Page images
PDF
EPUB

v

VI

For I never turn’d my back upon Don or devil Ship after ship, the whole night long, their yet."

high-built galleons came,

Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and wel

battle-thunder and flame:

Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew roar 'd a hurrah, and so The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart

back with her dead and her shame. 60 of the foe,

For some were sunk and many were shatter'd, .

and so could fight no moreWith her hundred fighters on deck, and her

God of battles, was ever a battle like this in ninety sick below;

the world before? For half of their fleet to the right and half to

the left were seen,
And the little Revenge ran on thro' the long
sea-lane between.

For he said, “Fight on! fight on!”
Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck;

And it chanced that, when half of the short Thousands of their soldiers look 'd down from

summer night was gone, their decks and laugh’d,

With a grisly wound to be drest he had left Thousands of their seamen made mock at the

the deck,

But a bullet struck him mad little craft

that was dressing it Running on and on, till delay'd

suddenly dead, By their mountain-like San Philip that. of And himself he was wounded again in the side fifteen hundred tons,

40

and the head, And up-shadowing high above us with her | And he said, “Fight on! fight on!”

yawning tiers of guns, . Took the breath from our sails, and we stay’d.

XI

Ind the night went down, and the sun smiled VII

out far over the summer sea, 70 And while now the great San Philip hung And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay above us like a cloud

round us all in a ring; Whence the thunderbolt will fall

But they dared not touch us again, for they Long and loud,

fear'd that we still could sting, Four galleons drew away

So they watch'd what the end would be. From the Spanish fleet that day,

And we had not fought them in vain, And two upon the larboard and two upon the But in perilous plight were we, starboard lay,

Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain, And the battle-thunder broke from them all.

And half of the rest of us maim'd for life
In the crash of the cannonades and the des-

perate strife:

| And the sick men down in the hold were most But anon the great San Philip, she bethought

of them stark and cold, herself and went,

50

And the pikes were all broken or bent, and the Having that within her womb that had left her

powder was all of it spent;

80 ill content;

| And the masts and the rigging were lying over And the rest they came aboard us, and they

the side; fought us hand to hand,

But Sir Richard cried in his English pride: For a dozen times they came with their pikes |--We have fought such a

and and musqueteers,

a night And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog

| As may never be fought again! that shakes his ears

We have won great glory, my men!
When he leaps from the water to the land.

And a day less or more
At sea or ashore,

We die-does it matter when? And the sun went down, and the stars came Sink me the ship, Master Gunner-sink her, out far over the summer sea,

split her in twain! But never a moment ceased the fight of the Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands one and the fifty-three.

of Spain!”

90

VIII

IX

II

III

XIV

XII

NORTHERN FARMER* And the gunner said, “Ay, ay,” but the sea

OLD STYLE men made reply: “We have children, we have wives, And the Lord hath spared our lives.

Wheer 'asta beän saw long and meä liggin' We will make the Spaniard promise, if we 'ere aloän? yield, to let us go;

Noorse? thoort nowt o' a noorse; whoy, DocWe shall live to fight again and to strike an

tor 's abeän an'agoän; other blow.”

Says that I moänt 'a naw moor aäle, but I And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded beänt a fool; to the foe.

Git ma my aäle, fur I beänt a-gawin' to breäk XIII

my rule. And the stately Spanish men to their flagship bore him then,

Doctors, they knaws nowt, fur a says what 's Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir nawways true; Richard caught at last,

Vaw soort o' koind o' use to saäy the things And they praised him to his face with their that a do. courtly foreign grace;

I 've 'ed my point o' aäle ivry noight sin' I But he rose upon their decks, and he cried : 100 beän 'ere. “I have fought for Queen and Faith like a An' I've 'ed my quart ivry market-noight for valiant man and true;

foorty year.

