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Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.
But O, what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above.
Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees uprooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher : When to her organ vocal breath was given, An angel heard, and straight appeared, Mistaking earth for heaven.
The Sailor's Mother. SOUTHEY.
SIR, for the love of God, some small relief
To a poor woman!
Whither are you bound? "Tis a late hour to travel o'er these downs; No house for miles around us, and the way
Dreary and wild. The evening wind already
Makes one's teeth chatter; and the very sun,
Setting so pale behind those thin white clouds,
Looks cold. 'Twill be a bitter night!
Ay, sir, 'Tis cutting keen! I smart at every breath: Heaven knows how I shall reach my journey's end; For the way is long before me, and my feet, God help me! — sore with travelling. I would gladly, If it pleased God, at once lie down and die.
Nay, nay, cheer up! a little food and rest
Will comfort you; and then your journey's end
May make amends for all. You shake your head,
Is it some mournful business, then,
That leads you from your home?
To see my son at Plymouth, sadly hurt
In the late action, and in the hospital
Dying, I fear me, now.
He yet may live.
But if the worse should chance, why, you must bear
The will of Heaven with patience. Were it not
Some comfort to reflect your son has fallen
Fighting his country's cause? and for yourself,
You will not in unpitied poverty
Be left to mourn his loss. Your grateful country,
Amid the triumph of her victory,
Remembers those who paid its price of blood,
And with a noble charity relieves
The widow and the orphan.
God reward them!
God bless them! It will help me in my age.
But, sir, it will not pay me for my child!
My only one, The stay and comfort of my widowhood! A dear good boy! — When first he went to sea, I felt what it would come to: I should be childless soon. But tell me, sir,
something told me
If it be true that for a hurt like his
There is no cure. Please God to spare his life, Though he be blind, yet I should be so thankful! I can remember there was a blind man
Lived in our village, one, from his youth up,
Quite dark; - and yet he was a merry man;
And he had none to tend on him so well
As I would tend my boy!
Of this be sure:
His hurts are looked to well; and the best help
The land affords — as rightly is his due-
Ever at hand. How happened it he left you?
Was a seafaring life his early choice?
No, sir poor fellow ! he was wise enough
To be content at home; and 'twas a home
As comfortable, sir, even though I say it,
As any in the country. He was left
A little boy, when his poor father died, -
Just old enough to totter by himself,
And call his mother's name. We two were all;
And as we were not left quite destitute,
We bore up well. In the summer time I worked
Sometimes afield. Then I was famed for knitting,
And in long winter nights my spinning-wheel
Seldom stood still. We had kind neighbors too,
And never felt distress. So he grew up
A comely lad, and wondrous well disposed.
I taught him well: there was not in the parish
A child who said his prayers more regular,
Or answered readier through his catechism.
If I had foreseen this! - but 'tis a blessing
We don't know what we're born to!
You shall hear, sir.
As he grew up, he used to watch the birds
In the corn,
child's work, you know, and easily done.
'Tis an idle sort of task so he built up
A little hut of wicker-work and clay
Under the hedge, to shelter him in rain;
And then he took, for very idleness,
To making traps to catch the plunderers,
All sorts of cunning traps that boys can make, —
Propping a stone, to fall and shut them in,
Or crush them with its weight, or else a spring
Swung on a bough. He made them cleverly;
And I, poor foolish woman! I was pleased
To see the boy so handy. You may guess
What followed, sir, from this unlucky bill
He did what he should not, when he was older.
I warned him oft enough; but he was caught
In wiring hares at last, and had his choice, —
The prison or the ship.
The choice at least
Was kindly left him; and for broken laws
This was, methinks, no heavy punishment.
So I was told, sir, and I tried to think so;
But 'twas a sad blow to me. I was used
To sleep at nights as sweetly as a child :-
Now, if the wind blew rough, it made me start,
And think of my poor boy, tossing about
Upon the roaring seas. And then I seemed
To feel that it was hard to take him from me
For such a little fault. But he was wrong,
O, very wrong,- a murrain on his traps!
See what they've brought him to!
Well! well! take comfort.
He will be taken care of, if he lives;
And should you lose your child, this is a country
Where the brave sailor never leaves a parent
To weep for him in want.
Sir, I shall want
No succor long. In the common course of years,
I soon must be at rest; and 'tis a comfort,
When grief is hard upon me, to reflect
It only leads me to that rest the sooner.