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His Mother often thought, and said,
What sin would be upon her head
If she should suffer this : “My Son,
Whate'er you do, leave this undone;
The danger is so great."
Thus lived he by Loch Levin's side Still sounding with the sounding tide, And heard the billows leap and dance, Without a shadow of mischance,
Till he was ten years old.
When one day (and now mark me well,
You soon shall know how this befel)
He's in a vessel of his own,
On the swift water hurrying down
Towards the mighty Sea.
In such a vessel ne'er before
Did human Creature leave the shore:
If this or that way he should stir,
Woe to the poor blind Mariner !
For death will be his doom.
Strong is the current; but be mild,
Ye waves, and spare the helpless Child!
If ye in anger fret or chafe,
A Bee-Live would be ship as safe
As that in which he sails.
But say, what was it? Thought of fear! Well may ye tremble when ye hear!
-A Household Tub, like one of those Which women use to wash their clothes,
This carried the blind Boy.
Close to the water he had found
This Vessel, push'd it from dry ground,
Went into it; and, without dread,
Following the fancies in his head,
He paddled up and down.
A while he stood upon his feet;
He felt the motion-took his seat;
And dallied thus, till from the shore
The tide retreating more and more
Had suck’d, and suck'd him in.
And there he is in face of Heaven !
How rapidly the Child is driven !
The fourth part of a mile I ween
He thus had gone, ere he was seen
By any human eye.
But when he was first seen, oh me!
What shrieking and what misery!
For many saw; among the rest
His Mother, she who loved him best,
She saw her poor blind Boy.
Bat for the Child, the sightless Boy,
It is the triumph of his joy!
The bravest Traveller in balloon,
Mounting as if to reach the moon,
Was never half so bless'd.
And let him, let him go his way,
Alone, and innocent, and gay!
For, if good Angels love to wait
On the forlorn unfortunate,
This Child will take no harm.
But now the passionate lament,
Which from the crowd on shore was sent,
The cries which broke from old and young
In Gaelic, or the English tongue,
Are stifled-all is still.
And quickly with a silent crew
A Boat is ready to pursue;
And from the shore their course they take,
And swiftly down the running Lake
They follow the blind Boy.
With sound the least that can be made
They follow, more and more afraid,
More cautions as they draw more near;
But in his darkness he can hear,
And guesses their intent.