Though I am so blank of wit, or perhaps for that same reason, these little things come and dwell with me, and I am happy about them, and long for nothing better. I feel with every blade of grass, as if it had a history; and make a child of every bud as though it knew and loved me. And being so, they seem to tell me of my own delusions, how I am no more than they, except in self- importance.
While I was forgetting much of many things that harm one, and letting of my thoughts go wild to sounds and sights of nature, a sweeter note than thrush or ouzel ever wooed a mate in, floated on the valley breeze at the quiet turn of sundown. The words were of an ancient song, fit to laugh or cry at.
Come my love to be,
My love is for the one
Loving unto me.
Of a gilded bliss;
Only thou must know, love,
What my value is.
Thou hast none but me,
This shall be my worth, love:
To be cheap to thee.
Strivest to be free,
Twill be my endeavour
To be dear to thee.
Is thy heart andbreath
Clinging still to thee, love,
In the doom of death.
All this I took in with great eagerness, not for the sake of the meaning (which is no doubt an allegory), but for the power and richness, and softness of the singing, which seemed to me better than we ever had even in Oare church. But all the time I kept myself in a black niche of the rock, where the fall of the water began, lest the sweet singer (espying me) should be alarmed, and flee away. But presently I ventured to look forth where a bush was; and then I beheld the loveliest sightone glimpse of which was enough to make me kneel in the coldest water.
By the side of the stream she was coming to me, even among the primroses, as if she loved them all; and every flower looked the brighter, as her eyes were on them, I could not see what her face was, my heart so awoke and trembled; only that her hair was flowing from a wreath of white violets, and the grace of her coming was like the appearance of the first wind-flower. The pale gleam over the western cliffs threw a shadow of light behind her, as if the sun were lingering. Never do I see that light from the closing of the west, even in these my aged days, without thinking of her. Ah me, if it comes to that, what do I see of earth or heaven, without thinking of her?
The tremulous thrill of her song was hanging on her open lips; and she glanced around, as if the birds were accustomed to make answer. To me it was a thing of terror to behold such beauty, and feel myself the while to be so very low and common. But scarcely knowing what I did, as if a rope were drawing me, I came from the dark mouth of the chasm; and stood, afraid to look at her.
She was turning to fly, not knowing me, and frightened, perhaps, at my stature, when I fell on the grass (as I fell before her seven years agone that day), and I just said, Lorna Doone!
She knew me at once, from my manner and ways, and a smile broke through her trembling, as sunshine comes through aspen-leaves; and being so clever, she saw, of course, that she needed not to fear me.
Oh, indeed, she cried, with a feint of anger (because she had shown her cowardice, and yet in her heart she was laughing); oh, if you please, who are you, sir, and how do you know my name?
I am John Ridd, I answered; the boy who gave you those beautiful fish, when you were only a little thing, seven years ago to-day.
Yes, the poor boy who was frightened so, and obliged to hide here in the water.
And do you remember how kind you were, and saved my life by your quickness, and went away riding upon a great mans shoulder, as if you had never seen me, and yet looked back through the willow- trees?
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