Geordie, Geordie, I count you true,
Though language sweet I have none for you.
Nay, but take me home to the churning mill
When cherry boughs white on yon mounting hill
Hang over the tufts o’ the daffodil.
For what’s to be done—what’s to be done?
Of three that woo I must e’en take one,
Or there’s no sense in it under the sun,
What’s to be done—what’s to be done?
V. (aside). What’s to be done, indeed!
Wife (aside). Done! nothing, love. Either the thing has done itself, or they Must undo. Did they call for fiddler Sam? Well, now they have him.
[More tuning heard outside.
Mrs. J. (aside). Live and let live’s my motto.
Mrs. T. So ’t is mine. Who’s Sam, that he must fly in Parson’s face? He’s had his turn. He never gave these lights, Cut his best flowers—
Mrs. S. (aside). He takes no pride in us. Speak up, good neighbour, get the window shut.
Mrs. J. (rising). I ask your pardon truly, that I do— La! but the window—there’s a parlous draught; The window punishes rheumatic folk— We’d have it shut, sir.
Others. Truly, that we would.
V. Certainly, certainly, my friends, you shall.
[The window is shut,
and the Reading begins amid marked
Into the rock the road is cut full deep,
At its low ledges village children play,
From its high rifts fountains of leafage weep,
And silvery birches sway.
The boldest climbers have its face forsworn,
Sheer as a wall it doth all daring flout;
But benchlike at its base, and weather-worn,
A narrow ledge leans out.
There do they set forth feasts in dishes rude
Wrought of the rush—wild strawberries on the bed
Left into August, apples brown and crude,
Cress from the cold well-head.
Shy gamesome girls, small daring imps of boys,
But gentle, almost silent at their play—
Their fledgling daws, for food, make far more noise
Ranged on the ledge than they.
The children and the purple martins share
(Loveliest of birds) possession of the place;
They veer and dart cream-breasted round the fair
Faces with wild sweet grace.
Fresh haply from Palmyra desolate,
Palmyra pale in light and storyless—
From perching in old Tadmor mate by mate
In the waste wilderness.
These know the world; what do the children know?
They know the woods, their groaning noises weird,
They climb in trees that overhang the slow
Deep mill-stream, loved and feared.