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For once could have thee close to me, With happy heart I then would die, And my last thought would happy be ; But thou, dear Babe, art far away,

Nor shall I see another day. 1798.

XXII.

In sleep I heard the northern gleams;
The stars, they were among my dreams;
In rustling conflict through the skies,
I heard, I saw the flashes drive,
And yet they are upon my eyes,
And yet I am alive;
Before I see another day,
Oh let my body die away!

11.
My fire is dead : it knew no pain ;
Yet is it dead, and I remain :
All stiff with ice the ashes lie;
And they are dead, and I will die.
When I was well, I wished to live,
For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire;
But they to me no joy can give,
No pleasure now, and no desire.
Then here contented will I lie !
Alone, I cannot fear to die.

III. Alas! ye might have dragged me on Another day, a single one! Too soon I yielded to despair ; Why did ye listen to my prayer? When ye were gone mylimbs were stronger; And oh, how grievously I rue That, afterwards, a little longer, My friends, I did not follow you ! For strong and without pain I lay, Dear friends, when ye were gone away.

IV. My Child! they gave thee to another, A woman who was not thy mother. When from my arms my Babe they took, On me how strangely did he look ! Through his whole body something ran, A most strange working did I see; -As if he strove to be a man, That he might pull the sledge for me: And then he stretched his arms, how wild ! Oh mercy! like a helpless child.

V.
My little joy! my little pride!
In two days more I must have died.
Then do not weep and grieve for me ;
I feel I must have died with thee.
O wind, that o'er my head art flying
The way my friends their course did bend,
I should not feel the pain of dying,
Could I with thee a message send ;
Too soon, my friends, ye went away;
For I had many things to say.

VI.
I'll follow you across the snow ;
Ye travel heavily and slow;
In spite of all my weary pain
I'll look upon your tents again.
-My fire is dead, and snowy white
The water which beside it stood :
The wolf has come to me tó-night,
And he has stolen away my food.
For ever left alone am I ;
Then wherefore should I fear to die?

VII.
Young as I am, my course is run,
I shall not see another sun;
I cannot lift my limbs to know
If they have any life or no.
My poor forsaken Child, if I

THE LAST OF THE FLOCK.

I. In distant countries have I been, And yet I have not often seen A healthy man, a man full grown, Weep in the public roads, alone. But such a one, on English ground, And in the broad highway, I met; Along the broad highway he came, His cheeks with tears were wet: Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad; And in his arms a Lamb he had.

II. He saw me, and he turned aside, As if he wished himself to hide : And with his coat did then essay To wipe those briny tears away: I followed him, and said, “My friend, What ails you ? wherefore weep you so ?" -“Shame on me, Sir ! this lusty Lamb, He makes my tears to flow. To-day I fetched him from the rock ; He is the last of all my flock.

III. When I was young, a single man, And after youthful follies ran, Though little given to care and thought, Yet, so it was, an ewe I bought ; And other sheep from her I raised, As healthy sheep as you might sec; And then I married, and was rich As I could wish to be ; Of sheep I numbered a full score, And every year increased my store.

IV. Year after year my stock it grew; And from this one, this single ewe, Full fifty comely sheep 1 raised, As fine a flock as ever grazed ! Upon the Quantock hills they fed ; They throve, and we at home did thrive: - This lusty Lamb of all my store Is all that is alive ; And now I care not if we die, And perish all of poverty.

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day,

A woeful time it was for me,
To see the end of all my gains,
The pretty flock which I had reared
With all my care and pains,
To see it melt Mke snow away-
For me it was a woeful day.

VII.
Another still ! and still another !
A little lamb, and then its mother!
It was a vein that never stopped-,
Like blood-drops from my heart they

dropped.
Till thirty were not left alive,
They dwindled, dwindled, one by one;
And I may say that many a time
I wished they all were gone-
Reckless of what might come at last
Were but the bitter struggle past.

