[blocks in formation]

Organ siner, deeper, clearer,

Though it be a stranger's tone, Than the winds or waters dearer, More enchanting to the hearer,

For it answereth to his own. But, of all its witching words, Those are sweetest, bubbling wild Through the laughter of a child.

Harmonies from time-touched towers,

Haunted strains from rivulets, Hum of bees among the flowers, Rustling leaves, and silver showers,

These, erelong, the ear forgets ; But in mine there is a sound Ringing on the whole year round, Heart-deep laughter that I heard Ere my child could speak a word.

Nor sheep nor kine were near; the lamb was

all alone, And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone ; With one knee on the grass did the little

maiden kneel, While to that mountain-lamb she gave its

evening meal. The lamb, while from her hand he thus his

supper took, Seemed to feast with head and ears ; and his

tail with pleasure shook. “Drink, pretty creature, drink!” she said, in

such a tone That I almost received her heart into my own. 'T was little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of

beauty rare ! I watched them with delight: they were

lovely pair.

Ah! 't was heard by ear far purer,

Fondlier formed to catch the strain, Ear of one whose love is surer, Hers, the mother, the endurer

of the deepest share of pain ;

Now with her empty can the maiden turned away;

SEVEN TIMES ONE. But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.

THERE's no dew left on the daisies and clover,

There's no rain left in heaven. Right towards the lamb she looked ; and from a l've said my " seven times” over and over, shady place

Seven times one are seven.
I unobserved could see the workings of her face.
If nature to her tongue could measured numbers

I am old, — so old I can write a letter; bring, Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid The lambs play always, – they know no better;

My birthday lessons are done. might sing :

They are only one times one. 6. What ails thee, young one ? -- what? Why pull so at thy cord ?

O Moon! in the night I have seen you sailing Is it not well with thee? — well both for bed and And shining so round and low. board ?

You were bright — ah, bright -- but your light Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ;

is failing; Rest, little young one, rest; what is 't that You are nothing now but a bow. aileth thee?

You Moon ! have you done something wrong in • Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought heaven, thee in this can

That God has hidden your face? Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran; I hope, if you have, you will soon be forgiven, And twice in the day, when the ground is wet And shine again in your place.

with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it O velvet Bee ! you 're a dusty fellow, is, and new.

You ’ve powdered your legs with gold.

O brave marsh Mary-buds, rich and yellow, “ Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as

Give me your money to hold ! they are now ; Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in O Columbine ! open your folded wrapper, the plough.

Where two twin turtle-doves dwell! My playinate thou shalt be ; and when the wind | O Cuekoo-pint! toll me the purple clapper is cold,

That hangs in your clear green bell ! Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.

And show me your nest, with the young ones in

it, “ Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the I will not steal them away : sky;

I am old ! you may trust me, linnet, linnet ! Night and day thou art safe, - our cottage is

I am seven times one to-day. hard by.

JEAN INGELOW. Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain? Sleep, and at break of day I will come to thee again!”

WE ARE SEVEN. As homeward through the lane I went with lazy

A SIMPLE child, feet,

That lightly draws its breath, This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat ;

And feels its life in every limb, And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by

What should it know of death ? line, That but half of it was hers, and one half of it

I met a little cottage girl : was mine.

She was eight years old, she said ; Again, and once again, did I repeat the song ;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head. Nay,” said I, “ more than half to the damsel

must belong, For she looked with such a look, and she spake

She had a rustic, woodland air, with such a tone,

And she was wildly clad ; That I almost received her heart into my own.'

Her eyes were fair, and very fair ;

Her beauty made me glad.


[blocks in formation]

“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea, Yet ye are seven ! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be."

Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we; Two of us in the churchyard lie

Beneath the churchyard tree."

SLEEP breathes at last from out thee,

My little patient boy ;
And balmy rest about thee
Smooths off the day's annoy.

I sit me down, and think

Of all thy winning ways;
Yet almost wish, with sudden shrink,

That I had less to praise.
Thy sidelong pillowed meekness;

Thy thanks to all that aid ;
Thy heart, in pain and weakness,
Of fancied faults afraid ;

The little trembling hand

That wipes thy quiet tears, These, these are things that may demand

Dread memories for years.

“You run about, my little maid ;

Your limbs they are alive ; If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”

“ Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied : Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,

And they are side by side.

My stockings there I often knit;

My kerchief there I hem ; And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.

Sorrows I've had, severe ones,

I will not think of now;
And calmly, midst my dear ones,
Have wasted with dry brow;

But when thy fingers press

And pat my stooping head, I cannot bear the gentleness,

The tears are in their bed.

" And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair, I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.

“ The first that died was Sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain ;

And then she went away.

“So in the churchyard she was laid ;

And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.

