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FILIAL AND FRATERNAL LOVE.
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine : There is a dungeon in whose dim drear light Go where I will, to me thou art the same, What do I gaze on ? Nothing : look again !
A loved regret which I would not resign. Two forms are slowly shadowed on my sight,
There yet are two things in my destiny, — Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
A world to roam through, and a home with thee. It is not so ; I see them full and plain, An old man and a female young and fair,
The first were nothing, — had I still the last, Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
It were the haven of my happiness ;
And mine is not the wish to make them less. With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare ?
A strange doom is thy father's son's, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress ; Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life, Reversed for him our grandsire's fate of yore, Where on the heart and from the heart we took He had no rest at sea, nor 1 on shore. Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife, Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
If my inheritance of storms hath been Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
In other elements, and on the rocks No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives Of perils, overlooked or unforeseen, Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook I have sustained my share of worldly shocks,
She sees her little bud put forth its leaves The fault was mine ; nor do I seek to screen What may the fruit be yet? I know not — Cain My errors with defensive paradox ; was Eve's.
I have been cunning in mine overthrow, But here youth offers to old age the food,
The careful pilot of my proper woe. The milk of his own gift : it is her sire To whom she renders back the debt of blood Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward, Born with her birth. No! he shall not expire
My whole life was a contest, since the day While in those warm and lovely veins the fire That gave me being gave me that which marred Of health and holy feeling can provide
The gift, - a fate, or will, that walked astray: Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises And I at times have found the struggle hard, higher
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay : Than Egypt's river ; -- from that gentle side
But now I fain would for a time survive, Drink, drink and live, old man ! Heaven's realm If but to see what next can well arrive. holds no such tide.
Kingdoms and empires in my little day The starry fable of the milky-way
I have outlived, and yet I am not old; Has not thy story's purity; it is
And when I look on this, the petty spray A constellation of a sweeter ray,
Of my own years of trouble, which have rolled And sacred Nature triumphs more in this
Like a wild bay of breakers, melts away : Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss
Something – I know not what – does still Where sparkle distant worlds :-0, holiest
uphold nurse !
A spirit of slight patience ;- not in vain, No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss Even for its own sake, do we purchase pain.
To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source
Within me, - or perhaps of cold despair,
Brought on when ills habitually recur, -
Perhaps a kinder clime, or purer air,
And with light armor we may learn to bear,) My sister! my sweet sister ! if a name
Have taught me a strange quiet, which was not Dearer and purer were, it should be thine, The chief companion of a calmer lot.
HIS SISTER, AUGUSTA LEIGH.
I feel almost at times as I have felt
Yet this was not the end I did pursue ; In happy childhood ; trees, and flowers, and Surely I once beheld a nobler aim. brooks,
But all is over ; I am one the more Which do remember me of where I dwelt, To baffled millions which have gone
before. Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books,
And for the future, this world's future may Come as of yore upon me, and can melt My heart with recognition of their looks;
From me demand but little of my care ;
I have outlived myself by many a day :
Having survived so many things that were ;
My years have been no slumber, but the prey Here are the Alpine landscapes which create Of ceaseless vigils; for I had the share
A fund for contemplation ; to admire Of life which might have filled a century, Is a brief feeling of a trivial date ;
Before its fourth in time had passed me by. But something worthier do such scenes inspire. Here to be lonely is not desolate,
And for the remnant which may be to come, For much I view which I could most desire, I am content; and for the past I feel And, above all, a lake I can behold
Not thankless, — for within the crowded sum Lovelier, not dearer, than our own of old.
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal,
And for the present, I would not benumb
The fool of my own wishes, and forget That with all this I still can look around,
And worship Nature with a thonght profound.
I am not of the plaintive mood, and yet I know myself secure, as thou in mine : I feel an ebb in my philosophy,
We were and are — - I am, even as thou art And the tide rising in my altered eye.
Beings who ne'er each other can resign ;
It is the same, together or apart, I did remind thee of our own dear Lake,
From life's commencement to its slow declino By the old Hall which may be mine no more. We are intwined, — let death come slow or fast, Leman's is fair ? but think not I forsake
The tie which bound the first endures the last ! The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore ; Sad havoc Time must with my memory make,
Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before ; Though, like allthings which I have loved, they are
BERTHA IN THE LANE. Resigned forever, or divided far.
Put the broidery-frame away, The world is all before me ; I but ask
For my sewing is all done ! of Nature that with which she will comply, — The last thread is used to-day, It is but in her summer's sun to bask,
And I need not join it on. To mingle with the quiet of her sky,
Though the clock stands at the noon, To see her gentle face without a mask,
I am weary! I have sewn,
Sweet, for thee, a wedding gown.
Sister, help me to the bed,
And stand near me, dearest-sweet ! I can reduce all feelings but this one ;
Do not shrink nor be afraid, And that I would not ; for at length I see
Blushing with a sudden heat ! Such scenes as those wherein my life begun.
No one standeth in the street ! The earliest, — even the only paths for me,
By God's love I go to meet,
Love I thee with love complete.
These two hands, that I may hold
'Twixt their palms thy cheek and chin, With false Ambition what had I to do?
Stroking back the curls of gold. Little with Love, and least of all with Fame ! 'T is a fair, fair face, in sooth, And yet they came unso:ight, and with me grew, Larger eyes and redder mouth And made me all which they can make,
Than mine were in my first youth !
Thou art younger by seven years
Ah! so bashrul at my gaze
Grow too heavy to upraise ?
Have I not been nigh a mother
To thy sweetness, — tell me, dear ? Have we not loved one another
Tenderly, from year to year ?
