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 the 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 downwards 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.
At the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears,
There’s a thrush that sings loud,—it has sung for three years;
Poor Susan has passed by the spot, and has heard
In the silence of morning the song of the bird.
’Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her?
A mountain ascending, a vision of trees;
Bright volumes of vapor through Lothbury glide,
And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.
Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale,
Down which she so often has tripped with her pail;
And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s,
The one only dwelling on earth that she loves.
She looks, and her heart is in heaven; but they fade,—
The mist and the river, the hill and the shade:
The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise,
And the colors all have all passed away from her eyes.