Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

ON THE RECEIPT OF HIS MOTHER'S

PICTURE.

Oh that those lips had language ! Life has passed
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smile I see,
The
same,

that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else, how distinct they say,
' Grieve not my child, chase all thy fears away !"
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same,

Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here!
Who bidd'st me honour, with an artless song
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own :
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief;
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.

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 unseen, a kiss ;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss-
Ah that maternal smile! it answers-Yes.
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day,
I saw the bearse 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 sound shall pass my lips no more !
Thy maidens grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of a quick return;
What ardently I wished, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By disappointment 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 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 wrapt In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capt, '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 confectionary 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, Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall, Ne'er roughened by those cataraets and breaks, That humour interposed too often makes ; All this, still legible in memory's page, And still to be so to my

latest

age, Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay Such honours to thee as my numbers may;

Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in heaven, though little noticed here.

Could time, his flight reversed, restore the hours,
When playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I pricked them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Would softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile,)
Could those few pleasant hours again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart—the dear delight
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.
But no-wbat here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.

Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast (The storms all weathered and the ocean cros

rossed) Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, Where spices breathe and brighter seasons smile There sits quiescent on the floods, that show Her beauteous form reflected clear below, While airs impregnated with incense play Around her, fanning light her streamers gay ; So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached the shore, • Where tempests never beat nor billows roar ;

[ocr errors]

And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchored at thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distressed-
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed,
Sails ript, seams opening wide, aud compass lost ;
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
But oh the thought, that thou art safe, and he !
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce

my

birth
From loins enthroned, and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise-
The son of parents passed into the skies.
And now, farewell-Time unrevoked has run
His wonted course, yet what I wished is done,
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem to have lived my childhood o'er again ;
To have renewed the joys that once were mine,
Without the sin of violating thine ;
And, while the wings of fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic show of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft
Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.

Cowper.

« AnteriorContinuar »