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260

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE.

Unwillingly to school : And then, the lover;
Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad
Made to his mistress' eye-brow: Then, a soldier;
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth: And then, the justice;
In fair round belly, with good capon lind,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,
And so he plays his part: The sixth age

shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon;
With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound: Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Shakspeare.

“ON THE RECEIPT OF MY MOTHER'S

PICTURE."

On that those lips had language! Life has past
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smile 1 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—
Blessed be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim
To quench it-here shines on me still the same.

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE.

261

my relief,

Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who bid'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
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 unfelt, 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 hearse 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 word shall pass my lips no more!
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 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.

262

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE.

THE SAME CONTINUED.

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 confectionery 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 cataracts 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, Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile,)

a

MY MOTHER'S PICTURE.

263

Could those few pleasant days 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

-what 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.

THE SAME CONTINUED.

Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast (The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed) 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," And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide Of life, long since has anchored by thy side. But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest, Always from port withheld, always distrest— Me, howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tost, Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and 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.

264

THE DISSOLUTION OF FRIENDSHIP.

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.

Couper.

THE DISSOLUTION OF FRIENDSHIP.

:

Alas! they had been friends in youth:
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above:

And life is thorny, and youth is vain :
And to be wroth with one we love,

Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus it chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.
Each spake words of high disdain

And insult to his heart's best brother :
They parted—ne'er to meet again!

But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining;
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder:

A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,

Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been.

Coleridge.

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