Crazy Nell (III of III)

At that fearful moment, so dreadfully dark,
How welcome the song of the shepherd, or lark;
How cheery to listen, and hear the dog bark,
As though the dark wood she fled fast:
But, horror of horrors, all nature was hush!
Not a sound was there heard – save a blackbird, or thrush,
That, started from sleep, flusker’d out of the bush,
Which her brushing clothes shook as they past.

Fear now truly pictur’d: she ne’er turn’d her head
Either this way or that way – straight forward she fled;
And Fancy, still hearing the horrors with dread,
On faster and fearfuller stole.
The matted leaves rustle – the boughs swiftly part,
Her hands and her face with the brambles did smart;
But, oh! the worst anguish was flet at her hear, -
Ben’s unkindness struck death to her soul.

Now glimmering lighter the forest appears,
And Hope, the sweet comforter, soften’d her fears;
Light and liberty, Darkness! thy horror endears;
Great bliss did the omen impart:
The forest, its end, and its terrors gone by,
She breath’d the free air, and she saw the blue sky;
Her own fields she knew – to her home did she fly,
And great was the joy of her heart.

Oh, prospect endearing! The village to view,
The morn sweet appearing, - and gay the cock crew,
When, mangled by brambles and dabbled in dew,
She gave a loud rap at the door:
The parents in raptures wept over their child;
She mutter’d her terrors – her eyes rolled wild –
“They dig the grave deeper! – Your Nelly’s beguil’d!”
She said, and she siled on the floor.

Poor Nell soon recover’d; but, ah! To her cost,
Her sense and her reason for ever were lost:
And scorch’d by the summer, and chill’d by the frost,
A maniac, restless and wild,
Now crazy Nell rambles; and still she will weep,
And, fearless, at night into hovels will creep. –
Fond parents! Alas, their affliction is deep,
And vainly they comfort their child.

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