The Miller and his Son

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The Miller and his Son
written by Walter de la Mare
Songs of Childhood (1902)




   A twangling harp for Mary,
      A silvery flute for John,
    And now we'll play the livelong day,
      'The Miller and his Son.'

    'The Miller went a-walking
      All in the forest high,
    He sees three doves a-flitting
      Against the dark blue sky:

    'Says he, "My son, now follow
      These doves so white and free,
    That cry above the forest,
      And surely cry to thee."

    "I go, my dearest Father,
      But O! I sadly fear,
    These doves so white will lead me far,
      But never bring me near."

    'He kisses the Miller,
      He cries, "Awhoop to ye!"
    And straightway through the forest
      Follows the wood-doves three.

    'There came a sound of weeping
      To the Miller in his Mill;
    Red roses in a thicket
      Bloomed over near his wheel;

    'Three stars shone wild and brightly
      Above the forest dim:
    But never his dearest son
      Returns again to him.

    'The cuckoo shall call "Cuckoo!"
      In vain along the vale,
    The linnet, and the blackbird,
      The mournful nightingale;

    'The Miller hears and sees not,
      A-thinking of his son;
    His toppling wheel is silent;
      His grinding done.

    '"Ye doves so white," he weepeth,
      "Ye roses on the tree,
    Ye stars that shine so brightly,
      Ye shine in vain for me!"

    'I bade him follow, follow,
      He said, "O Father dear,
    These doves so white will lead me far
      But never bring me near!"'

    A twangling harp for Mary,
      A silvery flute for John,
    And now we'll play the livelong day,
      'The Miller and his Son.'

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