« ElőzőTovább »
And I grow old to work alone,
17. And oft would rather rest than stir. “ And in the body's daily task 7.
No time, no rest for thought allowed, “ And after me, 'tis plain to think, Regrets will wake, and move, and ask, My son may be the sexton too; And speak the more, not speaking But for your books, and pen, and ink, loud. I know not what's the good they do.
“ And you will muse, from day to day, “Ah! well, I see you hang your Of all you might have been and done; head;
Of wisdom widening men's highway, And where, my fri 's the need of Of goodness warming like the sun. shame?
19. 'Tis not too late to change your trade, “ And you for want of those will pine And then why,Jane may change her Who might reflect your fancy's hues;
Perhaps will think the fault is mine 9.
Of all the nobler life you lose." 66 To-morrow evening come again;
20. Till then, at least, I'll not refuse ; Half-turned the maid, as if to part, I would not cross the wish of Jane, Affrighted by the imagin'd pain, Though she, I fear, is young to But Henry pressed her on his heart, choose."
And kissed her eyes, and spoke again : 10.
21. Before that eve, it so befell
“ Though this were true that sounds The lovers met beside the tree,
so strange, And Henry said—“'Twero vain to Yet need we not at once decide ; tell
Perhaps your father's mind may That I would give all else for thee. change, 11.
And hopes be ours now undescried. “ But, Jane, although I should desire
22. My thoughts and aims in sleep were - Your love is not forbidden yet; laid,
It shames not you, it blesses me. My limbs the needful strength require The past we never can forget, To ply a labourer's busy spade. And happier may the future be.” 12.
23. “ Oh! well,” she said, “I know it all! The evening came, and trembling My father's wish can never be.
stood Oh! could we but the past recall, The lover at the father's door, So you again were calm and free! And found within the maid he wooed, 13.
And that old man so bent and hoar. “ Yet, Henry, still our love is sweet,
24. The best of life I e'er have known, Their trimmest garb had each put on, And if again we never meet,
Around was neatness, comfort, cheer; I oft shall think it o'er alone.
The clouds appeared to distance gone, 14.
And Jane's bright face bespoke not 6. These fallen leaves were bright and fear. green
25. The day that first I heard you speak; She sat upon her mother's chair, How many hours have passed between, And poured the drink that Henry Strengthening my heart, though still
loved ; 'tis weak!
Her tea with him 'twas joy to share, 15.
And sit beside him unreproved. “ I seem to look with larger eyes,
26. And deeper thoughts within me And close beside the blazing fire stream ;
Was placed the old man's easy seat; More livelier sights around me rise, The flames, now low, then shooting And gifts bestowed by you they seem. higher, 16.
Cast o'er him glimpses bright and “ But yet it must not be, I know ;
fleet. Whate'er the unpausing moment's
They showed a face more soft than Great hopes within your bosom grow, bold, That never yet have found a voice. Though keen the look of settle I will ; wake:
With lines that many winters told, But when the waste has reached an But little stir of good and ill.
The gains of thrift are coming in. And thus the untroubled, aged man,
39. His long-experienced lesson spake, “ And ever I have seen that they In words that painfully began,
Wholeast had cause to fear the morrow, While slow his pondering seemed to
Have cheeriest walked the open way,
Nor hung their heads in sorrow. 29.
40. "Perhaps you think, dear daughter " Who does not feel how hard the Jane,
thought Mly wishes neither kind nor wise, For one whose life must soon be o'er, Because I keep a sober brain,
That all his days have added nought, And look about with wistful eyes. But still made less man's little store ? 30.
41. “ Yet surely I have lived and wrought “ And therefore, Jane, I think it right More years than you, or he you love ;
should choose a gainful man, And it must be a foolish thought One working hard from morn till night, Of yours that I cannot approve. Gathering and hoarding all he can. 31.
42. " I know not who can better learn “ Yet, mind you well, I do not say Than one who lives so long as I, But Henry may your husband be ; Who all life long have tried to earn,
Though much I doubt if learning's pay And still have set my earnings by. Will keep a house from leanness free. 32.
43. “ And I have seen a many score “ His health, by study much abused, Of men and women laid in earth ; Seems now, if well I mark, to pine ; I mostly, too, can tell them o'er, And then he has been always used And all their prosperings, e'en from To nurture delicate and fine. birth.
“ His mother's stipend ceased with her, " And always I have seen withal And he, I know, must needs be poor ; That thriftiest heads are honoured And so methinks it better were most;
That you and he should love no more. And those who into misery fall,
45. By them respect is quickly lost. “ But stay till winter days be past, 34.
And when the spring returns again, “A man who gains and keeps to- If still I find your liking last, gether,
Why then-nay, come and kiss me, Is like the tree that yearly grows,
Jane." That, stout and strong in wintry
Thus wandered round his maze of A goodly crop in summer shows.
