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WRITTEN IN A SICK CHAMBER.
There, in that bed so closely curtained round,
Worn to a shade, and wan with slow decay,
A father sleeps! Oh hushed be every sound !
Soft may we breathe the midnight hours away!
He stirs—yet still he sleeps. May heavenly dreams Long o'er his smoothed and settled pillow rise ; Nor fly, till morning thro' the shutter streams, And on the hearth the glimmering rush-light dies.
Ah! little thought she, when, with wild delight,
By many a torrent's shining track she flew,
When mountain-glens and caverns full of night
O'er her young mind divine enchantment threw,
That in her veins a secret horror slept,
That her light footsteps should be heard no more,
That she should die—nor watched, alas, nor wept
By thee, unconscious of the pangs she bore.
Yet round her couch indulgent Fancy drew
The kindred forms her closing eye required.
There didst thou stand—there, with the smile she knew;
She moved her lips to bless thee, and expired.
And now to thee she comes; still, still the same
As in the hours gone unregarded by!
To thee, how changed, comes as she ever came;
Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye!
Nor less, less oft, as on that day, appears,
When lingering, as prophetic of the truth,
By the way-side she shed her parting tears-
For ever lovely in the light of Youth!
* On the death of her sister.
On thee, blest youth, a father's hand confers
The maid thy earliest, fondest wishes knew.
Each soft enchantment of the soul is hers;
Thine be the joys to firm attachment due.
As on she moves with hesitating grace,
She wins assurance from his soothing voice;
And, with a look the pencil could not trace,
Smiles thro’ her blushes, and confirms the choice.
Spare the fine tremors of her feeling frame !
To thee she turns-forgive a virgin's fears !
To thee she turns with surest, tenderest claim;
Weakness that charms, reluctance that endears!
At each response the sacred rite requires,
From her full bosom bursts the unbidden sigh.
A strange mysterious awe the scene inspires;
And on her lips the trembling accents die.
O’er her fair face what wild emotions play!
What lights and shades in sweet confusion blend!
Soon shall they fly, glad harbingers of day,
And settled sunshine on her soul descend!
Ah soon, thine own confest, ecstatic thought!
That hand shall strew thy summer-path with flowers;
And those blue eyes, with mildest lustre fraught,
Gild the calm current of domestic hours !
YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF LADY * *
Ah! why with tell-tale tongue reveal
What most her blushes would conceal ?
Why lift that modest veil to trace
The seraph-sweetness of her face?
Some fairer, better sport prefer ;
And feel for us, if not for her.
For this presumption, soon or late,
Know thine shall be a kindred fate.
Another shall in vengeance rise-
Sing Harriet's cheeks, and Harriet's eyes;
And, echoing back her wood-notes wild,
- Trace all the mother in the child !
* Alluding to some verses which she had written on an elder sister.