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Leaned on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme. 161

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TO THE NIGHTINGALE

WHICH THE AUTHOR HEARD SING ON NEW

YEAR'S DAY

WHENCE is it, that amazed I hear

From yonder withered spray,
This foremost morn of all the year,

The melody of May ?

And why, since thousands would be proud 5

Of such a favor shown,
Am I selected from the crowd,

To witness it alone?

10

Singest thou, sweet Philomel, to me,

For that I also long
Have practised in the groves like thee,

Though not like thee in song?

Or singest thou rather under force

Of some divine command,
Commissioned to presage a course

Of happier days at hando?

15

Thrice welcome, then! for many a long

And joyless year have I,

As thou to-day, put forth my song

Beneath a wintry sky.

20

But thee no wintry skies can harm,

Who only needest to sing,
To make even January charm,

And every season Spring.

TO MARY

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The twentieth year is well nigh past,
Since first our sky was overcast;
Ah, would that this might be the last !

My Mary!

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Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see them daily weaker grow;
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,

My Mary!

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Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more,

My Mary!

– For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil

The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,

15

My Mary!

But well thou playdest the housewife's part,
And all thy threads, with magic art,
Have wound themselves about this heart,

My Mary! 20

Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language uttered in a dream;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,

My Mary!

25

Thy silver locks once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,

My Mary!

30

For could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,

My Mary!

Partakers of thy sad decline,
Thy hands their little force resign;
Yet gently prest, press gently mine,

35

My Mary!

Such feebleness of limbs thou provest,
That now at every step thou movest,
Upheld by two, yet still thou lovest,

My Mary! 40

And still to love, though prest with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,

My Mary!

45

But ah! by constant heed I know,
How oft the sadness that I show
Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe,

My Mary!

50

And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last,

My Mary!

THE CASTAWAY

OBSCUREST night involved the sky,

The Atlantic billows roared,
When such a destined wretch as I,

Washed headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,
His floating home forever left.

5

No braver chief could Albion boast

Than he, with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast

With warmer wishes sent.
He loved them both, but both in vain,
Nor him beheld, nor her again.

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Not long beneath the whelming brine,

Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,

Or courage die away;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.

20

He shouted; nor his friends had failed

To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,

That, pitiless, perforce,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.

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Some succor yet they could afford;

And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,

Delayed not to bestow.
But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.

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Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he

Their haste himself condemn.
Aware that flight, in such a sea,

Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.

35

He long survives, who lives an hour

In ocean, self-upheld;

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