Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
 
Hilda
By John Vance Cheney (1848–1922)
 
GRAY Hilda to the churchyard came,
A withered gypsy, bent and lame;
Straightway she struck her witches’ light—
Three greenish flames, sharp-tongued and bright.
 
Next, she the magic circle drew,        5
Caught thrice three leaves the night-wind blew;
Then fixèd, as in death, sat she
Among the graves all silently.
 
So sat she till the village clock
Struck twelve; with its last, warning shock        10
She broke the charm—sent back below
The dim shapes gliding to and fro.
 
These passed, but till the darkness fled
Old Hilda sat among the dead;
Where, overhead, night-long a bough        15
Did sigh, and since has sighed till now.
 
At morn she rose, cried thrice aloud:
“Young Winsted, when she wears her shroud,
The fish shall feed!” Then, thin and gray,
Like a live mist, she went her way.        20
 
God rest her soul—old Hilda gray!
The dreary morn they laid away
The maid beneath the churchyard tree
Curst Winsted’s ship went down at sea.
 
 
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