The Harvest-Supper

(Circa 1850)

Nell and the other maids danced their best
With the Scotch-Greys in the barn;
These had been asked to the harvest-feast;
Red shapes amid the corn.

Nell and the other maids sat in a row
Within the benched barn-nook;
Nell led the songs of long ago
She'd learnt from never a book.

She sang of the false Sir John of old,
The lover who witched to win,
And the parrot, and cage of glittering gold;
And the other maids joined in.

Then whispered to her a gallant Grey,
" Dear, sing that ballet again!
For a bonnier mouth in a bonnier way
Has sung not anywhen!"

As she loosed her lips anew there sighed
To Nell through the dark barn-door
The voice of her Love from the night outside,
Who was buried the month before:

" O Nell, can you sing ballets there,
And I out here in the clay,
Of lovers false of yore, nor care
What you vowed to me one day!

" O can you dance with soldiers bold,
Who kiss when dancing's done,
Your little waist within their hold,
As ancient troth were none!"

She cried: " My heart is pierced with a wound!
There's something outside the wall
That calls me forth to a greening mound:
I can sing no more at all!

She cried: " My heart is pierced with a wound!
There's something outside the wall
That calls me forth to a greening mound:
I can sing no more at all!

They bore her home from the merry-making;
Bad dreams disturbed her bed:
" Nevermore will I dance and sing,"
Mourned Nell; " and never wed!"
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