Imágenes de páginas

Sickly children, that whine low

To themselves and not their mothers, From mere habit,-never so

Hoping help or care from others.

Healthy children, with those blue
English eyes, fresh from their Maker,
Fierce and ravenous, staring through
At the brown loaves of the baker.

I am listening here in Rome,
And the Romans are confessing,
"English children pass in bloom
All the prettiest made for blessing.

[ocr errors]

Angli angeli !" (resumed

From the medieval story)
"Such rose angelhoods, emplumed
In such ringlets of pure glory!"

Can we smooth down the bright hair,
O my sisters, calm, unthrilled in
Our hearts' pulses? Can we bear

The sweet looks of our own children,

While those others, lean and small,
Scurf and mildew of the city,
Spot our streets, convict us all

Till we take them into pity?

"Is it our fault?" you reply,
"When, throughout civilization,
Every nation's empery

Is asserted by starvation?

"All these mouths we cannot feed,

And we cannot clothe these bodies."

Well, if man's so hard indeed,

Let them learn at least what God is !

Little outcasts from life's fold,

The grave's hope they may be joined in, By Christ's covenant consoled

For our social contract's grinding.

If no better can be done,

Let us do but this,-endeavour That the sun behind the sun

Shine upon them while they shiver !

On the dismal London flags,

Through the cruel social juggle, Put a thought beneath their rags To ennoble the heart's struggle.

O my sisters! not so much

Are we asked for-not a blossom From our children's nosegay, such As we gave it from our bosom,—

Not the milk left in their cup,

Not the lamp while they are sleeping, Not the little cloak hung up

While the coat's in daily keeping,

But a place in RAGGED SCHOOLS,
Where the outcasts may to-morrow
Learn by gentle words and rules
Just the uses of their sorrow.

O my sisters! children small,
Blue-eyed, wailing through the city-
Our own babes cry in them all,

Let us take them into pity!


A ROSE once grew within
A garden April-green,

In her loneness, in her loneness,
And the fairer for that oneness.

A white rose delicate

On a tall bough and straight:
Early comer, early comer,
Never waiting for the summer.

Her pretty gestes did win
South winds to let her in,
In her loneness, in her loneness,
All the fairer for that oneness.

"For if I wait," said she,
"Till time for roses be,

For the moss-rose and the musk-rose,
Maiden-blush and royal dusk-rose,

"What glory then for me
In such a company?—

Roses plenty, roses plenty,
And one nightingale for twenty !

"Nay, let me in," said she,
"Before the rest are free,

In my loneness, in my loneness,
All the fairer for that oneness.

"For I would lonely stand
Uplifting my white hand,

On a mission, on a mission,
To declare the coming vision.

"Upon which lifted sign,

What worship will be mine!

What addressing, what caressing,
And what thanks and praise and blessing!

"A windlike joy will rush

Through every tree and bush, Bending softly in affection

And spontaneous benediction.

"Insects that only may

Live in a sunbright ray,

To my whiteness, to my whiteness,
Shall be drawn as to a brightness,-

"And every moth and bee,
Approach me reverently,
Wheeling o'er me, wheeling o'er me,
Coronals of motioned glory.

"Three larks shall leave a cloud

To my whiter beauty vowed, Singing gladly all the moontide, Never waiting for the suntide.

"Ten nightingales shall flee Their woods for love of me, Singing sadly all the suntide, Never waiting for the moontide.

"I ween the very skies

Will look down with surprise,
When below on earth they see me
With my starry aspect dreamy :

"And earth will call her flowers
To hasten out of doors,

By their curtsies and sweet-smelling,
To give grace to my foretelling."

So praying did she win

South winds to let her in,
In her loneness, in her loneness,
And the fairer for that oneness.

But ah,-alas for her!
No thing did minister

To her praises, to her praises,
More than might unto a daisy's.

No tree nor bush was seen
To boast a perfect green,
Scarcely having, scarcely having
One leaf broad enough for waving.

The little flies did crawl

Along the southern wall,

Faintly shifting, faintly shifting Wings scarce long enough for lifting.

The lark, too high or low,

I ween, did miss her so,
With his nest down in the gorses,
And his song in the star-courses.

The nightingale did please
To loiter beyond seas :

Guess him in the Happy islands,
Learning music from the silence !

Only the bee, forsooth,
Came in the place of both,
Doing honour, doing honour
To the honey-dews upon her.

The skies looked coldly down
As on a royal crown ;

Then with drop for drop, at leisure,

They began to rain for pleasure.

« AnteriorContinuar »