Margery Grey a Legend of Vermont (Julia C. Dorr) Fair the cabin walls were gleaming In the sunlight's golden glow, On that lovely April morning, Near one hundred years ago, When upon that humble threshold Stood the young wife, Margery Grey, With her fearless blue eyes glancing Down the lonely forest way. In her arms a laughing baby With its father's dark hair played, As he lingered there beside them, Leaning on his trusty spade, "I am going to the wheat lot," With a smile said Robert Grey, "Will you be too lonely Margery, If I leave you all the day?" Then she smiled a cheerful answer And the tone of her replying Was as sweet as any bird: "No," she said, "I'll take the baby And go stay with Anna Brown, You must meet us there dear Robert, Ere the sun has quite gone down." Thus they parted, strong and steady All the day he labored on, Digging up the fertile acres, From the stubborn forest won. Till at length the shadows told him That the sun was in the west, On his homeward way he started Murmuring, "Now for home and rest." But when he reached the clearing Of his friend a mile away, Neither wife nor child was waiting there To welcome Robert Grey. "She is safe at home," said Anna "For she left an hour ago." "It is strange I did not meet her," Came the answer swift and low. Back he sped, but night was falling, And the way he scarce could see; Here and there his feet were guided Onward by some deep-gashed tree. But when he reached the cabin Dark and desolate it stood, Cold the hearth, the windows rayless, In the stillest solitude. With a murmured prayer, a shudder And a cry of anguish wild, Thru the forest he went running, Calling for his wife and child. Soon the scattered settlers gathered From the clearings far and near, And the lonely woods resounded With their voices rising clear. Torches flared, and fires were kindled And the horn's long peal rang out, But only echoes answered To the hardy woodman's shout. All in vain their sad endeavor, Night by night and day by day, For no sign or token found they Of the child or Margery Grey, Woe! Woe! for pretty Margery! With the baby on her arm, On her homeward way she started, Thinking nothing that could harm. With a lip and brow untroubled, With a heart at utter rest, Through the forest she went singing To the baby on her breast. But in sudden terror, pausing, Gazed she round in blank dismay. Where were all the white scarred hemlocks Pointing out the lonely way? God of mercies! She had wandered From the pathway. Not a tree Giving mute but friendly warning Could her straining vision see. Twilight deepened into darkness, And the stars came out on high. All was silent in the forest Save the owls low brooding cry. Round about her at the midnight, Stealthy shadows softly crept, And the babe upon her bosom Closed its tired eyes and slept. Then a shout! And in the distance She could see a torch's gleam. But alas! She could not reach it, And it vanished like a dream. Another shout and then another, But she shrieked and sobbed in vain, Rushing wildly towards the presence She could never, never gain. Oh, the days so long and dreary! Oh, the nights more dreary still! More than once she heard the sounding Of the horn upon the hill. More than once a smoldering fire In some sheltered nook she found, And she knew her husband's footprints Close beside it on the ground. Dawned the fourth relentless morning, And the sun's unpitying eye Looked upon the haggard mother, Looked to see the baby die. All night long its plaintive moaning Wrung the heart of Margery Grey. All day long her bosom cradled A pallid thing of clay. Three days more she bore it with her, On her weary toilsome way, Till she knew that she must leave it In the forest for to stay. Till she knew that she must leave it In the forest for to sleep, Where the prowling wild beasts only Watch above its grave could keep. Down she sat beside that grave For how long she never knew! With the prayers her mother taught her, To the Dear All Father True; Till the skies turned brass above her, Till all the earth seemed dim, And all her prayers and pleadings Brought no answer down from Him. Till at length the stern life tyrant Bade her take her burden up. To her lips, so pale and shrunken, Press again the bitter cup. Up she rose, still tramping onward Through the forest far and wide, Till the May flowers bloomed and perished, And the sweet June roses died. Till July and August brought her Fruit and berries from their store; Till goldenrod and aster Told her summer was no more; Till the maples and the birches Donned their robes of red and gold; Till the birds were flying southward And the days were growing cold. One chill morning in October When the trees were brown and bare, Through the streets of ancient Charlestown, With a strange bewildered air, Walked a gaunt and pallid woman, Whose disheveled locks of brown O'er her naked breast and shoulders In the wind were streaming down. Wondering glances fell upon her, Women veiled their modest eyes As they slowly ventured near her, Drawn by pitying suprise. "'Tis some crazy one," they whispered. Back her tangled locks she tossed "O kind souls, take pity on me, For I am not mad but lost." Then she told her piteous story In a strange disjointed way, And with cold, white lips she murmered "Take me home to Robert Gray." "But the river," said they, pondering, "We are on the other side. How crossed you the rapid water? Deep the torrent is, and wide!" But she said she had not crossed it In her strange erratic course. She had wandered to the northward, Till she reached its fountain source In the dark Canadian forest, And then blindly tramping on Thru the steep New Hampshire valleys Her bewildered feet had gone. Oh,the joy bells, sweet their ringing On the frosty autumn air! Oh, the boats across the waters, How they leaped the tale to bear! Oh, the wondrous golden sunset On the blest October day, When the weary wife was folded To the heart of Robert Gray. Margery Grey A Legend of Vermont by Julia C. Dorr Tune: traditional As sung by me, Margaret MacArthur, on cs Vermont Ballads and Broadsides, 1989. Am now working on cover to have it burnt into a Cd as last pressing of cs is nearly gone. Full booklet comes with either cs or potential CD. MM oct00
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!