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“I'll teach my boy the sweetest things ;
I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
My little babe ! thy lips are still,
And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
Where art thou gone, my own dear child ?
What wicked looks are those I see?
Alas ! alas ! that look so wild,
It never, never came from me :
If thou art mad, my pretty lad,
Then I must be for ever sad.
“Oh! smile on me, my little lamb !
For I thy own dear mother am.
My love for thee has well been tried :
I've sought thy father far and wide.
I know the poisons of the shade,
I know the earth-nuts fit for food ;
Then, pretty dear, be not afraid ;
We'll find thy father in the wood.
Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!
And there, my babe, we'll live for aye.”
“UP, Timothy, up, with your staff, and away :
Not a soul in the village this morning will stay ;
The hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds,
And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds."
-Of coats and of jackets gray, scarlet and green,
On the slopes of the pastures all colours were seen ;
With their comely blue aprons, and caps white as snow,
The girls on the hills made a holiday show.
The basin of boxwood, just six months before,
Had stood on the table at Timothy's door :
A coffin through Timothy's threshold had past,
One child did it bear, and that child was his last.
Now fast up the dell came the noise and the fray,
The horse and the horn, and the “Hark! hark away 1"
Old Timothy took up his staff, and he shut
With a leisurely motion the door of his hut.
Perhaps to himself at that moment he said,
“The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead.”
But of this in my ears not a word did he speak,
And he went to the chase with a tear on his cheek.
THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET.
WHERE art thou, my beloved son,
Where art thou, worse to me than dead?
Oh find me, prosperous or undone !
Or, if the grave be now thy bed,
Why am I ignorant of the same,
That I may rest ; and neither blame
Nor sorrow may attend thy name?
Seven years, alas ! to have received
No tidings of an only child ;
To have despaired, and have believed,
And be for evermore beguiled ;
Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss,
I catch at them, and then I miss ;
Was ever darkness like to this ?
He was among the prime in worth,
An object beauteous to behold;
Well born, well bred; I sent him forth
Ingenuous, innocent, and bold :
If things ensued that wanted grace,
As hath been said, they were not base;
And never blush was on my face.
Ah ! little doth the young one dream,
When full of play and childish cares,
What power is in his wildest scream
Heard by his mother unawares !
He knows it not, he cannot guess :
Years to a mother bring distress ;
But do not make her love the less.
Neglect me! no, I suffer'd long
From that ill thought, and, being blind,
Said, “Pride shall help me in my wrong:
Kind mother have I been, as kind
As ever breathed :" and that is true :
I've wet my path with tears like dew,
Weeping for him when no one knew.
My son, if thou be humbled, poor,
Hopeless of honour and of gain,
Oh! do not dread thy mother's door ;
Think not of me with grief and pain :
I now can see with better eyes ;
And worldly grandeur I despise,
And fortune with her gifts and lies,
Alas! the fowls of heaven have wings,
And blast of heaven will aid their flight ;
They mount, how short a voyage brings
The wanderers back to their delight !
Chains tie us down by land and sea ;
And wishes vain as mine, may be
All that is left to comfort thee.
Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan,
Maimed, mangled by inhuman men ;
Or thou upon a desert thrown
Inheritest the lion's den ;
Or hast been summoned to the deep, Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep An incommunicable sleep.
I look for ghosts, but none will force Their way to me; 'tis falsely said That there was ever intercourse Between the living and the dead : For, surely, then I should have sight Of him I wait for day and night, With love and longings infinite.
My apprehensions come in crowds;
I dread the rustling of the grass !
The very shadows of the clouds
Have power to shake me as they pass :
I question things, and do not find
One that will answer to my mind;
And all the world appears unkind.
Beyond participation lie
My troubles, and beyond relief :
If any chance to heave a sigh,
They pity me, and not my grief.
Then come to me, my son, or send
Some tidings that my woes may end ;
I have no other earthly friend.