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    <strong>THE IDIOT BOY.</strong>

    Tis eight oclock,--a clear Maright,

    The moon is up--the sky is blue,

    The owlet in the moonlight air,

    He shouts from nobody knows where;

    He lengthens out his lonely shout,

    Halloo! halloo! a long halloo!

    --Why bustle thus about your door,

    What means this bustle, Betty Foy?

    Why are you in this mighty fret?

    And why on horseback have you set

    Him whom you love, your idiot boy?

    Beh the moon that shines sht,

    Till she is tired, let Betty Foy

    With girt and stirrup ?ddle-faddle;

    But wherefore set upon a saddle

    Him whom she loves, her idiot boy?

    Theres scarce a soul thats out of bed;

    Good Betty! put him down again;

    His lips with joy they burr at you,

    But, Betty! what has he to do

    With stirrup, saddle, or with rein?

    The world will say tis very idle,

    Bethink you of the time of night;

    Theres not a mother, no not one,

    But when she hears what you have done,

    Oh! Betty shell be in a fright.

    But Bettys bent on her i,

    For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,

    Old Susan, she who dwells alone,

    Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,

    As if her very life would fail.

    Theres not a house within a mile.

    No hand to help them in distress:

    Old Susan lies a bed in pain,

    And sorely puzzled are the twain,

    For what she ails they ot guess.

    Ays husbands at the wood,

    Where by the week he doth abide,

    A woodman in the distant vale;

    Theres o help poor Susan Gale,

    What must be done? what will betide?

    Ay from the lane has fetched

    Her pony, that is mild and good,

    Whether he be in joy or pain,

    Feeding at will along the lane,

    ing faggots from the wood.

    And he is all in travelling trim,

    And by the moonlight, Betty Foy

    Has up upon the saddle set,

    The like was never heard of yet,

    Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.

    And he must post without delay

    Across the bridge thats in the dale,

    And by the church, ahe down,

    T a doctor from the town,

    Or she will die, old Susan Gale.

    There is no need of boot or spur,

    There is no need of whip or wand,

    For Johnny has his holly-bough,

    And with a hurly-burly now

    He shakes the green bough in his hand.

    Ay oer and oer has told

    The boy who is her best delight,

    Both what to follow, what to shun,

    What do, and what to leave undone,

    How turn to left, and how tht.

    Ays most especial charge,

    Was, &quot;Johnny! Johnny! mind that you

    &quot;e home again, nor stop at all,

    &quot;e home again, whateer befal,

    &quot;My Johnny do, I pray you do.&quot;

    To this did Johnny answer make,

    Both with his head, and with his hand,

    And proudly shook the bridle too,

    And then! his words were not a few,

    Which Betty well could uand.

    And now that Johnny is just going,

    Though Bettys in a mighty ?urry,

    She gently pats the ponys side,

    On which her idiot boy must ride,

    And seems no longer in a hurry.

    But when the pony moved his legs,

    Oh! then for the poor idiot boy!

    For joy he ot hold the bridle,

    For joy his head and heels are idle,

    Hes idle all for very joy.

    And while the pony moves his legs,

    In Johnnys left-hand you may see,

    The green boughs motionless and dead;

    The moon that shines above his head

    Is not more still and mute than he.

    His heart it was so full of glee,

    That till full ?fty yards were gone,

    He quite fot his holly whip,

    And all his skill in horsemanship,

    Oh! happy, happy, happy John.

    Ays standing at the door,

    Ays face with joy oer?ows,

    Proud of herself, and proud of him,

    She sees him in his travelling trim;

    How quietly her Johnny goes.

    The silence of her idiot boy,

    What hopes it sends to Bettys heart!

    Hes at the guide-post--he turns right,

    She watches till hes out of sight,

    Ay will not the.

    Burr, burr--now Johnnys lips they burr,

    As loud as any mill, or near it,

    Meek as a lamb the pony moves,

    And Johnny makes the noise he loves,

    Ay listens, glad to hear it.

    Away she hies to Susan Gale:

    And Johnnys in a merry tune,

    The owlets hoot, the owlets curr,

    And Johnnys lips they burr, burr, burr,

    And on he goes beh the moon.

    His steed and he right well agree,

    For of this pony theres a rumour,

    That should he lose his eyes and ears,

    And should he live a thousand years,

    He never will be out of humour.

