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The Children's Book by  Horace E. Scudder
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LUCY GRAY

OR SOLITUDE

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:

And, when I crossed the wild,

I chanced to see at break of day

The solitary child.


No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;

She dwelt on a wide moor,—

The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a human door!


You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green;

But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen.


[414]

"To-night will be a stormy night—

You to the town must go;

And take a lantern, child, to light

Your mother through the snow."


"That, father, will I gladly do!

'T is scarcely afternoon—

The minster-clock has just struck two.

And yonder is the moon!"


At this the father raised his hook,

And snapped a fagot-band;

He plied his work;—and Lucy took

The lantern in her hand.


Not blither is the mountain roe:

With many a wanton stroke

Her feet disperse the powdery snow,

That rises up like smoke.


The storm came on before its time:

She wandered up and down;

And many a hill did Lucy climb;

But never reached the town.


The wretched parents all that night

Went shouting far and wide;

But there was neither sound nor sight

To serve them for a guide.


At daybreak on a hill they stood

That overlooked the moor;

And thence they saw the bridge of wood,

A furlong from their door.


They wept, and turning homeward, cried,

"In heaven we all shall meet!"—

When in the snow the mother spied

The print of Lucy's feet.


Then downward from the steep hill's edge

They tracked the footmarks small;

And through the broken hawthorn hedge,

And by the long stone wall;


And then an open field they crossed;

The marks were still the same;

They tracked them on, nor ever lost;

And to the bridge they came.


They followed from the snowy bank

Those footmarks, one by one,

Into the middle of the plank;

And further there were none!


Yet some maintain that to this day

She is a living child;

That you may see sweet Lucy Gray

Upon the lonesome wild.


O'er rough and smooth she trips along,

And never looks behind;

And sings a solitary song

That whistles in the wind.

William Wordsworth


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