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Polly Williams

Polly Williams
By Samuel Little (1810)

The story: “…cut off in her youthful bloom”






Polly Williams
By Samuel Little (1810)

A lily once fell by a mower's rude prowess,
     Lambs perished while licking the murderer’s hands;
A sweet, blooming virgin was slain by her lover,
     While waiting  for transport  in  Hymen's  soft bands.

Long rains swelled the rivers, bleak clouds hid the mountains,
     The vales lay enveloped in misty array;
I climbed the wet hills, and, with heart-rending horror,
     Surveyed the sad spot where all mangled she lay.

Grim rose the huge rocks and deep sunk were the caverns,
     With thorns and keen briars the place was o'er grown;
Above, the dark brow  of  the  mountain  stood frowning,
     In the valley sad midnight had built her dark throne.

Sweet girl, 'twas too rude fur thy nuptial chamber;
     Was it meet that a bride on the cold ground should lay?
That the howling of wolves and the screams of the panther
     Should furnish the songs of  thy nuptial day?

How long did'st thou toil up the steep, rugged mountain?
     How weary, how fainting thy delicate frame?
Yet fond hope still cheered thee, the moment ap­proaching
     To crown thy best hopes and  to  banish  all shame.

Say, when did wild gasping succeed to  fond  toying?
     Ah, when did'st thou find the extent of  thy woes?
When did the fond lover transform to a demon?
     His purpose accursed how could be disclose?

I see thee all pale and all trembling before him -
     I hear thy entreaties - thy heart-piercing cries;
But poor lonely  victim ! no helper  was near thee-
     No father- no mother, to answer thy sighs.

The conflict begins, his bands are uplifted;
     I see thy blood streaming - thy screams are  in vain-
Rough rocks will not bear t bee, his heart is still harder-
     'Twas ad'mant from hell  that composed his frame.

Those fair eyes so lately with tenderness beaming
     Now roll with wild horror and smart with keen pain;
And soon, very soon, will be closed up for ever­
     No sun of to-morrow will greet them again.

At thy wide-gaping wounds thy poor spirit waits fluttering -
     A path all unknown she must quickly  pursue;
A faint, a last sigh from thy bursting heart whis­pered,
    "Poor traitor!  poor murderer! Ibid thee adieu!"

Yc rocks, ye were marble, or sure you'd  have melted;
     But with the curs’d traitor ye too were com­bined,
though stained with their heart's blood  ye still stand relentless ;
     Betrayed  and  dserted,  no  friend  could  she find.

Ye caverns that groaned  when  her heartstrings were breaking,
     Could not you concealed the poor tortured fair?
Or your grim jaws expanding have seized her tor­mentor
     And plunged his black soul to eternal despair?

And where slept the thunder, the lightning’s red anger?
     Could no friendly genius have darted it down?
Had heaven forgot to be present in danger,
     When  lovers  proved  murderers  and  helpers were gone ?

Still groan, ye deep caverns! Still shriek ye dark alleys!
     Let the lost murderer  witness, who near you shall stray,
The long-lengthened  anguish, the soul-rending tortures
     That closed the sad eve of her nuptial day.

Poor injured spirit, thy murderer is living­ --
     For Justice, grown weary, forbore to pursue;
By lawyers defended, by jurors acquitted,
     His presence detested still tortures our view.

If justice on earth is too often perverted,
     If lawyers can rescue the worst of mankind;
The great Court of Heaven is not to be bribed -
     There poor injured innocence a refuge can find.

'Twas piteous, poor Polly, that strangers’ rude shoulders
     Through thickets should bear thee down to thy long home,
Rough pines of the mountain thy soft limbs sup• porting,
     And no gentle relative weep at thy tomb.

'Twas the cold band of strangers that placed  thy death pillow,
     That closed thy sunk eyes and thy winding­ sheet gave;
No friend stood around thee to sing a soft re­quiem,
     No tear of a parent to soften thy grave.

Ye spirits that sit round the grave of the mur­dered,
     Each  evening  chant  forth  her  unparalleled woes!
Ye cold clods that hide her, lie light  on  her  bosom-
     Once torn by rough rocks, thy soft flesh asks repose.

Sweet sufferer, sleep on ! and may heaven protect thee !
     May angels sit watching thy innocent clay,
Till the last trumpet sounds, and  thy  soft slum­bers breaking\
     Calls thee home to the realms of ineffable day


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