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Beside him he would have her stay,
25. And bones to be her playthings gave. I know not—'twas not said of yore14.
But still to me, a man, it seems At whiles the busied man would raise That motherhood is something more Above the brink his bare gray head, Than e'en a father's fondness deems. With quiet smile a moment gaze,
26. And turn to labour for the dead.
The teeming breast has thrills, 'tis 15.
plain, And when, slow-winding up the hill, More deep than e'er its partner knew, Between the elms, the funeral came, A mystery of hopeful pain, Her voice would sound so cheerly shrill That makes a greater blessing due. As if 'twere all an infant's game.
And thus, though far in years apart, But when the burial rite was there, The mother and her child were one; The drooping forms, the weeping eyes, The youthful and the elder heart The awful thrill, the hallowing prayer,
To one true heart had grown. The sudden whisper lost in sighs,
The mother was an humble woman, The child then sought her father's side, Unskilled in aught that's known to few, And spoke in wondering accents low, And having only this uncommon And he almost aloud replied,
A zeal to practise all she knew. “ Hush, hush, my dear! 'tis always so."
And Mary from her bosom's core One day upon a baby's grave
Of many things could speak to Jane, His morning's work must Simon spend, That, never finding voice before, And Jane her seat by him must have, Had mutely dwelt, but not in vain, And all his well-known task attend.
Of change and trial here on earth, Soon 'mid the herbage soft and green Of hopes by which we conquer sins, The little place of rest was made, And of the spirit's better birth Whence daisy-cover'd meads were Than that which first our life begins. seen,
31. And where the hawthorn cast a shade. And sometimes, when the closing day 20.
Shot through the cottage window-pane, Old Simon, almost resting now,
And o'er the mother cast a ray. With slackened stroke his labour plied, That kindled all the heart of Jane,And raising oft his moistened brow,
32. With longer looks his darling eyed. Then starting, she would turn and 21.
look, Then Jane cried out in sudden glee, As if it were the cloven sky “Oh, what a pretty grave is there! That o'er the quiet face and book It would be just a bed for me,
Shot out its glories suddenly. With room enough, and none to spare.”
Oft, too, while Mary mildly spake The father's hand let fall the spade, In words now flowing smooth and free, His cheek grew pale, he heaved a From Simon's eyes a gleam would groan;
break; And when the children's graves he So both were taught, his child and he. made,
34. Thenceforth he always worked alone. Thus from within and from without, 23.
She grew a flower for mind and eye; These hours and others more, when he 'Twas love that circled her about, In fields was labouring far away,
And love in her made quick reply. Dear Jane beside her mother's knee
35. Would oftener pass than she would Church, too, and churchyard were to play.
A realm of dream, and sight, and lore; The child and woman thus akin, And, but for one green field or twain, Two
shapes of earth's obscurest All else a sea without a shore. mould,
36. Had love as true, both hearts within Of this her isle the central rock As e'er in loftiest lay was told.
Stood up in that old tower sublime,
Which utter'd from its wondrous As if a sunbeam played between clock
Those hearts and hers to warm her so. The only thought she had of Time.
And brows where darker passions For her at Sunday-service hours
wrought, The world she knew expanded wide, And strength with more of ill than The chiming bell had wizard powers
good, To bid new visions round her glide. Would stamp upon her infant thought 38.
A fear ill understood. For now came trooping up the hill
43. The young and old, the faint and She turned from these and blushed, strong ;
and heard The white-frocked men the sunshine With deeper sense the prayer and fill,
praise, And girls, a many-colour'd throng. And oft some strange but holy word 39.
Her soul in vague delight could raise. The sires of all from age to age
44. Were laid below the grassy mould, The child between her parents Whose hillocks were to Jane a page
knelt, Inscribed with lessons manifold.
Who prayed the more to God above, 40.
Because so close to them they felt And in the porch, or on the green, The dearest gift of heavenly love. And in the pause between the prayers,
45. She marked each various face and And well that heart the mother mien
knew With eyes that softened theirs.
Which he but as from far could prize; 1 41.
For scarce an impulse in it grew She marked the mild gray head serene, But Mary first had seen it rise. Or happy look of youthful glow,
Or shadow of its own green leaves Years flowed away and never
brought Upon the crimson rose. The weary weight of care to Jane;
6. They gave emotion, wonder, thought,
And she had reached a higher state, The strength of life without the pain. Though infant joys about her clung; 2.
