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He listened for the traveller's tread,

The nightingale sung sweet ;-
He started up, for now he heard

The sound of coming feet;
He started up, and grasped a stake,

And waited for his prey ;
There came a lonely traveller,

And Jaspar crossed his way.
But Jaspar's threats and curses failed

The traveller to appal,
He would not lightly yield the purse

Which held his little all.

Awhile he struggled, but he strove

With Jaspar's strength in vain ; Beneath his blows he fell and groaned,

And never spake again.

Jaspar raised up the murdered man,

And plunged him in the flood, And in the running water then

He cleansed his hands from blood.

The waters closed around the corpse,

And cleansed his hands from gore, The willow waved, the stream flowed on,

And murmured as before.

There was no human eye had seen

The blood the murderer spilt, And Jaspar's conscience never felt

The avenging goad of guilt.

And soon the ruffian had consumed

The gold he gained so ill,
And years of secret guilt passed on,

And he was needy still.

One eve beside the alehouse fire

He sate as it befell,
When in there came a labouring man

Whom Jaspar knew full well.

He sate him down by Jaspar's side,

A melancholy man,
For spite of honest toil, the world

Went hard with Jonathan.

His toil a little earned, and he

With little was content;
But sickness on his wife had fallen,

And all was well-nigh spent.

Long, with his wife and little ones,

He shared the scanty meal,
And saw their looks of wretchedness,

And felt what wretches feel.

Their Landlord, a hard man, that day

Had seized the little left,
And now the sufferer found himself

Of everything bereft.

He leaned his head upon his hand,

His elbow on his knee,
And so by Jaspar's side he sate,

And not a word said he.

“Nay_why so downcast ?" Jaspar cried,

“Come-cheer up, Jonathan ! Drink, neighbour, drink! 'twill warm thy heart

Come! come ! take courage, man !"

He took the cup that Jaspar gave,

And down he drained it quick; “I have a wife,” said Jonathan,

“And she is deadly sick.

“She has no bed to lie upon,

I saw them take her bed -
And I have children-would to God

That they and I were dead !

“Our Landlord he goes home to-night,

And he will sleep in peace-
I would that I were in my grave,

For there all troubles cease.

“In vain I prayed him to forbear,

Though wealth enough has he! God be to him as merciless

As he has been to me!"

When Jaspar saw the poor man's soul

On all his ills intent, He plied him with the heartening cup,

And with him forth he went.

“ This Landlord on his homeward road

'Twere easy now to meet. The road is lonesome, Jonathan !

And vengeance, man! is sweet.”

He listened to the tempter's voice,

The thought it made him start ;His head was hot, and wretchedness

Had hardened now his heart.

Along the lonely road they went,

And waited for their prey, They sate them down beside the stream

That crossed the lonely way.

They sate them down beside the stream,

And never a word they said ; They sate, and listened silently

To hear the traveller's tread.

The night was calm, the night was dark,

No star was in the sky;
The wind it waved the willow boughs,

The stream flowed quietly.

The night was calm, the air was still,

Sweet sung the nightingale ;
The soul of Jonathan was soothed,

His heart began to fail.

“ 'Tis weary waiting here,” he cried,

“ And now the hour is late, Methinks he will not come to-night,

No longer let us wait.”

“ Have patience, man !" the ruffian said,

“ A little we may wait ; But longer shall his wife expect

Her husband at the gate.”

Then Jonathan grew sick at heart :

“My conscience yet is clear ! Jaspar--it is not yet too late

I will not linger here."

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“ How now !" cried Jaspar, “why, I thought

Thy conscience was asleep ;
No more such qualms, the night is dark,

The river here is deep.”
“What matters that,” said Jonathan,

Whose blood began to freeze, “ When there is One above whose eye

The deeds of darkness sees ?

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“ We are safe enough,” said Jaspar then,

“ If that be all thy fear ! Nor eye above, nor eye below,

Can pierce the darkness here."

That instant as the murderer spake,

There came a sudden light; Strong as the mid-day sun it shone,

Though all around was night;

It hung upon the willow-tree,

It hung upon the flood,
It gave to view the poplar isle,

And all the scene of blood.

The traveller who journeys there,

He surely hath espied A madman who has made his home

Upon the river's side.

His cheek is pale, his eye is wild,

His look bespeaks despair ; For Jaspar since that hour has made

His home unsheltered there.

And fearful are his dreams at night,

And dread to him the day ;
He thinks upon his untold crime,

And never dares to pray.

The summer suns, the winter storms,

O'er him unheeded roll,
For heavy is the weight of blood

Upon the maniac's soul.

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