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From these tall elms;-the cottage-clock struck

eight ;I turned, and saw her distant a few steps. Her face was pale and thin-her figure, too, Was changed. As she unlocked the door, she

said, "It grieves me you have waited here so long, But, in good truth, I've wandered much of late, And, sometimes--to my shame I speak-have

need Of my best prayers to bring me back again.' While on the board she spread our evening

meal, She told me-interrupting not the work Which gave employment to her listless handsThat she had parted with her elder child; To a kind master on a distant farm Now happily apprenticed.— I perceive You look at me, and you have cause; to-day I have been travelling far; and many days About the fields I wander, knowing this Only, that what I seek I cannot find; And so I waste my time : for I am changed; And to myself,' said she, have done much

wrong And to this helpless infant. I have slept Weeping, and weeping have I waked; my tears Have flowed as if my body were not such As others are; and I could never die. But I am now in mind and in my heart

More easy ; and I hope,' said she, that God Will give me patience to endure the things Whịch I behold at home.'

It would have grieved Your very soul to see her. Sir, I feel The story linger in my heart ; I fear 'Tis long and tedious; but my spirit clings To that poor Woman :-o familiarly Do I perceive her manner, and her look, And presence ;

and so deeply do I feel Her goodness, that, not seldom, in my walks A momentary trance comes over me; And to myself I seem to muse on One By sorrow laid asleep;-or borne away, A human being destined to awake To human life, or something very near To human life, when he shall come again For whom she suffered. Yes, it would have

grieved Your very soul to see her: evermore Her eyelids drooped, her eyes were downward

cast; And, when she at her table gave me food, She did not look at me. Her voice was low, Her body was subdued. In every act Pertaining to her house-affairs, appeared The careless stillness of a thinking mind Self-occupied ; to which all outward things Are like an idle matter. Still she sighed,

But yet no motion of the breast was seen,
No heaving of the heart. While by the fire
We sate together, sighs came on my ear,
I knew not how, and hardly whence they came

Ere my departure, to her care I gave,
For her son's use, some tokens of regard,
Which with a look of welcome she received ;
And I exhorted her to place her trust
In God's good love, and seek his help by prayer.
I took my staff, and when I kissed her babe
The tears stood in her eyes. I left her then
With the best hope and comfort I could give;
She thanked me for my wish ;-but for my hope
Methought she did not thank me.

I returned, And took my rounds along this road again Ere on its sunny bank the primrose flower Peeped forth, to give an earnest of the Spring. I found her sad and drooping; she had learned No tidings of her husband; if he lived, She knew not that he lived; if he were dead, She knew not he was dead. She seemed the


In person and appearance; but her house
Bespake a sleepy hand of negligence;
The floor was neither dry nor neat, the hearth
Was comfortless, and her small lot of books,
Which, in the cottage window, heretofore

Had been piled up against the corner panes
In seemly order, now, with straggling leaves
Lay scattered here and there, open or shut,
As they had chanced to fall. Her infant Babe
Had from its Mother caught the trick of grief,
And sighed among its playthings. Once again
I turned towards the garden gate, and saw,
More plainly still, that poverty and grief
Were now come nearer to her: weeds defaced
The hardened soil, and knots of withered grass :
No ridges there appeared of clear black mold,
No winter greenness; of her herbs and flowers,
It seemed the better part were gnawed away
Or trampled into earth; a chain of straw,
Which had been twined about the slender stem
Of a young apple-tree, lay at its root,
The bark was nibbled round by truant sheep.
-Margaret stood near, her infant in her arms,
And, noting that my eye was on the tree,
She said, 'I fear it will be dead and gone
Ere Robert come again.' Towards the house
Together we returned; and she enquired
If I had any hope :—but for her babe
And for her little orphan boy, she said,
She had no wish to live, that she must die
Of sorrow. Yet I saw the idle loom
Still in its place; his sunday garments hung
Upon the self-same nail; his very staff
Stood undisturbed behind the door.

And when, In bleak December, I retraced this way, She told me that her little babe was dead, And she was left alone. She now, released From her maternal care, had taken up The employment common through these wilds,

and gained, By spinning hemp, a pittance for herself ; And for this end had hired a neighbour's boy To give her needful help. That very time Most willingly she put her work aside, And walked with me along the miry road, Heedless how far; and in such piteous sort That any heart had ached to hear her, begged That, wheresoe'er I went, I still would ask For him whom she had lost. We parted then Our final parting ; for from that time forth Did many seasons pass ere I returned Into this tract again.

Nine tedious years; From their first separation, nine long years, She lingered in unquiet widowhood; A Wife and Widow. Needs must it have been A sore heart-wasting' I have heard, my Friend, That in yon arbour oftentimes she sate Alone, through half the vacant sabbath day; And, if a dog passed by, she still would quit The shade, and look abroad. On this old bench For hours she sate ; and evermore her eye

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