Menella Bute Smedley

Ranger

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A little boat in a cave,
And a child there fast asleep;
Floating out on a wave,
Out to the perilous deep—
Out to the living waters,
That brightly dance and gleam,
And dash their foam about him,
To wake him from his dream.

He rubs his pretty eyes,
He shakes his curly head,
And says, with great surprise,
“Why, I'm not asleep in bed!”
The boat is rising and sinking
Over the sailors' graves,
And he laughs out, “Isn't it nice,
Playing see-saw with the waves?”
Alas! he little thinks
Of the grief on the far-off sands,
Where his mother trembles and shrinks,
And his sister wrings her hands,
Watching in speechless terror,
The boat and the flaxen head.
Is there no hope of succour?
Must they see him drown'd and dead?

They see him living now,
Living and jumping about;
He stands on the giddy prow,
With a merry laugh and shout.
Oh, spare him! spare him! spare him!
Spare him, thou cruel deep!
The child is swept from the prow,
And the wild waves dance and leap.
They run to the edge of the shore,
They stretch their arms to him;
Knee-deep they wade, and more,
But, alas! they cannot swim.
Their pretty, pretty darling,
His little hat floats by;
They see his frighten'd face;
They hear his drowning cry.

Something warm and strong
Dashes before them then,
Hairy and curly and long,
And brave as a dozen men;
Bounding—panting—gasping,
Rushing straight as a dart;
Ready to die in the cause,
A dog with a loyal heart.
He fights with the fighting sea,
He grandly wins his prize;
Mother! he brings it thee
With triumph in his eyes.
He brings it thee, oh, mother!
His burden, pretty and pale;
He lays it down at thy feet,
And wags his honest old tail.

O dog! so faithful and bold;
O dog! so tender and true;
You shall wear a collar of gold,
And a crown, if you like it, too.
You shall lie on the softest satin;
You shall feed from a diamond dish;
You shall eat plumcake and cream,
And do whatever you wish.
Will you drive in a coach and four?
Will you ride the master's hack?
Shall the footman open the door,
And out of your presence back?
Shall the mistress work your slippers?
Shall the master catch you flies?
Will you wear the mistress's watch?
And the master's best white ties?

O Ranger! do just what you choose;
Old friend, so gallant and dear;
What churl would dare refuse
To drink your health with a cheer?
Old friend, in love and honour,
Your name shall be handed down,
And children's hearts shall beat
At the tale of your renown.

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Menella Bute Smedley