The long-experienced man; “ But he who spends and wastes away,
Determined both the twain teach, Is like a tree decayed within ; Through all his saws he ran. Though still the leaves and bloom be
With eyes upon the table bent, Its top will soon be shrunk and thin, The maiden stooped her glowing face; 36.
But Henry gazed with look intent, “ Or see the gleaner winnowing grain, The father's inmost thought to trace. The empty chaff goes flying ;
48. The plump, full, yellow seeds remain, And when of sinking health he spoke, Like gold for profit lying.
The lover's brow was flushed with red, 37.
While Jane turned white beneath the “ The chaff may glitter in the sun,
stroke, And dance before the wind,
With anguish more than dread. But I would rather look upon
49, The quiet heap behind.
But when the closing promise came, 38.
They both were comforted and cheered; “ What some within an hour would For, freed from strife, remorse, and spend,
blame, The wise man takes a day to win ; The old man's eye no more they fearer.
11. November days are dusk and dull, The boy who came with sun-bleached And yet they teach the heart to ponder; head, Of sober depth the skies are full, And dress by many a patch repaired, While fades from earth its garb of Still felt in all that Henry said wonder.
E'en more than strongest words de2.
clared. We breathe at whiles so charmed an
Those truths, as more than lessons By sound each leaf's light fall we learn; taught, No breeze disturbs the spider's snare Were learnt as more than lessons too; That hangs with dew the stately fern. The teacher's precept, will, and 3.
thought, Soon heaves within the boundless frame E'en from his look fresh import drew. A strong and sullen gust of life,
13. And rolling waves and woods proclaim And well he knew how wilful sway The darkened world's increasing strife. Disloyal service breeds at best, 4.
And often fills the schoolboy's day 'Mid boom, and clang, and stormy With hate by fear alone repressed.
swell, And shadows dashed by blast and rain, Yet could he temper love and meekness Leaves heaped, whirled, routed, sweep With all the sacred might of law, the dell,
Dissevering gentleness from weakness, And glimpses course the leaden main. And hallowing tenderness by awe. 5.
15. And yet, though inward drawn and still, Nor e'er beneath his steadfast eye There beats a hidden heart of joy ; Could ill escape its grave reproval ; Beneath the old year's mantle chill Nor durst he set his conscience by, Sleeps, mute and numb, the unconscious That peace might reign by its reboy.
16. And they who muse and hope may His love was no unblest device guess
To lengthen falsehood's coward mood, With faith assured the future spring ; Nor purchased liking at the price But him who loves all hours will bless, Of calling evil-good. All months to him of May-time sing.
He woke the sense, he warned the • At least I've known," young Henry breast, said,
Affirming truths supreme, “ How dark soe'er new days may prove, And let the voice within attest Love's inspiration shared and fed
He told no misty dream. By her I love."
Each feeling thus that moved the child, With lifted brow, and buoyant heart, As each in turn awoke, He now fulfilled his daily toil,
To its fixed law was reconciled, And e'en 'mid weary tasks would start And owned the strengthening yoke. Bright spriugs from desert soil.
So still the God revealed below He stood with zeal the untaught to As one great Will of Good to all, teach,
He taught for Sire and Judge to know, 'Mid fifty faces young and rude, On whom for aid all needs may call. And turned a cheerful front to each,
20. That brightened them and yet sub- Amid his poor, unknowing throng dued.
Of little learners pleased he stood ; 10.
To him their murmur hummed a song, He strove that clear they might discern And every face had germs of good. What aims to man true value give,
21. And said_“You do not live to learn, And when the exhausted aching frame But learn that you may better live." Would fain have sunk away to rest,
He thought how high the teacher's aim,
At parting Henry said—“ Farewell; What seeds his sleep would leave sup- On Sunday morn we meet again ; pressed.
When first rings out the old church 22.
bell, So have I seen upon a hill
With merry chant, expect me then." A fair green tree of milk-white flowers,
33. Where bees sucked out their honeyed At last, though slow, that Sunday fill
came, Through all the long day's basking And Jane put on her best array, hours.
And still her colour fled and came 23.
As if it were her wedding-day. To its green cells and vases wbite,
34. That yield an odorous air,
Her father went to ring the bell, The swarm with musical delight And she to watch the doorway sprang, For their sweet gold repair.
And on the latch her finger fell, 24.