VIII.
To wicked deeds I was inclined,
And wicked fancies crossed my mind;
And every man I chanced to see,
I thought he knew some ill of me:
No peace, no comfort could I find,
No ease, within doors or without ;
And, crazily and wearily
I went my work about ;
And oft was moved to flee from home,
And hide my head where wild beasts roam.

IX.
Sir! 'twas a precious flock to me,
As dear as my own children be ;
For daily with my growing store
I loved my children more and more.
Alas! it was an evil time;
God cursed me in my sore distress ;
I prayed, yet every day I thought
I loved my children less ;
And every week, and every day,
My flock it seemed to melt away.

X.
They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see!
From ten to five, from five to three,
A lamb, a wether, and a ewe ;-
And then at last from three to two;
And, of my fifty, yesterday
I had but only one :
And here it lies upon my arm,
Alas! and I have none;
To-day I fetched it from the rock ;

It is the last of all my flock.' 1798.

There dwelt we, as happy as birds in their

bowers; Unfettered as bees that in gardens abide ; We could do what we liked with the land, it

was ours; And for us the brook murmured that ran by its

side. But now we are strangers, go carly or late ; And often, like one overburthened with sin, With my hand on the latch of the half-opened

gate, I look at the fields, but I cannot go in ! When I walk by the hedge on a bright summer's Or sit in the shade of my grandfather's tree, A stern face it puts on, as if ready to say, “What ails you, that you must come creeping

to me!” With our pastures about us, we could not be

sad; Our comfort was near if we ever were crost; But the comfort, the blessings, and wealth that

we had, We slighted them all,--and our birth-right was

lost. Oh, ill-judging sire of an innocent son Who must now be a wanderer! but peace to

that strain ! Think of evening's repose when our labour was

done, The sabbath's return, and its leisure's soft

chain ! And in sickness, if night had been sparing of

sleep, How cheerful, at sunrise, the hill where I stood, Looking down on the kine, and our treasure of

sheep That besprinkled the field ; 'twas like youth in

my blood!

Now I cleave to the house, and am dull as

snail ; And, oftentimes, hear the church-bell with

sigh That follows the thought-We've no land in the

vale, Save six feet of earth where our forefathers lie!

1804.

XXIV.

THE AFFLICTION OF MARGARET

XXIII.

REPENTANCE.

A PASTORAL BALLAD. The fields which with covetous spirit we sold, Those beautiful fields, the delight of the day, Would have brought us more good than a

burthen of gold, Could we but have been as contented as they. When the troublesome Tempter beset us, said I, “Let him come, with his purse proudly grasped

in his hand; But, Allan, be true to me, Allan,- we'll die Bofore he shall go with an inch of the land!”

I. WHERE art thou, my beloved Son, Where art thou, worse to me than dead? Oh find me, prosperous or undone ! Or, if the grave be now thy bed, Why am I ignorant of the same That I may rest ; and neither blame Nor sorrow may attend thy name?

II. Seven years,

alas ! to have received No tidings of an only child; To have despaired, have hoped, believed, And been for evermore beguiled; Sometimes with thoughts of very bliss ! I catch at them, and then I miss ; Was ever darkness like to this?

III. He was among the prime in worth, An object beauteous to behold; Well born, well bred; I sent him forth Ingenuous, innocent, and bold : If things ensued that wanted grace, As hath been said, they were not base ; And never blush was on my face.

They pity me, and not my grief. Then come to me, my Son, or send Some tidings that my woes may end; I have no other earthly friend ! 1804.

XXV.

IV.

THE COTTAGER TO HER INFANT.

BY MY SISTER.
The days are cold, the nights are long,
The north-wind sings a doleful song;
Then hush again upon my breast;
All merry things are now at rest,

Save thee, my pretty Love!
The kitten sleeps upon the hearth,
The crickets long have ceased their mirth;
There's nothing stirring in the house
Save one wee, hungry, nibbling mouse,

Then why so busy thou ? Nay! start not at that sparkling light: 'Tis but the moon that shines so bright On the window pane bedropped with rain: Then, little Darling ! sleep again,

And wake when it is day. 1805.

