my dear,

For I remember a quarrel I had with your father, All for å slanderous story, that cost me many a

tear. I mean your grandfather, Annie: it cost me a world Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.

of woe,


For Jenny, my cousin, had come to the place, and

I knew right well That Jenny bad tript in her time: I knew, but I

would not tell. And she to be coming and slandering me, the base

little liar! But the tongue is a fire as you know, my dear, the

tongue is a fire.

VIII. And the parson made it his text that week, and he

said likewise, That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest

of lies, That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought

with outright, But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to



And Willy had not been down to the farm for a

week and a day; And all things look'd half-dead, tho’ it was the middle

of May. Jenny, to slander me, who knew what Jenny had

been ! But soiling another, Annie, will never make oneselt



And I cried myself well-nigh blind, and all of an

evening late I climb'd to the top of the garth, and stood by tho

road at the gate. The moon like a rick on fire was rising over the dale, And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt

the nightingale.


All of a sudden he stopt: there past by the gate of

the farm, Willy,—he didn't see me,-and Jenny hung on

his arm. Out into the road I started, and spoke I scarce

knew how; Ah, there's no fool like the old one-it makes me

angry now.

Willy stood up like a man, and look'd the thing

that he meant;
Jenny, the viper, made me a mocking courtesy and

went. And I said, “Let us part: in a hundred years it'll

all be the same, You cannot love me at all, if you love not my good



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And he turn'd, and I saw his eyes all wet, in the

sweet moonshine: * Sweetheart, I love you so well that your good

name is mine. And what do I care for Jane, let her speak of you

well or ill; But marry me out of hand : we two shall be happy




“ Marry you, Willy !” said I, “but I needs must

speak my mind, I fear you 'll listen to tales, be jealous and hard

and unkind.” But he turn'd and claspt me in his arms, and an

swer'd, “No, love, no;" Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.


So Willy and I were wedded: I wore a lilac

gown; And the ringers rang with a will, and he gave

the ringers a crown. But the first that ever I bare was dead before he

was born, Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower and



That was the first time, too, that ever I thought of

death. There lay the sweet little body that never had

drawn a breath. I had not wept, little Anne, not since I had been a But I wept like a child that day, for the babe had

fought for his life.



His dear little face was troubled, as if with anger

or pain : I look’ at the still little body-his troable had all

been in vain. For Willy I cannot weep, I shall see him another But I wept like a child for the child that was dead

before he was born.

morn :


But he cheer'd me, my good man, for he seldom

said me nay: Kind, like a man, was he; like a man, too, would

have his way: Never jealous—not he: we had many a happy

year; And he died, and I could not weep--my own time

seem'd so near.


But I wish'd it had been God's will that I, too, then

could have died: I began to be tired a little, and fain had slept at

his side. And that was ten years back, or more, if I don't

forget: But as to the children, Annie, they're all about me



Pattering over the boards, my Annie who left me

at two, Patter she goes, my own little Annie, an Annie like

you: Pattering over the boards, she comes and goes at

her will, While Harry is in the five-acre and Charlie plough

ing the hill.


And Harry and Charlie, I hear them too—they

sing to their team: Often they come to the door in a pleasant kind of a

dream. They come and sit by my chair, they hover about I am not always certain if they be alive or dead.

my bed


And yet I know for a truth, there's none of them

left alive; For Harry went at sixty, your father at sixty-five : And Willy, my eldest born, at nigh threescore and

ten; I knew them all as babies, and now they're elderly



For mine is a time of peace, it is not often I

grieve; I am oftener sitting at home in my father's farm at


And the neighbors come and laugh and gossip,

and so do I; I find myself often laughing at things that have

long gone by.


To be sure the preacher says, our sins should make

us sad: But mine is a time of peace, and there is Grace to

be bad; And God, not man, is the Judge of us all when life

shall cease ; And in this Book, little Annie, the message is one

of Peace.


And age is a time of peace, so it be free from

pain, And happy has been my life; but I would not live

it again. I seem to be tired a little, that's all, and long for Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with

the best.


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