And paused, and paused—the churchBut dark decay may mine the tree, Or lightning-bolt may blast,
35. And not a flower for wind or bee No step was there : it seemed a knell Delight the saddening waste.
Whose notes her father's hand was 25.
ringing ; The winter pressed with gloom and chill She oped the door for breath, the bell Round Henry's wavering thread of life, So heavily went swinging. And though the eye shone boldly still,
36. The cheek grew thin amid the strife. She knew that Henry was not there, 26.
And yet she looked below the tree ; And while at solitary night
There stood nor shape of misty air, His candle showed some ancient page, Nor sunbright face in sunshine free. And like a deft familiar sprite
37. Evoked for him the buried sage; She looked the winding road along, 27.
Now hid no more with leafy green, While from the distant snow-clad But 'mid its loitering speckled throng world
For her no living shape was seen. The clown, belated, marked the beam,
38. Nor guessed of what the glimmering She turned, and passed the dim church. told,
door, What human task, or goblin dream,- Beneath an ancient arch's frown, 28.
And in the aisle upon the floor The lonely student oft would shrink, She knelt not, but her knees fell down. And startling, clasp his painful breast,
39. With long-drawn sigh of Jane would Upon the seat she stooped her face, think,
But still she heard that doleful bell, And seek at last reluctant rest. And though she prayed for Heaven's
29. Yet once again did Jane and he 'Twas still the same pursuing knell. By Simon's hearth at evening meet,
40. And once beneath his bare ash-tree And when the people stood to sing, They filled at dawn their grassy seat. Though now the weary bell was 30.
o'er, 'Twas then a cold and misty morn, She heard it through her bosom ring, The churchyard seemed a cave of As if 'twould ring for ever more.
41. They saw the Yew, by cold unshorn, She could not rise upon her feet, Stand hearse-like black in winter's She could not stand when others stood, breath.
And all the words she could repeat 31.
Were still_" To me, 0 God! be And e'en while now the lovers spoke
good!” They felt the fog between them rise ;
42. Round each it spread a dull gray At last the service all was done, cloak,
And she might go from church away, And masked them each in vague dis But still she could not be alone, guise,
She must beside her father stay,
He dozed beside the fire, and Jane His mid-day meal she must prepare At last was free from busy light. Before the second service-bell;
45. And she must sit beside him there, She left his frugal supper laid, And by constraint be well.
She heard him breathe with slumber44.
ous tone; Once more they reached their home And then, released, the trembling maid again ;
Dared slip away alone. The winter day had changed to night;
10. Upon the maiden's weary soul “ 'Tis now the second day that he The silent darkness dawned like day, Has been too weak to rise from bed, While free amid the boundless Whole, And truly, as it seems to me, Alone with God, she took her way. He never more will lift his head. 2,
11. And yet a thrill of shame and fear " I've loved him ever since a child, In her with love and anguish met ; And tended him from day to day ; She longed that earth would cease to I sometimes think’twould drive me wild hear,
If I should see him pass away.” And heaven one hour its gaze forget.
Then Jane exclaimed,_" What noise But Henry more than all was dear; is there? On her he seemed to call for aid, I hear a tapping faint and low." And she through wave and gale would The other hastened up the stair, steer,
And Jane with her would go. To track the wandering mourning
And she was there when Henry 4.
said _ Along the churchyard path she went, “ I heard a voice that spoke below; And saw above the Yew
Or was my heart by dreams betrayed ? The low discoloured firmament, It seemed the voice that best I know." While cold winds round her blew.
His words were weak, and drawn with But swift along the road she sped
pain, With still increasing pace,
His face looked flushed with burning And walked where blackest darkness
She would no more her love restrain, The more to hide her face.
But swiftly knelt beside the bed. 6.
15. And now to Henry's home she came, Her arms around his neck she threw, Where never she had been before ; She gave his lips a quivering kiss, She could not now remember shame, And heart to heart tumultuous flew, But knocked upon the door.
For nought was left them now but this. 7.
16 An aged woman, dull and slow, Few moments passed in hurried grief, Came creeping at the sound,
And then her face away she drew, Nor asked the comer's name to know, And gazing, sought to find relief But straight the key turned round. In looks where misery met her view. 8.
17. Jane hurried in, and at the first, He strove to smile with happier eyes, These words unpausing said
But could not long the toil sustain ; " () ! tell me, tell me all the worst ! From his deep glance the meaning Tell me, is Henry dead?”
The lids drop down-he longs in vain. She marked the woman's wrinkled
On her young heart his withered hand And saw 'twas swollen with weeping, She laid, and pressed it strongly there, Before she heard her answering speak, As if her life she could command, " He is alive, and sleeping.
And bid it pass to him from her.