The Disappointment.

A poem by John Clare

"Ah, where can he linger?" said Doll, with a sigh,
As bearing her milk-burthen home:
"Since he's broken his vow, near an hour has gone by,
So fair as he promis'd to come."
-She'd fain had him notice the loudly-clapt gate,
And fain call'd him up to her song;
But while her stretch'd shade prov'd the omen too late,
Heavy-hearted she mutter'd along.

She look'd and she listen'd, and sigh follow'd sigh,
And jealous thoughts troubled her head;
The skirts of the pasture were losing the eye,
As eve her last finishing spread;
And hope, so endearing, was topmost to see,
As 'tween-light was cheating the view,
Every thing at a distance--a bush, or a tree,
Her love's pleasing picture it drew.

The pasture-gate creak'd, pit-a-pat her heart went,
Fond thrilling with hope's pleasing pain,
She certainly thought that a signal it meant,
So she turn'd, to be cheated again;
Expectations and wishes throbb'd warm to her side,
But soon the sweet feeling was lost,
Chill damps quick ensuing, when nigh she descried
Her idle cows rubbing the post.

By fancy soon tickled, by hopes led astray,
Again did she hope, but in vain;--
A twitch at her sleeve!--'twas the shepherd's fond way,
And she look'd o'er her shoulder again;
But a bramble had caught at her gown passing by;
Disappointment, how great is thy smart!
How deep was the sorrow explain'd in that sigh,
Like a bramble-thorn twang'd through her heart!

Quite wearied she soodled along through the dew,
And oft look'd and listen'd around,
And loudly she clapt every gate she came through,
To call her lost love to the sound;
And whenever to rest she her buckets set down,
She jingled her yokes to and fro,
And her yokes she might jingle till morn--a rude clown,
Ere he it seem'd offered to go.

Passing maids wonder'd much as she came to the town,
To see her so still on her way;--
She ne'er stopt to name a young man or new gown,
So much as she used to say:
Some ask'd if her tongue she had lost on the plain,
Some enquir'd if she ow'd any spite;
But short were the answers she made them again,
"Yes," or "no," and a mutter'd "good night."

She'd cause to be silent, and knew it too well,
And said to herself passing by,
"Disappointments like mine if to you they befel,
Ye would then be as sulky as I."
Now nigh home and Roger, her bosom glow'd hot,
And jealousies rose on her cheek;
She'd be bound his delay a new sweetheart had got,
And if he came now she'd not speak.

She sat herself down soon as got in the house,
No dossity in her to stir;
The cat at her presence left watching the mouse,
And the milk she might lap it for her,
Eat it all an she would, for she car'd not a pin,
She'd other fish frying as then;
And soon as chance offer'd that she could begin,
She 'gan weigh her doubts to her sen.

"Ah, the gipsy, she told me my fortune last night,
Too true have I prov'd what she said:
'You love him too warmly that loves you too light,'
And grievous she shaked her head;
'He scorns you--the lines of your hands,' she said, 'meet,'
I was fit to drop under my cow;
'It's as plain as the nose on your face for to see't,'
I could not believe it till now.

"How could I, when now but a day or two's gone,
Since he fuss'd me so up in the grove,
And preach'd like a parson as leading me on,
And seem'd like a saint fall'n in love?
He smilingly bid me behold the stiff bean,
How it held up the weak winding pea,--
'And so on my arm,' said he, 'Dolly may lean,
For I'll be a prop unto thee.'

"And oft did he shew me, as proofs of his love,
The gate, and the stile, where we came,
And many a favourite tree in the grove,
Where he had been marking my name:
And these made him staunch in my foolish esteem;
But deuce take such provings, forsooth,
They're like flimsy nick-nacks, that cheat in a dream,
When the morning sun wakes with the truth.

Last week I the first time 'gan doubt his respect,
When at market he left me behind;
He made no excuses to hide his neglect,

Plain proof that he'd changed his mind:
When I said how I loiter'd in hopes he would come,
And when all my troubles he learn'd,
How late and how wet I was ere I got home,
He ne'er seem'd a morsel concern'd.

"And magpies that chatter'd, no omen so black,
The dreams of my being a bride,
Odd crows that are constantly fix'd in my track,
Plain prov'd that bad luck would betide:
The coffin-spark burning my holiday-gown,
As nothing's so certain a sign;
The knives I keep crossing whenever laid down,
Were proofs of these sorrows of mine.

"A good-for-nought looby, he nettled me sore,
I minded him oft when at church,
How under the wenches' fine bonnets he'd glower,
As smiling they came in the porch:
Lord knows, scores of times he has made me to sin,
For, being so bother'd and vex'd,
'Bout the parson's good preaching I car'd not a pin,
And never once thought of the text.

"Like a fool, with full many a lying excuse,
To see him I've stole in the street,
And drest to entice him; but all's of no use,
'Tis folly such things to repeat:
No, no, his behaviour, a good-for-nought chap,
I'll see no uneasiness in it;
The wreath he last bought me, to dress my new cap,
I'll burn it to ashes this minute."

Thus she vented her griefs, and gave ease to her sighs,
Till the tinkled latch startled her dumb,
And ended her tale in a pause of surprise,
While hope whisper'd comfort, "he's come!"
He enter'd, and begg'd she'd excuse the late hour,
She doubts his assertions awhile,
Then as the glad sun breaks the clouds in a shower,
Tears melt in a welcoming smile.

Ah, sad disappointment! your damp chilly pain
And all jealous doubts you impart,
Description but mixes her colours in vain
To picture your horrors at heart.
Gall'd jealousy, like as the tide, ebbs to rest,
Subsiding as gradually o'er;
Contented she smother'd her sighs on his breast,
And the kiss seem'd as sweet as before.

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