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Sweet Maiden, for so calm a life
Too bitter seemed thine end ;
But thou hadst won thee, ere that strife,
A more than earthly Friend.
We miss thee in thy place at school,
And on thine homeward way,
Where violets by the reedy pool
Peep out so shyly gay:
Where thou, a true and gentle guide,
Wouldst lead thy little band,
With all an elder sister's pride,
And rule with eye and hand.
And if we miss, oh, who may speak
What thoughts are hovering round
The pallet where thy fresh young cheek
Its evening slumber found?
How many a tearful longing look
In silence seeks thee yet,
Where in its own familiar nook
Thy fireside chair is set ?
And oft when little voices dim
Are feeling for the note
In chanted prayer, or psalm, or hymn,
And wavering wildly float,
Comes gushing o'er a sudden thought
Of her who led the strain,
How oft such music home she brought-
But ne'er shall bring again.
O say not so ! the springtide air
Is fraught with whisperings sweet ;
Who knows but heavenly carols there
With ours may duly meet ?
Who knows how near, each holy hour,
The pure and child-like dead
May linger, where in shrine or bower
The mourner's prayer is said ?
And He who willed thy tender frame
(O stern yet sweet decree !)
Should wear the martyr's robe of flame,
He hath prepared for thee
A garland in that region bright
Where infant spirits reign,
Tinged faintly with such golden light
As crowns his martyr train.
Nay doubt it not: his tokens sure
Were round her death-bed shown :
The wasting pain might not endure,
'Twas calm ere life had flown,
Even as we read of Saints of yore:
Her heart and voice were free
To crave one quiet slumber more
Upon her mother's knee.
ON BEING PRESSED TO GO TO A MASQUED BALL VOT MANY MONTHS AFTER THE DEATH OF MY CHILD.
Oh, lead me not in Pleasure's train,
With faltering step and faded brow;
She such a votary would disdain,
And such a homage disavow.
But art thou sure the goddess leails
5 Yon motley group that onward press ? Some gaudy phantom-shape precedes, Arrayed in Pleasure's borrowed dress. When last I saw her smile serene, And spread her soft enchantments wide, My lovely child adorned the scene, And sported by the flowing tide. The sairast shells for me to seek, Intent the little wanderer strayed ; The rose that blossomed on his cheek Still deepening as the breezes played. Exulting in his form and face, Through the bright veil that beauty wove, How did my heart delight to trace A soul—all harmony and love ! Fair as the dreams by fancy given, A model of unearthly grace ; Whene'er he raised his eyes to heaven, He seemed to seek his native place. More lovely than the morning ray,
25 His brilliant form of life and light Through strange gradations of decay In sad succession shocked my sight. And since that agonizing hour, That sowed the seed of mourning years, 30 Beauty has lost its cheering power, I see it through a mother's tears. Soon was my dream of bliss o'ercast, And all the dear illusion o'er ; A few dark days of terror past,
35 And joy and Frederick bloom no more.
We watched her breathing through the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.
So silently we seemed to speak,
So slowly moved about,
As we had lent her half our powers,
To eke her living out.
Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied ;
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.
For when the morn came dim and sad,
And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids closed-she had
15 Another morn than'ours.
LINES WRITTEN IN RICHMOND CHURCHYARD,
Methinks it is good to be here ;
If Thou wilt, let us build—but for whom?
Nor Elias nor Moses appear,
But the shadows of eve that encompass the gloom,
The abode of the dead and the place of the tomb.
Shall we build to Ambition ? oh, no!
Affrighted, he shrinketh away ;
For see! they would pin him below,
In a small narrow cave, and, begirt with cold clay,
To the meanest of reptiles a peer and a prey.
To Beauty ? ah, no!—she forgets The charms which she wielded before
Nor knows the foul worm that he frets The skin which but yesterday fools could adore, For the smoothness it held, or the tint which it wore. 15
Shall we build to the purple of PrideThe trappings which dizen the proud ?
Alas! they are all laid aside ;
And here's neither dress nor adornment allowed, 19
But the long winding-sheet and the fringe of the shroud.
To Riches ? alas! 'tis in vain ;
Who hid, in their turns have been hid :
The treasures are squandered again ;
And here in the grave are all metals forbid,
But the tinsel that shone on the dark coffin-lid.
To the pleasures which Mirth can afford-
The revel, the laugh, and the jeer ?
Ah ! here is a plentiful board !
But the guests are all mute as their pitiful cheer,
And none but the worm is a reveller here.
Shall we build to Affection and Love?
Ah, no! they have withered and died,
Or fled with the spirit above ;
Friends, brothers, and sisters, are laid side by side,
Yet none have saluted, and none have replied.
Unto Sorrow ?—The dead cannot grieve ;
Not a sob, not a sigh meets mine ear,
Which compassion itself could relieve !
Ah! sweetly they slumber, nor hope, love, nor fear-
Peace, peace is the watchword, the only one here !