A Ballad

'And will you leave me thus alone
And dare you break your vow?
Be sure her Ghost will haunt thy bed
When Mary shall lie low.'

So spoke in tears--but all in vain
The fairest maid of Esthwaite's vale,
To love's soft glance his eye was shut
His ear to Pity's tale.

And oft at Eve he sought the bridge
That near her window lay;
There gayly laughed with other maids
Or sung the hour away.

She saw--and wept--her father frowned,
Her heart began to break;
And oft the live-long day she sat
And word would never speak.

Oft has she seen sweet Esthwaite's lake
Reflect the morning sheen;
When lo! the sullen clouds arise
And dim the smiling scene.

Reflected once in Mary's face
The village saw a mind more fair;
Now every charm was all o'erhung
By woe and black despair.

And oft she roamed at dark midnight
Among the silent graves;
Or sat on steep Winander's rock
To hear the weltering waves.

Her father saw and he grew kind,
And soon Religion shed
Hope's cheering ray to light her to
Her dark, her wormy bed.

For now her hour of Death was nigh,
And oft her waft was seen
With wan light standing at a door,
Or shooting o'er the green.

She saw--she cried--"tis all in vain
For broken is my heart,
And well I know my hour is nigh,
I know that we must part.

Heaven told me once--but I was blind--
My head would soon lie low;
A Rose within our Garden blew
Amid December's snow.

That Rose my William saw--and plucked,
He plucked and gave it me;
Heaven warned me then--ah blind was I--
That he my death would be.

And soon these eyes shall cease to weep
And cease to sob my breath;
Feel--what can warm this clay-cold hand?'
--Her hand was cold as Death.

To warm her hand a glove they brought,
The glove her William gave;
She saw, she wept, and sighed the sigh
That sent her to her grave.

Her knell was rung--the Virgins came
And kissed her in her shroud;
The children touched--'twas all they durst
They touched and wept aloud.

The next day to the grave they went,
All flocked around her bier;
Nor hand without a flower was there
Nor eye without a tear.
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