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A woman rules my prison's key;
A sister queen, against the bent
Of law and holiest sympathy,
Detains me, doubtful of the event;
Great God, who feel'st for my distress,
My thoughts are all that I possess,
O keep them innocent!

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Smile of the moon -- for so I name That silent greeting from above; A gentle flash of light that came From her whom drooping captives love; Or art thou of still higher birth? Thou that didst part the clouds of earth, My torpor to reprove! Bright boon of pitying Heaven! - alas, I may not trust thy placid cheer! Pondering that Time to-night will pass The threshold of another year; For years to me are sad and dull; My very moments are too full Of hopelessness and fear.

Farewell desire of human aid,
Which abject mortals vainly court!
By friends deceived, by foes betrayed,
Of fears the prey, of hopes the sport;
Nought but the world-redeeming cross
Is able to supply my loss,
My burthen to support.
Hark! the death-note of the year
Sounded by the castle-clock!
From her sunk eyes a stagnant lear
Stole forth, unsettled by the shock;
But oft the woods renewed their green,
Ere the tired head of Scotland's queen
Reposed upon the block !

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And yet, the soul-awakening gleam, That struck perchance the farthest cone Of Scotland's rocky wilds, did seem To visit me, and me alone; Me, unapproached by any friend, Save those who to my sorrows lend Tears due unto their own. Tonight the church-tower bells will ring Through these wide realms a festive peal; To the new year a welcoming; A tuneful offering for the weal Of happy millions lulled in sleep; While I am forced to watch and weep, By wounds that may not heal. Born all too high, by wedlock raised Still higher - to be cast thus low! Would that mine eyes had never gazed On aught of more ambitious show Than the sweet flowerets of the fields ! -- It is my royal state that yields This bitterness of woe.

How beautiful when up a lofty height
Honour ascends among the humblest poor,
And feeling sinks as deep! See there the door
Of one, a widow, left beneath a weight
Of blameless debt. On evil fortune's spite
She wasted no complaint, but strove to make
A just repayment, both for conscience-sake
And that herself and hers should stand upright
In the world's eye. Her work when daylight failed
Paused not, and through the depth of night she kept
Such earnest vigils, that belief prevailed

With some, the noble creature never slept;
But, one by one, the hand of death assailed
Her children from her inmost heart bewept.



Yet how? - for I, if there be truth In the world's voice, was passing fair; And beauty for confiding youth, Those shocks of passion can prepare That kill the bloom before its time; And blauch, without the owner's crime, The most resplendent hair. Unblest distinction ! showered on me To bind a lingering life in chains: All that could quit my grasp, or flee, Is gone ;- but not the subtle stains

The mother mourned, nor ceased her tears to flow,
Till a winter's noon-day placed her buried son
Before her eyes, last child of many gone —
His raiment of angelic white, and lo!
His very feet bright as the dazzling snow
Which they are touching; yea far brighter, even
As that which comes, or seems to come, from heaven,
Surpasses aught these elements can show.
Much she rejoiced, trusting that from that hour
Whate'er befel she could not grieve or pine ;
But the transfigured, in and out of season,
Appeared, and spiritual presence gained a power
Over material forms that mastered reason.
O, gracious Heaven, in pity make her thine !


But why that prayer? as if to her could come
No good but by the way that leads to bliss
Through death, — so judging we should judge amiss.
Since reason failed want is her threatened doom,
Yet frequent transports mitigate the gloom:
Nor of those maniacs is she one that kiss
The air or laugh upon a precipice;
No, passing through strange sufferings toward the tomb,
She smiles as if a martyr's crown were won:
Oft, when light breaks through clouds or waving trees,
With outspread arms and fallen upon her knees
The mother hails in her descending son
An angel, and in earthly ecstasies
Her own angelic glory seems begun.

- This lusty Lamb of all my store Is all that is alive; And now I care not if we die, And perish all of poverty. Six Children, Sir! had I to feed; Hard labour in a time of need! My pride was tamed, and in our grief I of the Parish asked relief. They said, I was a wealthy man; My sheep upon the mountain fed, And it was fit that thence I took Whereof to buy us bread. “Do this: how can we give to you," They cried, “what to the poor is due ?"

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Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as a snail; And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with a sigh, That follows the thought — We've no land in the vale, Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie!


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 suffered 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.

They dwindled, Sir, sad sighe: to see !
From ten to five, from five to three,
A lamb, a wether, and a ewe;
And then at last from three to two;
And, of my fifty, yesterday
I had but only one:
And here it lies upon my arm,
Alas! and I have none; —
To-day I fetched it from the rock;
It is the last of all my flock."



Tax fields which with covetons spirit we sold,
Those beautiful fields, the delight of the day,
Would have brought us more good than a burthen of

Could we but have been as contented as they.

