Ive seen the mid night morrice dance & play

Ive seen the mid night morrice dance & play
On the black moores while thicker darkness fell
Like dancing lamps or bounding balls of fire
Now in & out now up & down—now higher
As though an unseen horseman in his flight
Flew swinging up & down a lamp alight
Then fixed as though it feared its end to meet
It shone as lamps shine in a stilly street
Then all at once it shot & danced anew
Till mixed with darkness out of sight it grew
The simple shepherd under fears eclipse
Views the dread omens of these ‘will o whisps’
& thinks them haunting spirits of the earth
That shine where mid night murders had their birth
With souls of mid night & with heads of fire
To him they shine & bound oer moor & mire
Blazing like burning crackling whisps of straw
He sees & hears them—then with sudden awe
He pictures thieves with lanthorns light in hand
That in lone spots for murder waiting stand
Upon the meadow bridges very wall
He sees a lanthorn stand & pictures all
The muttered voices that derange his ears
& when more near the spot his sickening fears
Sees the imagined lanthorn light & all
Without a plash into the water fall
& in one moment on his stifled sight
It blanks his hopes & sets his terrors right
For furlongs off it simmers up & down
A will owhisp & breathless to the town
He hastes & hardly dares to catch his breath
Existing like a doubt of life or death
Untill the sight of houses cool his fears
& fireside voices greet his happy ears
& then he rubs his hands beside his fire
& quakes & tells how over moor & mire
The jack o lanthern with his burning tails
Had like to led him & he bites his nails
With very fear to think ont how the blaze
Had like to cheat him into dangerous ways
How that he thought he heard some people stand
As likely thieves with lanthorn in their hand
When in a moment yet he heard no fall
Down went the lanthorn from the arches wall
Into the flood—& on that brig alone
How his heart seemed as growing into stone
He felt it when what did a lanthorn seem
Proved Willy whisp that danced adown the stream
A furlong in a breath—& less then that
So thought he & his hair beneath his hat
Seemed stiff with fear & stood agen his crown
& how he scampered till he got to town
& in his midnight dreams though safe at home
As the dread night mare they will change & come
For so he fancies & within his bed
Hell quake & shudder with the doubts of dread
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