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"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"

'Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

1798.

THE PET LAMB

A PASTORAL

HE dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;

I heard a voice; it said, "Drink,

pretty creature, drink!”

And, looking o'er the hedge, before

[graphic]

me I espied

A snow-white mountain lamb with a maiden at its

side.

Nor sheep nor kine were near; the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper

took,

Seemed to feast with head and ears; and his tail

with pleasure shook.

"Drink, pretty creature, drink," she said in such a tone That I almost received her heart into my own.

'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare! I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair. Now with her empty can the maiden turned away; But ere ten yards were gone her footsteps did she stay.

Right towards the lamb she looked; and from a shady place

I unobserved could see the workings of her face:
If nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might
sing:

"What ails thee, young one? what? Why pull so at thy cord?

Is it not well with thee? well both for bed and board? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be; Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee?

"What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy heart?

Thy limbs, are they not strong? And beautiful thou

art:

This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no

peers;

And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears!

"If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen chain,

This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst

gain;

For rain and mountain storms! the like thou need'st

not fear

The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come here.

"Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the

day

When my father found thee first in places far away; Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned

by none,

And thy mother from thy side for evermore was

gone.

"He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee

home:

A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou

roam?

A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean Upon the mountain-tops no kinder could have been.

"Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in this can

Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran; And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new.

"Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they

are now,

Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plough;

My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

"It will not, will not rest!- poor creature, can it be That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in

thee?

Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear, And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor hear.

"Alas, the mountain-tops that look so green and fair!

I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come

there ;

The little brooks that seem all pastime and all

play,

When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey.

66

Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky; Night and day thou art safe,- -our cottage is hard by. Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain? Sleep and at break of day I will come to thee again!"

As homeward through the lane I went with lazy feet,

This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat;

And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line, That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was

mine.

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