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Nor many moons o'er hill and valley rise Ere to the gate with nymph-like step she flies, And their first-born holds forth, their darling boy, With smiles how sweet, how full of love and joy, To meet him coming; theirs through every year Pure transports, such as each to each endear! And laughing eyes and laughing voices fill Their home with gladness. She, when all are still, Comes and undraws the curtain as they lie, In sleep how beautiful! He, when the sky Gleams, and the wood sends up its harmony, When, gathering round his bed, they climb to share His kisses, and with gentle violence there Break in upon a dream not half so fair, Up to the hill-top leads their little feet; Or by the forest-lodge, perchance to meet The stag-herd on its march, perchance to hear The otter rustling in the sedgy mere; Or to the echo near the Abbot's tree, That gave him back his words of pleasantryWhen the House stood, no merrier man than he! And, as they wander with a keen delight, If but a leveret catch their quicker sight Down a green alley, or a squirrel then Climb the gnarled oak, and look and climb again, If but a moth flit by, an acorn fall, He turns their thoughts to Him who made them all; These with unequal footsteps following fast, These clinging by his cloak, unwilling to be last.
The shepherd on Tornaro's misty brow, And the swart seaman, sailing far below, Not undelighted watch the morning ray Purpling the orient—till it breaks away, And burns and blazes into glorious day!
But happier still is he who bends to trace
That sun, the soul, just dawning in the face;
The burst, the glow, the animating strife,
The thoughts and passions stirring into life;
The forming utterance, the inquiring glance,
The giant waking from his ten-fold trance,
Till up he starts as conscious whence he came,
And all is light within the trembling frame!
What then a Father's feelings? Joy and Fear
In turn prevail, Joy most; and through the year
Tempering the ardent, urging night and day
Him who shrinks back or wanders from the
Praising each highly—from a wish to raise
Their merits to the level of his Praise,
Onward in their observing sight he moves,
Fearful of wrong, in awe of whom he loves !
Their sacred presence who shall dare profane?
Who, when He slumbers, hope to fix a stain?
He lives a model in his life to show,
That, when he dies and through the world they go,
Some men may pause and say, when some admire,
“ They are his sons, and worthy of their sire !"
But Man is born to suffer. On the door
Sickness has set her mark; and now no more
Laughter within we hear, or wood-notes wild
As of a mother singing to her child.
All now in anguish from that room retire,
Where a young cheek glows with consuming fire,
And Innocence breathes contagion-all but one,
But she who gave it birth-from her alone
The medicine-cup is taken. Through the night,
And through the day, that with its dreary light
Comes unregarded, she sits silent by,
Watching the changes with her anxious eye:
While they without, listening below, above,
(Who but in sorrow know how much they love ?)
From every little noise catch hope and fear,
Exchanging still, still as they turn to hear,
Whispers and sighs, and smiles all tenderness
That would in vain the starting tear repress.
Such grief was ours—it seems but yesterday-
When in thy prime, wishing so much to stay,
'Twas thine, Maria, thine without a sigh
At midnight in a Sister's arms to die!
Oh thou wert lovely-lovely was thy frame,
And pure thy spirit as from Heaven it came!
And, when recalled to join the blest above,
Thou diedst a victim to exceeding love,
Nursing the young to health. In happier hours,
When idle Fancy wove luxuriant flowers,
Once in thy mirth thou bad'st me write on thee;
And now I write—what thou shalt never see!
At length the Father, vain his power to save,
Follows his child in silence to the grave,
(That child how cherished, whom he would not give,
Sleeping the sleep of death, for all that live ;)
Takes a last look, when, not unheard, the spade
Scatters the earth as “ dust to dust” is said,
Takes a last look and goes; his best relief
Consoling others in that hour of grief,
And with sweet tears and gentle words infusing
The holy calm that leads to heavenly musing.
-But hark, the din of arms! no time for sorrow.
To horse, to horse! A day of blood to-morrow!
One parting pang, and then—and then I fly,
Fly to the field, to triumph-or to die !-
He goes, and Night comes as it never came !
With shrieks of horror!-and a vault of flame!
And lo! when morning mocks the desolate,
Red runs the river by; and at the gate
Breathless a horse without his rider stands !
But hush! .. a shout from the victorious bands!
And oh the smiles and tears, a sire restored !
One wears his helm, one buckles on his sword;
One hangs the wall with laurel-leaves, and all
Spring to prepare the soldier's festival;
While She best-loved, till then forsaken never,
Clings round his neck as she would cling for ever!
Such golden deeds lead on to golden days, Days of domestic peace—by him who plays On the great stage how uneventful thought; Yet with a thousand busy projects fraught, A thousand incidents that stir the mind To pleasure, such as leaves no sting behind ! Such as the heart delights in—and records Within how silently—in more than words ! A Holiday—the frugal banquet spread On the fresh herbage near the fountain-head With quips and cranks—what time the wood-lark there Scatters her loose notes on the sultry air,