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The word, by others dreaded, he can hear | Deep in a forest, with leave given, at the age
(little one! With mortal creature. An inhabitant Who with him ? -- even the senseless of that same town, in which the pair had With that sole charge he passed the city- left gates,
So lively a remembrance of their griefs, For the last time, attendant by the side
By chance of business, coming within reach Of a close chair, a litter, or sedan,
Of his retirement, to the forest lodge In which the babe was carried. To a hill
, Repaired, but only found the matron there, That rose a brief league distant from the Who told him that his pains were thrown town,
away, The dwellers in that house where he had For that her master never uttered word Accompanied his steps, by anxious love
To living thing—not even to her.- Behold! Impelled :-they parted from him there, while they were speaking, Vaudracour and stood
approached; Watching below, till he had disappeared
But, seeing some one near, even as his hand On the hill top. His eyes he scarcely Was stretched towards the garden gate, he took,
shrunkThroughout that journey, from the vehicle And, like a shadow, glided out of view. (Slow-moving ark of all his hopes !) that Shocked at his savage aspect, from the veiled
place The tender infant : and at every inn,
The visitor retired. And under every hospitable tree
Thus lived the youth At which the bearers halted or reposed, Cut off from all mtelligence with man, Laid him with timid care upon his knees, And looked, as mothers ne'er were known And shunning even the light of common
through France to look,
Nor could the voice of freedom, which l'pon the nursling which his arms em- Full speedily resounded, public hope, braced.
Or personal memory of his own deep This was the manner in which Vandra- Rouse him : but in those solitary shades
His days he wasted, an imbecile mind ! Departed with his infant; and thus reached His father's house, where to the innocent child
(spake Admittance was denied. The young man
THE IDIOT BOY. No words of indignation or reproof, But of his father begged, a last request, 'Tis eight o'clock,-a clear March night That a retreat might be assigned to him The moon is up-the sky is blue, Where in forgotten quiet he might dwell, The owlet, in the moonlight air, With such allowance as his wants required; Shouts, from nobody knows where ; For wishes he had none. To a lodge that He lengthens out his lonely shout, stood
Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo !
Why bustle thus about your door, What means this bustle, Betty Foy? Why are you in this mighty fret? And why or horseback have you set Him whom you love, your Idiot Boy? There's scarce a soul that's out of bed ; Good Betty, put him down again ; His lips with joy they burr at you ; But, Betty! what has he to do With stirrup, saddle, or with rein? But Betty's bent on her intent ; For her good neighbour, Susan Gale, Old Susan, she who dwells alone, Is sick, and makes a piteous moan, As if her very life would fail. There's not a house within a mile, No hand to help them in distress ; Old Susan lies a-bed in pain, And sorely puzzled are the twain, For what she ails they cannot guess. And Betty's husband's at the wood, Where by the week he doth abide, A woodman in the distant vale ; There's none to help poor Susan Gale ; What must be done? what will betide ? And Betty from the lane has fetched Her pony, that is mild and good, Whether he be in joy or pain, Feeding at will along the lane, Or bringing faggots from the wood. And he is all in travelling trim,And, by the moonlight, Betty Foy Has up upon the saddle set (The like was never heard of yet) Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. And he must post without delay Across the bridge and through the dale, And by the church, and o'er the down, To bring a doctor from the town, Or she will die, old Susan Gale. There is no need of boot or spur, There is no need of whip or wand; For Johnny has his holly-bough, And with a hurly-burly now He shakes the green bough in his hand. And Betty o'er and o'er has told The boy, who is her best delight, Both what to follow, what to shun, What do, and what to leave undone, How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge, Was, "Johnny! Johnny! mind that you Come home again, nor stop at all, Come home again, whate'er befal, My Johnny, do, I pray you do." To this did Johnny answer make, Both with his head, and with his hand, And proudly shook the bridle too ; And then ! his words were not a few, Which Betty well could understand. And now that Johnny is just going, Though Betty's in a mighty flurry, She gently pats the pony's side, On which her Idiot Boy must ride, And seems no longer in a hurry. But when the pony moved his legs, Oh! then for the poor Idiot Boy ! For joy he cannot hold the bridle, For joy his head and heels are idle, He's idle all for very joy. And while the pony moves his legs, In Johr.ny's left hand you may see The green bough motionless and dead : The moon that shines above his head Is not more still and mute than he. His heart it was so full of glee, That till full fifty yards were gone, He quite forgot his holly whip. And all his skill in horsemanship, Oh! happy, happy, happy, John. And while the mother, at the door, Stands fixed, her face with joy o'erflows, Proud of herself, and proud of him, She sees him in his travelling trim, How quietly her, ohnny goes. The silence of her Idiot Boy, What hopes it sends to Betty's heart ! He's at the guide-post-he turns right, She watches till he's out of sight, And Betty will not then depart. Burr, burr-now Johnny's lips they burr, As loud as any mill, or near it; Meek as a lamb the pony moves, And Johnny makes the noise he loves, And Betty listens, glad to hear it. Away she hies to Susan Gale : Her messenger's in merry tune ; The owlets hoot, the owlets curr, And Johnny's lips they hurr, burr, burr, As on he goes beneath the moon.
His steed and he right well agree ;
But then he is a horse that thinks!