With gaze more fixed a graver fate To her new beauty largely given
Above her beauty hung. From deeper fountains looked and
So fares it still with human life, And, like a morning dream from Which, ever journeying on, heaven,
Unconscious climbs from
to. The woman gleamed within the child. strife, 3.
Till new ascents be won. Her looks were oftener turned to
And thus about her youth was spread But every glance was lovelier now; The shadow thrown by coming Time, 'Twas plain that light of inward The expectance deepening o'er her birth
head Now kissed the sunshine round her Of passion's sad Sublime; brow.
While all that on the dreadless flower Withdrawn she from passing The war of Will and Doom may bring, eyes
Stands waiting but the signal hour
10. By Feeling's lone retiring awe.
Heavy and stern came down the blow 5.
On her who had no shield of pride; So fair the veil that twilight weaves Who never felt the grasp of wo Around its golden shows,
Until her mother died.
No growth she deemed could either The gold-haired maid and hoary man
have, Together knelt beside the bed, Though shower and sunshine aided. And saw with helpless gaze the span That parts the living from the dead. And oft she read her Bible there, 12.
Her mother's book that well she knew; Slow dragged the following day: for And felt that in the hallowed air him
Its meanings brighter grew. His known familiar life was gone;
23. The Past was something dark and One morning, while she sat intent grim
Beside the grassy mound, That he must look at now alone.
Her brow upon the headstone leant, 13.
Her foot upon the ground, But all his fondest heart awoke,
24. And opened toward his orphan child; The sunshine sparkled through the To her with cheerful ease he spoke,
sky, And wondering marked she never The breeze and lark sang
on to smiled.
And yet there seemed, afar and nigh, She knew not what the mind will One silent world of azure weather. bear,
25. Yet only learn the more to brave; But from beyond the old Yew-tree. It seemed the world so large and fair A voice disturbed the maiden's ear, Must sink within her mother's grave. And in the lone tranquillity 15.
It sounded strangely near. That grave himself would Simon
'Twas now a broken word of prayer, And she could only turn and grown,
'Twas now a sob of Mother! Ma When first the spade she saw him ther!" take,
And all the sorrow bursting there As if the grief were not his own. The heart she felt had sought to 16.
smother. Then soon the burial pang was o'er,
27. And calmer flowed the stream again ; No woman's voice go deeply rings, But Jane would never witness more Though men by graves but seldome An open grave or funeral train.
And, ah! how true the grief that brings The maiden now was left to be
A man to weep by light of day! Her father's only prop and stay,
28. And in her looks was plain to see With wonder awed, with pity stirred, A heart resolved, but never gay;
From off the book she turned away; 18.
And still the same low sob she heard, A loveliness that made men sad,
And still he seemed to pray. Like some delightful, mournful ditty,
29. Too fair for any but the bad
With sorrow moved for others' woes, To think of without love and pity. The maiden rose upon her knee; 19.
Upon her feet the maiden rose, Each household task she duly wrought, And stood beside the old yew-tree. No change but one the house could
And doubting, trembling, there she And
peace for her was in the thought, stood, Her mother would have wished it so. Nor dared the mourning man to see;
And, though her thoughts were all of But often in the silent hours
good, Of summer dawn, while men were She feared to stay, she feared to flee.
sleeping, She rose to gather fragrant flowers, Against the broad yew-trunk she And wet their leaves with weeping
The black boughs' vault of shade adornShe strewed them o'er her mother's ing,— grave,
A fixed, fair, living monument, - To wither where her joys had faded; Amid the light of morning :
34. Til silently stood up the man,
And each upon the other gazed, And from the grave he stept aside, With eyes from sorrow cold and slow; But started back with visage wan, They knew not why, but felt amazed When there the maid he spied.
That each was not alone in wo. 33.
35. He, too, was young, and sad, and pale, Few moments they together stayed, Two mourning youthful hearts were And few the broken words they spake, they;
And parted so, the man and maid, They had the same familiar tale, Their separate paths alone to take. Man's tale of every day.
10. The pair who thus that morning met For he was weak, and oft in pain Had ever mingled mutual speech, From noisy sports he shrank away; And now could neither heart forget But songs to sing, or tales to feign, What time so brief availed to teach. For him made holiday. 2.
ii. In secret thought each breast could say And she had lived in cities wide, That one it knew of kindred mould, Had sailed across the fearful ocean, And through the long, long summer Could tell of wealth, and camps, and day
pride, That tale in fancy oft was told.
