Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

* The blackening wave is edged with white;

To inch and rock the sea-mews fly; The fishers have heard the Water-Sprite,

Whose screams forebode that wreck is nigh. ‘Last night the gifted Seer did view

A wet shroud swathed round ladye gay; Then stay thee, Fair, in Ravensheuch ;

Why cross the gloomy firth to-day? "'Tis not because Lord Lindesay's heir

To-night at Roslin leads the ball, But that my ladye-mother there

Sits lonely in her castle-hall. • Tis not because the ring they ride,

And Lindesay at the ring rides well, But that my sire the wine will chide

If 'tis not fill’d by Rosabelle.' --O'er Roslin all that dreary night

A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam ; 'Twas broader than the watch-fire's light,

And redder than the bright moonbeam. It glared on Roslin's castled rock,

It ruddied all the copse-wood glen; 'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,

And seen from cavern'il Ilawthornden. Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud

Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffin' lie, Each Baron, for a sable shroud,

Sheathed in his iron panoply. Seem'd all on fire within, around,

Deep sacristy and altar's pale ; Shone every pillar foliage-bound,

And glimmer'l all the dead men's mail. Blazed battlement and pinnet high,

Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair So still they blaze, when fate is nigh

The lordly line of high Saint Clair.

There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold

Lie buried within that proud chapelle ;
Each one the holy vault doth hold

But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle.
And each Saint Clair was buried there,

With candle, with book, and with knell ;
But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung
The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.

Sir W. Scott

CCLXXXII

ON AN INFANT DYING AS SOON AS BORN

I saw where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work ;
A flow'ret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,
Was in her cradle-coffin lying ;
Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying :
So soon to exchange the imprisoning woml)
For darker closets of the tomb !
She did but ope an eye, and put
A clear beam forth, then straight up shut
For the long dark : ne'er more to see
Through glasses of mortality.
Riddle of destiny, who can show
What thy short visit meant, or know
What thy errand here below?
Shall we say, that Nature blind
Check'd her hand, and changed her mind
Just when she had exactly wrought
A finish'd pattern without fault?
Could she flag, or could she tire,
Or lack'l she the Promethean fire
(With her nine moons' long workings sicken'l)
That should thy little limbs have quicken’d?
Limbs so firm, they seem’ıl to assure
Life of health, and (lays mature :
Woman's self in miniature !

Limbs so fair, they might supply (Themselves now but cold imagery) The sculptor to make Beauty by. Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry That babe or mother, one must die; So in mercy left the stock And cut the branch ; to save the shock of young years widow'd, and the pain When Single State comes back again To the lone man who, reft of wife, Thenceforward drags a maiméd life? The economy of Heaven is dark, And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark Why human buds, like this, should fall, More brief than fly ephemeral That has his day ; while shrivell’d crones Stiffen with age to stocks and stones ; And crabbéd use the conscience sears In sinners of an hundred years. -Mother's prattle, mother's kiss, Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss : Rites, which custom does impose, Silver bells, and baby clothes; Coral redder than those lips Which pale death did late eclipse ; Music framed for infants' glee, Whistle never tuned for thee; Though thou want'st not, thou shalt have them, Loving hearts were they which gave them. Let not one be missing ; nurse, See them laid upon the hearse of infant slain by doom perverse. Why should kings and nobles have Pictured trophies to their grave, And we, churls, to thee deny Thy pretty toys with thee to licA more harmless vanity?

C. Lamb

CCLXXXIII

IN MEMORIAM
A child's a plaything for an hour ;

Its pretty tricks we try
For that or for a longer space,

Then tire, and lay it by.
But I knew one that to itself

All seasons could control;
That would have mock'd the sense of pain

Out of a grieved soul.
Thou straggler into loving arms,

Young climber up of knces,
When I forget thy thousand ways
Then life and all shall cease !

M. Lamb

CCLXXXIV

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 despair'd, have hoped, believed,
And been for evermore beguiled, -
Sometimes with theughts 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 blasts 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 Maim'd, mangled by inhuman men ; Or thou upon a desert thrown Inheritest the lion's den; Or hast been summon’d 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 ;

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »