Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871


The Haunted House

by Alice Cary

The winds of March are piping shrill,
The half-moon, slanting low,
Is shining down the wild sea-hill
Where, long and long ago,
Love ditties singing all for me,
Sat blue-eyed Coralin --
Her grave is now beneath the tree
Where then she used to spin.

Three walnut trees, so high and wild,
Before the homestead stand --
Their smooth boles often, when a child,
I've taken in my hand;
And that the nearest to the wall,
Though once alike they grew,
Is not so goodly, nor so tall,
As are the other two.

The spinning work was always there --
There all our childish glee;
But when she grew a maiden fair,
The songs were not for me.
One night, twice seven years 't has been,
When shone the moon as now,
The slender form of Coralin
Hung swinging on the bough

That's gnarled and knotty grown; in spring,
When all the fields are gay
With madrigals, no bird will sing
Upon that bough, they say.
And through the chamber where the wheel
With cob-webs is o'erspread,
Pale ghosts are sometimes seen to steal,
Since Coralin is dead.

The waters once so bright and cool,
Within the mossy well,
Are shrunken to a sluggish pool;
And more than this, they tell,
That oft the one-eyed mastiff wakes,
And howls as if in fear,
From midnight till the morning breaks --
The dead is then too near.


Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields