i π1r ii π1v
On the left, a man and a woman kneeling beneath a tree, head bowed, eyes closed, and hands clasped in prayer. The ruins of a house are seen on the right.

Burst from their lips the ardent prayer. Page 28.

1 A1r

The
Miller
and
His Golden Dream

With moderate blessings be content, Nor idly grasp at every shade; Peace, competence, a life well spent, Are treasures that can never fade: And he who weakly sighs for more— —Augments his misery, not his store.

By Eliza Lucy Leonard,
Author of
The Ruby Ring,
&c;


Wellington, Salop:
Printed by and for F. Houlston and Son.
And sold by Scatcherd and Letterman, Ave-Maria Lane, London.
18221822.


Entered at Stationer’s Hall.
2 A1v 3 A2r

Advertisement.

In the construction of the following little Poem, the Author has declined the aids of Genii, &c;— the powerful auxiliaries of her two former works, —on the belief that a moral truth requires little of artificial embellishment to render it attractive. She presents therefore a simple unadorned tale to her young readers, as an experiment; not without hope that their reception and approval of it may be such, as to sanction future efforts, and to confirm her in the propriety of her present opinion.

4 A2v 5 A3r

The Miller.

If, ’mid the passions of the breast,

There be one deadlier than the rest,

Whose poisonous influence would control

The generous purpose of the soul,

A cruel selfishness impart,

And harden, and contract the heart;

If such a passion be, the vice

Is unrelenting Avarice.

And would my youthful readers know

The features of this mortal foe,

The lineaments will hardly fail

To strike them in the following tale.

6 A3v 6

In England—but it matters not

That I precisely name the spot—

A Miller liv’d, and humble fame

Had grac’d with rustic praise his name.

For many a year his village neighbours

Felt and confess’d his useful labours;

Swift flew his hours, on busy wing

Revolving in their rosy ring:

His life, alternate toil and rest,

Nor cares annoy’d, nor want oppress’d.

Whang’s mill, beside a sparkling brook,

Stood shelter’d in a wooded nook:

The stream, the willow’s whispering trees,

The humming of the housing bees,

Swell’d with soft sounds the summer breeze;

Those simple sounds, that to the heart

A soothing influence impart,

And full on every sense convey

Th’ impression of a summer’s day.

A4r 7

A cot, with clustering ivy crown’d,

Smil’d from a gently sloping mound,

Whose sunny banks, profusely gay,

Gave to the view, in proud display,

The many colour’d buds of May;

Flowers, that spontaneous fringe the brink

Of sinuous Tame, and bend to drink.

My native River! at thy name

What mix’d emotions thrill my frame!

Through the dim vista of past years,

How shadowy soft thy scene appears!

With earliest recollections twin’d,

To thee still fondly turns my mind;

While Memory paints with faithful force

The grace of thy meandering course

’Neath bending boughs, whose mingling shade

Now hid, and now thy stream betray’d.—

Bright—though long distant from my view—

Rise all thy magic charms anew;

A4v 8

And on thy calm and shallowy shore

Again, in Fancy’s eye, I pore,

The steps retrace, our infant feet

So buoyant trod, and once more meet

Each object in my wandering gaze

That form’d the joys of other days.

All, all return, and with them bring

The life of life, its vivid spring.

The sun is bright, the flowers re-bloom,

Cold friends are kind, kind e’en the tomb:

For one brief moment ’tis forgot

There once were those, who now are not.

Eyes beam, and hearts as fondly beat,

Voices their wonted tones repeat—

But ’tis on Fancy’s ear alone—

I wake, alas! and all are gone!

Yet, Tame, the theme of childish praise,

For thee were fram’d my earliest lays;

9 B1r 9

Thy banks of all were deem’d the pride,

Thy flowers, by none to be outvied.

Those days are past—and sad I view

The time I bade thee, Tame, adieu:

Those days are gone, and I have seen

Full many a river’s margent green;

Full many a bursting bud display

The rich luxuriance of May—

But loveliest still thy flowers I deem,

And dearest thou, my native stream!

