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And aye it raised a waesome greete,
Butte and an eiry crye,
Where the wynsome payr did lye.
It lookit around with its snail-cap eyne,
That made their hearts to grou,
And opened its goblyne mou';
Then raised a youle, sae loude and lange
Sae yerlish and sae shrille,
The second lifte untille.
I tell the tale as tolde to me,
I swear so by my faye ;
In soothe I cannot say.
That youling yowte sae yerlish was,
Butte and sae lang and loude,
And holed ahint a cloude.
And round the boddome o' the lifte,
It rang the worild through,
Afore it closed its mou'.
Then neiste it raised its note and sang
Sae witchinglye and sweete,
And kyssed the synger's feete.
The waizle dunne frae the auld grey cairn,
The theiffe foulmart came nighe; The hurcheon raxed his scory chafts,
And gepit wi' girning joye.
The todde he came frae the Screthy holes,
And courit fou cunninglye; The stinkan brockke wi' his lang lank lyske,
Shotte up his gruntle to see.
The kidde and martyne ranne a race
Amang the dewye ferne;
Th'enchaunting notes to learne,
The pert little eskis they curlit their tails,
And danced a myrthsome reele ;
She lykit the sang sae weele.
The herone came frae the Witch-pule tree,
The houlet frae Deadwood-howe; The auld gray corbie hoverit aboone,
While tears downe his cheeks did flowe.
The yowes they lap out owre the buchte,
And skippit up and downe; And bonnye Jeanye Roole, i' the shepherds armis,
Fell back-out-owre in a swoone.
It might be glamourye or not,
In sooth I cannot say,
The hour o'gloamyne gray,
I wis was a weel-faured Maye.
Her pulses all were beatinge trewe,
Her heart was loupinge lighte, Unto that wondrous melody
That simple song of mighte.
O where is tinye Hewe?
CHORUS--Ay lu lan, lan dil y’u, &c.
The fairest rose you finde,
CHOR.-Ay lu lan, lan dil y'u, &c.
And when the blushing moone
CHOR.-Ay lu lan, lan dil y’u, &c.
The straine raise high, the straine fell low,
Then fainted fitfullye;
To see what she might see.
She lookit hiche to the bodynge hille,
And laighe to the darklynge deane ;-
But naethinge could be seene.
She held her breathe with anxious eare,
And thought it all a dreame;
And a plitch-platch in the streime.
Never a word said bonnye Jeanye Roole,
Butte, shepherd, lette us gange;
Wald she singe another sange.
“Go; of my sexton seek, whose days are sped :
What: he himself ? and is old Dibble dead?
MONGST the almost infinite variety of characters
which present themselves to our daily observation, there are some so much influenced by their pursuits, and so identified with their professions, as continually to remind us of them. We cannot behold their persons, without thinking of their
occupation, and feeling those sensations, whether agreeable or repulsive, which the recollection is calculated to excite. Of this description of character was old John Brown, the Sexton.
It mattered not on what occasion, or at what time or place, you saw him, he was still the sexton. As to place, the church was his centre of gravity; he lived in its neighbourhood, followed his occupations under its shadow, and seldom went beyond the precincts of his charge. Morning, noon, or night, if you met him, he was still about his business ; commonly with the huge keys of the church-doors in his hand, or sticking out of his pocket. Ringing the morning-bell had naturally produced the habit of early rising; and the principal recreation that he indulged in, was a walk as far as the great tree in the neighbouring abbey grounds, after performing this service.
Twice a week, besides the sabbath and holidays, the prayer-bell required his attention; for he added the office of parish clerk to that of sexton, or held them jointly with his son, of the same name ; and then he generally had the rope in his hand when the clock struck six, to ring the evening bell.
His other avocations were of a still graver nature. Tolling the death-bell sometimes occasioned him to climb the belfry late at night, in winter as well as summer; and an alarm of fire would at any hour immediately call him to his post, to give the needful summons. But habit had rendered him proof against those fears, which to some minds would have peopled the old church, at such seasons, with ghostly inhabitants.
Digging of graves is an employment which, to most men, would be extremely revolting; it is, however, what all will allow to be necessary; it was moreover, John's business, and he went about it with avidity. This is, in all respects, a serious occupation, and, what is perhaps but little considered, a very important one. No small skill certainly is necessary, in many church-yards, and Hexham is one of them, so to inter the dead, as not to disinter those who have been recently buried.
John knew as well as any man the difficulties of his profession, and, it seems, it had its mysteries too; for, though he did not by any means encourage the inquiries of the curious on these points, he sometimes let fall an intimation of certain liberties which, circumstanced as he was, he no doubt too often found it convenient to take with his subjects! “No one knows a sexton's duties but a sexton," he would say; and few, we are persuaded, have discharged them better. He was always about his business. If not employed in digging a grave, or burying the dead, his mattock was at work knocking down the weeds, cellecting fragments of broken coffins, or removing exhumed bones from the surface of the grave-yard.
His most prominent and, at the same time, praiseworthy characteristic was, attending to the duties of his calling; and his care to prevent the interference of unqualified and prying persons, was scarcely less remarkable. Many a time have I dreaded his frown; and more than once felt the weight of his heavy hand. Sometimes I have fallen under his displeasure, for getting into the church when there was no service, or remaining in the burying-ground after the funeral was over; and, once I was so unlucky as to be caught upon the leads of