Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

FILIAL AND FRATERNAL LOVE.

FROM

FILIAL LOVE.

Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
CHILDE HAROLD."

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 ;
The blood is nectar : but what doth she there, But other claims and other ties thou hast,

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
With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe. Perhaps the workings of defiance stir

Within me, - or perhaps of cold despair,

Brought on when ills habitually recur, -
TO AUGUSTA.

Perhaps a kinder clime, or purer air,
(For even to this may change of soul refer,

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.

a

[ocr errors]

BYRON.

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 :
And even at moments I could think I see
Some living thing to love, but none like thee.

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
O that thou wert but with me! — but I grow My feelings farther. – Nor shall I conceal

The fool of my own wishes, and forget That with all this I still can look around,
The solitude which I have vaunted so

And worship Nature with a thonght profound.
Has lost its praise in this but one regret ;
There may be others which I less may show; For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart

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,
And never gaze on it with apathy.

Sweet, for thee, a wedding gown.
She was my early friend, and now shall be
My sister, - till I look again on thee.

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,
Hand I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun,

Love I thee with love complete.
I had been better than I now can be ;
The passions which have torn me would have slept: Lean thy face down ! drop it in
I had not suffered, and thou hadst not wept.

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 !

BYRON.

[ocr errors]

aname.

Thou art younger by seven years

Ah! so bashrul at my gaze
That the lashes, hung with tears,

Grow too heavy to upraise ?
I would wound thee by no touch
Which thy shyness feels as such,
Dost thou mind me, dear, so much!

Have I not been nigh a mother

To thy sweetness, — tell me, dear ? Have we not loved one another

Tenderly, from year to year ?
Since our dying mother mild
Said, with accents undefiled,
Child, be mother to this child !"

At the sight of the great sky;
And the silence, as it stood
In the glory's golden flood,

Audibly did bud, — and bud ! Through the winding hedge-rows green,

How we wandered, 1 and you, -
With the bowery tops shut in,

And the gates that showed the view ;
How we talked there ! thrushes soft
Sang our pauses out, or oft

Bleatings took them from the croft. Till the pleasure, grown too strong,

Left me muter evermore;
And, the winding road being long

I walked out of sight, before ;
And so, wrapt in musings fond,
Issued (past the wayside pond)

On the meadow-lands beyond.
I sat down beneath the beech

Which leans over to the lane,
And the far sound of your speech

Did not promise any pain ;
And I blessed you, full and free,
With a smile stooped tenderly
O'er the May-flowers on my knee.

[blocks in formation]

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.
Do not weep so, do not shake -
0, I heard thee, Bertha, make
Good true answers for my sake.

Ghostly mother, keep aloof

One hour longer from my soul,
For I still am thinking of

Earth's warm-beating joy and dole !
On my finger is a ring
Which I still see glittering,

When the night hides everything. Little sister, thou art pale !

Ah, I have a wandering brain ;
But I lose that fever-bale,

And my thoughts grow calm again.
Lean down closer, closer still !
I have words thine ear to fill,
And would kiss thee at my will.

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 !
That was wrong perhaps, but then
Such things be — and will, again !

Women cannot judge for men.
Had he seen thee, when he swore

He would love but me alone !
Thou wert absent, — sent before

To our kin in Sidmouth town.
When he saw thee, who art best
Past compare, and loveliest,
He but judged thee as the rest.

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.
Do not start so ! think instead
How the sunshine overhead
Seemed to trickle through the shade.

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,
And he said, in his deep speech,

That he owed me all esteem -
Each word swam in on my brain
With a dim, dilating pain,
Till it burst with that last strain.

Yet who plucks me? — no one mourns ;

I have lived my season out,
And now die of my own thorns,

Which I could not live without.
Sweet, be inerry! How the light
Comes and goes! If it be night,
Keep the candles in my sight.

I fell flooded with a dark,

In the silence of a swoon ;
When I rose, still, cold, and stark,

There was night, - I saw the moon;
And the stars, each in its place,
And the May-blooms on the grass,
Seemed to wonder what I was.

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.

And a

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,
That if any friend should come,
(To see thee, sweet !) all the room
May be listed out of gloom.

And I walked as if apart

From myself when I could stand,
And I pitied my own heart,

As if I held it in my hand
Somewhat coldly, with a sense
Of fulfilled benevolence,

“ 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 !
If I

say he did me harm,
I speak wild, - I am not well.
All his words were kind and good, –
He esteemed me! Only blood
Runs so faint in womanhood.

[blocks in formation]

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.
Rather smile there, blessed one,
Thinking of me in the sun,
Or forget me, smiling on !

[ocr errors]

the eyes,

Then I always was too grave,

Liked the saddest ballads sung,
With that look, besides, we have

In our faces who die young.
I had died, dear, all the same,
Life's long, joyous, jostling game

Is too loud for my meek shame.
We are so unlike each other,

Thou and I, that none could guess We were children of one mother,

But for mutual tenderness.
Thou art rose-lined from the cold,
And meant, verily, to hold

Life's pure pleasures manifold.
I am pale as crocus grows

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
That the earthly light may go

Sweetly as it used to rise,
When I watched the morning gray
Strike, betwixt the hills, the way
He was sure to come that day.

So— no more vain words be said !

The hosannas nearer roll -
Mother, smile now on thy dead,

I am death-strong in my soul !
Mystic Dove alit on cross,
Guide the poor bird of the snows
Through the snow-wind above loss !

SIDNEY DOBELL

Jesus, victim, comprehending

As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies
Love's divine self-abnegation,

Hum o'er him! Lo, a feather from the crow
Cleanse my love in its self-spending, Falls in his parted lips ! Lo, his dead eyes
And absorb the poor libation !

See not the raven ! Lo, the worm, the worm
Wind my thread of life up higher, Creeps from his festering corse! My God! my
Up through angels' hands of fire ! -

God!
I aspire while I expire ! -
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING. O Lord, Thou doest well. I am content.

If Thou have need of him he shall not stay.
But as one calleth to a servant, saying

At such a time be with me," so, O Lord,
HOMESICK.

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,
Why am I from thee, Mother, far from thee ?

And weep again for joy of him and Thee !
Far from the frost enchantment, and the woods
Jewelled from bough to bough? O home, my

home !
O river in the valley of my home,

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.
Thy beauty constant to the constant change? Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,

Where the noisome insect stings,
Where the fever demon strews

Poison with the falling dews,
THE ABSENT SOLDIER SON.

Where the sickly sunbeams glare
Through the hot and misty air,

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,
Do with him as Thou wilt ; but O my God,

Woe is me, my stolen daughters !
Let him come back to die ! Let not the fowls
O' the air defile the body of my child,

Gone, gone,

- sold and gone, My own fair child, that when he was a babe,

To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
I lift up in my arms and gave to Thee !

There no mother's eye is near them,
Let not his garment, Lord, be vilely parted, There no mother's ear can hear them ;
Nor the fine linen which these hands have spun Never, when the torturing lash
Fall to the stranger's lot! Shall the wild bird, Seams their back with many a gash,
That would have pilfered of the ox, this year

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.

DAVID GRAY.

FROM

THE ROMAN.'

« VorigeDoorgaan »