8 I have only done my duty as a man is bound

to do. With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville

Parson 's a beän loikewoise, an’ a sittin' pre die!"

o' my bed. And he fell upon their decks, and he died.

| “The Amoighty 's a taäkin o’youl to 'issén,

my friend,” a said,

An'a towd ma my sins, an' 's toithe were due, And they stared at the dead that had been so an' gied it in hond; valiant and true,

I done moy duty boy 'um, as I 'a done boy And had holden the power and glory of Spain

the lond.

12 so cheap That he dared her with one little ship and his Larn’d a ma' bež. I reckons I 'annot sa English few;

mooch to larn. Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught But a cast oop, thot a did, 'bout Bessy Mar. they knew,

ris's barne. But they sank his body with honour down into Thaw a knaws I hallus voäted wi’ Squoire an' the deep.

choorch an' staäte, And they mann'd the Revenge with a swarthier An' i' the woost o' toimes I wur niver agin alien crew,

110
the raäte.

18 And away she sail'd with her loss and long 'd| for her own;

..An' I hallus coom'd to 's choorch afoor moy When a wind from the lands they had ruin'd!

a'

Sally wur dead, awoke from sleep,

An' 'eärd 'um a bummin' awaäy loike a buzAnd the water began to heave and the weather

zard-clock? ower my 'eäd, to moan, And or ever that evening ended a great gale 1 ou as in hour

2 cockchafer blew,

| * Note that in this dialect poem an a pronounced

very lightly represents thou, as in “'asta" And a wave like the wave that is raised by an (hast thou), or he, as in "a says"; or it is a earthquake grew,

mere prefix to a participle, as in "a beän."

"a sittin'"; or, pronounced broadly, it may Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and

stand for have, as in "as I 'a done.” Further, their masts and their flags,

toitne= tithe ; barne = bairn; raäte = church

rate, or tax; 'siver = howsoever : stubbed =And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot

grubbed; boggle =bogle (ghost) : raäved and shatter 'l navy of Spain,

rembled = tore out and removed; 'soize =as

sizes ; yowg=ewes; 'aäpoth half-penny. And the little Revenge herself went down by

worth ; sewer-loy = surely; atta=art thou: the island crags

hallus i' the owd taäle=always urging the

same thing. The numbered notes are Tenny. To be lost evermore in the main.

son's.

IV.

VI

VII

VIII

Ån' I niver knaw'd whot a mean'd but I Done it ta-year I meän’, an' runn'd plow thowt a 'ad summut to saäy,

thruff it an’all, An' I thowt a said whot a owt to 'a said, an' If Godamoighty an' parson 'ud nobbut let ma I coom'd awaäy.

20

aloän,Meä, wi' haäte hoonderd haäcre o' Squoire's, an lond o' my oän.

44 Bessy Marris's barne! tha knaws she laäid it to meä.

XII Mowt a beän, mayhap, for she wur a bad un, Do Godamoighty knaw what a's doing a-taäkin' sheä.

o' meä? 'Siver, I kep 'um, I kep 'um, my lass, tha mun | I beänt wonn as saws 'ere a beän an yonder a understond;

I peä; I done moy duty boy ’um, as I 'a done boy the An' Squoire 'ull be sa mad an all-a' dear, lond.

a' dear!

And I 'a managed for Squoire coom MichaelBut Parson a cooms an' a goäs, an'a says it mas thutty year.

easy an' freä: “The Amoighty 's a taäkin o' you to 'issén,

XIII my friend,' says 'eä.

A mowt 'a taäen oud Joänes, as 'ant not a I weänt sažy men be loiars, thaw summun said

'aäpoth o sense, it in 'aäste;

Or a mowt a' taäen young Robins-a niver But 'e reads wonn sarmin a weeäk, an' I 'a

mended a fence; stubb’d Thurnaby waäste.

40 | But Godamoighty a moost taäke meä an' taäke

ma now,

| Wi' aäf the cows to cauve an' Thurnaby D’ ya moind the waäste, my lass? naw, naw,

hoälms to plow!

