The Cross Roads (or Haymakers Story) (2)

Just back this evening from an interesting visit to the archives in Peterbrough where I checked this poem with the earliest known manuscript.  Much to my surprise it differed in many ways from even the version published in the Clarendon Editions - what I guess would be called 'variant readings' and a couple of what I can only assume to be errors in transcription in the past.  However I have incorporated many of these into the text, the second portion of which is shown below.

‘That grave yeve heard of were the four roads meet
‘Were walks the spirit in a winding sheet
‘Oft seen at night by strangers passing late
‘& tarrying neighbours that at market wait
‘Stalking along as white as driven snow
‘& longs ones shadow when the sun is low
‘The girl thats buried there I knew her well
‘& her whole history if yell hark can tell
‘Her name was Jane & neighbours childern we
‘& old companions once as ye may be
‘& like to you on sundays often strolld
‘To Gipseys camps to have our fortunes told
‘& oft god rest her in the fortune book
‘Which we at hay time in our pockets took
‘Our pins at blindfold on the wheel have stuck
‘When hers woud always prick the worst of luck
‘For try poor thing as often as she might
‘Her point woud always on the blank alight
‘Which plainly shows the fortune ones to have
‘As such like go unwedded to the grave
‘& so it provd—the next succeeding may
‘We both went service from our sports & play
‘Tho in the village still as friends & kin
‘Thought neighbours service better to begin
‘As they considerd planning for our good
‘Theyd be more kind then downright strangers woud
‘So out we went Janes place was reckond good
‘Tho she 'bout life but little understood
‘For she'd a master wild as wild can be
‘& far unfit for such a child as she
‘& soon the wisper went about the town
‘That Janes good looks procurd her many a gown
‘From them whose promise was to every one
‘But whose intention was to wife with none
‘Twas nought to wonder tho begun by guess
‘For Jane was lovly in her sunday dress
‘& all expected such a rosey face
‘Woud be her ruin—as was just the case
‘& while the change was easily percievd
‘Three months went by ere I the  tales believd
‘For theres such people nowadays god knows
‘Woud sooner hatch up lies then mend their cloaths
‘& when wi such like tattle they begin
‘Dont care whose character they spoil a pin
‘Else passing neighbours sed theve markd een smile
‘& watchd him take her milkpail oer a stile
‘& often as they wanderd closer bye
‘From Jinneys bosom met the heavy sigh
‘& often markd her as discoursing deep
‘As doubts might rise to give just cause to weep
‘In smothering notice by a wisht disguise
‘To slive her apron corner to her eyes
‘Such signs were mournful & alarming things
‘& far more weighty then conjecture brings
‘Tho foes made double what there was in all
‘Confirmd as proofs & prophysied her fall
‘Poor thoughtless wench it seems but sunday past
‘Sin we went out together for the last
‘& plain enough indeed it was to find
‘Shed somthing more then common on her mind
‘For she was always fond to laugh & chat
‘& passing jokes about new beaus & that
‘But nothing then was scarcly talkd about
‘& what there was I even forcd it out

(lines 35-98)

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