death shall befriend the poor Wandering Boy.
The western gale, Mild as the kisses of connubial love, Plays round my languid limbs, as all dissolved, Beneath the ancient elm's fantastic shade I lie, exhausted with the noontide heat: While rippling o'er his deep-worn pebble bed, The rapid rivulet rushes at my feet, Dispensing coolness.—On the fringed marge Full many a floweret rears its head,
or pink, Or gaudy daffodil.—'Tis here, at noon, The buskin'd wood-nymphs from the heat retire, And lave them in the fountain; here secure From Pan, or savage satyr, they disport; Or stretch'd supinely on the velvet turf, Lull'd by the laden bee, or sultry fly, Invoke the God of slumber.
And, hark ! how merrily, from distant tower,
Ring round the village bells ! now on the gale
They rise with gradual swell, distinct and loud;
Anon they die upon the pensive ear,
Melting in faintest music.—They bespeak
A day of jubilee, and oft they bear,
Commix'd along the unfrequented shore,
The sound of village dance and tabor loud,
Startling the musing ear of Solitude.
Such is the jocund wake of Whitsuntide,
When happy Superstition, gabbling eld!
Holds her unhurtful gambols.—All the day
The rustic revellers ply the mazy dance
On the smooth-shaven green, and then at eve
Commence the harmless rites and auguries;
And many a tale of ancient days goes round.
They tell of wizard seer, whose potent spells
Could hold in dreadful thrall the labouring moon,
Or draw the fix'd stars from their eminence,
And still the midnight tempest.-Then anon
Tell of uncharnell'd spectres, seen to glide
Along the lone wood's unfrequented path,
Startling the 'nighted traveller; while the sound
Of undistinguish'd murmurs, heard to come
From the dark centre of the deep’ning glen,
Struck on his frozen ear.
Oh, Ignorance ! Thou art fall’n man's best friend! With thee he
speeds In frigid apathy along his way,
And never does the tear of agony
Burn down his scorching cheek; or the keen steel
Of wounded feeling penetrate his breast.
Even now, as leaning on this fragrant bank,
I taste of all the keener happiness
Which sense refined affords—Even now, my heart
Would fain induce me to forsake the world,
Throw off these garments, and in shepherd's
With a small flock, and short suspended reed,
To sojourn in the woodland.—Then my thought
Draws such gay pictures of ideal bliss,
That I could almost err in reason's spite,
And trespass on my judgment.
Such is life;
The distant prospect always seems more fair,
And when attain'd, another still succeeds,
Far fairer than before,
yet compass'd round
With the same dangers, and the same dismay.
And we poor pilgrims in this dreary maze,
Still discontented, chase the fairy form
Of unsubstantial Happiness, to find,
When life itself is sinking in the strife,
'Tis but an airy bubble and a cheat.
HARK ! how the merry bells ring jocund round,
And now they die upon the veering breeze;
Anon they thunder loud
Full on the musing ear.
Wafted in varying cadence, by the shore
Of the still twinkling river, they bespeak
A day of Jubilee,
An ancient holiday.
And, lo ! the rural revels are begun,
And gaily echoing to the laughing sky,
On the smooth-shaven green,
Resounds the voice of Mirth.
Alas! regardless of the tongue of Fate,
That tells them 'tis but as an hour since they
Who now are in their graves,
Kept up the Whitsun dance.
And that another hour, and they must fall
Like those who went before, and sleep as still
Beneath the silent sod,
A cold and cheerless sleep.