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But Betty's bent on her intent;
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress :
Old Susan lies a-bed in pain,
And sorely puzzled are the twain,
For what she ails they cannot guess.
And Betty's Husband's at the wood,
Where by the week he doth abide,
A Woodman in the distant vale;
There's none to help poor Susan Gale;
What must be done? what will betide ?
And Betty from the lane has fetched
Her Pony, that is mild and good,
Whether he be in joy or pain,
Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he is all in travelling trim,
And by the moonlight, Betty Foy
Has up upon the saddle set,
The like was never heard of yet,
Him whom she loves, her Idiot Boy.
And he must post without delay,
Across the bridge that's in the dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a Doctor from the town,
Or she will die, old Susan Gale.
There is no need of boot or spur,
There is no need of whip or wand,
For Johnny has his holly-bough,
And with a hurly-burly now
He shakes the green bough in his hand.
And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The Boy who is her best delight
Both what follow, what to shun,
What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge,
Was,.“ Johnny! Johnny! mind that you
Come home again, nor stop at all,
Come home again, whate'er befal,
My Johnny, do, I pray you do."
To this did Johnny answer make,
Both with his head, and with his hand,
And proudly shook the bridle too,
And then ! his words were not a few,
Which Betty well could understand.
And now that Johnny is just going,
Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
She gently pats the Pony's side,
On which her Idiot Boy must ride,
And seems no longer in a hurry.
But when the Pony moved his legs,
Oh! then for the poor Idiot Boy!
For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
For joy his head and heels are idle,
He's idle all for very joy.
And while the Pony moves his legs,
In Johnny's left hand you may see
The green bough's motionless and dead :
The Moon that shines above his head
Is not more still and mute than he.
His heart it was so full of glee,
That till full fifty yards were gone,
He quite forgot his holly whip
And all his skill in horsemanship,
Oh! happy, happy, happy John.
And Betty's standing at the door,
And Betty's face with joy o'erflows,
Proud of herself, and proud of him,
She sees him in his travelling trim;
How quietly her Johnny goes.