    But then he is a horse that thinks!

    And whehinks his pace is slack;

    Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,

    Yet for his life he ot tell

    What he has got upon his back.

    Sh the moonlight lahey go,

    And far into the moonlight dale,

    And by the church, ahe down,

    T a doctor from the town,

    To fort poor old Susan Gale.

    Ay, now at Susans side,

    Is in the middle of her story,

    What fort Johnny soon will bring,

    With many a most diverting thing,

    Of Johnnys wit and Johnnys glory.

    Ays still at Susans side:

    By this time shes not quite so ?urried;

    Demure with per and plate

    She sits, as if in Susans fate

    Her life and soul were buried.

    But Betty, pood woman! she,

    You plainly in her face may read it,

    Could lend out of that moments store

    Five years of happiness or more,

    To any that might .

    But yet I guess that now and then

    With Betty all was not so well,

    And to the road she turns her ears,

    And thence full many a sound she hears,

    Which she to Susan will not tell.

    Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,

    &quot;As sure as theres a moon in heaven,&quot;

    Cries Betty, &quot;hell be back again;

    &quot;Theyll both be here, tis almost ten,

    &quot;Theyll both be here before eleven.&quot;

    Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,

    The clock gives warning for eleven;

    Tis oroke--&quot;If Johnnys near,&quot;

    Quoth Betty &quot;he will soon be here,

    &quot;As sure as theres a moon in heaven.&quot;

    The clock is oroke of twelve,

    And Johnny is not yet in sight,

    The moons in heaven, as Betty sees,

    But Betty is not quite at ease;

    And Susan has a dreadful night.

    Ay, half an ho,

    On Johnny vile re?es cast;

    &quot;A little idle sauntering thing!&quot;

    With other names, an endless string,

    But now that time is gone and past.

    Ays drooping at the heart,

    That happy time all past and gone,

    &quot;How  it be he is so late?

    &quot;The doctor he has made him wait,

    &quot;Susan! theyll both be here anon.&quot;

    And Susans growing worse and worse,

    Ays in a sad quandary;

    And then theres nobody to say

    If she must go or she must stay:

    --Shes in a sad quandary.

    The clock is oroke of one;

    But her Doctor nor his guide

    Appear along the moonlight road,

    Theres her horse nor man abroad,

    Ays still at Susans side.

    And Susan she begins to fear

    Of sad misot a few,

    That Johnny may perhaps be drownd,

    Or lost perhaps, and never found;

    Which they must both for ever rue.

    She prefaced half a hint of this

    With, &quot;God forbid it should be true!&quot;

    At the ?rst word that Susan said

    Cried Betty, rising from the bed,

    &quot;Susan, Id gladly stay with you.

    &quot;I must be gone, I must away,

    &quot;sider, Johnnys but half-wise;

    &quot;Susan, we must take care of him,

    &quot;If he is hurt in life or limb&quot;--

    &quot;Oh God forbid!&quot; poor Susan cries.

    &quot;What  I do?&quot; says Betty, going,

    &quot;What  I do to ease your pain?

    &quot;Good Susan tell me, and Ill stay;

    &quot;I fear youre in a dreadful way,

    &quot;But I shall soon be back again.&quot;

    &quot;Good Betty go, good Betty go,

    &quot;Theres nothing that  ease my pain.&quot;

    Then off she hies, but with a prayer

    That God p<q></q>oor Susans life would spare,

    Till she es back again.

    So, through the moonlight lane she goes,

    And far into the moonlight dale;

    And how she ran, and how she walked,

    And all that to herself she talked,

    Would surely be a tedious tale.

    In high and low, above, below,

    I and small, in round and square,

    In tree and tower was Johnny seen,

    In bush and brake, in blad green,

    Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where.

    Shes past the bridge thats in the dale,

    And now the thought torments her sore,

    Johnny perhaps his horse forsook,

    To hunt the moon thats in the brook,

    And never will be heard of more.

    And now shes high upon the down,

    Alone amid a prospect wide;

    Theres her Johnny nor his horse,

    Among the fern or in the gorse;

    Theres her doctor nor his guide.

    &quot;Oh saints! what is bee of him?

    &quot;Perhaps hes climbed into an oak,

    &quot;Where he will stay till he is dead;

    &quot;Or sadly he has been misled,

    &quot;And joihe wandering gypsey-folk.