And peopled earth's commotion. 3.
12. For far unlike was Henry's mind And books had she, a precious store, To aught that Jane had seen before; With words whose light was never Though poor and lowly, yet refined
dim; With much of noblest lore.
Five crowded shelves, like mines of 4.
ore, A gentle widow's only child
Or undiscovered realms for him. He grew beneath a loving rule ;
13. A man with spirit undefiled,
A surgeon had the husband been, He taught the village school.
Who left this young and widowed 5. And many books had Henry read, He left her while her leaves were And other tongues than ours he knew, green, His heart with many fancies fed
But ah! they withered when he died. Which oft from hidden wells he drew.
So here she lived unmarked, alone, What souls heroic dared and bore Through quiet years remote from In ancient days for love and duty,
blame, What sages could by thought explore,
With little that she called her own What poets sang of beauty :
But him who bore his father's name. 7.
15. With these he dwelt, because within Two hearts had she, the one so sad His breast was full of silent fire.
It often ached within her breast; No praise of men he cared to win, But in her boy a heart she had More high was his desire;
Now thrilled with hope, now lulled to 8.
rest. To be, to know whate'er of Good
16. To man below is given;
And tall he grew, though And, asking Truth as daily food,
strong, Seek little more from Heaven.
And beautiful at least to her ; 9.
A soul he seemed attuned to song, To him the friend of all his days
With thoughts of endless inward stir. Had been his saintly mother,
17. And ev'n the playmate of his plays By love she taught him best to love, He never wished another.
She gave him hope by trust in God;
When pained below he looked above,
28. Yet scorned no flower of nature's He knew not if he slept or woke, sod.
'Twas all exhaustion's clouded gloom, 18.
When light like moonshine round him And when to fill the ripening man
broke, In deeper flow Reflection came,
And showed his mother's grassy tomb. When Thought and Wish their strife
And o'er it floated, borne in air, Fears, Passions, Doubts no longer Her form serene in brightness clad, tame;
With glistening stars around the hair, 19.
And eyes of love no longer sad. Though small the help 'twas hers to
like summer lightning For deep not wide her best of lore, spread, “ Still, still,” she said, “by Conscience And filled the boundless heavenly live,
deep; And Peace and Truth from Heaven im- Devoutest peace around she shed, plore.
The calm without the trance of sleep. 20.
31. « My son, for these to toil is good, He knew not how, but soon was gone For these to none who seek denied ; The phantom shape that blessed his And thought must be thy lonely food,
eyes; No teacher at thy side."
The churchyard Yew-tree, black and 21.
lone, No teacher had he; but a friend, Stood up against the starry skies. The only friend in Henry's reach,
32. The kindly Vicar, books would lend, Bewildered, yet consoled, he rose, And counsel, though unskilled to teach. And looked abroad; the dawn was 22.
33. Alluring on to nobler joys.
He left the village, crossed the rill, 23.
While dawn's pale gleams had scarce Thus Henry lived in meek repose,
begun; Though suffering of the body's pain, He climbed the elm-bedarkened hill, Though sometimes aimless Thoughts And in the churchyard faced the sun. and Woes
34. Like wrestling giants racked the brain. Beneath a clear unruffled morn, 24.
Beside the grave he knelt in prayer; But now an outward sorrow fell
There breathed a voice to soothe and Down on his heart with heavier sway; Through months of sickness long to And still Repose was whispering there. tell
35. His mother passed from earth away. And there he saw the gentle maid 25.
Whose earliest grief was like his His books, his thoughts, his boys were
To him it seemed his mother bade A swarm of insects murmuring round. Their hearts should each to each be Afresh they stung his aching brow,
known. And fevered him with weary sound.
Yet passed a week as if no more And when the toilsome day was past, They could recal their mournful meetAnd darkness veiled his burning eyes, ing; Upon the bed his limbs he cast,
And then, when seven long days were And wished he ne'er again might rise. o'er, 27.
Again they spoke with timid greetA flitting wish and soon recalled;
ing. But still there lived within his mind
37. A shame for courage thus appalled, Amid the noiseless crystal morn For faith so weak, and reason blind. They stood below the nightly Yew;