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This Thorn you on your left espy;
And to the left, three yards beyond,
You see a little muddy pond

Of water, never dry;

I've measured it from side to side:
"Tis three feet long, and two feet wide.

And, close beside this aged Thorn,
There is a fresh and lovely sight,
A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,
Just half a foot in height.
All lovely colours there you see,
All colours that were ever seen;
And mossy net-work too is there,
As if by hand of lady fair
The work had woven been;
And cups, the darlings of the eye,
So deep is their vermilion dye.

Ah me! what lovely tints are there!
Of olive green and scarlet bright,
In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
Green, red, and pearly white.

This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss
Which close beside the Thorn you see
So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,

Is like an infant's grave in size,

As like as like can be:

But never, never anywhere,

An infant's grave was half so fair.

Now would you see this aged Thorn,
This pond, and beauteous hill of moss,
You must take care and choose your time
The mountain when to cross.

For oft there sits between the heap
That's like an infant's grave in size,
And that same pond of which I spoke,
A woman in a scarlet cloak,

And to herself she cries,
"Oh misery! oh misery!
On woe is me! oh misery!"

At all times of the day and night
This wretched woman thither goes;
And she is known to every star,
And every wind that blows;
And there, beside the Thorn, she sits
When the blue daylight's in the skies,
And when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And to herself she cries,
"Oh misery! oh misery!
Oh woe is me! oh misery!"

"Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain-top
Does this poor woman go?

And why sits she beside the Thorn
When the blue daylight's in the sky,
Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And wherefore does she cry?-
Oh wherefore? wherefore? tell me why
Does she repeat that doleful cry?"

"I cannot tell; I wish I could;
For the true reason no one knows:
But if you'd gladly view the spot,
The spot to which she goes;

The heap that's like an infant's grave,
The pond and Thorn, so old and gray;
Pass by her door-'tis seldom shut-
And, if you see her in her hut,
Then to the spot away!-

I never heard of such as dare
Approach the spot when she is there."

"But wherefore to the mountain-top
Can this unhappy woman go,
Whatever star is in the skies,
Whatever wind may blow ?"

""Tis now some two-and-twenty years
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maiden's true good-will
Her company to Stephen Hill;
And she was blithe and gay,
And she was happy, happy still
Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.

"And they had fixed the wedding-day, The morning that must wed them both; But Stephen to another maid

Had sworn another oath;

And with this other maid to church
Unthinking Stephen went-

Poor Martha! on that woeful day
A pang of pitiless dismay

Into her soul was sent ;

A fire was kindled in her breast,

Which might not burn itself to rest.

"They say, full six months after this,
While yet the summer leaves were green,
She to the mountain-top would go,
And there was often seen.

"Tis said, her lamentable state
Even to a careless eye was plain :

She was with child, and she was mad

Yet often she was sober sad
From her exceeding pain.

Oh me! ten thousand times I'd rather
That he had died, that cruel father!

"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 when we talked of this,
Old Farmer Simpson did maintain,
That her 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.

"No more I know, I wish I did,
And I would tell it all to you;
For what became of this poor child
There's none that ever knew:
And if a child was born or no,
There's no one that could ever tell;
And if 'twas born alive or dead,

There's no one knows, as I have said;
But some remember well,

That Martha Ray about this time
Would up the mountain often climb.

"And all that Winter, when at night
The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
"Twas 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've 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.

""Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain,
No screen, no fence could I discover,
And then the wind! in faith, 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.

"I did not speak-I saw her face;
Her face it was enough for me;
I turned about and heard her cry,
'Oh misery! oh 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,

'Oh misery! oh misery!"

"But what's the Thorn? and what's the pond?

And what's the hill of moss to her?

And what's 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!

Some say, 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;

Whene'er you look on it, 'tis 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 then the beauteous hill of moss

Before their eyes began to stir!

And for full fifty yards around,

The grass, it shook upon the ground!
But all do still aver

The little babe is 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 the mountain high,

By day, and in the silent night,

When all the stars shone clear and bright,
That I have heard her cry,

'Oh misery! oh misery!

Oh woe is me! oh misery!'"


Hart-Leap Well is a small spring of water, about five miles from Richmond, in Yorkshire, and near the side of the road which 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 de scribed them.

THE Knight had ridden down from Wensley Moor
With the slow motion of a summer's cloud;

He turned aside towards a vassal's door,

And "bring another horse!" he cried aloud.
"Another horse!"-That shout the vassal heard,
And saddled his best steed, a comely gray;
Sir Walter mounted him; he was the third
Which he had mounted on that glorious day
Joy sparkled in the prancing courser's eyes;
The horse and horseman are a happy pair;
But, though Sir Walter like a falcon flies,
There is a doleful silence in the air.

A rout this morning left Sir Walter's hall,
That as they galloped made the echoes roar;
But horse and man are vanished, one and all;
Such race, I think, was never seen before.

Sir Walter, restless as a veering wind,
Calls to the few tired dogs that yet remain :
Brach, Swift, and Music, noblest of their kind,
Follow, and up the weary mountain strain.

The Knight hallooed, he chid and cheered them on
With suppliant gestures and upbraidings stern;
But breath and eyesight fail; and one by one,
The dogs are stretched among the mountain fern.
Where is the throng, the tumult of the race?
The bugles that so joyfully were blown?
-This chase it looks not like an earthly chase;
Sir Walter and the Hart are left alone.

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