    &quot;Or him that wicked ponys carried

    &quot;To the dark cave, the goblins hall,

    &quot;Or in the castle hes pursuing,

    &quot;Among the ghosts, his own undoing;

    &quot;Or playing with the waterfall.&quot;

    At poor old Susan then she railed,

    While to the town she posts away;

    &quot;If Susan had not been so ill,

    &quot;Alas! I should have had him still,

    &quot;My Johnny, till my dying day.&quot;

    Poor Betty! in this sad distemper,

    The doctors self would hardly spare,

    Unworthy things she talked and wild,

    Even he, of cattle the most mild,

    The pony had his share.

    And now shes got into the town,

    And to the doctors door she hies;

    Tis silence all on every side;

    The town so long, the town so wide,

    Is silent as the skies.

    And <mark>.</mark>now shes at the doctors door,

    She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap,

    The doctor at the casement shews,

    His glimmering eyes that peep and doze;

    And one hand rubs his old night-cap.

    &quot;Oh Doctor! Doctor! wheres my Johnny?&quot;

    &quot;Im here, what ist you want with me?&quot;

    &quot;Oh Sir! you know Im Betty Foy,

    &quot;And I have lost my poor dear boy,

    &quot;You know him--him you often see;

    &quot;Hes not so wise as some folks be,&quot;

    &quot;The devil take his wisdom!&quot; said

    The Doctor, looking somewhat grim,

    &quot;What, woman! should I know of him?&quot;

    And, grumbling, he went back to bed.

    &quot;O woe is me! O woe is me!

    &quot;Here will I die; here will I die;

    &quot;I thought to ?nd my Johnny here,

    &quot;But he is her far nor near,

    &quot;Oh! what a wretched mother I!&quot;

    She stops, she stands, she looks about,

    Which way to turn she ot tell.

    Poor Betty! it would ease her pain

    If she had heart to knock again;

    --The clock strikes three--a dismal knell!

    Then up along the town she hies,

    No wonder if her senses fail,

    This piteous news so much it shockd her,

    She quite fot to send the Doctor,

    To fort poor old Susan Gale.

    And now shes high upon the down,

    And she  see a mile of road,

    &quot;Oh cruel! Im almost three-score;

    &quot;Suight as this was neer before,

    &quot;Theres not a single soul abroad.&quot;

    She listens, but she ot hear

    The foot of horse, the voian;

    The streams with softest sound are ?owing,

    The grass you almost hear it growing,

    You hear it now if eer you .

    The owlets through the long blue night

    Are shouting to each other still:

    Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob,

    They lengthen out the tremulous sob,

    That echoes far from hill to hill.

    Poor Betty now has lost all hope,

    Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin;

    A green-grown pond she just has passd,

    And from the brink she hurries fast,

    Lest she should drown herself therein.

    And now she sits her down and weeps;

    Such tears she never shed before;

    &quot;Oh dear, dear pony! my sweet joy!

    &quot;Oh carry back my idiot boy!

    &quot;And we will neer oerload thee more.&quot;

    A thought is e into her head;

    &quot;The pony he is mild and good,

    &quot;And we have always used him well;

    &quot;Perhaps hes gone along the dell,

    &quot;And carried Johnny to the wood.&quot;

    Then up she springs as if on wings;

    She thinks no more of deadly sin;

    If Betty ?fty ponds should see,

    The last of all her thoughts would be,

    To drown herself therein.

    Oh reader! now that I might tell

    What Johnny and his horse are doing!

    What theyve been doing all this time,

    Oh could I put it into rhyme,

    A most delightful tale pursuing!

    Perhaps, and no uhought!

    He with his pony now doth roam

    The cliffs and peaks so high that are,

    To lay his hands upon a star,

    And in his pocket bring it home.

    Perhaps hes turned himself about,

    His fato his horses tail,

    And still and mute, in wonder lost,

    All like a silent horseman-ghost,

    He travels on along the vale.

    And now, perhaps, hes hunting sheep,

    A ?erd dreadful hunter he!

    Yon valley, thats so trim and green,

    In ?ve months time, should he be seen,

    A desart wilderness will be.

    Perhaps, with head and heels on ?re,

    And like the very soul of evil,

    Hes galloping away, away,

    And so hell gallop on for aye,

    The bane of all that dread the devil.

