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ALICE FELL

OR, POVERTY

[graphic]

HE post-boy drove with fierce career,
For threatening clouds the moon
had drowned;

When, as we hurried on, my ear
Was smitten with a startling sound.

As if the wind blew many ways,

I heard the sound, and more and more;

It seemed to follow with the chaise,
And still I heard it as before.

At length I to the boy called out;
He stopped his horses at the word,
But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout,
Nor aught else like it, could be heard.

The boy then smacked his whip, and fast
The horses scampered through the rain ;

But, hearing soon upon the blast
The cry, I bade him halt again.

Forthwith alighting on the ground,

"Whence comes," said I, "this piteous moan?

And there a little Girl I found,

Sitting behind the chaise, alone.

"My cloak!

no other word she spake,

But loud and bitterly she wept,

As if her innocent heart would break ;

And down from off her seat she leapt.

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"What ails you, child?"—she sobbed "Look here!"

I saw it in the wheel entangled,

A weather-beaten rag as e'er

From any garden scarecrow dangled.

There, twisted between nave and spoke,
It hung, nor could at once be freed;
But our joint pains unloosed the cloak,
A miserable rag indeed!

"And whither are you going, child,
To-night along these lonesome ways?"
"To Durham," answered she, half wild.
"Then come with me into the chaise."

Insensible to all relief

Sat the poor girl, and forth did send

Sob after sob, as if her grief

Could never, never have an end.

"My child, in Durham do you dwell?"
She checked herself in her distress,
And said, "My name is Alice Fell;
I'm fatherless and motherless."

And I to Durham, sir, belong."
Again, as if the thought would choke
Her very heart, her grief grew strong;
And all was for her tattered cloak !

The chaise drove on; our journey's end
Was nigh; and, sitting by my side,
As if she had lost her only friend
She wept, nor would be pacified.

Up to the tavern door we post;
Of Alice and her grief I told ;
And I gave money to the host,
To buy a new cloak for the old.

"And let it be of duffel grey,

As warm a cloak as man can sell!"

Proud creature was she the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell!

1801.

LUCY GRAY

OR, SOLITUDE

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FT I had heard of Lucy Gray
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of

day

The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;

She dwelt on a wide moor,

-The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a human door!

You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green;

But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen.

"To-night will be a stormy nightYou to the town must go ;

And take a lantern, child, to light

Your mother through the snow."

"That, father, will I gladly do: 'Tis scarcely afternoon

The minster-clock has just struck two,

And yonder is the moon."

At this the father raised his hook,

And snapped a faggot-band;

He plied his work ;-and Lucy took

The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe:

With many a wanton stroke

Her feet disperse the powdery snow,

That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time:

She wandered up and down;

And many a hill did Lucy climb;

But never reached the town.

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