52 tha was not born then; Theer wur a boggle. in it, I often 'eärd 'um

XIV mysén; Moäst loike a butter-bump,3 fur l 'eärd 'um Looök ’ow quoloty smoiles when they seeäs about an’ about,

ma a passin' boy, But I stubb'd 'um oop wi’ the lot. an' raäved Says to thessén, naw doubt, “What a man a an' rembled 'um out.

I beä sewer-loy!”

Fur they knaws what I beän to Squoire sin IX

fust a coom’d to the 'All; Keäper's it wur; fo’ they fun 'um theer a-laäid I done moy duty by Squoire an’ I done mog of 'is faäce

duty boy hall. Down i' the woild 'enemies4 afoor I coom'd to

the plaäce. Noäks or Thimbleby-toäneri 'ed shot ’um as Squoire 's i' Lunnon, an' summun I reckons dead as a naäil.

'ull 'a to wroite, Noäks wur 'ang'd for it oop at 'soize—but git For whoä 's to howd the lond ater meä thot ma my aäle.

muddles ma quoit;

Sartin-sewer I bei thot a weïnt niver give it Dubbut looök at the waäste; theer warn 't not to Joänes, feeäd for a cow;

Naw, nor a moänt to Robins-a niver rembles Nowt at all but bracken an' fuzz, an' looök at the stoäns.

it nowWarn't worth nowt a haäcre, an' now theer 's

XVI lots o' feeäd,

But summun 'ull come ater meä mayhap wi' 'is Fourscoor yowgl upon it, an' some on it down

kittle o' steam i' seeäd.6

Huzzin' an' maäzin' the blessed feälls wi' the

divil's oän team, Nobbút a bit on it 's left, an' I mean'd to 'a Sin' I mun doy I mun doy, thaw loife they · stubb'd it at fall,

says is sweet,

But sin’ I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn 3 bittern

5 one or other 4 anemones 6 clover

abeär to see it.

56

XV

36

60

64

XVII What atta stannin' theer fur, an' doesn bring | Ah-you, that have lived so soft, what should ma the aäle?

you know of the night, Doctor 's a 'toättler, lass, an a's hallus i' the The blast and the burning shame and the bitowd taäle;

ter frost and the fright? I weänt break rules fur Doctor, a knaws naw I have done it, while you were asleep-you moor nor a floy;

were only made for the day. Git ma my aäle, I tell tha, an’ if I mun doy | I have gather'd my baby together and now mun doy.

68
you may go your way.

20

VI

IT

RIZPAH*

Nay-for it's kind of you, madam, to sit by an 17

old dying wife.

But say nothing hard of my boy, I have only Wailing, wailing, wailing, the wind over land and sea

I kiss 'd my boy in the prison, before he went And Willy's voice in the wind, “O mother,

out to die. come out to me!”

“They dared me to do it,” he said, and he Why should he call me to-night, when he knows

never has told me a lie. that I cannot go?

I whipt him for robbing an orchard once when For the downs are as bright as day, and the he was but a childfull moon stares at the snow.

"The farmer dared me to do it,” he said; he

was always so wild

And idle--and could n't he idle—my WillyWe should be seen, my dear; they would spy us h e never could rest. out of the town.

The King should have made him a soldier, he The loud black nights for us, and the storm

would have been one of his best. rushing over the down, When I cannot see my own hanıl, but am led by

VII the creak of the chain, 1

But he lived with a lot of wild mates, and they And grovel and grope for my son till I find

never would let him be good; myself drenched with the rain.

They swore that he dare not rob the mail, and he swore that he would;

30 III

And he took no life, but he took one purse, and Anything fallen again? nay-what was there

when all was done left to fall?

He flung it among his fellows–“I'll none of I bave taken them home, I have number 'd the

it,” said my son. bones, I have hidden them all. 10 What am I saying? and what are you? do you come as a spy!

