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Hummed like a hive all round the narrow quay,
And rounded by the stillness of the beach
We left the dying ebb that faintly lipped
There, on a slope of orchard, Francis laid A damask napkin wrought with horse and hound, Brought out a dusky loaf that smelt of home, And, half-cut-down, a pasty costly-made, Where quail and pigeon, lark and leveret lay, Like fossils of the rock, with golden yolks Imbedded and injellied; last, with these, A flask of cider from his father's vats, Prime, which I knew; and so we sat and eat And talked old matters over: who was dead, Who married, who was like to be, and how The races went, and who would rent the hall : Then touched upon the game, how scarce it was This season: glancing thence, discussed the farm, The fourfield system and the price of grain; And struck upon the corn-laws, where we split, And came again together on the king With heated faces; till he laughed aloud And, while the blackbird on the pippin hung To hear him, clapt his hand in mine and sang"O! who would fight and march and countermarch,
Be shot for sixpence in a battle-field,
And shovelled up into a bloody trench
"Who'd serve the state? for if I carved my name Upon the cliffs that guard my native land, I might as well have traced it in the sands; The sea wastes all: but let me live my life.
"O! who would love? I wooed a woman once, But she was sharper than an eastern wind, And all my heart turned from her, as a thorn Turns from the sea: but let me live my life."
He sang his song, and I replied with mine: I found it in a volume, all of songs, Knocked down to me, when old Sir Robert's pride, His books-the more the pity, so I said— Came to the hammer here in March-and thisI set the words, and added names I knew.
Sleep, Ellen Aubrey, sleep, and dream of me: Sleep, Ellen, folded in thy sister's arm,
And sleeping, haply dream her arm is mine.
"Sleep, breathing health and peace upon her breast:
Sleep, breathing love and trust against her lip:
A rolling stone of here and everywhere,
In crescent, dimly rained about the leaf
WALKING TO THE MAIL.
John. I'm glad I walked. How fresh the meadows look Above the river, and, but a month ago, The whole hill-side was redder than a fox. Is yon plantation where this by-way joins The turnpike?
John. And when does this come by? James. The mail? At one o'clock. John. What is it now?
James. A quarter to.
John. Whose house is that I see Beyond the watermills?
James. Sir Edward Head's: But he's abroad: the place is to be sold. John. O, his. He was not broken.
James. No sir, he,
Vexed with a morbid devil in his blood
James. Nay, who knows? he's here and
But let him
James. You saw the man-on Monday, was it? There by the humpbacked willow; half stands up And bristles; half has fallen and made a bridge; And there he caught the younker tickling trout-Caught in flagrante-what's the Latin word ?---Delicto: but his house, for so they say, Was haunted with a jolly ghost, that shook The curtains, whined in lobbies, tapt at doors, And ruminaged like a rat: no servant stayed: The farmer vext packs up his beds and chairs, And all his household stuff; and with his boy Betwixt his knees, his wife upon the tilt,
Sets out, and meets a friend who hails him, "What! You're flitting!" "Yes, we're flitting," says the ghost, (For they had packed the thing among the beds.) "O well," says he, "you flitting with us tooJack, turn the horses' heads and home again."
John. He left his wife behind; for so I heard. James. He left her, yes. I met my lady once : A woman like a butt, and harsh as crabs.
John. O yet but I remember, ten years back'Tis now at least ten years-and then she was— You could not light upon a sweeter thing: A body slight and round, and like a pear In growing, modest eyes, a hand, a foot Lessening in perfect cadence, and a skin As clean and white as privet when it flowers.
James. Ay, ay, the blossom fades, and they that loved
At first like dove and dove were cat and dog.
Out of her sphere. What betwixt shame and pride.
Like men, like manners: like breeds like, they say. Kind nature is the best: those manners next
That fit us like a nature second-hand ;
John. But I had heard it was this bill that past, And fear of change at home, that drove him hence, James. That was the last drop in the cup of gall, I once was near him when his bailiff brought A Chartist pike. You should have seen him wince As from a venomous thing: he thought himself A mark for all, and shuddered, lest a cry Should break his sleep by night, and his nice eyes Should see the raw mechanic's bloody thumbs Sweat on his blazoned chairs; but, sir, you know That these two parties still divide the worldOf those that want, and those that have and still The same old sore breaks out from age to age With much the same result. Now I myself, A Tory to the quick, was as a boy Destructive, when I had not what I would. I was at school-a college in the South: There lived a flayflint near; we stole his fruit, His hens, his eggs; but there was law for us; We paid in person. He had a sow, sir. She, With meditative grunts of much content, Lay great with pig, wallowing in sun and mud. By night we dragged her to the college tower From her warm bed, and up the corkscrew stair With hand and rope we haled the groaning sow, And on the leads we kept her till she pigged. Large range of prospect had the mother sow, And but for daily loss of one she loved, As one by one we took them-but for thisAs never sow was higher in this worldMight have been happy: but what lot is pure? We took them all, till she was left alone Upon her tower, the Niobe of swine, And so returned unfarrowed to her sty. John. They found you out?
James. Not they.
John. Well-after allWhat know we of the secret of a man?