The Twins Or Ghost Of The Field
Ye who delight in old traditions,
And love to talk of apparitions,
Whose chairs around are closely join'd,
While no one dares to look behind,
Thinking there's some hobgoblin near,
Ready to whisper in his ear;
Oh! listen, while I lay before ye
My well-authenticated story.
Two twins, of understanding good,
Together liv'd, as brothers should:
This was named Thomas, that was John;
But all things else they had as one.
At length, by industry in trade,
They had a pretty fortune made,
And had, like others in the city,
A country cottage very pretty;
Where they amused their leisure hours,
In innocence, with plants and flowers,
Till fate had cut Tom's thread across,
And left poor John to wail his loss.
John left alone, when now some weeks
Had wip'd the tears from off his cheeks,
To muse within himself began
On what should be his future plan:
"Ye woods, ye fields, my sweet domain,
When shall I see your face again?
When shall I pass the vacant hours,
Rejoicing in my woodbine bowers;
To smoke my pipe, and sing my song;
Regardless how they pass along?
When take my fill of pastime there,
In sweet forgetfulness of care?"
He said; and, on his purpose bent,
Soon to his country cottage went,
Swill'd home-brew'd ale and gooseberry fool:
John never ate or drank by rule.
His arms were folded now to rest,
The night-mare sat upon his breast;
From right to left, and left to right,
He turn'd and toss'd, throughout the night:
A thousand fears disturb'd his head,
And phantoms danced around his bed;
His lab'ring stomach, though he slept,
The fancy wide awake had kept:
His brother's ghost approach'd his side,
And thus in feeble accents cried--
"Be not alarm'd, my brother dear,
To see your buried partner here;
I come to tell you where to find
A treasure, which I left behind:
I had not time to let you know it,
But follow me, and now I'll shew it."
John trembled at the awful sight,
But hopes of gain suppress'd his fright;
Oft will the parching thirst of gold,
Make even errant cowards bold.
John, rising up without delay,
Went where the spectre led the way;
Which, after many turnings past,
Stopp'd in an open field at last,
Where late the hind had sow'd his grain,
And made the whole a level plain.
The spectre pointed to the spot,
Where he had hid the golden pot:
"Deep in the earth," says he, "'tis laid."
But John, alas! had got no spade;
And, as the night was pretty dark,
He felt around him for a mark,
That he might know again the place,
Soon as Aurora shew'd her face.
In vain he stoop'd and felt around,
No stick or stone was to be found;
But nature now, before oppress'd,
By change of posture sore distress'd,
Gave an alarming crack; a hint
Of what, as sure as stick or flint,
To-morrow morn the place would tell,
If he had either sight or smell.
This done, he rose to go to bed;
He wak'd, how chang'd! the night-mare fled;
The ghost was vanish'd from his sight,
And John himself in piteous plight.
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Previous: The Castle Apparition