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Not for the milk-white lilies
That lean from the fragrant ledge,
Coquetting all day with the sunbeams,
And stealing their golden edge;
Not for the vines on the upland,
Where the bright red berries rest,
Nor the pinks, nor the pale sweet cowslip,
It seemeth to me the best.
I once had a little brother,
With eyes that were dark and deep ;
In the lap of that old dim forest
He lieth in peace asleep :
Light as the down of the thistle,
Free as the winds that blow,
We roved there the beautiful summers,
The summers of long ago;
But his feet on the hills grew weary,
And, one of the autumn eves,
I made for my little brother
A bed of the yellow leaves.
Sweetly his pale arms folded
My neck in a meek embrace,
As the light of immortal beauty
Silently covered his face;
And when the arrows of sunset
Lodged in the tree-tops bright,
He fell, in his saint-like beauty,
Asleep by the gates of light.
Therefore, of all the pictures
That hang on Memory's wall,
The one of the dim old forest
Seemeth the best of all.
“The name which from their lips seemed a caress." Miss MITFoRD's Dramatic Scenes.
I HAVE a name, a little name,
Uncadenced for the ear, Unhonored by ancestral claim, Unsanctified by prayer and psalm
The solemn font anear.
It never did, to pages wove
For gay romance, belong.
It never dedicate did move
As “Sacharissa," unto love, — “Orinda,” unto song.
Though I write books, it will be read
Upon the leaves of none,
And afterward, when I am dead,
Will ne'er be graved for sight or tread,
Across my funeral-stone.
This name, whoever chance to call
Perhaps your smile may win.
Nay, do not smile ! mine eyelids fall
Over mine eyes, and feel withal
The sudden tears within.
Is there a leaf that greenly grows Where summer meadows bloom,
But gathereth the winter snows,
And changeth to the hue of those, If lasting till they come
Is there a word, or jest, or game,
But time encrusteth round
With sad associate thoughts the same
And so to me my very name
Assumes a mournful sound.
My brother gave that name to me When we were children twain, –
When names acquired baptismally
Were hard to utter, as to see
That life had any pain.
No shade was on us then, save one
Of chestnuts from the hill, -
And through the word our laugh did run
As part thereof. The mirth being done, He calls me by it still.
Nay, do not smile ! I hear in it What none of you can hear, –
The talk upon the willow seat,
The bird and wind that did repeat Around, our human cheer.
I hear the birthday's noisy bliss,
My sisters' woodland glee, –
My father's praise I did not miss,
When, stooping down, he cared to kiss The poet at his knee, –
And voices which, to name me, aye Their tenderest tones were keeping, —
To some I nevermore can say
An answer, till God wipes away
In heaven these drops of weeping.
My name to me a sadness wears;
No murmurs cross my mind.
Now God be thanked for these thick tears,
Which show, of those departed years,
Sweet memories left behind.
Now God be thanked for years enwrought
With love which softens yet.
Now God be thanked for every thought
Which is so tender it has caught
Earth's guerdon of regret.
Earth saddens, never shall remove,
Affections purely given ;
And e'en that mortal grief shall prove
The immortality of love,
And heighten it with Heaven.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BRow NING. -o
oUT of Norfolk, The Gift of MY cousin, ANN BODHAM.
o 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
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 bid'st me honor 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 revery,
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 2–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 sorrows spent,
I learned at last submission to my lot;
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dweltourname 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 bawble coach, and wrapped In scarlet mantle warm and velvet cap, — 'T is 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 mightstknow 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 humor 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 honors 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, the 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,) — Could those few pleasant days again appear, Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here 2 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. 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 distressed, –
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed,
Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet O, 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, —
The father toils sair their wee bannock to earn, An' kens na the wrangs o' his mitherless bairn.
Her spirit, that passed in yon hour o' his birth, Still watches his wearisome wanderings on earth; Recording in heaven the blessings they earn Wha couthilie deal wi' the mitherless bairn
0, speak him na harshly, - he trembles the while, He bends to your bidding, and blesses your smile; In their dark hour o' anguish the heartless shall learn That God deals the blow, for the mitherless bairn
I REMEMBER, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn.
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day;
But now I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away !
I remember, I remember
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups, –
Those flowers made of light !
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday, -
The tree is living yet !
I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow !
I remember, I remember
The fir-trees dark and high ;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky.
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heaven
Than when I was a boy. Thomas Hoon