« AnteriorContinuar »
And well may they be beautiful; they toil not, neither
The children of the poor man, around the humble doors
They throng of city alleys and solitary moors.
In hot and noisy factories they turn the ceaseless wheel,
And eat with feeble appetite their coarse and joyless meal.
They rise up in the morning, ne'er dreaming of delight;
And weary, spent, and heart-sore, they go to bed at night.
They have no brave apparel, with golden clasp and gem;
So their clothes keep out the weather they're good enough for them.
Their hands are broad and horny; they hunger, and are cold;
They learn what toil and sorrow mean ere they are five years old.
-The poor man's child must step aside if the rich man's child go by;
And scarcely aught may minister to his little vanity.
THE TWO ESTATES.
The children of the rich old man no carking care And of what could he be vain? - his most beautiful they know, array
Like lilies in the sunshine how beautiful they grow! Is what the rich man's children have worn and cast away. And well may they be beautiful; in raiment of the
The finely spun, the many-hued, the new, are not for him,
best, In velvet, gold, and ermine, their little forms are drest. With a hat and jaunty feather set lightly on their He must clothe himself, with thankfulness, in gar
ments soiled and dim.
And golden hair, like angels' locks, over their shoul- He sees the children of the rich in chariots gay go by, ders spread. And "what a heavenly life is their's," he sayeth with a sigh.
Then straightway to his work he goeth, for feeble though he be,
His daily toil must still be done to help the family.
We were the victims of the arts we scorned;
We were like clay within the potter's hand : And so again we parted. He adorned
The courtly world: his wit and manners bland The hearts of men and women could command. I too ran folly's round, till tired of pleasure, I sought repose in tranquil, rural leisure. Ere long he left his native land, and went
Into the East with pomp and power girt round. And so years past: the morn of life was spent,
And manhood's noon advanced with splendour crowned;
They said 'mid kingly luxury without bound, He dwelt in joy; and that his blessings ever Flowed like that land's unmeasured, bounteous river. And the world worshipped him, for he was greatGreat in the council, greater in the field. And I too had my blessings, for I sate
Amid my little ones: the fount unsealed Of my heart's wronged affections seemed to yield A tenfold current: and my babes, like light Unto the captive's gaze, rejoiced my sight.
I dwelt within my home an altered man;
Again all tenderness and love was sweet, "T was as if fresh existence had began,
As the chill snows of winter melt away
Before the genial spring, so from my heart Passed hatred and revenge; and I could pray
Since pleasant welcomes were sent forth to greet My coming, and the sound of little feet Was on my floor, and bright and loving eyes Beamed on me without feigning a disguise.
For pardon, pardoning all; my soul was blessed
Again grew dim; my fount of joy was dried;
Than it had borne!-my children at my side In their meek, loving beauty, drooped and diedFirst they, and then their mother! Did I weep? No, tears are not for griefs intense and deep!
I had known sorrow, and remorse, and shame,
That they had died for my unpardoned crime !
Ah me! those weary days, those painful nights,
And saw the lovely and the loving near,
Then woke and knew my home so dim and drear! Through the great cities of the East I passed What marvel if I prayed that I might die, In my soul's great, unchastened misery!
Into the kingdom where he reigned supreme; I came unto a gorgeous palace, vast
As the creation of a poet's dream :
I dwelt within my childhood's home, and yet
Engulphed in deadness for a season's space.
Resigned, although abashed to the dust;
"I will arise," I cried, like him of yore.
The conscience-stricken prodigal, and lay
And, I have sinned, my brother! I will say -
My home was still a solitude; none sought
Until well-nigh my madness had returned;
And therefore towards a living friend I yearned.
I saw his form in visions of the night;
I gathered up my strength; I asked of none
I was like one from cruel bonds set free,
My strength gave way, how little did I seem'
Hard by there was a grove of cypress trees;
A place, as if for mourning spirits made;
And weep unseen within the secret shade. —
There was a tomb; a tomb as of a king;
A gorgeous palace of the unconscious dead.
Of the struck bird, as on that wall I read
I lay for hours; and when my sense returned
-For this I crossed the sea: in those far wilds,
Through perils numberless, for this I went! What followed next I tell not: as a child's
Again my soul was feeble; too much spent
I came back to the scenes where life began,
I murmur not; but with submissive will