And Betty, half an hour ago, On Johnny vile reflections cast: "A
little idle sauntering thing!" With other names, an endless string, But now that time is gone and past. And Betty's drooping at the heart, That happy time all past and gone,
How can it be he is so late? The doctor he has made him wait; Susan! they'll both be here anon.' And Susan's growing worse and worse, And Betty's in a sad quandcry; And then there's nobody to say If she must go or she must stay! She's in a sad quandary. The clock is on the stroke of one; But neither doctor nor his guide Appears along the moonlight road; There's neither horse nor man abroad, And Bett's still at Susan's side. And Susan now begins to fear Of sad mischances not a few, That Johnny may perhaps be drowned, Or lost, perhaps, and never found; Which they must both for ever rue. She prefaced half a hint of this With "God forbid it should be true!" At the first word that Susan said Cried Betty, rising from the bed, "Susan, I'd gladly stay with you. "I must be gone, I must away, Consider, Johnny's but half wise ; Susan, we must take care of him,
he is hurt in life or limb"-Oh, God forbid !" poor Susan cries. “What can I do?" says Betty, going, “What can I do to ease your pain? Good Susan tell me, and I'll stay; I sear you're in a dreadful way, But I shall soon be back again."
Nay, Betty, go; good Betty, go! There's nothing that can ease my pain.' Then off she hies; but with a prayer That God poor Susan's life would spare, Till she comes back again. So, through the moonlight lane she goes, And far into the moonlight dale; And how she ran, and how she walked, And all that to herself she talked, Would surely be a tedious tale.
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans;
In high and low, above, below,
“He's not so wise as some folks be."
I thought to find my lost one here,
Oh! what a wretched mother I!'
She stops, she stands, she looks atout; Alone amid a prospect wide;
Which way to turn she cannot tell. There's neither Johnny nor his horse Poor Betty! it would ease her pain Among the fern or in the gorse;
If she had heart to knock again; There's neither doctor nor his guide. The clock strikes three-a dismal knell! "O saints! what is become of him? Then up along the town she hies, Perhaps he's climbed into an oak,
No wonder if her senses fail, Where he will stay till he is dead;
This piteous news so much it shocked her, Or, sadly he has been misled,
She quite forgot to send the doctor,
And she can see a mile of road;
“Oh, cruel! I'm almost threescore; Among the ghosts his own undoing; Such night as this was ne'er before, Or playing with the waterfall."
There's not a single soul abroad." At poor old Susan then she railed, She listens, but she cannot near While to the town she posts away;
The foot of horse, the voice of man; "If Susan had not been so ill,
The streams with softest sound are flowing, Alas! I should have had him still,
The grass you almost hear it growing, My Johnny, till my dying day.”
You hear it now if e'er you can. Poor Betty, in this sad distemper,
The owlets through the long blue night The doctor's self could hardly spare; Are shouting to each other still: Upworthy things she talked, and wild; Fond lovers! yet not quite hob nob Even he, of cattle the most mild,
They lengthen out the tremulous sob, The pony had his share.
That echoes far from hill to hill. And now she's got into the town,
Poor Betty now has lost all hope, And to the doctor's door she hies; Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin: "Tis silence all on every side;
A green-grown pond she just has past, The town so long, the town so wide, And from the brink she hurries fast, Is silent as the skies.
Lest she should drown herself therein. And now she's at the doctor's door, And now she sits her down and weeps; She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap; Such tears she never shed before; The doctor at the casement shows "Oh, dear, dear pony! my sweet joy! His glimmering eyes that peep and doze! Oh, carry back my Idiot Boy! And one hand rubs his old night-cap. And we will ne'er o'erload thee more." "Oh, doctor! doctor! where's my Johnny!" A thought is come into her head; "I'm here, what is't you want with me?" "The pony he is mild and good, "Oh, sir! you know I'm Betty Foy And we have always used him well; And I have lost my poor dear boy, Perhaps he's gone along the dell, You know him-him you often see; And carried Johnny to the wood."
Then up she springs as if on wings; And that's the very pony too!
She hardly can sustain her fears;
And cannot find her Idiot Boy. O reader! now that I might tell
Your pony's worth his weight in gold: What Johnny and his horse are doing! Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy! What they've been doing all this time, She's coming from among the trees, Oh, could I put it into rhyme,
And now all full in view she sees A most delightful tale pursuing!
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy. Perhaps, and no unlikely thought! And Betty sees the pony too: He with his pony now doth roam
Why stand you thus, good Betty Foy? The cliffs and peaks so high that are,
It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost, To lay his hands upon a star,
"Tis he whom you so long have lost, And in his pocket bring it home.
He whom you love, your Idiot Boy. Perhaps he s turned himself about, She looks again-her arms are up --His face unto his horse's tail,
She screams-- she cannot move for joy; And, still and mute, in wonder lost, She darts, as with a torrent's force, All like a silent horseman-ghost,
She almost has o'erturned the horse He travels on along the vale.
And fast she holds her Idiot Boy. And now, perhaps, is hunting sheep, And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud, A fierce and dreadful hunter he;
Whether in cunning or in joy
I cannot tell; but while he laughs,
To hear again her Idiot Boy.
And now is at the pony's head, He's galloping away, away,
On that side now, and now on this; And so will gallop on for aye,
And, almost stifled with her bliss,
She kisses o'er and o'er again
She's happy here, is happy there,
She is uneasy every where;
She pats the pony, where or when
She knows not, happy Betty Foy!
You hardly can perceive his joy.
And gently turned the pony's head
From the loud waterfall.
The little birds began to stir, 'Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live.
Though yet their tongues were still.