« IndietroContinua »
Alas! the fowls of Heaven have wings,
And blasts of Heaven will aid their flight;
They mount – how short a voyage brings
The Wanderers back to their delight!
Chains tie us down by land and sea;
And wishes, vain as mine, may be
All that is left to comfort thee.
Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan,
Maimed, mangled by inhuman men;
Or thou upon a Desert thrown
Inheritest the Lion's Den;
Or hast been summoned to the Deep,
Thou, Thou and all thy mates, to keep
An incommunicable sleep.
I look for Ghosts; but none will force
Their way to me: 'tis falsely said
That there was ever intercourse
Between the living and the dead;
For, surely, then I should have sight
Of Him I wait for day and night,
With love and longings infinite.
My apprehensions come in crowds;
I dread the rustling of the grass;
The very shadows of the clouds
Have power to shake me as they pass :
I question things, and do not find
One that will answer to my mind;
And all the world appears unkind.
Beyond participation lie
My troubles, and beyond relief:
If any chance to heave a sigh,
They pity me, and not my grief.
Then come to me, my Son, or send
Some tidings that my woes may end;
I have no other earthly friend!
XXIII. THE COTTAGER TO HER INFANT.
The days are cold, the nights are long,
The north-wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast;
All merry things are now at rest,
Save thee, my pretty Love!
The kitten sleeps upon the hearth,
The crickets long have ceased their mirth;
There's nothing stirring in the house
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse,
Then why so busy thou?
Nay! start not at that sparkling light;
'Tis but the moon that shines so bright
On the window pane bedropped with rain:
Then, little Darling! sleep again,
And wake when it is day.
One morning (raw it was and wet
A foggy day in winter time)
A Woman on the road I met,
Not old, though something past her prime:
Majestic in her person, tall and straight;
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait..
The ancient Spirit is not dead;
Old times, thought. I, are breathing there;
Proud was I that my country bred
Such strength, a dignity so fair:
She begged an alms, like one in poor estate;
I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate.
When from these lofty thoughts I woke,
“ What treasure,” said I, “ do you bear,
Beneath the covert of your Cloak,
Protected from the cold damp air?”
She answered, soon as she the question heard, “A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird.”
And, thus continuing, she said,
“I had a Son, who many a day
Sailed on the seas, but he is dead ;
In Denmark he was cast away:
And I have travelled weary miles to see
If aught which he had owned might still remain for me.
« The Bird and Cage they both were his: 'Twas my Son's Bird; and neat and trim He kept it: many voyages This Singing-bird had gone with him; When last he sailed, he left the Bird behind; From bodings, as might be, that hung upon his mind.
“ He to a Fellow-lodger's care
Had left it, to be watched and fed,
And pipe its song in safety; - there
I found it when my Son was dead;
And now, God help me for my little wit!
I bear it with me, Sir, he took so much delight in it.”
“Up, Timothy, up with your Staff and away!
Not a soul in the village this morning will stay;
The Hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds,
And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds.”
- Of coats and of jackets grey, scarlet, and green,
On the slopes of the pastures all colours were seen;
With their comely blue aprons, and caps white as snow,
The girls on the hills made a holiday show.
Fresh springs of green box-wood, not six months before,
Filled the funeral basin* at Timothy's door;
A Coffin through Timothy's threshold had past;
One Child did it bear, and that Child was his last.
Now fast up the dell came the noise and the fray,
The horse and the horn, and the hark! hark away!
Old Timothy took up his staff, and he shut
With a leisurely motion the door of his hut.
Perhaps to himself at that moment he said,
“ The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead."
But of this in my ears not a word did he speak,
And he went to the chase with a tear on his cheek.
THE EMIGRANT MOTHER.
Once in a lonely Hamlet I sojourned
In which a Lady driven from France did dwell;
The big and lesser griefs with which she mourned,
In friendship she to me would often tell.
This Lady, dwelling upon English ground,
Where she was childless, daily would repair
To a poor neighbouring Cottage; as I found,
For sake of a young child whose home was there.