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Gleam'd through the twilight, did we stay our talk,
Or part, with kisses, looks, and whisper'd words
Remember'd for a lifetime. Home I went,
And in my College rooms what blissful hopes
Were mine!-what thoughts, that still'd to happy
Where Kate, the fadeless summer of my life,
Made my years Eden, and lit up my home,
(The ivied rectory my sleep made mine,)
With little faces, and the gleams of curls,
And baby crows, and voices twin to hers.
O happy night! O more than happy dreams!
But with the earliest twitter from the eaves,
I rose, and, in an hour, at Clifford's yard,
As if but boating were the crown of life,
Forgetting Tennyson, and books, and rhymes,
Even my new tragedy upon the stocks,
I throng'd my brain with talks of lines and curves,
And all that makes a wherry sure to win,
And furbish'd up the knowledge that I had,
Ere study put my boyhood's feats away,
And made me book-worm; all that day, my hand
Grew more and more familiar with the oar,
And won by slow degrees, as reach by reach
Of the green river lengthen'd on my sight,
Its by-laid cunning back; so, day by day,
From when dawn touch'd our elm-tops, till the moon
Gleam'd through the slumbrous leafage of our lawns,
I flash'd the flowing Isis from my oars
And dream'd of triumph and the prize to come,
And breathed myself, in sport, one after one,
Against the men with whom I was to row,
Until I fear'd but Chester-him alone.
So June stole on to July, sun by sun,
And the day came; how well I mind that day!
Glorious with summer, not a cloud abroad
To dim the golden greenness of the fields,
And all a happy hush about the earth,
And not a hum to stir the drowsing noon,
Save where along the peopled towing-paths,
Banking the river, swarm'd the city out,
Loud of the contest, bright as humming-birds,
Two winding rainbows by the river's brinks,
That flush'd with boats and barges, silken-awn'd,
Shading the fluttering beauties of our balls,
Our College toasts, and gay with jest and laugh,
Bright as their champagne. One, among them all,
My eye saw only; one, that morning, left
With smiles that hid the terrors of my heart,
And spoke of certain hope, and mock'd at fears—
One, that upon my neck had parting hung
Arms white as daisies-on my bosom hid
A tearful face that sobb'd against my heart,
Fill'd with what fondness! yearning with what love!
O hope, and would the glad day make her mine!
O hope, was hope a prophet, truth alone?
There was a murmur in my heart of "Yes,"
That sung to slumber every wakening fear
That still would stir and shake me with its dread.
And now a hush was on the wavering crowd
That sway'd along the river, reach by reach,
A grassy mile, to where we were to turn-
A barge moor'd mid-stream, flush'd with fluttering flags.
And we were ranged, and at the gun we went,
As in a horse-race, all at first a-crowd;
Then, thinning slowly, one by one dropt off,
Till, rounding the moor'd mark, Chester and I
Left the last lingerer with us lengths astern,
The victory hopeless. Then I knew the strife
Was come, and hoped 'gainst fear, and, oar to oar,
Strained to the work before me. Head to head
Through the wild-cheering river-banks we clove
The swarming waters, raining streams of toil;
But Chester gain'd, so much his tutor'd strength
Held on, enduring,-mine still waning more,
And parting with the victory, inch by inch,
Yet straining on, as if I strove with death,
Until I groan'd with anguish. Chester heard,
And turn'd a wondering face upon me quick,
And toss'd a laugh across, with jesting words:
"What, Ned, my boy, and do you take it so ?
The cup's not worth the moaning of a man,
No, nor the triumph. Tush! boy, I must win."
Then from the anguish of my heart a cry
Burst: "Kate, O dearest Kate-O love—we lose!"
"Ah! I've a Kate, too, here to see me win,"
He answered: "Faith! my boy, I pity you."
"Oh, if you lose," I answered, "you but lose
A week's wild triumph, and its praise and pride;
I, losing, lose what priceless years of joy!
Perchance a life's whole sum of happiness-
What years with her that I might call my wife!
Winning, I win her!" O thrice noble heart!