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Ah! little doth the young-one dream,
When full of play and childish cares,
What power is in his wildest scream,
Heard by his mother unawares !
He knows it not, he cannot guess :
Years to a mother bring distress;
But do not make her love the less.

v.
Neglect me! no, I suffered long
From that ill thought; and, being blind,
Said, “Pride shall help me in my wrong,
Kind mother have I been, as kind
As ever breathed :" and that is true ;
I've wet my path with tears like dew,
Weeping for him when no one knew.

VI.
My Son, if thou be humbled, poor,
Hopeless of honour and of gain,
Oh! do not dread thy mother's door;
Think not of me with grief and pain:
I now can see with better eyes ;
And worldly grandeur I despise,
And fortune with her gifts and lies.

VII.
Alas! the fowls of heaven have wings,
And blasts of heaven will aid their fight;
They mount-how short a voyage brings
The wanderers back to their delight!
Chains tie us down by land and sea;
And wishes, vain as mine, may be
All that is left to comfort thee.

VIII.
Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan,
Maimed, mangled by inhuman men ;
Or thou upon a desert thrown
Inheritest the lion's den;
Or hast been summoned to the deep,
Thou, thou and all thy mates, to keep
An incommunicable sleep.

IX.
I look for ghosts; but none will force
Their way to me: 'tis falsely said
That there was ever intercourse
Between the living and the dead :
For, surely, then I should have sight
Of him I wait for day and night,
With love and longings infinite.

X.
My apprehensions come in crowds;
I dread the rustling of the grass ;
The very shadows of the clouds
Have power to shake me as they pass :
I question things and do not find
One that will answer to my mind;
And all the world appears unkind.

XI.
Beyond participation lie
My troubles, and beyond relief:
If any chance to heave a sigh,

XXVI.

MATERNAL GRIEF. DEPARTED Child! I could forget thee once Though at my bosom nursed; this woeful gain Thy dissolution brings, that in my soul Is present and perpetually abides A shadow, never, never to be displaced By the returning substance, seen or touched, Seen by mine eyes, or clasped in my embrace. Absence and death how differ they! and how Shall I admit that nothing can restore What one short sigh so easily removed ?Death, life, and sleep, reality and thought Assist me, God, their boundaries to know, O teach me calm submission to thy Will ! The Child she mourned had overstepped the

pale
Of Infancy, but still did breathe the air
That sanctifies its confines, and partook
Reflected beams of that celestial light
To all the Little-ones on sinful earth
Not unvouchsafed a light that warmed and

cheered
Those several qualities of heart and mind
Which, in her own blest nature, rooted deep,
Daily before the Mother's watchful eye,
And not hers only, their peculiar charms
Unfolded, beauty, for its present self,
And for its promises to future years,
With not unfrequent rapture fondly hailed.

Have you espied upon a dewy lawn
A pair of Leverets each provoking each
To a continuance of their fearless sport,
Two separate Creatures in their several gifts
Abounding, but so fashioned that, in all
That Nature prompts them to display, their

looks,
Their starts of motion and their fits of rest,
An undistinguishable style appears
And character of gladness, as if Spring

prey,

for me.

Lodged in their innocent bosoms, and the spirit When from these lofty thoughts I woke, Of the rejoicing morning were their own? “What is it,” said I, " that you bear, Such union, in the lovely Girl maintained

Beneath the covert of your Cloak, And her twin Brother, had the parent seen

Protected from this cold damp air ?" Ere, pouncing like a ravenous bird of

She answered, soon as she the question heard, Death in a moment parted them, and left “A simple burthen, Sir, a little Singing-bird." The Mother, in her turns of anguish, worse And, thus continuing, she said, Than desolate ; for oft-times from the sound “I had a Son, who many a day Of the survivor's sweetest voice (dear child, Sailed on the seas, but he is dead; He knew it not) and from his happiest looks

