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Is present and perpetually abides
A shadow, never, never to be displaced
By the returning substance, seen or touched,
Seen by mine eyes, or clasped in my embrace.
Absence and death how differ they! and how
Shall I admit that nothing can restore
What one short sigh so easily removed ?
Death, life, and sleep, reality and thought,
Assist me, God, their boundaries to know,
O teach me calm submission to thy Will !
The Child she mourned had overstepped the

pale
Of Infancy, but still did breathe the air
That sanctifies its confines, and partook
Reflected beams of that celestial light
To all the Little-ones on sinful earth
Not unvouchsafed — a light that warmed

and cheered Those several qualities of heart and mind Which, in her own blest nature, rooted deep, Daily before the Mother's watchful eye, And not hers only, their peculiar charms Unfolded, - beauty, for its present self, And for its promises to future years, With not unfrequent rapture fondly hailed. Have you espied upon a dewy lawn A pair of Leverets each provoking each To a continuance of their fearless sport, Two separate Creatures in their several gifts Abounding, but so fashioned that, in all

That Nature prompts them to display, their

looks, Their starts of motion and their fits of rest, An undistinguishable style appears And character of gladness, as if Spring Lodged in their innocent bosoms, and the

spirit Of rejoicing morning were their own? Such union, in the lovely Girl maintained And her twin Brother, had the parent seen, Ere, pouncing like a ravenous bird of prey, Death in a moment parted them, and left The Mother, in her turns of anguish, worse Than desolate; for oft-times from the sound Of the survivor's sweetest voice (dear child, He knew it not) and from his happiest

looks, Did she extract the food of self-reproach, As one that lived ungrateful for the stay By Heaven afforded to uphold her maimed And tottering spirit. And full oft the Boy, Now first acquainted with distress and grief, Shrunk from his Mother's presence, shunned

with fear Her sad approach, and stole away to find, In his known haunts of joy where'er he

might, A more congenial object. But, as time * Softened her pangs and reconciled the child To what he saw, he gradually returned,

Like a scared Bird encouraged to renew
A broken intercourse ; and, while his eyes
Were yet with pensive fear and gentle awe
Turned upon her who bore him, she would

stoop To imprint a kiss that lacked not power to

spread Faint color over both their pallid cheeks, And stilled his tremulous lip. Thus they

were calmed And cheered; and now together breathe

fresh air In open fields; and when the glare of day Is gone, and twilight to the Mother's wish Befriends the observance, readily they join In walks whose boundary is the lost One's

grave, Which he with flowers had planted, finding

there Amusement, where the Mother does not

miss Dear consolation, kneeling on the turf In prayer, yet blending with that solemn

rite Of pious faith the vanities of grief; For such, by pitying Angels and by Spirits Transferred to regions upon which the clouds Of our weak nature rest not, must be deemed Those willing tears, and unforbidden sighs, And all those tokens of a cherished sorrow, Which, soothed and sweetened by the grace

of Heaven As now it is, seems to her own fond heart, Immortal as the love that gave it being.

William Wordsworth

SONGS FOR MY MOTHER

I

HER HANDS

My mother's hands are cool and fair,

They can do anything. Delicate mercies hide them there

Like flowers in the spring.

When I was small and could not sleep,

She used to come to me,
And with my cheek upon her hand

How sure my rest would be.

For everything she ever touched

Of beautiful or fine,
Their memories living in her hands

Would warm that sleep of mine.

Her hands remember how they played

One time in meadow streams, — And all the flickering song and shade Of water took my dreams.

Swift through her haunted fingers pass

Memories of garden things ;I dipped my face in flowers and

grass And sounds of hidden wings.

One time she touched the cloud that kissed Brown pastures bleak and far ;

: I leaned my cheek into a mist

And thought I was a star.

All this was very long ago

And I am grown; but yet
The hand that lured my slumber so

I never can forget.

For still when drowsiness comes on

It seems so soft and cool, Shaped happily beneath my cheek,

Hollow and beautiful.

II

HER WORDS

My mother has the prettiest tricks

Of words and words and words. Her talk comes out as smooth and sleek

As breasts of singing birds.

She shapes her speech all silver fine

Because she loves it so.
And her own eyes begin to shine
To hear her stories grow.

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