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Now with her empty can the maiden turned away; But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.
Right towards the lamb she looked; and from a shady place
I unobserved could see the workings of her face. If nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
SEVEN TIMES ONE.
THERE's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
I am old, - so old I can write a letter; My birthday lessons are done.
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid The lambs play always, they know no better ;
"What ails thee, young one?-what? Why
pull so at thy cord?
Is it not well with thee?-well both for bed and board?
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ; Rest, little young one, rest; what is 't that aileth thee?
"Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought
thee in this can
They are only one times one.
O Moon! in the night I have seen you sailing And shining so round and low.
You were bright—ah, bright - but your light is failing;
You are nothing now but a bow.
You Moon! have you done something wrong in heaven,
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.
"Sisters and brothers, little maid, How many may you be?" "How many? Seven in all," she said, And wondering looked at me.
"And where are they? I pray you tell."
"Two of us in the churchyard lie,
Dwell near them with my mother."
"You say that two at Conway dwell,
Then did the little maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we; Two of us in the churchyard lie Beneath the churchyard tree."
"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.
"And often after sunset, sir,
"The first that died was Sister Jane; In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
"So in the churchyard she was laid; And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played, My brother John and I.
"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."
TO A CHILD, DURING SICKNESS.
And balmy rest about thee
I sit me down, and think
Yet almost wish, with sudden shrink,
Thy sidelong pillowed meekness;
The little trembling hand
These, these are things that may demand
Sorrows I've had, severe ones,
I will not think of now;
But when thy fingers press
O, THOSE little, those little blue shoes!
O the price were high
That those shoes would buy,
For they hold the small shape of feet
And ceased from their totter so sweet.
And O, since that baby slept,
So hushed, how the mother has kept,
That little dear treasure,
For they mind her forevermore
And blue eyes she sees
Look up from her knees
With the look that in life they wore.
As they lie before her there,
A little sweet face
That's a gleam in the place,
Than those tiny blue shoes
And whose sight makes such fond tears start!
WILLIAM C. BENNETT.
OUR WEE WHITE ROSE.
ALL in our marriage garden
Grew, smiling up to God,
A bonnier flower than ever
Suckt the green warmth of the sod;
O beautiful unfathomably
Its little life unfurled ;
And crown of all things was our wee White Rose of all the world.
PICTURES OF MEMORY.
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;
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.
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,
Free 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,
Silently covered his face;
That hang on Memory's wall,
THE PET NAME.
Which from THEIR lips seemed a caress."
I HAVE a name, a little name,
Uncadenced for the ear, Unhonored by ancestral claim, Unsanctified by prayer and psalm The solemn font anear.
It never did, to pages wove For gay romance, belong. It never dedicate did move As "Sacharissa," unto love, "Orinda," unto song.
Though I write books, it will be read
This name, whoever chance to call
Is there a leaf that greenly grows
Where summer meadows bloom,
Is there a word, or jest, or game,
Assumes a mournful sound.
My brother gave that name to me
No shade was on us then, save one
Nay, do not smile! I hear in it
I hear the birthday's noisy bliss,
And voices which, to name me, aye Their tenderest tones were keeping,
To some I nevermore can say
An answer, till God wipes away
In heaven these drops of weeping.
My name to me a sadness wears;
No murmurs cross my mind.
Now God be thanked for these thick tears, Which show, of those departed years,
Sweet memories left behind.
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.
Earth saddens, never shall remove,
And e'en that mortal grief shall prove
And heighten it with Heaven.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
MY MOTHER'S PICTURE.
OUT OF NORFOLK, THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN, ANN BODHAM.
O THAT those lips had language! Life has passed
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
O welcome guest, though unexpected here!
My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed? Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun? Perhaps thou gavest me, though unfelt, a kiss; Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in blissAh, that maternal smile! it answers- Yes. I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day; I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away; And, turning from my nursery window, drew A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu ! But was it such? It was. - Where thou art gone Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown; May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore, The parting word shall pass my lips no more. Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern, Oft gave me promise of thy quick return; What ardently I wished I long believed, And, disappointed still, was still deceived, By expectation every day beguiled, Dupe of to-morrow even from a child. Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went, Till, all my stock of infant sorrows spent, I learned at last submission to my lot; But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more; Children not thine have trod my nursery floor; And where the gardener Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bawble coach, and wrapped In scarlet mantle warm and velvet cap, "T is now become a history little known That once we called the pastoral house our own. Short-lived possession! but the record fair, That memory keeps of all thy kindness there, Still outlives many a storm that has effaced A thousand other themes, less deeply traced : Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid; Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, The biscuit, or confectionery plum; The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glowed,
All this, and, more endearing still than all,
Could those few pleasant days again appear, Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart, - the dear delight
Thou -as a gallant bark, from Albion's coast,
"Where tempests never beat nor billows roar";