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40 THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD.

Up there shall start ten thousand wings,
With a rushing, whistling din;

Up shall the auk and fulmar start, —
All but the fat penguin.

And there, in the wastes of the silent sky,
With the silent earth below, We shall see far off to his lonely rock
The lonely eagle go.

Then softly, softly will we tread

By inland streams, to see
Where the pelican of the silent North

Sits there all silently.

THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD.

Now ponder well, you parents dear,

The words which I shall write;
A doleful story you shall hear,

In time brought forth to light: —
A gentleman of good account

In Norfolk lived of late,
Whose wealth and riches did surmount

Most men of his estate.

Sore sick he was, and like to die,

No help that he could have;
His wife by him as sick did lie,

And both possessed one grave.
No love between these two was lost,

Each was to other kind;
In love they lived, in love they died,

And left two babes behind;

The one a fine and pretty boy,

Not passing three years old;
The other a girl, more young than he,

And made in beauty's mould.
The father left his little son,

As plainly doth appear,
When he to perfect age should come,

Three hundred pounds a year;

And to his little daughter Jane

Five hundred pounds in gold. To be paid down on marriage-day,

Which might not be controlled; But if the children chance to die

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;
God knows what will become of them

When I am dead and gone."
With that bespake their mother dear:

"O brother kind," quoth she, "You are the man must bring our babes

To wealth or misery.

42 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:
"The keeping of your children dear,

Sweet sister, do not fear;
God never prosper me nor mine,

Nor aught else that I have,
If I do wrong your children dear,

When you are laid in grave."

Their parents being dead and gone,

The children home he takes,
And brings them home unto his house,

And much of them he makes.
He had not kept these pretty babes

A twelvemonth and a day,
When for their wealth he did devise

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 told his wife, and all he had,

He did the children send
To be brought up in fair London,

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.
They prate and prattle pleasantly,

As they rode on their way,
To those that should their butchers be,

And work their lives' decay.

So that the pretty speech they had

Made murderous hearts relent;
And they that undertook the deed,

Full sore they did repent.
Yet one of them, more hard of heart,

Did vow to do his charge,
Because the wretch that hired him

Had paid him very large.

The other would not agree thereto,

So here they fell at strife;
With one another they did fight

About the children's life;
And he that was of mildest mood

Did slay the other there,
Within an unfrequented wood,

While babes did quake for fear.

He took the children by the hand,

When tears stood in their eye;
And bade them come and go with him,

And look they did not cry.
And two long miles he led them on,

While they for food complain: "Stay here," quoth he, "I '11 bring you bread,

When I do come again,"

44 THL 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;
No burial these pretty babes

Of any man receives,
Till Robin-redbreast painfully Did cover them with leaves.

And now the heavy wrath of God

Upon their uncle fell;
Yes, fearful fiends did haunt his house,

His conscience felt a hell;
His barns were fired, his goods consumed,

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;
And, to conclude, himself was brought

To extreme misery.
He pawned and mortgaged all his land

Ere seven years came about,
And now at length this wicked act

Did by this means come out.

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