« PoprzedniaDalej »
as thousands of roses are contained in a few drops of their essence.” The remark is no more beautiful than just. I once witnessed an incident, which made me feel its truth, though long before the sentiment itself was written. In one of the largest villages in the easterly part of Connecticut, a woman was left a widow with ten children, all but one of whom were under twenty years
The family had once enjoyed a competence, and looked forward to years of ease and plenty. Toward the close of the revolutionary war, the father, thinking to make a profitable speculation, disposed of a large and profitable stock in trade, and received in payment what, at the time, was called cash, but which turned out shortly after to be worthless paper - bills of the old “ Continental currency.” These bills were laid up in his desk, and soon began to depreciate in value. The deterioration went on from day to day, and in a few months the bubble burst; and the fund, which had been hoarded to educate a family, would not buy them a breakfast. At this moment the father died.
I will not trace the history of this family through its days of destitution and poverty. It is sufficient to state that the children were scattered in various directions, and engaged in various employments, till at length all were gone, and the mother left alone, dependent on friends for a bedroom, and on the labor of her hands for her own subsistence carious dependence, for to other misfortunes had succeeded the loss of health. In process of time, one of the sons, having completed his apprenticeship, hired a house for his mother, and lived with her, while he followed the occupation of a shoemaker. Thanksgiving Day came; and with it returned an opportunity to indulge in its peculiar rites, which they had not enjoyed for ten years.
The two youngest boys, who lived at a distance from each other and from the parent, came home to keep Thanksgiving.
The festive preparations were completed. The table was spread. Around it stood a mother and three sons, who had
not been assembled together before within the remembrance of the youngest of the group. The grateful and pious mother lifted her heart and her voice to the widow's God, and uttered a blessing on that kindness which had not broken the bruised reed, and that goodness which had remembered all her sorrows, and permitted her once more to
so many of her orphan children assembled around her. Her expressions of gratitude were not finished, when the tide of affection and thanksgiving, which swelled the heart, overpowered the physical faculties. Her bosom heaved with strong convulsions, her utterance was choked, the lips could not relieve by words the emotions which filled the soul : she faltered, and would have fallen, but that the elder son caught and sustained her in his arms. Tears at length came to her relief, and the earthquake of the soul was succeeded by those grateful and affectionate sensations which can find no parallel but in a mother's heart.
It is more than forty years since this incident took place. The scene is now as fresh and bright to my imagination as it was at the moment of its occurrence. Eternity cannot obliterate its impression from my memory, and, if it could, I would not accept immortality on that condition ; for that widow was MY MOTHER.
Sphere, flash'd, shrink, ask, scream, asks, ask'st, ask'd, sleep,
rustid, rustles, rustl'st.
On the Receipt of my Mother's Picture. CowPER.
O that those lips had language! Life has passed
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine; thy own sweet smile I see,
The same that oft in childhood solaced me:
Voice only fails; else, how distinct they say,
“Grieve not, my child; chase all thy fears away!”
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim-
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who bidd'st me honor with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey; not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own;
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief-
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.
My mother! when I learned that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?
Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss :
Ah, that maternal smile! it answers, “ Yes.”
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nursery window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !
But was it such? — It was. Where thou art gone,
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting word shall pass my lips no more.
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wished, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived ;
By expectation every day beguiled,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learned at last submission to my lot;
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt, our name is heard no more ;
Children not thine have trod my nursery floor ;
And where the gardener, Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble-coach, and wrapped
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capped,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we called the pastoral house our own.
Short-lived possession! but the record fair,
That memory keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm, that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou might’st know me safe and warmly laid ;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit or confectionary plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glowed ;
All this, and, more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and breaks,
That humor interposed too often makes; -
All this, still legible in memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honors to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in heaven, though little noticed here.
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I pricked them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile ;)
Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart the dear delight
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might -
But no! What here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast
(The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed)
Shoots into port at some well-havened isle,
Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile,
There sits quiescent on the floods, that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay ;
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached the shore
“Where tempests never beat nor billows roar,"
And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchored by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distressed -
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed,
Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass lost ;
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet O, the thought that thou art safe, and he !
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not, that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned, and rulers of the earth;