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Mary Mother she stooped from heaven;
She wakened Earl Harold out of his sweven,
To don his harness on;
And over the land and over the sea
He wended abroad to his own countrie,
A weary way to gon.

O but his beard was white with eld,
Oh but his hair was gray;

He stumbled on by stock and stone,

And as he journeyed he made his moan
Along that weary way.

Earl Harold came to his castle wall;
The gate was burnt with fire;

Roof and rafter were fallen down,

The folk were strangers all in the town,
And strangers all in the shire.

Earl Harold came to a house of nuns,
And he heard the dead-bell toll;

He saw the sexton stand by a grave;

“Now Christ have mercy, who did us save, Upon yon fair nun's soul.”

The nuns they came from the convent gate By one, by two, by three;

They sang for the soul of a lady bright Who died for the love of a traitor knight: It was his own lady.

He stayed the corpse beside the grave;
“A sign, a sign!” quod he.

“Mary Mother who rulest heaven,

Send me a sign if I be forgiven
By the woman who so loved me.”

A white dove out of the coffin flew;
Earl Harold’s mouth it kist;

He fell on his face, wherever he stood;

And the white dove carried his soul to God Or ever the bearers wist.

(Old English ballad.)

One summer evening, a maiden fair
Was walking forth in the balmy air,
She met a sailor upon the way;
“Maiden stay,” he whispered,
“Maiden stay,” he whispered,
“O pretty maiden stay.

“Why art thou walking abroad alone?
The stars are shining, the day is done.”
O then her tears they began to flow,
For a dark-eyed sailor,
For a dark-eyed sailor,
Had filled her heart with woe.

“Three years are passed since he left this land,
A ring of gold he took off my hand,
He broke the token, a half to keep;
Half he bade me treasure,
Half he bade me treasure,
Then crossed the briny deep.”

“O drive him, damsel, from out your mind,
For men are changeful as is the wind,
And love inconstant will quickly grow
Cold as winter morning,
Cold as winter morning,
When lands are white with snow.”

“Above the snow is the holly seen,
In bitter blast it abideth green,
And blood-red drops it as berries bears;
So my aching bosom,
So my aching bosom,
Its truth and sorrow wears.”

Then half the ring did the sailor show:
“Away with weeping and sorrow now!
In bands of marriage united we,
Like the Broken Token,
Like the Broken Token,
In one shall welded be.”


Young Jessica sat all the day,
In love-dreams languishingly pining,
Her needle bright neglected lay,
Like truant genius idly shining.
Jessy, 'tis in idle hearts
That love and mischief are most nimble;
The safest shield against the darts
Of Cupid, is Minerva’s thimble.

A child who with a magnet play'd,
And knew its winning ways so wily,
The magnet near the needle laid,
And laughing said, “We’ll steal it slily.”
The needle, having naught to do,
Was pleased to let the magnet wheedle,
Till closer still the tempter drew,
And off, at length, eloped the needle.

Now, had this needle turn'd its eye
To some gay reticule's construction,
It ne'er had stray’d from duty's tie,
Nor felt a magnet's sly seduction.
Girls would you keep tranquil hearts,
Your snowy fingers must be nimble;
The safest shield against the darts
Of Cupid, is Minerva’s thimble.


[From “Lines and Rymes,” by special permission of the
The curtain had fallen, the lights were dim,
The rain came down with a steady pour;
A white-haired man, with a kindly face,
Peered through the panes of the old stage door.
“I’m getting too old to be drenched like that.”
He muttered, and, turning, met face to face
The woman, whose genius, an hour before,
Like a mighty power had filled the place.

“Yes, much too old,” with a smile, she said,
And she laid her hand on his silver hair;

“You shall ride with me to your home to-night,
For that is my carriage standing there.”

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