Ah, first-born of thy mother,

When life and hope were new ;
Kind playmate of thy brother,
Thy sister, father too ;

My light, where'er I go ;

My bird, when prison-bound ; My hand-in-hand companion — No,

My prayers shall hold thee round. To say, “He has departed”

“ His voice" “ his face" To feel impatient-hearted, Yet feel we must bear on,

Ah, I could not endure

To whisper of such woe, Unless I felt this sleep insure

That it will not be so.

is gone,

[merged small][ocr errors]

Yes, still he's fixed, and sleeping !

This silence too the while,
Its very hush and creeping
Seem whispering us a smile;

Something divine and dim

Seems going by one's ear, Like parting wings of cherubim,

Who say, “We've finished here."

From out a balmy bosom

Our bud of beauty grew;
It fed on smiles for sunshine,

On tears for daintier dew :
Aye nestling warm and tenderly,

Our leaves of love were curled So close and close about our wee

White Rose of all the world.



With mystical faint fragrance

Our house of life she filled ; Revealed each hour some fairy tower

Where wingéd hopes might build ! We saw -- though none like us might see

Such precious promise pearled l'pon the petals of our wee

White Rose of all the world.

But, evermore the halo

Of angel-light increased,
Like the mystery of moonlight

That folds some fairy feast.
Snow-white, snow-soft, snow-silently

Our darling bud up-curled,
And dropt i' the grave. - God's lap -- our we

White Rose of all the world.

O, THOSE little, those little blue shoes !
Those shoes that no little feet use.

O the price were high

That those shoes would buy,
Those little blue unused shoes !
For they hold the small shape of feet
That no more their mother's eyes meet,

That, by Goul's good will,

Years since, grew still,
And ceased from their totter so sweet.
And 0, since that baby slept,
So hushed, how the mother has kept,

With a tearful pleasure,

That little dear treasure,
And o'er them thought and wept !
For they mind her forevermore
Of a patter along the floor;

And blue eyes she sees

Look up from her knees
With the look that in life they wore.
As they lie before her there,
There babbles from chair to chair

A little sweet face

That's a gleam in the place, With its little gold curls of hair. Then ( wonder not that her heart From all else would rather part

Than those tiny blue shoes

That no little feet use, And whose sight makes such fond tears start !

Our Rose was but in blossom,

Our life was but in spring, When down the solemn midnight

We heard the spirits sing, Another bud of infancy

With holy dews impearled !" And in their hands they bore our wee

White Rose of all the world.

You scarce could think so small a thing

Could leave a loss so large ;
Her little light such shadow fling

From dawn to sunset's marge.
In other springs our life may be

In bannered bloom unfurled, But never, never match our wee White Rose of all the world.





All in our marriage garden

Grew, smiling up to God, A bonnier flower than ever

Snekt the green warmth of the sod; O beantiful unfathomably

Its little life unfurled ; And crown of all things was our wee

White Rose of all the world.

AMONG the beautiful pictures

That hang on Memory's wall Is one of a dim old forest,

That seemeth best of all ; Not for its gnarled oaks olden,

Dark with the mistletoe ; Not for the violets golden

That sprinkle the vale below :

[ocr errors]

Not for the milk-white lilies

That lean from the fragrant ledge, Coquetting all day with the sunbeams,

And stealing their golden edge ; Not for the vines on the upland,

Where the bright red berries rest, Nor the pinks, nor the pale sweet cowslip,

It seemeth to me the best.

This name, whoever chance to call

Perhaps your smile may win. Nay, do not smile ! mine eyelids fall Over mine eyes, and feel withal

The sudden tears within.

Is there a leaf that greenly grows

Where summer meadows bloom, But gathereth the winter snows, And changeth to the hue of those,

If lasting till they come ?

Is there a word, or jest, or game,

But time encrusteth round With sad associate thoughts the same ? And so to me my very name

Assumes a mournful sound.

I once had a little brother,

With eyes that were dark and deep; In the lap of that old dim forest

He lieth in peace asleep : Light as the down of the thistle,

I'ree as the winds that blow, We roved there the beautiful summers,

The summers of long ago ; But his feet on the hills grew weary,

And, one of the autumn eves, I made for my little brother

A bed of the yellow leaves. Sweetly his pale arms folded

My neck in a meek embrace, As the light of immortal beauty

Silently covered his face ; And when the arrows of sunset

Lodged in the tree-tops bright, He fell, in his saint-like beauty,

Asleep by the gates of light. Therefore, of all the pictures

That hang on Memory's wall, The one of the dim old forest Seemeth the best of all.


My brother gave that name to me

When we were children twain, When names acquired baptismally Were hard to utter, as to see

That life had any pain.

No shade was on us then, save one

Of chestnuts from the hill, And through the word our laugh did run As part thereof. The mirth being done,

He calls me by it still.

Nay, do not smile ! I hear in it

What none of you can hear, The talk upon the willow seat, The bird and wind that did repeat

Around, our human cheer.

[blocks in formation]

Now God be thanked for years enwrought

With love which softens yet. Now God be thanked for every thought Which is so tender it has caught

Earth's guerdon of regret.

« VorigeDoorgaan »