Thus clings around our early joys

A mystic charm no time destroys,

Endearing recollections more,

When all of real joy is o’er.

Forgive, Whang, this digressive strain;

The journey done, I’m yours again.

If for a simile I sought

Back through the distant tracks of thought,

B 10 B1v 10

The flowers I gather’d by the way

Upon your fabled banks I lay;

Where primrose groups were yearly seen

Peeping beneath their curtain green,

With aromatic mint beside,

And violets in purple pride.

In gay festoons, o’er hazles thrown,

Hung many a woodbine’s floral crown;

The brier-rose too, that woos the bee,

And thyme, that sighs its odours free.

The lark, the blackbird, and the thrush,

Hymn’d happiness from every bush:

The Eden to their lot assign’d

Fill’d with content the feather’d kind;

Example worthy him, I ween,

Who reign’d sole monarch of the scene—

The Miller.――What! you will enquire,

Possess’d he not his soul’s desire?

Ah! could his wishes soar above

The calm of this untroubled grove?

11 B2r 11

Alas! his frailty must be told—

Whang entertain’d a love for gold:

And none, whatever their demerit,

That did of wealth a store inherit,

But gain’d (so strong the dire dominion)

Whang’s reverence, and his best opinion.

Gold, my dear spouse, would cry his wife,

Is call’d an evil of our life.

True, Whang rejoin’d, the only evil

Whose visits I consider civil;

But ’tis, alack!—the thought is grievous—

The evil most in haste to leave us.

’Twere proper that my readers knew,

That, by degrees, this passion grew;

Not always was the silly elf

So craving, coveting of pelf,

Though he was ever prone to hold

In high esteem pound-notes and gold:

12 B2v 12

And circumstances sometimes root

Firm in the mind the feeblest shoot;

A truth, erewhile, this man of meal

By his example will reveal.

True, would he say, I am not poor:

What then? may I not wish for more? This paltry mill provides me food, Keeps dame and I from famine—good! Yet, mark the labour I endure, A meagre living to secure. ’Tis lucky that I have my health, Since this poor mill is all my wealth; Though irksome, I confess, to toil To catch Dame Fortune’s niggard smile, When she so prodigal can be To men of less desert than me, Throwing her bounties in their lap, Almost without their asking—slap! facing 12 facing B2v A man dressed in trousers, waistcoat, bow tie and jacket sitting inside a mill.His left hand is raised, palm upwards, and index finger slightly crooked. A furry dog sits at his feet. ’Tis lucky that I have my health, Since this poor mill is all my wealth. Page 12. facing 13 facing B3r 13 B3r 13 ’Twas but to-day that I was told, With truth I’ll vouch, a pan of gold Seen by a neighbour in a dream— —Thrice dreamt on, though, as it should seem— My neighbour dug for, as directed— (Shame had such warning been neglected!)— Dug for, and, better still, he found A treasure hidden under ground, In the same spot, or thereabout, His happy dream had pointed out. Such riches now his coffers fill, No more he labours, let who will.

I wish with all my heart, he cried,

I wish such luck may me betide!

So saying, from the bags he started,

While through his brain vague fancies darted,

And with a brisker air and gait

He left the mill to seek his Kate,

The golden vision to relate.

14 B3v 14

At eve, before the cottage-door,

They talk’d the wondrous story o’er;

And every time it was repeated,

With warmer hope Whang’s brain was heated.

Complacent to his bed he hies,

Certain, when sleep should close his eyes,

Like him to dream who gain’d the prize:

And doubtless might have dream’d the same;

But neither sleep nor vision came.

He toss’d and turn’d him all night long,

Tried all manœuvres—all were wrong.

Had never known the like before,

Was us’d to sleep quite sound, and snore;

But now, when he desir’d it most,

The art to sleep seem’d wholly lost.

When Hope (t’ indulge a short digression)

Gains of weak minds complete possession,

She buoys them up, like cork and sail,

’Gainst Disappointment’s heavy gale.

facing 14 facing B3v
A man with a hat sits on a stool outside a house. To his right a woman in a dress and snood kneels on the ground, half-facing him.

