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similar workings on the imagination of the Copper Indians (those of my Readers who have it in their power will be well repaid for the trouble of referring to those works for the passages alluded to); and I conceived the design of shewing that instances of this kind are not peculiar to savage or barbarous tribes, and of illustrating the mode in which the mind is affected in these cases, and the progress and symptoms of the morbid action on the fancy from the beginning.
The Tale is supposed to be narrated by an old Sexton, in a country church-yard, to a Traveller whose curiosity had been awakened by the appearance of three graves, close by each other, to two only of which there were grave-stones. On the first of these was the name, and dates, as usual: on the second, no name, but only a date, and the words, The Mercy of God is infinite.]
THE Grapes upon the Vicar's wall
Were ripe as ripe could be ;
And yellow leaves in Sun and Wind
On the hedge-elms in the narrow lane
Up through that wood behind the church,
A mossy track, all over bough'd,
For half a mile or more.
And from their house-door by that track
But when they to the church-yard came,
As soon as she stept into the Sun,
Her heart it died away.
And when the Vicar join'd their hands,
Her limbs did creep and freeze;
But when they pray'd, she thought she saw
Her mother on her knees.
And o'er the church-path they return'd
I saw poor Mary's back,
Just as she stept beneath the boughs
Into the mossy track.
Her feet upon the mossy track
The married maiden set:
That moment-I have heard her
She wish'd she could forget.
The shade o'er-flush'd her limbs with heat
Then came a chill like death:
And when the merry bells rang out,
They seem'd to stop her breath.
Beneath the foulest Mother's curse
No child could ever thrive:
A Mother is a Mother still,
The holiest thing alive.
So five months pass'd: the Mother still
But Edward was a loving man
And Mary a fond wife.
"My sister may not visit us,
I'm dull and sad! indeed, indeed
And 'tis a gloomy season."
"Twas a drizzly time-no ice, no snow!
And on the few fine days
She stirr'd not out, lest she might meet
Her mother in the ways.
But Ellen, spite of miry ways
Oh! Ellen was a faithful Friend,
As cheerful too as singing lark;
And she ne'er left them till 'twas dark,
And then they always miss'd her.
And now Ash-Wednesday came-that day But few to Church repair :
For on that day you know we read
The Commination prayer.
Our late old Vicar, a kind man,
He wish'd that service was clean out
Of our good Liturgy.
The Mother walk'd into the church-
To Ellen's seat she went:
Tho' Ellen always kept her church
All church-days during Lent.
And gentle Ellen welcom'd her
With courteous looks and mild:
Thought she, "what if her heart should melt, And all be reconcil'd !"
The day was scarcely like a day-
The wind was wild; against the glass
You scarce could hear the Vicar !
And then and there the Mother knelt,
And audibly she cried
Oh! may a clinging curse consume
This woman by my side!