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But when they to the church-yard came,
I've heard poor Mary say,

As soon as she stepp'd 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 stepp'd beneath the boughs

Into the mossy track.

Her feet upon the mossy track

The married maiden set:

That moment I have heard her say—

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.

* But when he pray'd-1809.

So five months pass'd: the mother still
Would never heal the strife;
But Edward was a loving man,
And Mary a fond wife.

"My sister may not visit us,
My mother says her nay:
O Edward! you are all to me,
I wish for your sake I could be
More lifesome and more gay.

"I'm dull and sad! indeed, indeed
I know I have no reason!
Perhaps I am not well in health,
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
And weather dark* and dreary,
Trudged every day to Edward's house,
And made them all more cheery.

Oh! Ellen was a faithful friend,
More dear than any sister!
As cheerful too as singing lark ;

* Dank-1899.

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,

Once, sir, he said to me,

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 :

Though Ellen always kept her church
All church-days during Lent.

And gentle Ellen welcomed her

With courteous looks and mild : Thought she, "What if her heart should melt, And all be reconciled!"

The day was scarcely like a day—
The clouds were black outright :
And many a night, with half a moon,
I've seen the church more light.

The wind was wild; against the glass
The rain did beat and bicker;

The church-tower swinging* over head, Your 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!


"O hear me, hear me, Lord in Heaven,
Although thou take my life-
O curse this woman, at whose house
Young Edward woo'd his wife.

By night and day, in bed and bower,
O let her cursed be!"

So having pray'd, steady and slow,
She rose up from her knee,
And left the church, nor e'er again
The church-door enter'd she.

I saw poor Ellen kneeling still,
So pale, I guess'd not why:
When she stood up, there plainly was
A trouble in her eye.

And when the prayers were done, we all
Came round and ask'd her why:
Giddy she seem'd, and sure there was
A trouble in her eye.


But ere she from the church-door stepp'd
She smiled and told us why:
"It was a wicked woman's curse,"
Quoth she," and what care I?”

She smiled, and smiled, and pass'd it off
Ere from the door she stept-
But all agree it would have been
Much better had she wept.

And if her heart was not at ease,
This was her constant cry-
"It was a wicked woman's curse-
God's good, and what care I?”

There was a hurry in her looks,
Her struggles she redoubled:
"It was a wicked woman's curse,
And why should I be troubled ?"

These tears will come- -I dandled her
When 'twas the merest fairy-
Good creature! and she hid it all:
She told it not to Mary.

But Mary heard the tale: her arms
Round Ellen's neck she threw ;
"O Ellen, Ellen, she cursed me,
And now she hath* cursed you!"

* Has-1809.

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