At eve before the cottage door, They talk’d the wondrous story o’er; Page 14.

facing 15 facing B4r 15 B4r 15

So Whang, with undishearten’d mind,

Trusting the future would be kind,

Rose from his dreamless bed next morn

Neither discourag’d nor forlorn:

With one idea fill’d, he sought

His mill, but little there he wrought.

Week follow’d week, and months the same,

Whang slept indeed, but could not dream;

Yet, prescient still of his success,

His industry grew less and less.

He thought it wrong in him to labour,

Who, by and by, might, like his neighbour,

Receive the happy wish’d-for warning,

And wake to thousands in the morning!

It was amusing to observe

His solemn pomp, his proud reserve,

His sad exchange of glee, for state,

That ill-beseem’d his rustic gait.

His temper open, far from vicious,

Chang’d too—for he was grown ambitious.

16 B4v 16

He, that so early erst was seen

With active step to cross the green,

Now slept, supinely slept away

The prime, the golden hours of day.

The sun shot down his highest beam

Upon th’ unprofitable stream;

Whang’s duty bade him sleep and dream.

I will not say but Whang was born

With sense enough to grind his corn,

Or on a market-day to tell

Whether ’twere good to buy or sell;

But since the store his neighbour found,

I dare not say his wits were sound.

In sad neglect the mill-wheel stood

That long supplied his daily food;

And marvelling neighbours shook the head,

Amaz’d the Miller’s glee was fled.

Some thought his conscience overcast

Was but a judgment for the past.

17 C1r 17

Old Robin with a wink could tell

That Whang had manag’d matters well;

He shrewdly guess’d how things would end,

For gain, ill-gotten, would not spend.

And Gammer Gabble now could prate

That her last sack had wanted weight.

She knew the Miller long ago,

And wonder’d others did not know.

So all most prudently prepare

To trust their grain to better care.

Thus, by degrees the stores declin’d,

Till Whang had scarce a batch to grind.

No matter! Hope still talk’d the more

About his unfound hidden store:

But inauspicious yet appear’d

His wish; no warning voice was heard.

Now Mistress Whang, of nature humble,

Had smil’d to hear her husband grumble,

And would admonish him, ’tis said,

To chase vain phantoms from his head.

C 18 C1v 18

She, more incredulous, insisted

His visions ought to be resisted;

Thought they had chang’d his very nature,

And sourly curl’d each homely feature:

She felt full dearly they bestood

Sad substitutes for wholesome food.

At issue long, as oft the case,

The war of words to peace gave place.

In truth the visionary Whang

Ceas’d now entirely to harangue

On this dear theme:—he hated doubt,

And Kate had many, staunch and stout:

And in a hostile muster, they

Gave her the better of the fray.

Though silent on his favourite theme,

He did resolve, when he should dream,

And find th’ anticipated pelf,

To keep the secret to himself;

facing 18 facing C1v facing 19 facing C2r
A woman in a dress and snood stands in a house. Her right arm is clasped against her chest. Her left arm is outstretched, gesturing towards an open window.

My pretty Window that commands Those meadows green and wooded lands. Page 19.

19 C2r 19

For he averr’d it quite vexatious

His wife should be so pertinacious.

No passions vain her heart misled:

The path of humble peace to tread

Was her sole aim; of this secure,

She felt content, nor sigh’d for more.

She griev’d to find her counsels failing,

They were sincere, though unavailing;

And oft midst wishes, fears, and sighs,

’Twas thus she would soliloquise:—

My pretty window! that commands

Those meadows green, and wooded lands,

So sunny, that the latest ray

Its panes receive of parting day.

O! with what joy, when near it plac’d,

I’ve watch’d my husband homeward haste!

Or heard, from fair returning late,

The welcome sounds of Holla, Kate!

Through it I trace on every hand

Beauties, would grace a fairy-land,

20 C2v 20

And think that, like a grateful eye,

It smiles on all beneath the sky.

There, too, my sweet geranium blows,

And mignionette, and crimson rose,

When all without is clad in snows.

