« PreviousContinue »
And now the mother's ear has caught his cry,
Oh grant the cherub to her asking eye!
He comes—she clasps him. To her bosom pressed,
He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.
Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows;
How soon by his the glad discovery shows!
As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy,
What answering looks of sympathy and joy!
He walks, he speaks, in many a broken word
His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard,
And ever, ever, to her lap, he flies,
When rosy sleep comes on with sweet surprise.
Locked in her arms, his arms across her flung,
(That name most dear for ever on his tongue)
As with soft accents round her neck he clings,
And, cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings;
How blest to feel the beatings of his heart,
Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart;
Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove,
And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!
But soon a nobler task demands her care, Apart she joins his little hands in prayer, Telling of Him who sees in secret there! And now the volume on her knee has caught His wandering eye—now many a written thought
Never to die, with many a lisping sweet
His moving, murmuring lips endeavour to repeat.
Released he chases the bright butterfly;
Oh he would follow—follow through the sky!
Climbs the gaunt mastiff slumbering in his chain,
And chides and buffets, clinging by the mane;
Then runs, and kneeling by the fountain side,
Sends his brave ship in triumph down the tide,
A dangerous voyage; or, if now he can,
If now he wears the habit of a man,
Rings off the coat so long his pride and pleasure,
And like a miser digging for his treasure,
His tiny spade in his own garden plies,
And in green letters sees his name arise!
Where'er he goes, for ever in her sight,
She looks, and looks, and still with new delight.
Ah who, when fading of itself away,
Would cloud the sunshine of his little day!
Now is the May of life. Careering round,'
Joy wings his feet, joy lifts him from the ground!
Pointing to such, well might Cornelia say,
When the rich casket shone in bright array,
'These are my jewels!' Well of such as he,
When Jesus spake, well might his language be,
'Suffer these little ones to come to me!'
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, , Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen, With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean; This is not solitude; 'tis but to hold Converse with nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.
But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, weald seem to smile the less,
Of all that flattered, followed, sought and sued,
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude 1
Of all my race there breathes not one,
To comfort or deplore me;
Pain wakes a pulse in every bone,
And death is closing o'er me.
Still doth his lifted stroke delay,
Protracted tortures dooming. I feel, ere life has passed away,
His very worm consuming.
Night spreads her mantle o'er the sky,
And all around are sleeping, While I, in tears of agony,
My restless couch am steeping.
I sigh for morn,—the rising day
Awakes the earth to gladness,
I turn with sickening soul away,—
It smiles upon my sadness.
Cursed be that day,—»in tempest wild,-
When first with looks delighted,
My mother smiled upon her child,
And felt her pangs requited!
Oh! that, by human eye unseen,
I might have fled from sorrow;
And been as though I had not been,—
As I would be to-morrow!
The light wave sparkling in the beam,
That trembles o'er the river,
A moment sheds its quivering gleam,
Then shuns the sight for ever:
So soft a ray can pleasure shed,
While secret snares surround it, So swift that faithless hope is fled,
Which wins the heart to wound it!
A crown of glory graced my brow,
Whole nations bent before me,
Princes and hoary sires would bow
To flatter and adore me.
To me the widow turned for aid,
And ne'er in vain addressed me:
For me the grateful orphan prayed,
The soul of misery blessed me.
I raised the drooping wretch that pined,
In lonely anguish lying;
Was balm unto the wounded mind,
And solace to the dying.