I saw the mocking laugh fade from his face;
I saw a nobler light light up his eyes;
I saw the flush of pride die into one
Of manly tenderness and sharp resolve;
No word he spoke; one only look he threw,
That told me all; and, ere my heart could leap
In prayers and blessings rain'd upon his name,
I was before him, through the tracking eyes
Of following thousands, heading to the goal,
The shouting goal, that hurl'd my conquering name
Miles wide in triumph, "Chester foil'd at last!”
O how I turn'd to him! with what a heart!
Unheard the shouts-unseen the crowding gaze
That ring'd us. How I wrung his answering hand
With grasps that bless'd him, and with flush that toid
I shamed to hear my name more loud than his,
And spurn'd its triumph. So I won my wife,
My own dear wife; and so I won a friend,
Chester, more dear than all but only her
And these, the small ones of my College dreams.
(By permission of the Author.)
THE LINCOLNSHIRE LABOURER.
[Mr. Wills is the Master of the Sailors' Orphans' School in the Port of Hull, and was formerly the master of a Wesleyan school; he is the author of two volumes of verse, "Devonia," and "The British Chief," of which the local press speak in very favourable terms. In his preface to the latter, the author complains that "there are persons to be found who do not admire the versemaking habit of a schoolmaster, and consider his scribbling to be a grave offence," and finds it necessary to explain that he " never allowed himself to be diverted by a love of poetry from the most unceasing attention, during the proper hours, to the necessary employment of teaching." Mr. Wills's employers must have been a set of narrow-minded Stigginses: that the cultivation of any branch of literature should be considered to unfit a man for an intellectual pursuit only goes to prove that the schoolmaster is indeed wanted in a neighbourhood where such an absurd and unjust feeling could find expression. The poem of the "Lincolnshire Labourer" was probably suggested by Tennyson's "Northern Farmer" it is a capital dialect reading, and as it is thoroughly well understood in the county to which it relates (and where our READINGS circulate very extensively), we have pleasure in giving it additional publicity.]
Mr Teddy stays up late a' neets, an ligs i' bed i' the morn, But a moänt hev that, a'm sewer, 'e mun be sawin' the
Fir if 'e 'addles nowt, sivver, 'e weänt hev no money t'
An' a oftens hev telled 'im so, but 'e 'allust says doänt care."
One mornin' a fetch'd my kindlin' in, an' a got my breakfast mysen;
A gev 'im an hour to dress in, an' a left 'im to 'issèn : Quite long en if an' all; sin' 'e war not clear ready then, A tied my herse t' the steel, an' ran hoäm thruff the closins ageän.
A wembled a sheep trough o' my way, beside the hoäm cloäs' pad,
An' hugged a noggin to put i' the grate, an' kep yaupin' to my lad,
But a met 'is mother i' the door-darns an' shea look'd rayther clung,
An' said "Thou'rt tew'd sewer-ly, remember the bai'n is nobbut young;
"'E's nivver been but wankle, an' 'e is our recklin’lad, So let 'im lig a bit longer, fir the maister weänt be mad. Nah doant be sich a nazzle, yow mud see 'tis a houry day, An' 'e adn't foäst to get up while afe past seven o'clock a say."
So a went to my wurk once more, but a thowt my patience tried,
To hev sich an a serry, unheppen lad, an' 'is mother o' his side.
But soon a 'eerd the ga'thman a-rippin' to meck owr Ted cum out,
Yit my wife war slape-sheä knew how to megger't – an' tell'd 'im to look about.
At last 'e fun 'im ditherin', close agin the stable door, When 'e called out, ""Tis a solid shame you hevent been down afoor;
Maybe if your butty 'ad said that the slurr o'the dayke war glib,
A uphold it, yow'd soon a been slitherin', steäd o' fillin' the crib.
"Yow mun teck this furk fra me, an' remble the kids by the trays,
An' fettle the yard an' look heppen, fir these are very shirt days.
up the lether to the loft, an' finnd me the fower stun weight,
Underneän the skep, or among the wots a skeli'd last neet at eight."
If a ad foäst to wait o' my lad a-cun.min to the cloas' while now,
'Twould be a very great chanch if we a'd ivver got off to plow.