At the sight of the great sky;
Audibly did bud, — and bud ! Through the winding hedge-rows green,
How we wandered, 1 and you, -
And the gates that showed the view ;
Bleatings took them from the croft. Till the pleasure, grown too strong,
Left me muter evermore;
I walked out of sight, before ;
On the meadow-lands beyond.
Which leans over to the lane,
Did not promise any pain ;
But the sound grew into word
As the speakers drew more near Sweet, forgive me that I heard
What you wished me not to hear.
Ghostly mother, keep aloof
One hour longer from my soul,
Earth's warm-beating joy and dole !
When the night hides everything. Little sister, thou art pale !
Ah, I have a wandering brain ;
And my thoughts grow calm again.
Yes, and he too ! let him stand
In thy thoughts, untouched by blame. Could he help it, if my hand
He had claimed with hasty claim !
Women cannot judge for men.
He would love but me alone !
To our kin in Sidmouth town.
Dear, I heard thee in the spring,
Thee and Robert, through the trees, When we all went gathering
Boughs of May-bloom for the bees.
Could we blame him with grave wonds,
Thou and I, dear, if we might? Thy brown eyes have looks like birds
Flying straightway to the light; Mine are older. - Hush ! - look out Up the street! Is none without ! How the poplar swings about !
What a day it was, that day!
Hills and vales did openly Seem to heave and throb away,
i' like May-bloom on thorn-tree, Thou like merry summer-bee ! Fit, that I be plucked for thee.
And that hour — beneath the beach
When I listened in a dream,
That he owed me all esteem -
Yet who plucks me? — no one mourns ;
I have lived my season out,
Which I could not live without.
I fell flooded with a dark,
In the silence of a swoon ;
There was night, - I saw the moon;
Are there footsteps at the door ?
Look out quickly. Yea, or nay? Some one might be waiting for
Some last word that I might say. Nay? So best ! - So angels would Stand off clear from deathly road, Not to cross the sight of God.
Colder grow my hands and feet,
When I wear the shroud I made, Let the folds lie straight and neat,
And the rosemary be spread,
And I walked as if apart
From myself when I could stand,
As if I held it in my hand
“ Poor thing" negligence. And I answered coldly too,
When you met me at the door ; And I only heard the dew
Dripping from me to the floor; And the flowers I bade you see Were too withered for the bee, As my life, henceforth, for me. Do not weep so — dear — heart-warm !
It was best as it befell !
say he did me harm,
On that grave drop not a tear !
Else, though fathom-deep the place, Through the woollen shroud I wear
I shall feel it on my face.
Then I always was too grave,
Liked the saddest ballads sung,
In our faces who die young.
Is too loud for my meek shame.
Thou and I, that none could guess We were children of one mother,
But for mutual tenderness.
Life's pure pleasures manifold.
Close beside a rose-tree's root ! Whosoe'er would reach the rose,
Treads the crocus underfoot ;
Art thou near me ? nearer ? so !
Kiss me close upon
Sweetly as it used to rise,
So— no more vain words be said !
The hosannas nearer roll -
I am death-strong in my soul !
Jesus, victim, comprehending
As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies
Hum o'er him! Lo, a feather from the crow
See not the raven ! Lo, the worm, the worm
If Thou have need of him he shall not stay.
“At such a time be with me," so, O Lord,
Call him to Thee! O, bid him not in haste Come to me, O my Mother ! come to me,
Straight whence he standeth. Let him lay aside
The soiléd tools of labor. Let him wash Thine own son slowly dying far away! Through the moist ways of the wide ocean, blown His hands of blood. Let him array himself By great invisible winds, come stately ships
Meet for his Lord, pure from the sweat and fume To this calm bay for quiet anchorage ;
Of corporal travail ! Lord, if he must die,
Let him die here. O, take him where Thou gavest ! They come, they rest awhile, they go away, But, O my Mother, never comest thou !
And even as once I held him in my womb The snow is round thy dwelling, the white snow, Till all things were fulfilled, and he came forth, That cold soft revelation pure as light,
So, O Lord, let me hold him in my grave And the pine-spire is mystically fringed, Till the time come, and Thou, who settest when Laced with incrusted silver. Here — ah me! The hinds shall calve, ordain a better birth; The winter is decrepit, underborn,
And as I looked and saw my son, and wept A leper with no power but his disease.
For joy, I look again and see my son,
And weep again for joy of him and Thee !
THE FAREWELL With mazy-winding motion intricate, Twisting thy deathless music underneath OF A VIRGINIA SLAVE MOTHER TO HER DAUGHTERS SOLD The polished ice-work, — must I nevermore Behold thee with familiar eyes, and watch
GONE, gone, — sold and gone, Thy beauty changing with the changeful day,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
Where the noisome insect stings,
Poison with the falling dews,
Where the sickly sunbeams glare
Gone, gone, -- sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone, Lord, I am weeping. As Thou wilt, O Lord,
From Virginia's hill and waters,
Woe is me, my stolen daughters !
- sold and gone, My own fair child, that when he was a babe,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
There no mother's eye is near them,
Shall a mother's kindness bless them, Disdain the pens and stalls ? Shall her blind Or a mother's arms caress them. young,
Gone, gone, — sold and gone, That on the fleck and moult of brutish beasts
To the rice-swamp dank and lone, Had been too happy, sleep in cloth of gold
From Virginia's hills and waters, Whereof each thread is to this beating heart
Woe is me, my stolen daughters!
IN TO SOUTHERN BONDAGE.