In Denmark he was cast away: Did she extract the food of self-reproach,

And I have travelled weary miles to see As one that lived ungrateful for the stay If aught which he had owned might still remain By Heaven afforded to uphold her maimed And tottering spirit. And full oft the Boy,. The bird and cage they both were his : Now first acquainted with distress and grief, 'Twas my Son's bird ; and neat and trim Shrunk from his Mother's presence, shunned He kept it: many voyages with fear

The singing-bird had gone with him ; Her sad approach, and stole away to find, When last he sailed, he left the bird behind, In his known haunts of joy where'er he might, From bodings, as might be, that hung upon his A more congenial object. But, as time

mind. Softened her pangs and reconciled the child To what he saw,

He to a fellow-lodger's care he gradually returned,

Had left it, to be watched and fed, Like a scared Bird encouraged to renew

And pipe its song in safety ;-there A broken intercourse ; and, while his eyes I found it when my Son was dead; Were yet with pensive fear and gentle awe Turned upon her who bore him, she would stoop I bear it with me, Sir ;-he took so much de.

And now, God help me for my little wit! To imprint a kiss that lacked not power to

light in it.' spread

1800. Faint colour over both their pallid cheeks, And stilled his tremulous lip. Thus they were calmed

XXVIIT. And cheered ; and now together breathe fresh

THE CHILDLESS FATHER. air In open fields; and when the glare of day

Up, Timothy, up with your staff and away! Is gone, and twilight to the Mother's wish

Not a soul in the village this morning will stay ; Befriends the observance, readily they join

The hare has just started from Hamilton's In walks whose boundary is the lost One's

grounds,

And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds." grave, Which he with flowers hath planted, finding -Ofcoats and ofjackets grey, scarlet, and green, there

On the slopes of the pastures all colours were Amusement, where the Mother does not miss

seen; Dear consolation, kneeling on the turf

With their comely blue aprons,

and

caps white In prayer, yet blending with that solemn rite

as snow, Of pious faith the vanities of grief;

The girls on the hills made a holiday show. For such, by pitying Angels and by Spirits Fresh sprigs of green box-wood, not six months Transferred to regions upon which the clouds before, Of our weak nature rest not, must be deemed Filled the funeral basin * at Timothy's door; Those willing tears, and unforbidden sighs, A coffin through Timothy's threshold had past; And all those tokens of a cherished sorrow,

One Child did it bear, and that Child was his Which, soothed and sweetened by the grace of last.

Heaven
As now it is, seems to her own fond heart,

Now fast up the dell came the noise and the Immortal as the love that gave it being.

fray, The horse and the horn, and the hark ! hark

away! XXVII.

Old Timothy took up his staff, and he shut THE SAILOR'S MOTHER.

With a leisurely motion the door of his hut.

Perhaps to himself at that moment he said ; ONE morning (raw it was and wet

“The key I must take, for my Ellen is dead." A foggy day in winter time) A Woman on the road I met,

But of this in my ears not a word did he speak; Not old, though something past her prime:

And he went to the chase with a tear on his

cheek. Majestic in her person, tall and straight ;

1800. And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait.

* In several parts of the North of England, The ancient spirit is not dead;

when a funeral takes place, a basin full of sprigs Old times, thought I, are breathing there ; of box-wood is placed at the door of the house Proud was I that my country bred

from which the coffin is taken up, and each Such strength, a dignity so fair :

person who attends the funeral ordinarily takes She begged an alms, like one in poor estate ; a sprig of this box-wood, and throws it into the I looked at her again, nor did my pride abate., 1 grave of the deceased.

XXIX.

Dear Baby! I must lay thee down;

Thou troublest me with strange alarms; THE EMIGRANT MOTHER.

