Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LETTICE, by KATHERINE HARRIS BRADLEY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

LETTICE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Little lettice is dead, they say
Last Line: On the hills, and no longer rue her!
Alternate Author Name(s): Field, Michael (with Edith Emma Cooper)
Subject(s): Death - Children; Death - Babies

LITTLE Lettice is dead, they say,
The brown, sweet child who rolled in the hay;
Ah, where shall we find her?
For the neighbors pass
To the pretty lass,
In a linen cere-cloth to wind her.

If her sister were set to search
The nettle-green nook beside the church,
And the way were shown her
Through the coffin-gate
To her dead playmate,
She would fly too frightened to own her.

Should she come at a noonday call,
Ah, stealthy, stealthy, with no footfall,
And no laughing chatter,
To her mother 't were worse
Than a barren curse
That her own little wench should pat her.

Little Lettice is dead and gone!
The stream by her garden wanders on
Through the rushes wider;
She fretted to know
How its bright drops grow
On the hills, but no hand would guide her.

Little Lettice is dead and lost!
Her willow-tree boughs by storm are tost --
Oh, the swimming sallows! --
Where she crouched to find
The nest of the wind
Like a water-fowl's in the shallows.

Little Lettice is out of sight!
The river-bed and the breeze are bright:
Ay me, were it sinning
To dream that she knows
Where the soft wind rose
That her willow-branches is thinning?

Little Lettice has lost her name,
Slipt away from our praise and our blame;
Let not love pursue her,
But conceive her free
Where the bright drops be
On the hills, and no longer rue her!

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