Archy Tait—the Village Chronicle.

’Twere endless task, in numbers to relate1
The ceaseless wanderings of old “ Archy Tait”—2
His lonesome travels thro’ the trackless moss3
His hair-breadth accidents-adventures cross4
His stories frightful, meaningless, and odd5
Of ghostly visions on his mighty road6
Of voices bursting from the darksome glen7
Of tumbling amries,” and of headless men8
Of sheeted ghosts, and death-foreboding specks9
Of spreading lights on horse’s ears and necks10
Of nightly rap—eluding sick man’s ear11
But shaking every limb of nurse to hear12
†† Of coffins hammered at the noon of night13
Warning of morning job the quaking wright14
Of wraiths that take our form, to let us know15
What hours of future life the fates bestow16
Of fires that cross the doubtful travellers’ way,17
And blaze, to lead his homeward steps astray18
And he would speak of elves, all clad in green,19
On fairy knowe, or green-sward valley seen,20
Their airy march has passed him on the lea21
The gingling steed, the peal of jollity.22
Of changling Imp—he spoke, no care could rear,23
Which backward seemed to orp, from year to year.24
From morn to night some hellish trick that planned,25
And from a nine years cradle cursed and banned26
Which trail’d its toad-like form around the fire,27
Or crawled on knees and elbows through the mire,28
At even-tide upset the milk-maid’s pail29
Tied up the littered cattle, tail to tail30
Then held its sides, and yelled, to hear the roar,31
And see the rushing milk-maid tumble o’er,32
And he has heard the wizzard Curlers ply33
Their gleesome game beneath a wintry sky,34
As up the nightly Rink, the viewless stone,35
With sweep, and shout, and booming speed, has gone.36
Of “ Brownie,” he could tell, his airy strength37
Across the midnight hearth-stone laid at length38
The corn he threshed—the various work he did39
The peats he hurled at lazy varlet’s head40
His hatred of deceit—the means he chose41
To punish her who tasted “ Brownie’s broze.”42
Oh, I have sat from eve to early morn,43
On Archy’s endless stream of “ stories” borne44
Eyed every movement—listened every sound45
Called into forms of meaning shapes around46
Yet, still intent to learn each tale of dread,47
Tho’ deepening o’er my cheek the safron spread48

† Written note for Montrose.
The fading ingle urged into a blaze,49
From every rafter seen a Terror gaze ;50
The bounding line of light and darkness scanned,51
And sudden flight ’gainst sudden danger planned52
Rest to thy spirit “ Archy”—peaceful rest53
Amidst thy fellow-spirits of the blessed54
And ne’er may’st thou, with ghostly visage come,55
Around this earth, in “ spectre guise,” to roam56
With thy unearthly presence, to affright57
Some future wandering “ Archy” of the night.58