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And there was often seen.
What could she seek ? – or wish to hide ?
Her state to any eye was plain ;
She was with child, and she was mad :
Yet often was she sober sad
From her exceeding pain.
O guilty Father! - would that death
Had saved him from that breach of faith!
“ Sad case for such a brain to hold
Communion with a stirring child !
Sad case, as you may think, for one
Who had a brain so wild !
Last Christmas-eve we talked of this,
And gray-haired Wilfred of the glen
Held that the unborn infant wrought
About its mother's heart, and brought
Her senses back again:
And when at last her time drew near,
Her looks were calm, her senses clear.
“More know I not, I wish I did,
And it should all be told to you;
For what became of this poor child
No mortal ever knew ;
Nay, if a child to her was born
No earthly tongue could ever tell;
And if ’t was born alive or dead,
Far less could this with proof be said ;
But some remember well,
That Martha Ray about this time
Would up the mountain often climb.
xv. “ And all that winter, when at night The wind blew from the mountain-peak, 'T was worth your while, though in the dark, The churchyard path to seek : For many a time and oft were heard Cries coming from the mountain head : Some plainly living voices were ; And others, I 've heard many swear, Were voices of the dead : I cannot think, whate'er they say, They had to do with Martha Ray.
“ But that she goes to this old Thorn,
The Thorn which I described to you,
And there sits in a scarlet cloak,
I will be sworn is true.
For one day with my telescope,
To view the ocean wide and bright,
When to this country first I came,
Ere I had heard of Martha's name,
I climbed the mountain's height:
A storm came on, and I could see
No object higher than my knee.
“'T was mist and rain, and storm and rain :
No screen, no fence, could I discover;
And then the wind ! in sooth, it was
A wind full ten times over.
I looked around, I thought I saw
A jutting crag,
and off I ran,
Head-foremost, through the driving rain,
The shelter of the crag to gain ;
And, as I am a man,
Instead of jutting crag, I found
A Woman seated on the ground.
6 I did not speak,
I saw her face;
Her face !— it was enough for me;
I turned about and heard her cry,
• O misery! O misery !'
And there she sits, until the moon
Through half the clear blue sky will go;
And when the little breezes make
The waters of the pond to shake,
As all the country know,
She shudders, and you hear her cry,
O misery! O misery !!”
“ But what's the Thorn? and what the pond ? And what the hill of moss to her ? And what the creeping breeze that comes The little pond to stir?” “I cannot tell ; but some will say
She hanged her baby on the tree;
Some say she drowned it in the pond,
Which is a little step beyond:
But all and each agree,
The little Babe was buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
“I've heard, the moss is spotted red
With drops of that poor infant's blood ;
But kill a new-born infant thus,
I do not think she could !
if to the pond you go,
And fix on it a steady view,
The shadow of a babe you trace,
A baby and a baby's face,
And that it looks at you ;
look on it, ’t is plain The baby looks at you again.
“ And some had sworn an oath, that she
Should be to public justice brought;
And for the little infant's bones
With spades they would have sought.
But instantly the hill of moss
Before their eyes began to stir!
And, for full fifty yards around,
The grass, it shook upon the ground!
Yet all do still aver
The little Babe lies buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
“ I cannot tell how this may be,
But plain it is the Thorn is bound
With heavy tufts of moss, that strive
To drag it to the ground;
And this I know, full many a time,
When she was on a mountain high,
By day, and in the silent night,
When all the stars shone clear and bright,
That I have heard her cry,
"O misery! O misery!
O woe is me! O misery !?”
Hart-Leap Well is a small spring of water, about five miles
from Richmond in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road that leads from Richmond to Askrigg. Its name is derived from a remarkable Chase, the memory of which is preserved by the monuments spoken of in the Second Part of the following Poem, which monuments do now exist as I have there described them.
The Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor,
With the slow motion of a summer's cloud ;
And now, as he approached a vassal's door,
“ Bring forth another horse!” he cried aloud.