I doubt me, if a princess feels

More joy than that which o’er me steals,

When light and morn my slumbers break,

And to this blissful scene I wake.

I cannot form a wish beside

What Heaven’s bounty has supplied,

Save that to Whang I could impart

The same content that fills my heart;

Yield him that thankful state of rest,

Or teach to prize the good possess’d.

Good fortune seldom comes too late;

For lo! at last indulgent Fate

Smil’d on the importunate swain,

And eas’d at length his anxious pain.

21 C3r 21

Dreams—one,—two,—three,—th’ important number,

Omen’d him hence to quit his slumber,

With spade and mattock arm’d, to delve

Six feet—nay, I believe ’twas twelve,

Close by the long-forsaken mill—

He flies, the mission to fulfil!

The mattock rings, the spade descends,

The sturdy arm its vigour lends;

At such light labour who could sleep?

Whang is already three feet deep!

Upon the spade observe him smile:

What sees he?—what?—a broken tile;

The very tile his dream foretold,

A landmark to his pan of gold!

Upturns one token more—a bone!

And now, behold the broad flat stone!

A moment on its ample size

He gaz’d with wide distended eyes—

Beneath that is the pan! he cries.

22 C3v 22

’Twas under such a stone as this

That neighbour Drowsypate found his.

So then, at last, my hopes are crown’d!

Come, then, let’s raise thee from the ground.

But, ere to lift the stone he tries,

He shook his head, not over wise,

And, with a self-approving glance,

One foot a little in advance,

With nose and lip contemptuous curl’d,

That said, A fig for all the world!

He cried, My wife, she, silly trot!

Shall never know the wealth I’ve got: To punish her I made a vow; The time is come, I’ll keep it now. She could not dream, poor fool! not she; Some trite old tale of busy bee, Of saving pins, and pence, and groats, For ever occupied her thoughts. Besides, the hussey laugh’d outright Whene’er I pass’d a dreamless night. facing 22 facing C3v A man in a dark jacket and a hat stands outdoors. His right hand is tucked in his trouser pocket, and his left hand is outstretched, gesturing towards the left side of the picture. One foot a little in advance, With nose and lip contemptuous curl’d, That said, A fig for all the world! Page 22. facing 23 facing C4r 23 C4r 23 Yes, yes, I will requite her scorn; She’ll rue it, sure as she is born!

Ah, bootless boast! the stone so great

Exceeds by far his strength in weight.

In vain he digs and delves the ground,

And clears away the rubbish round,

And gathering strength with his vexation,

Widens the fearful excavation.

He cannot move the stone for life;

So forc’d at last, he calls his wife,

Imparts the fact so long repress’d,

And glads, reluctantly, her breast.

The news he stated wak’d her fear;

What gave delight at first to hear,

One apprehension turn’d to pain—

She trembled for her husband’s brain.

Can it be true? cried she, misdeeming;

Dear Whang, too surely thou art dreaming:

Try, recollect thyself, good man—

Tut, hussey! why, I’ll shew the pan:

24 C4v 24

Only a minute’s help I ask,

And thou shalt see’t—a trifling task

Just to remove, I know not what,

A stone, it may be, from the spot.

Come, come, thy hand. They gain the door,

When, turning, Kate asks, Are you sure?.

Sure? yes,. vociferates her spouse.

This said, they issue from the house—

I’m certain, as to all I’ve told, As if e’en now I touch’d the gold: Sure as that I no more will bear This russet doublet now to wear:— That I no more will condescend To own Ralph Roughspeech for my friend, Nor tolerate the pert monition Of neighbours, in my chang’d condition: Sure—but, ye Powers! what do I see?— The mill! The mill!—Oh! woe is me! My only stay, my certain aid, All level with the earth is laid!―― facing 24 facing C4v On the left, a man stands with arms raised, a shocked expression on his face. To his right, a woman stands looking at him, her arms reachign downward over a pile of rubble. —ye powers! what do I see?— Page 24. facing 25 facing D1r 25 D1r 25 Presumptuous! I have scorn’d my fate, And wrought this mischief: all too late The error of my life I see, And misery my portion be. Time, that no more I may recal, By wise men priz’d, and dear to all, How have I squander’d! how abus’d! My friends, my neighbours, basely us’d! How shall I bear, acquaintance meeting, Scorn to behold where once was greeting? Now comes their turn to treat the fool With jeers, contempt, and ridicule. Laugh’d at on all sides—and to know And feel I have deserv’d the blow! Undone by mine own discontent!— But ah! too late I do repent. Forc’d now in poverty to roam, I soon must quit this quiet home; And where with thee, poor Kate! to fly?— Oh! I could lay me down and die! D 26 D1v 26 Wretch that I am! Kate, Kate, forgive!

