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Beside him he would have her stay, 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 uncommonAnd 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
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
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 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-frock'd 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 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; 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 ;
With gaze more fixed a graver fate To her new beauty largely given Above her beauty hung. From deeper fountains looked and smiled;
So fares it still with human life, And, like a morning dream from Which, ever journeying on, heaven,
Unconscious climbs from peace 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 was she from passing The war of Will and Doom may bring, eyes
Stands waiting but the signal hour By more than Fortune's outward law, To sweep on fiery wing. By bashful thoughts like silent sighs, 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
22. That parts the living from the dead. And oft she read her Bible there,
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 tosmiled.
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 groan, 'Twas now a sob of “ Mother! MoWhen 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, And calmer flowed the stream again; No woman's voice so deeply rings, But Jane would never witness more Though men by graves but seldom An open grave or funeral train.
pray ; 17.
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 sec; 20.
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,
31. She rose to gather fragrant flowers, Against the broad yew-trunk she And wet their leaves with weeping.
The black boughs' vault of shade aShe strewed them o'er her mother's dorning, grave,
A fixed, fair, living monument, To wither where her joys bad faded; Amid the light of morning :
34. Till 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. 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.
The pair who thus that morning met
For far unlike was Henry's mind
And she had lived in cities wide,
bride; He left her while her leaves were
green, But ah! they withered when he died.
14. So here she lived unmarked, alone, Through quiet years remote from
blame, With little that she called her own But him who bore his father's name.
15. Two hearts had she, the one so sad It often ached within her breast; But in her boy a heart she had Now thrilled with hope, now lulled to rest.
With these he dwelt, because within
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
Her looks 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 Devoutest peace around she shed, implore.
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
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.
breaking, And by his word was Henry made It was the night's gray chilly close, The master o'er the village boys; The day's fresh golden waking. A teacher still, by smiles and aid
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 oft 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 unruflled 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; warn, Through months of sickness long to Andstill 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 own: now
To him it seemed his mother bade A swarm of insects murmuring round. Their hearts should each to each be A fresh they stung his aching brow, known. And fevered him with weary sound,
Yet passed a weck as if no more And when the toilsome day was past, They could recall their mournful And darkness veiled his burning eyes, meeting; Upon the bed his limbs he cast, And then, when seven long days were And wished he ne'er again might rise. 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;