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“ See'st thou, king! yon aged tree;
Blighted now, alas ! like me ?
Once it bloom'd in strength and pride,
And my cottage stood beside.
“ 'Till, on Hastings' fatal field,
England's baleful doom was seal'd;
Till the Saxon stoop'd to own
Norman Lord on English throne.
“ Where the forest holds domain,
Then were fields of golden grain,
Hamlets then and churches stood
Where we see the wide waste wood.
“ But the Norman king must here
Have his wood to hunt his deer,
What were we he waved his hand,
And we vanish'd from the land.
“ Fiereely burn'd my rising ire
When I saw our cots on fire !
When ourselves were forced to fly,
Or to beg, or rob, or die !
“ Then on William's head abhorr'd
Then my deepest curse I pour'd-
Turning to this aged oak
Thus in madness wild I spoke.
“ Powers of hell, or earth, or air,
Grant an injured Saxon's prayer-
Ne'er may one of William's race
Pass alive this fatal place !
“ Powers of hell, or earth, or air,
Give a sign ye grant my prayer;
Give! oh give !-while yet I spoke,
Lightning struck the witness oak !
Shun, O king ! thy certain lot-
Fly with speed the fatal spot-
Here to death thy uncle pass'd-
Here thy nephew breathed his last !
“ Yes, my curse has work'd too well!
Sorrow seized me when they fell,
Would, oh would I might revoke
What in madness wild I spoke !
Monarch ! to my words give heed,
Backward,-backward turn thy steed!
Danger, death, beset thee round,
Chase not on the fated ground !”
“ Away,'' fierce William cried, “ ill-boding seer ! Think'st thou to strike thy sovereign's heart with
fear ? — Think'st thou with idle threats to bar my way?--I scorn thy warning-On my gallant grey!"
He plunged his spurs deep in his courser's side,
When from the blighted oak, as he advanced,
Right to the monarch's heart an arrow glanced : The blood gush'd forth in streams,-he FELL !-he GROAN'D !-he DIED !
It was upon a winter's morn,
When snow flakes on the wind were borne,
The keen black frost had scarcely failed,
And sleet and rain by turns assailed-
I mark’d, as where in warmth I stood,
And the sight did almost freeze my blood,
A little infant on a stone,
Cold and shiv'ring sit alone.
The snow fell thick and fast, yet he
Did never speak, but piteously
Upon each passer with a sigh,
Bent his little tearful eye ;-
Yet of him notice none was taken,
He seem'd to be by all forsaken,
As cold and shiv'ring on the stone,
The little sufferer sat alone.
He asked not aid he looked for one
Who came not—who, alas ! was gone
For ever from him ;-ne'er was he
Again that guilty one to see,
Nor e'er again was that sweet boy
To warm his mother's heart with joy-
For she, that morn, upon
that stone, Had left him there to sit alone.
At length his fears his silence broke,
And thus the little lost one spoke :
“ Alas ! methinks she lingers long-
I cannot see her in the throng.
I strain my eyes to look in vain-
Alas! she will not come again-
And yet she promised, when alone
She left me sitting on the stone.
“ Oh! mother, come to me—for I
Am cold and sick—and verily
Methinks the night begins to fall,
For darkness shuts me out from all
I saw before I feel not now
The damp snow falling on my brow;
And sure the cold has left this stone
Where I have sat so long alone.
“ Come, mother, come, nor tarry longer, For oh ! this weakness grows still stronger ;
Come, mother ! take me to my home-
How faint I am !- -Come-mother--come !"
He said no more, his little breast
Heaved at once, then sunk to rest;
Now calm, and colder than the stone
Where first he sat, he lies alone.
But soon that wretched mother came,
With her eyes in tears and her heart in flame :
And-Heavens !-how she stood in mute surprise
When first the vision met her
When first his little face she knew
So chang'd from the last and lovely hue
It wore that morn when she left him alone
In tempest and storm on a damp cold stone.
But who shall tell the pangs she felt As madly in the snow she knelt, And clasp'd him round her in deep distress, In all his chilling iciness ?-The tear at once forsook her eyeAnd she raised a harsh and horrid cry, That seem'd on its rushing wing to bear The last of her knowledge, her grief and her care.
Oh! ne'er will she taste sweet rest againFor madness reigns in her troubled brain ; For her boy she calls thro' day and thro' night, In coldness in darkness-in pale moonlight