Through Goshen Hollow, where hemlocks grow,
Where rushing rills, with flash and flow,
Are over the rough rocks falling;
Where fox, where bear, and catamount hide,
In holes and dens In the mountain side,
A Circuit-preacher once used to ride,
And his name was Rufus Rawling.
He was set in his ways and what was strange,
If you argued with him he would not change,
One could get nothing through him.
Solemn and slow In style was he,
Slender and slim as a tamarack tree,
And always ready to disagree
With every one that knew him.
One night he saddled his sorrel mare,
And started over to Ripton, where
He had promised to do some preaching.
Away he cantered over the hill,
Past the schoolhouse at Capen’s mill;
The moon was down and the place was still,
Save the sound of a night-hawk screeching.
At last he came to a deep ravine,
He felt a kind of queer, and mean
Sensation stealing o’er him.
Old Sorrel began to travel slow,
Then gave a snort and refused to go;
The parson chucked, and he holloa’d “whoa,”
And wondered what was before him.
Then suddenly he seemed to hear
A gurgling groan so very near,
It scattered his senses nearly.
“Go ‘ome, go’ome,” It loudly cried,
“Go ‘ome,” re-echoed the mountain side,
“Go ‘ome,” away In the distance died-
He wished he was home sincerely.
And then before his startled sight,
A light flashed out upon the night
That seemed to “beat all creation.”
Then through the bushes a figure stole,
With eyes of fire and lips of coal,
That froze his blood and shook his soul
With horror and consternation.
He lost his sermon, he dropped his book,
His hair stood up, and his saddle shook
Like a sawmill under motion
.No cry he uttered, no word he said,
But, suddenly turning Sorrel’s head,
Away and out of the woods he fled
As fast as he could for Goshen.
The ghost he saw and the rattling bones
Were a pumpkin, a gourd, and some gravel stones,
That gave him all that glory;
But ne’er again up that mountain side,
In the light would Rufus Rawling ride,
And many a time I’ve laughed till I cried
To hear him tell the story.