Smiles hast thou, bright ones of thy own; ONCE in a lonely hamlet I sojourned

I cannot keep thee in my arms; In which a Lady driven from France did dwell;

For they confound me ;-where-- where is The big and lesser griefs with which she That last, that sweetest smile of his? mourned,

VI. In friendship she to me would often tell.

Oh! how I love thee !-we will stay This Lady, dwelling upon British ground,

Together here this one half day. Where she was childless, daily would repair My sister's child, who bears my name, To a poor neighbouring cottage; as I found, From France to sheltering England came; For sake of a young child whose home was

She with her mother crossed the sea; there.

The babe and mother near me dwell: Once having seen her clasp with fond embrace Yet does my yearning heart to thec This Child, I chanted to myself a lay,

Turn rather, though I love her well: Endeavouring, in our English tongue, to trace Rest, little Śtranger, rest thee here ! Such things as she unto the Babe might say: Never was any child more dear! And thus, from what I heard and knew, or

VII. guessed,

- I cannot help it ; ill intent My song the workings of her heart expressed.

I've none, my pretty Innocent!
I.

I weep—Í know they do thee wrong, Dear Babe, thou daughter of another, These tears—and my poor idle tongue. One moment let me be thy mother!

Oh, what a kiss was that! my check An infant's face and looks are thine,

How cold it is ! but thou art good ; And sure a mother's heart is mine:

Thine eyes are on me- they would speak, Thy own dear mother's far away,

I think, to help me if they could. At labour in the harvest field :

Blessings upon that soft, warm face, Thy little sister is at play ;

My heart again is in its place! What warmth, what comfort would it yield

VIII. To my poor heart, if thou wouldst be

While thou art mine, my little Love,
One little hour a child to me!

This cannot be a sorrowful grove ;
II.

Contentment, hope, and mother's glee, Across the waters I am come,

I seem to find them all in thee: And I have left a babe at home :

Here's grass to play with, here are flowers; A long, long way of land and sea!

I'll call thee by my darling's name ; Come to me, I'm no enemy:

Thou hast, I think, a look of ours, I am the same who at thy side

Thy features seein to me the same; Sate yesterday, and made a nest

His little sister thou shalt be ; For thee, sweet Baby !-thou hast tried, And, when once more my home I see, Thou know'st the pillow of my breast;

I'll tell him many tales of Thee. Good, good art thou :-alas ! to me

1802. Far more than I can be to thee.

III.

XXX.
Here, little Darling, dost thou lie ;
An infant thou, a mother I !

VAUDRACOUR AND JULIA.
Mine wilt thou be, thou hast no fears ; The following tale was written as an Episode,
Mine art thou--spite of these my tears. in a work from which its length may perhaps
Alas! before I left the spot,

exclude it. The facts are true ; no invention My baby and its dwelling-place,

as to these has been exercised, as none was The nurse said to me, 'Tears should not needed. Be shed upon an infant's face, It was unlucky'-no, no, no;

O. HAPPY time of youthful lovers (thus No truth is in them who say so!

My story may begin) O balmy time,

In which a love-knot on a lady's brow
IV.

Is fairer than the fairest star in heaven !
My own dear Little-one will sigh,

To such inheritance of blessed fancy Sweet Babe! and they will let him die.

(Fancy that sports more desperately with minds He pines,' they'll say, 'it is his doom,

Than ever fortune hath been known to do) And you may see his hour is come.'

The high-born Vaudracour was brought, by Oh! had he but thy cheerful smiles,

years
Limbs stout as thine, and lips as gay, Whose progress had a little overstepped
Thy looks, thy cunning, and thy wiles,
And countenance like a summer's day,

His stripling prime. A town of small repute, They would have hopes of him ;-and then Was the Youth's birth-place. There he wooed

Among the vine-clad mountains of Auvergne, I should behold his face again !

a Maid V.

Who heard the heart-felt music of his suit Tis gone-like dreams that we forget ; With answering vows.

Plebeian was the stock, There was a smile or two-yet-yet Plebeian, though ingenuous, the stock, I can remember them, I see

From which her graces and her honours sprung: The smiles, worth all the world to me. And hence the father of the enamoured Youth,

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