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(With her nine moons' long workings sicken'd)
That should thy little limbs have quicken'd?
Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure
Life of health, and days 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 lie-
A more harmless vanity ?
238. THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET.
Where art thou, my beloved Son,
Where art thou, worse to me than dead!
O 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 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,
O! 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;
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.
Waken, lords and ladies gay,
On the mountain dawns the day ;
All the jolly chase is here
With hawk and horse and hunting-spear;
Hounds are in their couples yelling,
Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling,
Merrily merrily mingle they,
“Waken, lords and ladies gay.":
Waken, lords and ladies gay,
The mist has left the mountain gray,
Springlets in the dawn are steaming,
Diamonds on the brake are gleaming,
And foresters have busy been
To track the buck in thicket green;
Now we come to chant our lay
“Waken, lords and ladies gay."
Waken, lords and ladies
To the greenwood haste away;
We can show you where he lies,
Fleet of foot and tall of size ;
We can show the marks he made
When 'gainst the oak his antlers fray'd ;
You shall see him brought to bay ;
“ Waken, lords and ladies gay.*
Louder, louder chant the lay
Waken, lords and ladies gay!
Tell them youth and mirth and glee
Run a course as well as we;
Time, stern huntsman ! who can baulk,
Stanch as hound and fleet as hawk;
Think of this, and rise with day
Gentle lords and ladies gay !
Sir W. Scott.
Ethereal minstrel ! pilgrim of the sky i
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound ?
Or while the wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground ?
Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will,
Those quivering wings composed, that music still !