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The Pond—and Thorn, so old and gray;
Pass by her door-'tis seldom shut-
And, if you see her in her hut,
Then to the spot away!
I never heard of such as dare
Approach the spot when she is there.
“ But wherefore to the mountain-top
Can this unhappy Woman go,
Whatever star is in the skies,
Whatever wind may blow ?"
Nay, rack your brain—'tis all in vain,
I'll tell you every thing I know;
But to the Thorn, and to the Pond
Which is a little step beyond,
I wish that
would Perhaps, when you are at the place, You something of her tale may trace.
I'll give you the best help I can:
Before you up the mountain go,
Up to the dreary mountain-top,
I'll tell you all I know.
'Tis now some two-and-twenty years
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maiden's true good will
Her company to Stephen Hill;
And she was blithe and
gay, And she was happy, happy still Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.
And they had fix'd the wedding-day,
The morning that must wed them both;
But Stephen to another Maid
Had sworn another oath ;
And with this other Maid to churchi
Unthinking Stephen went-
Poor Martha ! on that woeful day
A cruel, cruel fire, they say,
Into her bones was sent :
It dried her body like a cinder,
And almost turned her brain to tinder.
XIII. They say, full six months after this, While yet the summer leaves were green, She to the mountain-top would go, And there was often seen. 'Tis said, a child was in her womb, As now to any eye was plain; She was with child, and she was mad;
Yet often she was sober sad
From her exceeding pain.
Oh me! ten thousand times I'd rather
That he had died, that cruel father!
Sad case for such a brain to hold
Communion with a stirring child !
Sad case, as you may think, for one
Who had a brain so wild !
Last Christmas when we talked of this,
Old farmer Simpson did maintain,
That in her womb the infant wrought
About its mother's heart, and brought
Her senses back again :
And when at last her time drew near,
Her looks were calm, her senses clear.
No more I know, I wish I did,
And I would tell it all to you;
For what became of this poor
There's none that ever knew :
And if a child was born or no,
There's no one that could ever tell ;
And if 'twas born alive or dead,
There's no one knows, as I have said;
But some remember well,
That Martha Ray about this time
Would the mountain often climb.
And all that winter, when at night
The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
The church-yard path to seek :
For many a time and oft were heard
Cries coming from the mountain-head:
Some plainly living voices were ;
And others, I've heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead :
I cannot think, whate'er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.