Page images


“Forward, the Light Brigade ! »
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew

Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die,
Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them

Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd'at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.


Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while

All the world wonder'd :
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeld from the sabre-stroke

Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not

Not the six hundred.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

AND Willy, my eldest born, is gone, you say,

, little Anne ? Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks

like a man. And Willy's wife has written : she never was over

wise, Never the wife for Willy: he wouldn't take my



For, Annie, you see, her father was not the man to

save, Hadn't a head to manage, and drank himself into Pretty enough, very pretty! but I was against it

for one. Eh !but he wouldn't hear me--and Willy, you




his grave.


Willy, my beauty, my eldest boy, the flower of the

flock, Never a man could fling him : for Willy stood like

a rock. "Here's a leg for a babe of a week!” says doctor;

and he would be bound, There was not his like that year in twenty parishes



Strong of his hands, and strong on his legs, but still

of his tongue ! I ought to have gone before him: I wonder he went

so young: I cannot cry for him, Annie: I have not long to stay; Perhaps I shall see him the sooner, for he lived far



Why do you look at me, Annie? you think I am

hard and cold; But all my children have gone before me, I am so


I cannot weep for Willy, nor can I weep for the

rest; Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with

the best.


For I remember a quarrel I had with your father,

my dear,

All for å slanderous story, that cost me many a


I mean your grandfather, Annie: it cost me a world

of woe,

Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.


For Jenny, my cousin, had come to the place, and

I knew right well That Jenny had tript in her time: I knew, but I

would not tell. And she to be coming and slandering me, the base

little liar! But the tongue is a fire as you know, my dear, the

tongue is a fire.


And the parson made it his text that week, and he

said likewise, That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest

of lies, That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought

with outright, But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to



And Willy had not been down to the farm for a

week and a day; And all things look'd half-dead, tho' it was the

middle of May. Jenny, to slander me, who knew what Jenny had

been ! But soiling another, Annie, will never make oneselt


[ocr errors]

And I cried myself well-nigh blind, and all of an

evening late I climb'd to the top of the garth, and stood by the

road at the gate. The moon like a rick on fire was rising over the dale, And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt

the nightingale.


All of a sudden he stopt: there past by the gate of

the farm, Willy,—he didn't see me,-and Jenny hung on

his arm. Out into the road I started, and spoke I scarce

knew how; Ah, there's no fool like the old one- it makes me

angry now.


Willy stood up like a man, and look'd the thing

that he meant ; Jenny, the viper, made me a mocking courtesy and

went. And I said, “ Let us part: in a hundred years it'll

all be the same, You cannot love me at all, if you love not my good



And he turn'd, and I saw his eyes all wet, in the

sweet moonshine: “ Sweetheart, I love you so well that your good

name is mine. And what do I care for Jane, let her speak of you

well or ill; But marry me out of hand : we two shall be happy


« PreviousContinue »