When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I,
“Let him come, with his purse proudly grasped in his


But, Allan, be true to me, Allan,
Before he shall go with an inch of the land !"

we'll die

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their bowers;
Cnfettered as bees that in gardens abide;
We could do what we chose with the land, it was ours;
And for us the brook murmured that ran by its side.

But now we are strangers, go early or late ;
And often, like one overburthened with sin,
With my hand on the latch of the half-opened gate,
I look at the fields — but I cannot go in!
When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer's day,
Or sit in the shade of my grandfather's tree,
A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say,
*** What ails you, that you must come creeping to me !"
With our pastures about us, we could not be sad;
Our comfort was near, if we ever were crost;
But the comfort, the blessings, and wealth that we had,
We slighted them all, — and our birth-right was lost.

Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son who must now be a wanderer! – but peace to that

strain! Think of evening's repose when our labour was done, The Sabbath's return - and its leisure's soft chain ! And in sickness, if night had been sparing of sleep, How cheerful, at sunrise, the hill where I stood, Imking down on the kine, and our treasure of sheep That besprinkled the field — 't was like youth in my


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.

Nay! start not at that sparkling light;
'T is but the moon that shines so bright
On the window pane bedropped with rain :
Then, little Darling! sleep again,

And wake when it is day.


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.

ONE morning (raw it was and wet,
A foggy day in winter time)
A Woman on the road I met,
Not old, though something past her prime:

Majestic in her person, tall and straight;
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait

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.

The ancient Spirit is not dead;
Old times, thought I, are breathing there;
Proud was I that my country bred
Such strength, a dignitý so fair:

She begged an alms, like one in poor estate ; I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate.

When from these lofty thoughts I woke,
“ What treasure," said “ do you bear,
Beneath the covert of your Cloak,
Protected from the cold damp air ?"

She answered, soon as she the question heard, “A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird"

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.

And, thus continuing, she said,
“I had a Son, who many a day
Sailed on the seas, but he is dead;
In Denmark he was cast away:

And I have travelled weary miles to see
If aught which he had owned might still remain

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 !

for me.

“The Bird and Cage they both were his:
'T was my Son's Bird; and neat and trim
He kept it: many voyages
This Singing-bird had gone with him:

When last he sailed, he left the Bird behind; From bodings, as might be, that hung upon his mind.

“He to a Fellow-lodger's care
Had left it, to be watched and fed,
And pipe its song in safety ; - there
I found it when my Son was dead;

God help me for my little wit!
I bear it with me, Sir, he took so much delight in it."



And now,

The days are cold, the nights are long,
The north-wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast ;
All merry things are now at rest,

Save thee, my pretty Love!



The kitten sleeps upon the hearth,
The crickets long have ceased their mirth;
There's nothing stirring in the house
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse,

Then why so busy thou ?

“ 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,"

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A long, long way of land and sea !
Come to me - I'm no enemy :
I am the same who at thy side
Sate yesterday, and made a nest
For thee, sweet Baby! -- thou hast tried,
Thou knowest the pillow of my breast;
Good, good art thou :

-alas! to me Far more than I can be to thee.

Here, little Darling, dost thou lie;
An Infant Thou, a Mother I!
Mine wilt thou be, thou hast no fears;
Mine art thou — spite of these my tears.
Alas! before I left the spot,
My baby and its dwelling-place;
The Nurse said to me, 'Tears should not
Be shed upon an infant's face,
It was unlucky' — no, no, no;
No truth is in them who say so!

My own dear Little-one will sigh,
Sweet Babe! and they will let him die.
'He pines, they'll say, “it is his doon,
And you may see his hour is come.'
Oh! had he but thy cheerful smiles,
Limbs stout as thine, and lips as gay,
Thy looks, thy cunning, and thy wiles,
And countenance like a summer's day,
They would have hopes of him — and the
I should behold his face again!

'Tis gone — like dreams that we forget;
There was a smile or two-yet — yet
I can remember them, I see
The smiles, worth all the world to me.
Dear Baby! I must lay thee down;
Thou troublest me with strange alarms;
Smiles hast Thou, bright ones of thy own;
I cannot keep thee in my arms,
By those bewildering glances crost
In which the light of his is lost.

Oh! how I love thee! — we will stay
Together here this one half day.
My Sister's Child, who bears my name,
From France to sheltering England came;
She with her mother crossed the sea;
The Babe and Mother near me dwell:
My Darling, she is not to me
What thou art! though I love her well:
Rest, little Stranger, rest thee here!
Never was any Child more dear!

- I cannot help it - ill intent
I've none, my pretty Innocent!
I weep, I know they do thee wrong,
These tears — and my poor idle tongue
Oh, what a kiss was that! my cheek
How cold it is! but thou art good;

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