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THE HAUNTED HOUSE.

A ROMANCE

PART I. SOME dreams we have are nothing else but areams, Unnatural, and full of contradictions ; Yet others of our most romantic schemes Are something more than fictions.

It might be only on enchanted ground;
It might be merely by a thought's expansion ;
But, in the spirit or the flesh, I found
An old deserted Mansion.

A residence for woman, child, and man,
A dwelling-place,- and yet no habitation;
A House, - but under some prodigious ban
Of Excommunication.

Unhinged the iron gates nalf open hung,
Jarrd by the gusty gales of many winters.
That from its crumbled pedestal had fung
One marble globe in splinters.

No dog was at the threshold, great or small ;
No pigeon on the roof-no household creature-
No cat demurely dozing on the wall —
Not one domestic feature.

No human figure stirr'd, to go or come,
No face look'd forth from shut or open casement ;
No chimney smoked—there was no sign of Home
From parapet to basement.

With shatter'd panes the grassy court was starr’d; The time-worn coping-stone had tumbled after ! And thro' the ragged roof the sky shone, barrd With naked beam and rafter.

O'er all there hung a shadow and a fear ;
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted !

The flow'r grew wild and rankly as the weed,
Roses with thistles struggled for espial,
And vagrant plants of parasitic breed
Had overgrown the Dial.

But gay or gloomy, steadfast or infirm,
No heart was there to heed the hour's duration;
All times and tides were lost in one long term
Of stagnant desolation.

The wren had built within the Porch, she found
Its quiet loneliness so sure and thorough ;
And on the lawn,-within its turfy mound,
The rabbit made his burrow.

The rabbit wild and gray, that flitted thro'
The shrubby clumps, and frisk'd, and sat, and vanished
But leisurely and bold, as if he knew
His enemy was banish’d.

The wary crow,--the pheasant from the woods-
Lull’d by the still and everlasting sameness,
Close to the mansion, like domestic broods,
Fed with a “shocking tameness.”

The coot was swimming in the reedy pond,
Beside the water-hen, so soon affrighted ;
And in the weedy moat the heron, fond
Of solitude, alighted.

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No sound was heard except, from far away,
The ringing of the witwall's shrilly laughter,
vr, now and then, the chatter of the jay,
That Echo murmur'd after.

But Echo never mock'd the human tongue ;
Some weighty crime, that Heaven could not pardon,
A secret curse on that old Building hung
And its deserted Garden.

The beds were all untouch'd by hand or tool ;
No footstep mark'd the damp and mossy gravel,
Each walk as green as is the mantled pool,
For want of human travel.

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The vine unpruned, and the neglected peach,
Droop'd from the wall with which they used to grapple;
And on the kanker'd tree, in easy reach,
Kutted the golden apple.

But awfully the truant shunn'd the ground,
The vagrant kept aloof, and daring Poacher,
In spite of gaps that thro' the fences round
Invited the encroacher.

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or over all there hung a cloud of fear, A sense of mystery the spirit daunted, And said, as plain as whisper in the ear, The place is Haunted !

The pear and quince lay squander'd on the grass ;
The mould was purple with unheeded showers
Of bloomy plums—a Wilderness it was
Of fruits, and weeds, and flowers !

The marigold amidst the nettles blew,
Iwe gourd embraced the rose bush in its ramble
Tse thistle and the stock together grew,
The holly-hock and bramble

The bear-bine with the lilac interlaced,
The sturdy bur-dock choked its slender neighbour,
The spicy pink. All tokens were effaced
Of human care and labour.

The very yew Formality had train'd
To such a rigid pyramidal stature,
For want of trimming had almost regain'd
The raggedness of nature.

The Fountain was a-dry-neglect and time
Had marr'd the work of artisan and mason,
And efts and croaking frogs, begot of slime,
Sprawld in the ruin'd bason.

The Statue, fallen from its marble base,
Amidst the refuse leaves, and herbage rotten,
Lay like the Idol of some by-gone race,
Its name and rites forgotten.

On ev'ry side the aspect was the same,
All ruin'd, desolate, forlorn and savage :
No hand or foot within the precinct came
To rectify or ravage.

For over all there hung a cloud of fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is Haunted !

PART II.

O, VERY gloomy is the House of Woe,
Where tears are falling while the bell is knelling,
With all the dark solemnities which show
That Death is in the dwelling.

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