    I to the muses have been bound,

    These fourteen years, by strong iures;

    Oh gentle muses! let me tell

    But half of what to him befel,

    For sure he met with strange adventures.

    Oh gentle muses! is this kind?

    Why will ye thus my suit repel?

    Why of your further aid bereave me?

    And  ye thus unfriended leave me?

    Ye muses! whom I love so well.

    Whos yon, that, he waterfall,

    Which thunders down with headlong force,

    Beh the moo shining fair,

    As careless as if nothing were,

    Sits upright on a feeding horse?

    Unto his horse, thats feeding free,

    He seems, I think, the rein to give;

    Of moon or stars he takes no heed;

    Of such we in romances read,

    --Tis Johnny! Johnny! as I live.

    And thats the very pony too.

    Where is she, where is Betty Foy?

    She hardly  sustain her fears;

    The r water-fall she hears,

    And ot ?nd her idiot boy.

    Your ponys worth his weight in gold,

    Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy!

    Shes ing from among the trees,

    And now, all full in view, she sees

    Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.

    Ay sees the pony too:

    Why stand you thus Good Betty Foy?

    It is no goblin, tis no ghost,

    Tis he whom you so long have lost,

    He whom you love, your idiot boy.

    She looks again--her arms are up--

    She screams--she ove for joy;

    She darts as with a torrents force,

    She almost has oerturhe horse,

    And fast she holds her idiot boy.

    And Johnny burrs and laughs aloud,

    Whether in ing or in joy,

    I ot tell; but while he laughs,

    Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs,

    To hear again her idiot boy.

    And now shes at the ponys tail,

    And now shes at the ponys head,

    On that side now, and now on this,

    And almost sti?ed with her bliss,

    A few sad tears does Betty shed.

    She kisses oer and ain,

    Him whom she loves, her idiot boy,

    Shes happy here, shes happy there,

    She is uneasy every where;

    Her limbs are all alive with joy.

    She pats the pony, where or when

    She knows not, happy Betty Foy!

    The little pony glad may be,

    But he is milder far than she,

    You hardly  perceive his joy.

    &quot;Oh! Johnny, never mind the Doctor;

    &quot;Youve done your best, and that is all.&quot;

    She took the reins, when this was said,

    Aly turhe ponys head

    From the loud water-fall.

    By this the stars were almost gone,

    The moon was setting on the hill,

    So pale you scarcely looked at her:

    The little birds began to stir,

    Though yet their tongues were still.

    The pony, Betty, and her boy,

    Wind slowly through the woody dale:

    And who is she, be-times abroad,

    That hobbles up the steep rough road?

    Who is it, but old Susan Gale?

    Long Susan lay deep lost in thought,

    And many dreadful fears beset her,

    Both for her messenger and nurse;

    And as her mind grew worse and worse,

    Her body it grew better.

    She turned, she tossd herself in bed,

    On all sides doubts and terrors met her;

    Point after point did she discuss;

    And while her mind was ?ghting thus,

    Her body still grew better.

    &quot;Alas! what is bee of them?

    &quot;These fears ever be endured,

    &quot;Ill to the wood.&quot;--The word scarce said,

    Did Susan rise up from her bed,

    As if by magic cured.

    Away she posts up hill and down,

    And to the wood at length is e,

    She spies her friends, she shouts a greeting;

    Oh me! it is a merry meeting,

    As ever was in Christendom.

    The owls have hardly sung their last,

    <cite>..</cite>While our four travellers homeward wend;

    The owls have hooted all night long,

    And with the owls began my song,

    And with the owls must end.

    For while they all were travelling home,

    Cried Betty, &quot;Tell us Johnny, do,

    &quot;Where all this long night you have been,

    &quot;What you have heard, what you have seen,

    &quot;And Johnny, mind you tell us true.&quot;

    Now Johnny all night long had heard

    The owls in tuneful cert strive;

    No doubt too he the moon had seen;

    For in the moonlight he had been

    From eight oclock till ?ve.

    And thus to Bettys question, he

    Made answer, like a traveller bold,

    (His very words I give to you,)

    &quot;The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,

    &quot;And the sun did shine so cold.&quot;

    --Thus answered Johnny in his glory,

    And that was all his travels story.

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