David Lewis Paget
The Deserted Village
There's a road on the hill, leads down to the plain
Where once was a village before the Black Plague,
And the old stone walls that marked off the fields
Lie hidden by the village called Tiverton Lees.
Where the gorse has flourished since the old crops died
Laid waste, un-nourished through the countryside,
And the old plough furrows ripple down through the vale
Where the farmhands idled, swilling lunchtime ale!
There are marks on the ground, along the main street
Worn smooth by the passages of carts and feet,
And the old foundations of the King's Head Inn
Lie stark, untroubled, where the men filed in.
The land lies fallow by the old cattle byres
While hearthstones, burnt, tell of warm cottage fires,
Of children, spooning at their hot pottages,
And wives, sat darning in their warm cottages.
But the mounds, in relief, lie, row after row
And the hillside's grief sighs, covered in snow,
When the world turned once, and caught at its breath
To visit on the village what they called ‘The Black Death! '
Lost, all lost, are the dreams and the tears,
The love that was made, and the hopes and the fears,
There hasn't been a burial, wedding or a sneeze
For seven hundred years, in Tiverton Lees!
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