VIII Falls? what falls! who knows? As the tree I came into court to the judge and the lawyers. falls so must it lie.

I told them my tale,

God's own truth--but they kill'd him, they IV

. kill'd him for robbing the mail. Who let her in? how long has she been? you— They hang 'd him in chains for a show-we had what have you heard ?

always borne a good nameWhy did you sit so quiet? you never have To be hang'd for a thief-and then put away spoken a word.

is n't that enough shame! 0--to pray with me-yes-a lady-none of Dust to dust—low down-let us hide! but they their spies-

set him so high But the night has crept into my heart, and That all the ships of the world could stare at begun to darken my eyes.

him, passing by. * Founded on a story related in a penny magazine,

God 'll pardon the hell-black raven and horrible and on the fact that criminals were often denied Christian burial. The title is taken Rut not the black heart of the lawyer who

from the narrative in 2 Samuel, xxi, 1-14. 1 See line 35.

kill'd him and hang 'd him there. 40

IX

| For the lawyer is born but to murder-the

Saviour lives but to bless. And the jailer forced me away. I had bid him

He'll never put on the black cap except for my last good-bye;

the worst of the worst, They had fasten'd the door of his cell. “01

And the first may be last-I have heard it in mother!" I heard him cry.

church and the last may be first. I could n't get back tho' I tried, he had something further to say,

Suffering-0, long-suffering-yes, as the Lord

must know, And now I never shall know it. The jailer

Year after year in the mist and the wind and forced me away.

the shower and the snow.

XIV

70

XV

50

Tuen since I could n't but hear that cry of my boy that was dead,

Heard, have you? what? they have told you he They seized me and shut me up: they fasten's I never repented his sin. me down on my bed.

How do they know it? are they his mother? are “Mother, O mother!”-he call'd in the dark

you of his kin? to me year after year-

Heard! have you ever heard, when the storm They beat me for that, they beat me--you know

on the downs began, that I could n't but hear;

| The wind that 'll wail like a child and the sea And then at the last they found I had grown that 'll moan like a man?

so stupid and still They let me abroad again--but the creatures had worked their will.

Election, Election, and Reprobation-it 's all XI

very well.

But I go to-night to my boy, and I shall not Flesh of my flesh was gone, but bone of my find him in hell. bone was left

For I cared so much for my boy that the Lord I stole them all from the lawyers—and you, will has look'd into my care, you call it a theft ?

And He means me I'm sure to be happy with My baby, the bones that had suck'l me, the

Willy, I know not where. bones that had laugh'd and had cried'Theirs? O, no! they are mine-not theirs

XVI they had moved in my side. ..

And if he be lost-but to save my soul, that is XII

all your desire

Do you think that I care for my soul if my boy Do you think I was scared by the bones? 1

be gone to the fire ? kiss'd 'em, I buried 'em allI can't dig deep, I am old—in the night by the

I have been with God in the dark-go, go, you churchyard wall.

may leave me aloneMy Willy 'll rise up whole when the trumpet of

You never have borne a child-you are just as . hard as a stone.

80 judgment 'll sound, But I charge you never to say that I laid him

XVII in holy ground.

| Madam, I beg your pardon! I think that you XIII

mean to be kind, They would scratch him up—they would nang But I cannot hear what you say for my Willy's him again on the curséd tree.

voice in the wind Sin? O, yes, we are sinners, I know-let all the snow and the sky so bright-he used but that be,

to call in the dark, And read me a Bible verse of the Lord's good. And he calls to me now from the church and will toward men

not from the gibbet-for hark! “Full of compassion and mercy, the Lord''- Nay-you can hear it yourself—it is cominglet me hear it again;

shaking the walls“Full of compassion and mercy-long-suffer- Willy—the moon is in a cloud- Good-night. ing." Yes, O, yes!

I am going. He calls.

60

« PreviousContinue »