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Thou, who so late wast sleeping
Warm in the close fold of a mother's heart,
Scarce from her breast a single pulse receiving,
But it was sent thee with some tender thought,
How can I leave thee, here! Alas — for man!
The herb in its humility may fall
And waste into the bright and genial air,
While we by hands that minister'd in life
Nothing but love to us
are thrust away, The earth thrown in upon our just cold bosoms, And the warm sunshine trodden out forever!
Yet have I chosen for thy grave, my child,
A bank where I have lain in summer hours !
And thought how little it would seem like death
To sleep amid such loveliness. The brook
Tripping with laughter down the rocky steps
That lead up to thy bed, would still trip on,
Breaking the dread hush of the mourners gone;
The birds are never silent that build here,
Trying to sing down the more vocal waters :
The slope is beautiful with moss and flowers,
And far below, seen under arching leaves,
Glitters the warm sun on the village spire,
Pointing the living after thec.
And this seems like a comfort; and, replacing now
The flowers that have made room for thee, I go
To whisper the same peace to her who lies
Robb'd of her child — and lonely. 'Tis the work
Of many a dark hour, and of many a prayer,
To bring the heart back from an infant gone.
Hope must give o'er, and busy fancy blot
The images from all the silent rooms,
And every sight and sound familiar to her
Undo its sweetest link - and so at last
The fountain - that, once struck, must flow forever
Will hide and waste in silence. When the smile
Steals to her pallid lip again, and Spring
Wakens its buds above thee, we will come,
And, standing by thy music-haunted grave,
Look on each other cheerfully, and say:
A child that we have loved is gone to heaven,
And by this gate of flowers she pass'd away!
MOTHER! dear mother! the feeling nurst
As I hung at thy bosom, clung round thee first.
'Twas the earliest link in love's warm chain;
'Tis the only one that will long remain ;
And as, year by year, and day by day,
Some friend still trusted drops away,
Mother! dear mother! oh, dost thou see
How the shorten'd chain brings me nearer thee!
Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever.-SHIELLEY.
Love knoweth every form of air,
And every shape of earth,
And comes, unbidden, everywhere,
Like thought's mysterious birth.
The moonlit sca and the sunset sky
Are written with Love's words, And you hear his voice unceasingly,
Like song in the time of birds.
He peeps into the warrior's heart
From the tip of a stooping plume,
And the serried spears and the many men
May not deny him room.
He'll come to his tent in the weary night,
And be busy in his dream;
And he'll float to his eye in morning light
Like a fay on a silver beam.
He hears the sound of the hunter's gun,
And rides on the echo back,
And sighs in his ear, like a stirring leaf,
And fits in his woodland track.
The shade of the wood, and the sheen of the river,
The cloud and the open sky –
He will haunt them all with his subtle quiver,
Like the light of your very eye.
The fisher hangs over the leaning boat,
And ponders the silver sea,
For love is under the surface hid,
And a spell of thought has he.
He heaves the wave like a bosom sweet,
And speaks in the ripple low,
Till the bait is gone from the crafty line,
And the hook hangs bare below.
He blurs the print of the scholar's book,
And intrudes in the maiden's prayer, And profanes the cell of the holy man,
In the shape of a lady fair.
In the darkest night, and the bright daylight,
In earth, and sea, and sky,
In every home of human thought,
Will Love be lurking nigh.
How like a mounting devil in the heart
Rules the unreined ambition! (c)
• Bring me the captive now! My hand feels skillful, and the shadows lift From my waked spirit airily and swift,
And I could paint the bow Upon the bended heavens
- around me play Colours of such divinity to-day.
Ha! bind him on his back!
Look!- as Prometheus in my picture here!
Quick he faints! - stand with the cordial near !
Now - bend him to the rack !
Press down the poison'd links into his fesh!
And tear agape that healing wound afresh!
- let him writhe! How long
Will he live thus ? Quick, my good pencil, now!
What a fine agony works upon his brow!
Ha! gray hair’d, and so strong!
How fearfully he stifles that short moan!
Gods! if I could but paint a dying groan!