“Sev’n or eight times, I have
But here comes William, and if he
The good things he has heard about
Forgets too, Sir, the fault’s in me.”
“No, Sir,” said William, “though
And much disturbed by my sister,
I in this matter of the text,
I thank my memory, can assist her.
“I have, and pride myself on having,
A more retentive head than she.”—
Then gracefully his right hand waving,
He with no little vanity
Recited gospel, chapter, verse—
I should be loth to spoil in metre
All the good words he did rehearse,
As spoken by our Lord to Peter.
But surely never words from heaven
Of peace and love more full descended;
That we should seventy times seven
Forgive our brother that offended.
In every point of view he plac’d
As he the Doctor’s self had been,
With emphasis and action grac’d it:
But from his self-conceit ’twas seen
Who had brought home the words, and who
A little on the meaning thought;
Eliza now the old man knew had
Learn’d that which William never caught.
Without impeaching William’s merit,
His head but served him for the letter,
Hers miss’d the words, but kept the spirit;
Her memory to her heart was debtor.
“Our Governess is not in school,
So we may talk a bit;
Sit down upon this little stool,
Come, little Mary, sit:
“And, my dear play-mate, tell me
In dismal black you’re drest?
Why does the tear stand in your eye?
With sobs why heaves your breast?
“When we’re in grief, it gives
Our sorrows to impart;
When you’ve told why, my dear, you cry,
’Twill ease your little heart.”
“O, it is trouble very bad
Which causes me to weep;
All last night long we were so sad,
Not one of us could sleep.
“Beyond the seas my father went,
’Twas very long ago;
And he last week a letter sent
(I told you so, you know)
“That he was safe in Portsmouth
And we should see him soon,
Either the latter end of May,
Or by the first of June.
“The end of May was yesterday,
We all expected him;
And in our best clothes we were drest,
Susan, and I, and Jim.
“O how my poor dear mother smil’d,
And clapt her hands for joy;
She said to me, ’Come here, my child,
And Susan, and my boy.
“‘Come all, and let us think,’
’What we can do to please
Your father, for to-day will he
Come home from off the seas.
“’That you have won, my dear
A prize at school, we’ll tell,
Because you can, my little man,
In writing all excel;