« PreviousContinue »
The one a fine and pretty boy,
Not passing three years old ;
And made in beauty's mould.
As plainly doth appear,
Three hundred pounds a year;
And to his little daughter Jane
Five hundred pounds in gold,
Which might not be controlled ;
Ere they to age should come, Their uncle should possess their wealth,
For so the will did run.
“Now, brother," said the dying man,
“Look to my children dear; Be good unto my boy and girl,
No friends else have I here. To God and you I do commend
My children night and day ; But little while, be sure, we have
Within this world to stay.
“You must be father and mother both,
And uncle, all in one ;
When I am dead and gone.”
“O brother kind," quoth she, “You are the man must bring our babes
To wealth or misery.
THE CHILDREN IN THE wood.
“ And if you keep them carefully,
Then God will you reward ; If otherwise you seem to deal,
God will your deeds regard.” With lips as cold as any stone,
She kissed her children small : “God bless you both, my children dear!”
With that the tears did fall.
These speeches then their brother spoke
To this sick couple there :
Sweet sister, do not fear;
Nor aught else that I have,
When you are laid in grave.”
Their parents being dead and gone,
The children home he takes,
And much of them he makes.
A twelvemonth and a day,
To make them both away.
He bargained with two ruffians rude,
Which were of furious mood, That they should take the children young,
And slay them in the wood.
He did the children send
With one that was his friend.
Away then went these pretty babes,
Rejoicing at that tide, Rejoicing with a merry mind,
They should on cock-horse ride.
As they rode on their way,
And work their lives' decay.
So that the pretty speech they had
Made murderous hearts relent;
Full sore they did repent.
Did vow to do his charge,
Had paid him very large.
The other would not agree thereto,
So here they fell at strife;
About the children's life;
Did slay the other there,
While babes did quake for fear.
He took the children by the hand,
When tears stood in their eye;
And look they did not cry.
While they for food complain : “Stay here,' quoth he, “I'll bring you bread,
When I do come again."
THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD.
These pretty babes, with hand in hand,
Went wandering up and down; But never more they saw the man
Approaching from the town. Their pretty lips with blackberries
Were all besmeared and dyed, And when they saw the darksome night,
They sat them down and cried.
Thus wandered these two pretty babes,
Till death did end their grief; In one another's arms they died,
As babes wanting relief;
Of any man receives,
Did cover them with leaves.
And now the heavy wrath of God
Upon their uncle fell;
His conscience felt a hell;
His lands were barren made; His cattle died within the field,
And nothing with him stayed.
And in the voyage of Portugal,
Two of his sons did die;
To extreme misery.
Ere seven years came about,
Did by this means come out.
The fellow that did take in hand
These children for to kill
As was God's blessed will;
The which is here expressed ;
In prison long did rest.
All you that be executors made,
And overseers eke,
And infants mild and meek,
And yield to each his right;
Your wicked minds requite.
THE USE OF FLOWERS. -- Mary Howitt.
God might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small, The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
Without a flower at all.
We might have had enough, enough
For every want of ours,
And yet have had no flowers.
The ore within the mountain mine
Requireth none to grow ;
To make the river flow.