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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 ?
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 tomorrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad tomorrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow 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 bauble coach, and wrapped
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capped,
'Tis 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 might'st 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 hands, till fresh they shone and glowed.
All this, and, more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and breaks,
That humor interposed too often makes;
All this still legible in memory's page,
And still to be so to my
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honors to thee as
may ; Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere, Not scorned in Heaven, though little noticed here.
Our bugles sang truce, for the night-cloud had
lowered, And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground over
powered, The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain, At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamed it again.
Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn-and sunshine arose on my way To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life's morning march, when my bosom was
I heard my own mountain-goat bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers
sung. Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore From
my home and my weeping friends never
to part ;
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
Stay, stay with us,-rest,—thou art weary and
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay ;
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
The boy stood on the burning deck,
Whence all but him had fled ;
The flame, that lit the battle's wreck,
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm ; A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though child-like form.
The flames rolled on ;-he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father,-faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.
He called aloud, " Say, father, say,
If yet my task is done ? "
He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son. “ Speak, father!” once again he cried,
“If I may yet be gone !” -And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on. Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair, And looked from that lone post of death,
In still, yet brave despair.
And shouted but once more aloud,
My father! must I stay ?”
While o'er him fast, thro' sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapt the ship in splendor wild,
They caught the flag on high,
And streamed above the gallant child
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder sound ;-
The boy-0! where was he ?
-Ask of the winds, that far around
With fragments strowed the sea,
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had done their part ;-
But the noblest thing that perished there,
Was that young, faithful heart.
CŒUR DE LION AT THE BIER OF HIS FATHER.
TORCHES were blazing clear,
Hymns pealing deep and slow,
Where a king lay stately on his bier
In the church of Fontivraud.
Banners of battle o'er him hung,
And warriors slept beneath,
And light, as noon's broad light, was flung
On the settled face of death.