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| The Ogre |
written by Walter de la Mare
|Songs of Childhood (1902)||Link to further information|
'Tis moonlight on Trebarwith Vale,
And moonlight on an Ogre keen,
Who prowling hungry through the dale
A lone cottage hath seen.
Small with thin smoke ascending up
Three casements and a door:--
The Ogre eager is to sup,
And here seems dainty store.
Sweet as a larder to a mouse,
So to him staring down,
Seemed the sweet-windowed moonlit house,
With jasmine overgrown.
He snorted, as the billows snort
In darkness of the night,
Betwixt his lean locks tawny-swart,
He glowered on the sight.
Into the garden sweet with peas
He put his wooden shoe,
And bending back the apple trees
Crept covetously through;
Then, stooping, with an impious eye
Stared through the lattice small,
And spied two children which did lie
Asleep, against the wall.
Into their dreams no shadow fell,
Of his disastrous thumb
Groping discreet, and gradual,
Across the quiet room.
But scarce his nail had scraped the cot
Wherein these children lay,
As if his malice were forgot,
It suddenly did stay.
For faintly in the ingle-nook
He heard a cradlesong,
That rose into his thoughts and woke
Terror them among.
For she who in the kitchen sat
Darning by the fire,
Guileless of what he would be at,
Sang sweet as wind or wire:--
'Lullay, thou little tiny child,
By-by, lullay, lullie;
Jesu of glory, meek and mild,
This night remember ye!
'Fiend, witch, and goblin, foul and wild,
He deems 'em smoke to be;
Lullay, thou little tiny child,
By-by, lullay, lullie!'
The Ogre lifted up his eyes
Into the moon's pale ray,
And gazed upon her leopard-wise,
Cruel and clear as day;
He snarled in gluttony and fear:
'The wind blows dismally,
Jesu in storm my lambs be near,
By-by, lullay, lullie!'
And like a ravenous beast which sees
The hunter's icy eye,
So did this wretch in wrath confess
Sweet Jesu's mastery.
He lightly drew his greedy thumb
From out that casement pale,
And strode, enormous, swiftly home,
Whinnying down the dale.
|This work is in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less, but may still be copyrighted in the USA and some countries in Europe. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether the works are in the public domain in his or her respective country.|