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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Whistling Boy That Holds the Plough

George Crabbe (1754–1832)

THE WHISTLING Boy that holds the plough

Lured by the tale that soldiers tell,

Resolves to part, yet knows not how

To leave the land he loves so well.

He now rejects the thought, and now

Looks o’er the lea, and sighs ‘Farewell!’

Farewell! the pensive maiden cries.

Who dreams of London, dreams awake—

But when her favourite Lad she spies,

With whom she loved her way to take,

Then Doubts within her soul arise,

And equal Hopes her bosom shake!

Thus, like the Boy, and like the Maid,

I wish to go, yet tarry here,

And now resolved, and now afraid:

To minds disturb’d old views appear

In melancholy charms array’d,

And once, indifferent, now are dear.

How shall I go, my fate to learn—

And, oh! how taught shall I return?