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THE FIRST GRAVE IN THE NEW CHURCHYARD AT BROMPTON.
A SINGLE grave! the only one
In this unbroken ground,
Are lingering around.
How utterly alone
Not one familiar tone;
The shade where forest-trees shut out
All but the distant sky;
When the dark winds pass'd by:
My lip has gasp'd for breath ;
The solitude of death!
A single grave! we half forget
How sunder human ties,
A gather'd kindred lies.
And watch each quiet tomb;
The place is purified with hope,
The hope that is of prayer;
And pious faith are there.
And many a stone appears,
Wet with affection's tears.
The golden chord which binds us all
Is loosed, not rent in twain;
To bring the past again.
With no remembering stone; No fellow-graves for sympathy
'Tis utterly alone.
I do not know who sleeps beneath,
His history or name; Whether if, lonely in his life,
He is in death the same; Whether he died unloved, unmourn'd,
The last leaf on the bough; Or if some desolated hearth
Is weeping for him now.
Perhaps this is too fanciful :
Though single be his sod,
The presence of his God.
But yet its kindliest, best:
It could be less repress’d.
Those gentler charities which draw
Man closer with his kind; Those sweet humanities which make
The music which they find. How many a bitter word 'twould hush,
How many a pang 'twould save, If life more precious held those ties Which sanctify the grave!
CAROLINE E. S. Norton.
THE MOTHER'S heart.
My eldest-born, first hope, and dearest treasure, My heart received thee with a joy beyond
All that it yet had felt of earthly pleasure;
Faithful and fond, with sense beyond thy years,
And natural piety that lean'd to Heaven; Wrung by a harsh word suddenly to tears,
Yet patient of rebuke when justly given: Obedient, easy to be reconciled, And meekly cheerful-such wert thou, my child!
Not willing to be left; still by my side
Haunting my walks, while summer-day was dying; Nor leaving in thy turn : but pleased to glide
Through the dark room where I was sadly lying, Or by the couch of pain, a sitter meek, Watch the dim eye, and kiss the feverish cheek.
Oh! boy, of such as thou are oftenest made
Earth's fragile idols; like a tender flower No strength in all thy freshness-prone to fade * And bending weakly to the thunder-shower; Still, round the loved, thy heart found force to bind, And clung, like woodbine shaken in the wind !
Then thou, my merry love-bold in thy glee,
Under the bough, or by the firelight dancing, With thy sweet temper and thy spirit free
Didst come, as restless as a bird's wing glancing, Full of a wild and irrepressible mirth, Like a young sunbeam to the gladden'd earth!
Thine was the shout! the song! the burst of joy!
Which sweet from childhood's rosy lip resoundeth; Thine was the eager spirit naught could cloy,
And the glad heart from which all grief reboundeth; And many a mirthful jest and mock reply, Lurk'd in the laughter of thy dark blue eye!
And thine was many an art to win and bless,
The cold and stern to joy and fondness warming; The coaxing smile; the frequent soft caress;
The earnest, tearful prayer all wrath disarming! Again my heart a new affection found, But thought that love with thee had reach'd its bound.
At length thou eamest; thou, the last and least;
Nicknamed “the Emperor” by thy laughing brothBecause a haughty spirit swell’d thy breast, [ers,
And thou didst seek to rule and sway the others; Mingling with every playful infant wile A mimic majesty that made us smile :
And oh! most like a regal child wert thou !
An eye of resolute and successful scheming; Fair shoulders, curling lip, and dauntless brow,
Fit for the world's strife, not for poet's dreaming : And proud the lifting of thy stately head, And the firm bearing of thy conscious tread.
Different from both! Yet each succeeding claim,
I, that all other love had been forswearing,
Nor injured either by this love's comparing;
John Wilson. 1789–1820.
Even like a living thing?
That streamlet's murmuring !
The heavens appear to love this vale;
Or mid the silence lie!
Seems bound unto the sky.
Oh that this lovely vale were mine!
My years would gently glide ;
By peace be sanctified.
There would unto my soul be given, From presence of that gracious Heaven,
A piety sublime! And thoughts would come of mystic mood, To make in this deep solitude
Eternity of Time!
And did I ask to whom belong'd
Nature's most gracious soul!
Are joint heirs of the whole !