My pardon, dearest Whang, receive:

But ’twas not I who gave thee health,

Strength, talent to improve thy wealth;

Who cast thy lot in such fair land,

Or bless’d thee with such liberal hand.

O! turn to Him with thankful prayer

Who deigns e’en yet thy life to spare;

Implore His pardon—kneel with me;

This ruin might have cover’d thee.

But thou art spar’d, and yet remain

The means our livelihood to gain:

A heartfelt willing perseverance

Will mend our lot before a year hence.

Thou knowest well that neighbour Ralph

Each morn will spare an hour or half

To help us to repair the mill.

Doest think, Whang blushing ask’d, he will?

Yes, yes, I do believe so too,

He was a neighbour kind and true;

27 D2r 27

And if his counsels gave offence,

The fault was in my want of sense.

Yet, ideot! IEnough! cried Kate,

Exulting in her alter’d mate;

To see our faults in their just light,

Is next akin to acting right.

But time no longer let us waste;

I’ll to friend Roughspeech quickly haste:

Own thou, meanwhile, she smiling cried,

To have a help-mate in thy bride

Is treasure perhaps of equal worth

With aught conceal’d beneath the earth.

With look of conscious proud delight,

She caught the sound of, Kate, thou’rt right;

While a small voice responsive join’d

Applausive music in her mind.

Then turn’d she from the yawning ground,

And, eying Whang with thought profound,

28 D2v 28

Saw in his look, on her that bent,

A meaning most intelligent.

A wish defin’d she saw, and knelt;

Beside her soon his form she felt:

Then, with join’d hands uplift in air,

Burst from their lips the ardent prayer.

With brighter hopes from earth they rose,

Nor long (—for so the story goes)

In idle wailings spent the day:

Just then a neighbour pass’d that way.—

Whang turn’d his head; a crimson streak

Rush’d hastily across his cheek,

And Cath’rine’s palpitating breast

A momentary shame confess’d:

For well they knew, Old Robin’s tale

Soon through the village would prevail,

And bring a host about their ears,

With pity some, and some with jeers.

But guilt and folly must endure

The caustics that effect a cure.

29 D3r 29

Whang therefore strove, with patient heart,

To bear th’ anticipated smart;

Nor vainly strove: the threaten’d ill

Fell, he with patience met it still.

Few in the morning of his grief

Or gave, or proffer’d him relief.

Those who had counsell’d heretofore,

Excus’d themselves from doing more,

Presuming nothing they could offer

Would meet acceptance from the scoffer.

Others, meanwhile, of nature good,

Assisted, comforted, withstood

With honest scorn the worldling’s cant,

Nor shunn’d a neighbour, though in want.

To all, Whang bore a humble mien,

By all, his contrite spirit’s seen;

Till even they who smil’d at first,

When o’er his head the tempest burst,

Were forc’d, in justice, to declare

His penitence appear’d sincere.

30 D3v 30

They trusted, nay, almost believ’d

His loss of character retriev’d:

And, soften’d by his chang’d address,

Good fortune wish’d, and happiness.

And he was happy—he was bless’d

Beyond desert, he oft confess’d,

By friends, by all the good caress’d.

A smiling garden, rescu’d mill,

His dear old cottage on the hill,

A faithful wife, a conscience clear,

Shed brightness on each coming year.

The church-yard stone, that bears his name,

Records his failing and his fame;

And, in his life and death, conveys

A moral truth to future days.

Finis.