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dreams of my infancy and childhood were brought back so distinctly to my mind, that, had it not been for one bitter recollection, the tears I shed would have been gentle and refreshing. The circumstance may seem a trifling one; but the thought of it now pains my heart, and I relate it, that those children who have parents to love them, may learn to value them as they ought.
My mother had been ill a long time, and I had become so accustomed to her pale face and weak voice, that I was not frightened at them as children usually are. At first, it is true, I sobbed violently; but when, day after day, I returned from school, and found her the same, I began to believe she would always be spared to me; but they told me she would die.
One day when I had lost my place in the class, and done my work wrong side outward, I came home discouraged and fretful. I went to my mother's chamber. She was paler than usual, but she met me with the same affectionate smile that always welcomed my return. Alas! when I look back, through the lapse of thirteen years, I think my heart must have been stone, not to have been melted. She requested me to go down stairs, and bring her a glass of water; I pettishly asked why she did not call a domestic to do it. With a look of mild reproach, which I shall never forget if I live to be a hundred years old, she said, "and will not my daughter bring a glass of water for her poor sick mother?".
I went and brought her the water, but I did not do it kindly. Instead of smiling and kissing her, as I was wont to do, I set, the glass down very quickly, and left the room. After playing a short time, I went to bed, without bidding my mother good night; but when alone in my room, in darkness and silence, I remembered how pale she looked, and how her voice trembled when she said, "Will not my daughter bring a glass of water for her poor sick mother?" I could not sleep. I stole into her chamber to ask forgiveness. She had sunk into an easy slumber, and they told me I must not waken her. I did not tell any one what troubled me, but stole back to my bed, resolved to rise early in the morning, and tell her how sorry I was for my conduct.
The sun was shining brightly when I awoke, and hurrying on my clothes, I hastened to my mother's chamber. She was
dead! she never spoke more; never smiled upon me again; and when I touched the hand that used to rest upon my head in blessing, it was so cold that it made me start. I bowed down by her side, and sobbed in the bitterness of my heart. I thought then I wished I might die, and be buried with her; and, old as I now am, I would give worlds, were they mine to give, could my mother but have lived to tell me that she forgave my childish ingratitude. But I cannot call her back; and when I stand by her grave, and whenever I think of her manifold kindness, the memory of that reproachful look she gave me, will bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.
TO MY MOTHER.
GIVE me my old seat, mother,
I've passed through many a changing scene,
O! let me look into thine eyes;
I've not been long away, mother;
'Tis but a little time, I know,
But very long it seems;
Though every night I came to thee,
The world has kindly dealt, mother,
Which made that path so dearly bright;
Which gave the light, and cast the balm
I ever think of thee.
And then, the tears my spirit weeps
Unbidden fill my eye;
Then I am very sad, mother,
I'm very sad and lone;
O there's no heart whose inmost fold
Though sunny smiles wreathe blooming lips,
Then with a closer clasp, mother,
When I am far away,
Come oft-too oft thou canst not come!
And for thy darling pray.
FAIRIES OF CALDON-LOW.
"AND where have you been, my Mary,
"Then take me on your knee, mother,
"And merry was the glee of the harp-strings,
"And what were the words, my Mary,
That you did hear them say?"
"I'll tell you all, my mother, But let me have my way.
“And some, they played with the water, And rolled it down the hill;
'And this,' they said, 'shall speedily turn The poor old miller's mill;
"For there has been no water,
Ever since the first of May;
By the dawning of the day.
'Oh, the miller, how he will laugh,
"And some, they seized the little winds,
And each put a horn into his mouth,
"And there,' said they, 'the merry winds go,
Away from every horn;
And those shall clear the mildew dank,
From the blind old widow's corn.
"Oh, the poor, blind old widow,
Though she has been blind so long,
She'll be merry enough when the mildew's gone, And the corn stands stiff and strong.
"And some, they brought the brown lint-seed, And flung it down from the Low;
And this,' said they, 'by the sun-rise,
“Oh, the poor, lame weaver,
"And then upspoke a brownie,
"I've spun a piece of hempen cloth,
And I want to spin another;
A little sheet for Mary's bed,
“And with that I could not help but laugh,
And then on the top of the Caldon-Low
“And all, on the top of the Caldon-Low,
And nothing I saw but the mossy stones
"But as I came down from the hill-top,
I heard a jar below;
How busy the jolly miller was,
And how merry the wheel did go!