Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Lucy Gray; Or, Solitude
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
OFT I had heard of Lucy Gray:
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.
 
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;        5
She dwelt on a wide moor,
—The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
 
You yet may spy the fawn at play,
The hare upon the green;        10
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
 
‘To-night will be a stormy night—
You to the town must go;
And take a lantern, Child, to light        15
Your mother through the snow.’
 
‘That, Father! will I gladly do:
’Tis scarcely afternoon—
The minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the moon!’        20
 
At this the Father raised his hook,
And snapped a fagot-brand:
He plied his work;—and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.
 
Not blither is the mountain roe:        25
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;        30
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        35
To serve them for a guide.
 
At daybreak on a hill they stood
That overlooked the moor;
And thence they saw the bridge of wood,
A furlong from their door.        40
 
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        45
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;        50
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;        55
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.        60
 
O’er rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.
 
 
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